Tubular cast off

One of my knitterly goals is to continuously expand my skills repertoire. In addition to wrangling the LK150 to make this sweater, I also learned a new handknitting technique called the “tubular cast off.” It is well suited to ending a 1×1 rib because it is quite elastic and matches the rib almost perfectly.

The amazing Flor of Brazil (sadly still on a knitting hiatus!) has a visual guide to this bind off here. I tried using this page at first, but it wasn’t clicking for me. Somehow, I kept ending up with a straight thread drawn through twisted and overlapping loops; altogether, it reminded me of drawstring. However, I do pretty well with text instructions, so I poked around my copy of Montse Stanley’s Knitter’s Handbook for another explanation. She says something to the effect that you are grafting the two sides together, and that was the “ah hah!” key that I needed.

If you’ve never done a tubular cast off before, the last two rows of your k1 p1 rib are stitched as follows – k1, bring yarn to front and slip the next stitch as if to purl. I slipped all of the knit stitches onto one needle, the purl stitches onto another.

Once separated into two halves, it was as simple as grafting a sock toe. I also finally understood for the first time why it is called “tubular.” (I’ve done tubular cast ons before and never saw it.) Anyway, I’ve used this method on all of my cast off edges, but I haven’t gone back to trying the bind off without first putting it onto two needles. I think I’ll understand it better now, but I also think separating it makes a tidier edge.