Tutorial – Tubular Bind Off in the Round

The tubular bind off is my absolute favorite for 1/1 (knit/purl) ribbing. This sewn bind off is very similar to working a kitchener stitch, as though the knits were on one side and purls on the other. It creates a stretchy edge that looks like the ribbing has just flowed right over it. When working this bind off in the round, I do it a little bit differently than most tutorials I have seen. I find this way gives me a more seamless join at the end of the round.

Tubular Bind Off tutorial on StitchesNScraps.com

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Tubular Bind Off in the Round Photo Tutorial

(scroll down for video tutorial)

Start by cutting the tail to about 3 or 4 times the circumference of your edge and thread it onto a tapestry or yarn needle. If you’re working on something big, like a sweater hem, this can become way too long to work with easily. In that case, cut a smaller tail that you can work with, but you may need to weave in another piece of yarn later to finish your bind off.

Set Up:

Make sure the first stitch on your knitting needle is a knit. If it’s not, move that stitch over to the end of the round and start with the first knit stitch. Insert your tapestry needle into the first knit stitch as if to knit, and then pull it through. For the first stitch of the round ONLY, move this knit stitch onto the right hand needle so it becomes the last stitch of the round.

insert knitwise - Tubular Bind Off tutorial on StitchesNScraps.com  Move to right needle-1a - Tubular Bind Off tutorial on StitchesNScraps.com

Skip the next purl stitch, insert your needle purlwise into the next knit stitch, and pull through.
Insert purlwise - Tubular Bind Off tutorial on StitchesNScraps.com

Go back to that purl stitch you skipped, and insert the needle purlwise into that stitch. For the first purl stitch of the round ONLY, move that stitch over to the right knitting needle so that it becomes the last stitch of the round. You can now move the right knitting needle out of your way, as you won’t need it again.

Insert purlwise-3a - Tubular Bind Off tutorial on StitchesNScraps.com  Move to right needle-3b - Tubular Bind Off tutorial on StitchesNScraps.com

Now this is the really fun step. Bring your needle up from the back of your work, between the first two stitches. Twist it around, and insert it into the next purl stitch as if to knit. If this twisting motion is too difficult or the stitch too tight, you can break this up into 2 parts. First bring the needle all the way up between the two stitches, then insert it into the next stitch as if to knit.

Insert knitwise from back - Tubular Bind Off tutorial on StitchesNScraps.com  Insert knitwise from back - rear view - Tubular Bind Off tutorial on StitchesNScraps.com

 

Remaining Stitches

We’re going to repeat those 4 steps from the set up, but instead of moving stitches to the right knitting needle, we’re going to drop them instead.

Step 1: Insert needle knitwise into next (knit) stitch, and drop that stitch from the knitting needle.

  Insert knitwise -1- Tubular Bind Off tutorial on StitchesNScraps.com

Step 2: Skip next purl st, insert needle purlwise into next knit stitch and pull through.

Insert purlwise -2- Tubular Bind Off tutorial on StitchesNScraps.com

Step 3: Insert needle purlwise into skipped purl stitch and pull through. Drop this stitch from the knitting needle.

Insert purlwise -3 - Tubular Bind Off tutorial on StitchesNScraps.com

Step 4: Bringing needle up from behind, insert it knitwise into next purl stitch and pull through

Insert knitwise from back - Tubular Bind Off tutorial on StitchesNScraps.com

Repeat steps 1-4 until you are left with only 2 stitches on the knitting needle. These will be the first 2 stitches of the round, which you already partially worked through at the beginning. So now, you can just drop them off the knitting needle and your bind off is done!

 

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Tubular Bind Off in the Round Video Tutorial:

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17 Comments

  • Maria DeNunzio

    I have sleeves that have 4 stitch cable ribbing at the bottom separated by a purl stitch. How do I do a tubular bind-off on a k-4 p-1 rib?

    • Pia Thadani

      Hmm…that’s a tough one. I don’t think you can do this same kind of bind off with that.

      I might suggest doing one of those bind offs where you knit a few extra rows, fold over the edge, and tack it down.

      Or do a 1/1 rib cuff for just a few rows.

      Or, you could increase every stitch, putting the new stitches on a separate needle and knit those stitches in pattern separately for a couple of rows (essentially creating a 2nd layer of fabric), then knit the original stitches for a few more rows, making the right side layer longer than the wrong side layer, and then graft the two layers together. This is essentially the same as folding the edge over, but with a less visible seam.

      What does the pattern suggest?

      • Maria DeNunzio

        Thanks for your reply!The pattern just says to bind off, but it flares if I bind off in pattern. I might doing a sort of double-knit pattern… will let you know

    • Karen Lucia

      I loved Pia’s YouTube. It was a life saver for me. I had a 2 x 2 ribbed sweater and another video recommended a way to changed that to a 1 x 1 rib first. I did that by holding every 2nd stitch on another needed and then pulling it over (almost like when you are cabling) to turn a 2 x 2 into a 1 x 1. It worked for me.

  • hotgirl

    I am so confused by this. I am making the Classic Cowl and almost finished and want to do the tubular cast off. These instructions look like you are moving half the stitches to another needle and sewing all the stitches together instead of binding them off? Maybe I should make a tiny replica of this but it appears you are sewing a seam down the two needles? Help ..

    • Pia Thadani

      Ok so there are several ways to do a tubular bind off. One way is to move every alternate stitch to a 2nd needle, and then work kitchener stitch to sew them together. That’s the way that’s illustrated in the Purl Soho Classic Cowl pattern. She has a tutorial of her own linked in that pattern.

      This tutorial does basically the same thing, but without shifting the stitches to another needle. Getting knitwise into the 2nd stitch is harder in this method, but it skips the step of transferring stitches to a 2nd needle.

      So basically either separate the stitches and bind off following the purl soho tutorial, OR do not separate them and instead bind off following this tutorial, but not a combination of both 🙂

      Hope that helps!

  • nell

    I keep coming back to this page specifically when I need to refresh my memory on the details for tubular bind-offs. It’s far and away the best set of instructions I’ve ever found for this. I so appreciate how you laid out instructions with text and accompanying images, too, and not exclusively in a video. Thank you!

  • Candace

    Hi,
    I am finishing a sweater that calls for this bind off but I am concerned with how long the tail will be to sew the cast off. You mentioned shortening the tail and weaving later to lengthen. How? First time using this cast off and not sure how to weave in at the end of a project.

    • Pia Thadani

      Hi Candace 🙂

      All the weaving in involved is the same as how you would normally weave in a tail – it doesn’t change for this bind off. I use duplicate stitch, which is basically using a tapestry needle to make the tail follow the lines of the existing stitches back and forth a bit until it’s nicely secured.

      So that being said, to add a new yarn for the bind off, simply drop the tail of the existing yarn, put a new yarn on your needle, and start binding off – leaving a starting tail that you can weave in later. The beginning of the bind off will be floppy but that will tighten up when you weave in the ends. It’s just like you would change to a new skein when knitting.

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