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Lately my inbox seems to be filled with emails that I would put in the category of (as my 20-year-old niece would say) “things that bug.” None of these things are the end of the world, but they are annoying.

I had not one, but two emails about the weird loop that appears at the end of a bind-off.

Can This Bind-Off Be Saved?

Dear Patty,

I’ve tried everything. No matter what I do, when I bind off, I’m left with a giant loop at the end. I pull my tail through that last stitch and pull it as tight as I can, but the giant loop is located below the bind off. I hope that makes sense.

 Save my sanity,


Dear Katie,

First of all, it’s not you, it’s the stitches. It’s their fault. I don’t know why, but that always makes me feel better.

Why Does This Happen?

I know you didn’t ask what causes this giant loop, but I can’t help myself: I need to start with the why.

All stitches are made neat and lovely by the next stitch worked. A freshly made stitch might be a little large, but that excess yarn is used up when you work the next stitch. However, for the final stitch of the row, the next stitch is not next to it, but above it. That’s why when you have a loose edge and you knit your first stitch and then tug on your yarn, it helps nothing. It’s not the first stitch of the row that’s loose, it’s the last stitch of the row below. I have a trick for that, but that’s a subject for another day.

When you bind off, that last stitch is it—The End. No stitch next to it, no stitch above it—it is what it is: a big, loose, sloppy ol’ mess. To fix it, you have to do something with the excess yarn.

First, An Ounce of Prevention

Before we fix Mr. Sloppy, I want to voice my personal preference for not pulling the tail through the last stitch left on the needle.

When you do that, it creates an extra stitch and makes the problem that much worse.

 I prefer to simply cut the tail and then lift my needle, pulling that tail out of the final bound off stitch. But even doing that doesn’t get rid of what I call “the tumor.”

It’s better.  still there, but better.


Fixing That Icky Last Stitch

Here are five ways you can fix that icky stitch. Two involve prepping the row before, and the last three you do on the bind-off itself.

Method 1: Prep with Lazy Purl

One way to get rid of the excess yarn is to have less of it to begin with.

On the last WS row before you bind off, use the eastern purl on the first two stitches. This means wrapping the yarn under the needle rather than over it.

On the next row, when you are binding off, you will need to work those last two stitches through the back loop to untwist them, but you will have used less yarn.

Knitting those two stitches through the back loop on the bind-off row.

 Notice that there is not a long running thread between those last two stitches:

Much better! It still lifts up a bit, as we didn’t fully solve the issue of the larger stitch, but we’ve reduced the amount of yarn between the last two stitches.

This is a fine solution in a lot of cases.

Method 2: Prep with Slipped Stitch

But what if you already eastern purl?

You can also reduce the excess yarn a bit by slipping the first stitch of your last WS row.


This eliminates the big long running thread, but you do have a slightly elongated last (slipped) stitch.

Very similar in appearance to the eastern purl method.


Method 3: Work Together with Running Thread

 Here you see that extra yarn in the running thread between the last two stitches when we don’t prep the row before.

You can insert the tip of your left hand needle front to back, and pick up that running thread.

 Then knit the last stitch together with the running thread, and pass the last stitch over to bind off the final stitch.

This method is really easy to do—you don’t have to remember to prep in the row below—and gives you a much nicer look.


Here I’m using a chunky, fuzzy wool, and it looks pretty good. I don’t always love the way it looks in a smoother yarn.

 Method 4: Work Together with Head of Stitch of the Row Below

In this method we are going to deal directly with the row below.

Knit to the last stitch and insert the tip of your right hand needle into the head of the stitch of the row below and lift it up onto the left hand needle without twisting it.

This will put the real stitch to the outside and the stitch from the row below to the inside.

Now knit them together and pass the last stitch over.

 This one looks pretty slick:


 Method 5: Work Together with Head of Stitch of the Row Below (Futzy Version)

The last one might be the futziest, but despite that—or maybe because of it!— it’s my favorite.

Bind off until you have one stitch left on each needle. Pass the last un-worked stitch from left needle to right needle.

With tip of left needle, pick up the left loop of the row below the un-worked stitch by inserting the needle back to front.

Move the un-worked stitch back to the left needle. Notice how that puts the real stitch to the inside and the stitch from the row below to the outside. Now knit them together and pass the last stitch over.


Ta-da! No extra lump, no giant stitch. My favorite!

 If I could only solve other big, loose, sloppy ol’ messes in my life as easily!

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Let’s All Scream: It’s Not Knitting, It’s Crochet


Dear Patty,

 I am a crocheter. I knit sometimes, but mostly crochet. Can you explain why every news article ever written about crochet calls it knitting? It doesn’t matter if it’s a story about charity hats or fiber art. It doesn’t matter if it shows a picture of the finished objects or a picture of a person holding an actual, gosh darn crochet hook, the photo caption will still say “knitter or knitting.” It makes me so mad! The only thing that is stopping me from poking the writer in the eye with a crochet hook is knowing the photo caption would read “Angry knitter goes on rampage.” 


Angry Crocheter (Laura)

Dear Angry Crocheter,

Like the letter from “Drowning in Emails,” this one also required me to put my head between my knees, curl up in a tiny ball, and gently rock back and forth quietly chanting “knitting is not the new yoga, knitting is not the new yoga, knitting is not the new yoga,” until I felt calm enough to respond.

One is a hook, one is two needles, what can be so hard, you ask. Why can’t they get this right, you ask—WHY? I can only answer as my mother did every time she had no good answer. “Why does anyone do anything.”

I know, not very satisfying.

I literally have no idea why yarncraft seems to bring out the laziest reporters on the planet. With the care they give to most stories, I can only imagine they consider covering the lowly fiber arts as punishment. I visualize a drawer filled with tiny scraps of paper with things like “not your grandmother’s knitting” and “knitting is good for your health” and “knitting is not just for ladies anymore” and “yarn bombing, not as scary as it sounds.” I see them reaching in the drawer and pulling a bunch of random quotes, shaking them up in a jar like they were playing Boggle, and writing their stupid, stupid stories.

When you think of the level of thought that goes into these “news” articles, to expect them to recognize that a woman holding a crochet hook is not actually knitting seems like a big ask.

My advice: look away, put your head between your knees and quietly chant “smart people know it’s crochet, smart people know it’s crochet” until the urge to kill passes.



Patty in your Pocket

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About The Author

Patty Lyons is a nationally recognized knitting teacher and technique expert. In her pursuit of training the mindful knitter, Patty is known for teaching the “why” in addition to the “how.” She specializes in sweater design and sharing her love of the much-maligned subjects of gauge and blocking.

You can find Patty at her website and on Ravelry.

Do you have a problem you’d like Patty to tackle? Write to her at



  • I’ve been knitting over 50 years, and I am still trying to figure out your comment “eastern purl”!!

    • There are only two places you can put your yarn around your working needle, under or over. A western purl wraps the yarn over the needle, Eastern (as pictured) the yarn wraps under.

  • I’ve been using method #3 for a long time, but I’m going to try some of the other methods too.
    Thanks Patty!

  • The big loose icky thing has been bothering me forever. Thank you!
    I have modified a few patterns to incorporate both knitting and crocheting (I wish more patterns did this as crocheted edgings on knitted items can often give you the best of both worlds). If you tell someone who does not knit or crochet that your piece is not one or the other but actually has both, their heads explode!

    • I love making knitted garments with crochet edges – even knowing how to do it, I still think it is magic!

  • As a knitter, I always notice the opposite – how often people refer to Knitting as Crocheting. Grr. I am learning to let it go. Re bind-offs – why is it that the best method of anything often involves the most steps?? I got lost after Step One but will save to follow when I actually come to it. It looks great!

    • I guess crochet is not so familiar to non-crafters and the word crocheting is more tricky to say as people are not sure whether to pronounce the “t”. (It doesn’t actually matter. )
      But if you compare it with the frustration musicians feel when violas – or worse still cellos – are called violins or oboes are called flutes or you see someone playing an instrument in a movie that they obviously can’t play or the music heard is obviously not the music being played or on the wrong instrument you will appreciate that knitters and crocheters are not the only ones with this problem.
      The best thing to do is to contact the writer and politely put them right and hope you have enlightened them. At least you have given some vent to your frustration and hope that it pays off!

  • Does anyone remember that animated “quilted brand” toilet paper commercial years ago where the chatting ladies were sitting around a quilt frame quilting the toilet paper WITH KNITTING NEEDLES!!! ?

    • YES!! My dear Mother at the age of 89 actually that company on the phone to correct them – she was dumbfounded and bothered that “intelligent” advertising folks didn’t know the difference!

    • Ooh that commercial annoyed me so much! And why are knitters always portrayed with needle tips pointed down?

      • Or a lot of time it looks like they have one or two stitches on their needles and are just kind of rotating them near each other haha.
        There was an episode of Crazy Ex Girlfriend where she was crocheting, someone complimented her knitting and her friend corrected them “actually it’s crochet.” I was so happy.

    • YES!!! It drove me nuts every time I saw it.

    • I DO remember that! I also do embroidery and people tend to call that knitting, too. Or else they call it sewing. You just can’t win with some people.

  • I have just been living with that awkward large stitch for as long as I’ve been knitting, but these methods are absolutely genius. I can’t wait to try them out on some of the projects i have going. Thanks for sharing!

  • Thanks for the helpful ideas. Do the same tricks work when the bind off is in the round?

    • I don’t generally bother because I use the tail to close the gap. I covered that in one of my earlier columns about working in the round.

  • Thank you for the options to fix the loose stitch at the end of the BO. Your last fix will become my go to. Oh so tidy.

  • Genius tips.

    This is like when people who don’t wear skirts or dresses can’t tell the difference, right? Someone (my son!) says “why don’t you wear that dress”, and you’re like, you can’t tell that’s a skirt? What’s wrong with you!

  • The sloppy reporting of crocheting/knitting reminds me of the old quilted bathroom tissue comercial showing a group of women wielding knitting needles to ‘quilt’ the tissue.

  • Oh Patty you are so funny. And very helpful. #5 – finally an excellent explanation with visual aids of what others have meant by picking up the stitch from the previous row and knitting it together with the last stitch, then pass the 2nd to last stitch over it. THANK YOU

  • I love this article! Thank you so much!

  • My husband’s aunt, 99 years old when she died and a Sister of Mercy for 80 years, was a prodigious seamstress. At her memorial service, we all heard how she sewed leisure suits for my husband’s older brothers and cousins in the 70’s, First Communion dresses for girls whose families couldn’t afford something fancy, and her own blue habits (navy for cold months, sky blue and short-sleeved for summer). Her entire extended family swapped stories about the quilted table runners, toilet tank covers, and plastic bag sacks we received every Christmas (the cow-printed pot holders are my most cherished gift–really.). But at her funeral, I was taken aback to hear the officiant mention her knitting. “I didn’t know Sr. Lenore knit,” I thought, as he went on about how she “knit and knit…clothes, curtains, gifts for her family…”. Ah, no. [shakes head]. The great holy mystery of the needles.

  • This is great! I have been knitting roughly 854 coasters (sets of 4), for my friends for Christmas (and, of course, post-Christmas), so — lotsa bindoffs! I have four left to make — these will have much nicer corners!

  • Oh I love this trick. I find all great knitters are like magicians. Great tricks in their bags. I love the yarn pick up thread and knit 2 tog method. I took photos of the shots, so I will remember with my next cast off!

  • Slightly off topic but the talk of the toilet paper advert reminded me of this one which will hopefully make some of you smile if you haven’t seen it before.

    • Oh! Loving this one that followed—

      • Ding dong! LOL!

      • These were both great!

    • Thank you for sharing this! I love it!

    • It’s so great but it also makes me hungry!

    • I LOVE this!!

  • Thank you for your options for fixing the sloppy stitch. And the chanting method will also come in handy and be the best remedy in situations when worrying and raging won’t help on …

  • Giant loop bug – comprehensively squished!

  • Thank you so much! This drives me crazy when I’m binding off. Do you have recommendations for binding off in the round?

  • Thank you for making this method EASY to understand. I’ve read about it on several sites, but your tutorial with the pictures is the first time that it’s clicked into my 76 year old brain. I’ve been knitting full garments for 65 years and this has always annoyed me. Thanks again.

  • I just used Method 5 to finish an afghan made with bulky yarn. It worked perfectly. Thank you very much for sharing all these wonderful skills.

  • Regarding knitting vs crochet, I have had a similar and equally frustrating experience with pottery. I start grinding my teeth when I hear glaze referred to as paint, the kiln called an oven, and the process called baking instead of firing. Quibbles, probably. And then there’s the whole knitting-crochet vs weaving thing…

    • It gets even more confusing: in Spanish, we use the same word for knitting, crocheting, and weaving: tejer. Knitting literally translates as weaving with two needles. Yikes!

  • Just used #5 to bind off some ribbing at the base of a zip front jacket, game changer! Perfect! Thank you Patty.

  • “Smart people know it’s crochet,” should be put on a mug or something.

  • Before binding off that last stitch, I use a small crochet hook to pick up the side loop of the previous row’s end stitch and knit it together with last unbound off stitch above. Then finish the bind off row.

  • You are hilarious Patty!!!!

  • I have enjoyed reading your options as to the final stitch. I may be back, I probably will need a refresher.

  • Patty, you are a kook. Can I be your friend?

  • THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! Managing that last BO stitch has been my biggest pet peeve for years. Each time I watched a video re: BO’s I was hoping to see a solution. However, the video never demonstrated that “darn” last stitch, no matter which expert I was watching.
    I am going to print this article and keep it in the back pocket of my knitting notebook!

  • I enjoyed reading the comments, and checking out those cool videos about the cereal (LOL).
    Re: the various misconceptions a person may have about any of the fiber arts or, as they were called when I was in HS, ‘home arts’, a good reporter should always do their homework on the subject they are reporting.
    That being said, I have learned to accept that unless a person actually creates within this realm they would not know the difference or terms of any particular craft. Keeps me from getting crazy over their ignorance, giving me the opportunity to educate them on the differences__even if they don’t remember for future reference.
    Much less stressful! 😉

  • Here’s my 2 cents on referring to knitting and crocheting as knitting. A few years ago I noticed that some languages don’t have different words for knit and crochet. It’s all called the same thing.

  • This problem has annoyed me for a very long time. I am going to try Method number five. It looks very neat and tidy. I do have one question. If your knitting is in garter stitch, rather than stockinette, will this still work? Thanks for your help.

  • I just used #5 to end my Arroway, not futzy at all. I’ll have to see what I think when it blocks out. I saw something like this on Malabrigod’s IG feed and was happy to find it so easily. Thank you!

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