Few things will annoy you more about a finished piece of knitting than a cast off that’s too tight. In almost all cases, you want an edge that stretches as much as the knitted fabric below it, and sometimes that doesn’t happen.
There’s a few ways of avoiding that irksome tight edge. We’ve talked about Elizabeth Zimmermann’s sewn bind off before, but that requires a yarn needle threaded with enough yarn to finish the cast off. If you’re working a long cast off (like for the Daybreak in the picture above), “enough yarn” is going to be a very long length indeed. It’ll get tangled and twisted and cause just as much annoyance. Even the cast off of a top-down baby jumper would need an unmanageable length of yarn.
Here’s a startlingly simple solution: use a larger needle to work the cast off. How much larger is up to you – try one size larger and see how you like the result. If you don’t, go bigger. And if you’re worried about your stitches being loose and straggly, then there’s a handy tip that Estonian lace knitters sometimes use: work the cast off with the yarn held double, so every stitch of the edge has a little more bulk. It gives a lovely firm edge!
And speaking of Daybreak, watch this space for some Knit-Along news next week…!