Tuesday Tip: Bind Off in Cable Pattern

Tuesday Tip copyCables are gorgeous and add such a “wow” factor to any project. When binding off there are a few things we need to keep in mind to make a really professional finish.

Bind Off in Cable Pattern

When cables travel up the front and the back of a sweater, and are seamed at the shoulder, you want the cables to meet at a perfect spot. When working a sweater with no shoulder shaping, this is a bit easier. Ideally you’d like to end the cable at the 1/2 point on each side. For instance, if you cross the cable every 6 rows, try to BO the front and back of the sweater 3 rows after the cable cross.

However, there are several bind off situations when you might not be able to control the exact point of the bind off. Perhaps you need to work to a certain sweater length and you just can’t make it work to bind off between the cable crosses, or you are working shaped shoulders, or you are working the bind off at the center of the neck.

Here we have a cable that is crossed every 8 rows, but I had to bind off 6 rows after the cable cross.


Since the cable cross pulls the fabric in, but I had to bind off two rows BEFORE the cross, the edge flares. Here you can see it’s 1 1/2″ wide.

So how did I get the perfect width (3/4″ at the top of the cable)  in the picture below?


By putting in some decreases as I bound off, I was able to pull the fabric in without the bulk of a cable cross.

Since this was a 3 over 3 cross I decreased three stitches to get the perfect width

  1. Bind off as usual, by knitting two stitches, and passing the first worked stitch over the second, until you have worked to the cable
  2. k2tog (stitch 1 & 2 of cable), pass the last stitch worked before the cable, over the k2tog
  3. k2tog (stitch 3 & 4 of cable), pass stitch over
  4. k2tog (stitch 5 & 6 of cable), pass stitch over

And the result . . . perfect!

Edited Cable

For more tricks to make your cables perfect, check out my DVD class “EXPLORATIONS IN CABLES“.

Explorations in cables copy


To learn how to fix those cables, check out my Interweave class “ADVANCED KNITTING FIXES“.

Fixing Your Knitting

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  • Peta December 16, 2015   Reply →

    This may sound a little extreme. I think I’m in love with you. Searched everywhere for the answer to this problem. Subscribing to your site instantly. Thanks for all the great information and I will add How to Count Cable Rows.

  • JUDY BUCK October 19, 2020   Reply →

    I am 65 and have been knitting since I was 7, but it is the first time I have knitted “top down” and as a result had to deal with a bottom and cuff border of cables (the sweater is the Harley pullover on Ravelry and has oodles and oodles of cables) This sweater prompted me to seek a better solution to my wavey bottom from casting off. THANKS. I took pictures of before and after, so easy and so fabulous looking!! THANKS!! P.S. you can teach an old dog new tricks 😀

  • Andrea Miller November 26, 2022   Reply →

    Stunning result, have never found this treatment elsewhere and I had to approximate how to realize this outcome on a cabled baby sweater I knit before I came upon this genius technique. I am smarter already just from having read this and am keenly interested to learn more!

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