Most methods of casting on and casting off in knitting are scaled to stockinette width stitches. If you’re working with a stitch that is tighter or looser than a standard stockinette you can find yourself with tight or ruffled edges in an otherwise beautiful piece of knitting. The back stitch cast off method I’m showing here helps to accommodate different stitch widths. In this example my linen stitch is tighter than my stockinette, so when I cast off other ways I have a weird, floppy looking edge.
When you work to the end of your piece cut a length of yarn at least 3.5 times the length of the cast off edge and thread a tapestry needle onto it.
Slide the needle through the last two stitches as shown. It doesn’t matter if your yarn is attached to the end stitch as it normally would be, or the second from the end in this linen stitch sample.
Pull the yarn up to a snug point, but don’t over tighten. You don’t need to get your tension perfect right now, you can adjust it later.
Now loop through the three stitches on the end.
Agan, pull the yarn up.
This time, skip the first stitch and loop through the next three stitches.
Now skip the two stitches on the end and loop through the next three. Continue with this pattern to the end of the stitches.
When you get to the end, loop through the last two stitches (like at the start of the row.) You can see in this picture that my yarn barely made it (I only used 3x the length.)
Slide all of the stitches off the needle. If your cast off is too tight work some extra yarn from the tail into the rest of the top edge by adjusting the cast-off with your tapestry needle. If the cast-off is too loose, tighten up the stitches you made in the cast off. When all of your stitches are adjusted the way you’d like tie off and work in the tail of the yarn. (I was able to pull a bit of yarn out of my cast off edge to be able to tie my tail down securely.)
As you can see, the edge looks just about like most cast-off edges. It is a bit stretchier than the average basic cast off.
To achieve the same look on the cast-on edge I use a provisional cast on and then cast if off this way when I’m done with the piece I’m knitting.