In knitting, binding off (or casting off) is a family of techniques for finishing off stitches, most often at the end of knitting. Binding off may also be used in other contexts, like making buttonholes. In principle, binding off is the opposite of casting on, but the techniques are generally not mirror images of one another. Sometimes, however, they can produce a mirror image appearance. Binding off generally involves passing the final loop of one stitch over the loop of an adjacent stitch. Techniques differ, however, in how this is done.
Different Methods of Binding Off
There are many different techniques of bind-offs that result in a more elastic, stretchier edge, which is particularly useful for neckline and sock-top ("toe-up") edges. These are just a few:
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Wiseman, Nancy M. (2002). The Knitter's Book of Finishing Techniques. Woodinville, WA: Martingale & Company, pp 49-59.
Zimmermann, Elizabeth (1971). Knitting without Tears. New York: Scribner.