That headline might have give you pause. Come on, Robynn, you are thinking. It's really not that hard. You just cast off. D'oh.
Which is true! But then there's a nasty sloppy gappy little bit at the beginning, isn't there? Turns out, there's a very simple move – basically just starting with a lifted increase – that tightens that up and creates a beautiful, smooth cast-off edge. I learned this from Susan Crawford in a finishing workshop, where she taught it as a buttonhole technique. So that's what I call it, although I have probably used it in non-buttonhole places far more often; for instance, in casting off the front half of the Growltiger hat.
Note: these photographs were taken to illustrate the Growltiger pattern, which is worked in allover rib, and it just so happens that the cast-off section begins with a purl column. You should cast off knitwise, purlwise or in pattern, as your particular project dictates. (However, as with all lifted increases, this will only be invisible if the stitch before your increase and cast-off is a knit stitch.)
1. Work the last stitch before your cast-off begins. And lift the stitch below onto your lefthand needle.
2. Knit into this stitch, forming a lifted increase.
3. Work the next stitch…
4. …and pass increased stitch over it.
5. Continue casting off as usual.
It's just that easy.
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