211 ways to finish your knitting (+ giveaway)

Illustration from Cast On Bind Off

If you were an award-winning archeological conservator who’d worked on excavations in the Mediterranean and Middle East as well as at some of the world’s greatest museums, what sort of knitting book would you write? My guess is that someone with that kind of research and documentation ability would write something that was part encyclopedia, part instruction manual, and totally wonderful.

Cast On, Bind Off: 211 Ways to Begin and End Your KnittingThat’s precisely what Cap Sease has delivered in her new book, Cast On, Bind Off. In this comprehensive collection of techniques gathered from around the world over many years, Cap introduces you to an astonishing 120 ways to cast on knitting and more than 80 ways to bind off knitting. She’s covered an impressive array of cast-on knitting methods, although I happen to know she has more in her repertoire that we simply couldn’t fit in the book. Who knew there were so many wonderful ways to start and end your knitting?

In her job as Senior Conservator at the Peabody Museum of Natural History, Yale University, Cap is responsible for the museum’s 11 millionplus cultural objects and scientific specimens. Small wonder she was able to compile a mere 211 knitting techniques.

Cap is also a designer for Green Mountain Spinnery, and as a designer she’s well aware of the importance of detail to the overall success of a project. She’s come to appreciate how cast ons and bind offs add to, or detract from, a garment or project. Using the most appropriate technique for each situation leads to beautifully finished work.

Giveaway alert! Our friends at Green Mountain Spinnery have generously donated three skeins of their gorgeous Sylvan Spirit yarn to give to one lucky winner—the same yarns used to knit all the swatches in Cast On, Bind Off. See the bottom of this post to enter the drawing; the winner even gets to choose the colors!

German twisted cast onEach technique in Cast On, Bind Off is presented with clear step-by-step directions and illustrated with line drawings and a photograph of the finished edge. Finding just the right one is easy. Categorized by type—loop cast ons, long-tail cast ons, provisional cast ons, sewn bind offs, decorative bind offs—each one is also identified by its alternate names. Did you know the German Twisted Cast On (right) is also known as the Twisted Cast On, Elastic Cast On, Old Norwegian Cast On, and by six other names?

Beyond just providing the step-by-step instructions, Cap explains the advantages and disadvantages of the various techniques, suggests each one’s most appropriate use, and even includes a brilliant chart of cast-on and bind-off pairs so your beginning and ending edges can match, as in the photos below. Another chart helps you easily find just the right technique for your specific purpose. Need a lace cast on? You’ll find 11 options listed. Need a firm-edge bind off? Seven fit the bill.

I-cord cast on
I-cord cast on

I-cord bind off
I-cord bind off

As a knitter whose repertoire of cast ons is limited to about a half dozen, I was amazed to learn how many more (and better) ways there are to start my knitting. When it comes to bind offs, my range is even more limited: I use the basic bind off, the three-needle bind off, and a sewn bind off for sock cuffs. I’d known there were many more options, but I was never inspired to experiment. Now I can’t wait to try some of these; I know they’ll improve my finishing. I’ve even learned how to tighten up that last floppy bound-off stitch that drives me crazy.

Green Mountain Spinnery--Sylvan Spirit yarnsWhat cast-on and bind-off techniques do you use most? Tell us in the comments about your finishing favorites and you could win three beautiful skeins of Sylvan Spirit yarn from Green Mountain Spinnery (colors are your choice!), PLUS a copy of the Cast On, Bind Off eBook! We’ll choose a winner one week from today and let you know by email if you’ve won. (You can also purchase Cap’s book here, and if you do, you can download the eBook for free right away.) Good luck!

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Thanks to all who entered the drawing! The randomly chosen winner is Kate, who said:

“I usually use the traditional bind-off and a long-tail cast on. However, I recently learned the Channel Island cast on and quite like it!”

Kate, we’ll email you about your free eBook and your free yarn from Green Mountain Spinnery. Congratulations!

Many thanks to our friends at Green Mountain Spinnery for their generosity.


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