I get stuck in the decision-making process right at the start and end of my projects. A lot. Especially when I want to make sure I use the right cast on for the piece I’m knitting, and then match the bind off to it too. So this is my cheat sheet where I can easily refer to and stop reinventing the knitting wheel. It’s only my personal preferences, but if it helps someone else, hooray!

Matching Up

Knitting Type Cast On Cast off
Ribbing Italian/tubular cast on (time consuming, super professional edge) Italian/tubular bind off
Alternate cable cast on (bit easier, very clean) Invisible ribbing bind off (sewn), EZ’s sewn cast off, or JSSBO
Garter Chinese waitress Icelandic bind off
General Use Chinese waitress cast on Chinese waitress bind off
Long tail K2tog tbl, slip stitch back to left needle


Crochet Cast Off

  • why I like it: Full disclosure: I haven’t used this. HOWEVER, a cast off method that uses zero yarn? As the Yarn Harlot says, you’ll plotz.
  • the down side: It is very firm, so don’t use it when you need stretch.
  • where to find it: Yarn Harlot’s blog (with pictures, of course)

My Favorites

Alternate Cable Cast On

  • why I like it: It’s my go to cast on for ribbing. The edge is gorgeous and I like how it looks better than almost anything else (in my mind, it’s maybe a half step below a tubular edging, but a lot less work and I like the criss-cross pattern it leaves on the edge). Cast on your stitches, work the first row flat then join – not only does this make it easier to join in the round and help avoid twisting, but the finished edge is neater. For 2×2 ribbing, once you figure out how to switch the middle purl and knit stitches (my mantra: “knit, slip, switch, knit, purl, purl!“) it’s just really easy to do. Treat the slip stitch as a purl, and casting on an even # of stitches starts you right at a knit stitch. MAGIC.
  • when I’ve used it: Graham Hat (1×1 ribbing), Fast Fade Cowl (2×2 ribbing); pretty much all mitts, hats, and anything with a ribbed edge
  • where to find it: Woolly Wormhead (1×1 text and image pdf tutorials), Woolly Wormhead (2×2 text and image pdf tutorials), Instagram tutorial how to video (A+!!)
  • tip: matches invisible ribbing bind off

Cable Cast On

Chinese Waitress Cast On

  • why I like it: A beautiful, reversible, and stretchy short-tail cast-on that creates a double chain edge.
  • when I’ve used it: Stateline shawl
  • where to find it: KnitFreedom (text, images, video), VeryPink KnitsMimi Kezer
  • tip: matches Chinese waitress bind off

Chinese Waitress Bind Off

  • why I like it: It also makes a double chain, and is an exact match to the Chinese Waitress cast on. It’s also very similar to JSSBO.
  • when I’ve used it: nothing yet (I’ve only just discovered it!)
  • where to find it: Mimi Kezer
  • tip: matches Chinese waitress cast on

Icelandic Bind Off

  • why I like it: Good stretchy bind off. I love how it looks against garter stitch. It’s seamless and looks like it just disappears.
  • when I’ve used it: Capella shawl
  • where to find it: KnitFreedom  (text, images, video)

i-Cord Bind Off

  • why I like it: Another bind off that looks really finished and smart, especially where you need a neat little finished edge. Makes a great accent done in a contrasting color.
  • when I’ve used it: Barlow shawl, Aeris shawl
  • where to find it: TECHknitting blog
  • tip: start the i-cord bindoff on the WS

Invisible Ribbed Bind Off

  • why I like it: It looks exactly like the cable cast on edge; it’s a sewn bind off, but it really is a perfect match and gives fingerless mitts a professional finished stretchy edge, rather than a bindoff that leaves that tight edge. Also good on sweater cuffs. It’s not as stretchy as JSSBO, but I think it’s great for mitts where you require some give for comfortable movement.
  • (repeat after me: “knit off, purl; purl off, knit“)
  • when I’ve used it:  Daniel’s Mitts Redux,
  • where to find it: YouTube video, KnitFreedom (text, images, video), this technique tutorial shows how to keep your place (jump to 6:03 mark) and how to neatly finish off in the round (jump to 7:45 mark), Interweave Knits
  • tip: matches alternating cable cast on

Italian (aka Tubular) Cast On, Bind Off

JSSBO (Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off)

  • why I like it: This sucker is like an accordion — it stretches way out, then comes back in. This works well when you need some serious stretch, like a cowl or a sock. Downside: uses up a good deal of yarn in the bind off.
  • when I’ve used it:  Simplicity cowl
  • where to find it: Knitty magazine, Cat Bordhi video

BONUS TIP! Last Stitch Bind Off




Tubular Bind Off / Invisible Rib Bind Off / 1×1 Sewn Bind Off / Italian Bind Off