two transfer cast-offs
basic techniques,  machine knitting

Casting off: Using a Transfer Tool (before/behind sinker posts)

There are two methods for casting off using a transfer tool.

The first method is the usual way for decreasing stitches and is carried out in front of the sinker posts (also known as gate pegs). You many find this being described in your operation manual. It is a quick and easy method of casting off, but can be difficult to make even.

The second method is a bit more difficult as it occurs behind the sinker posts but it gives an even finish. It took me a long time to get the hang of the second method but once I had got the knack of using the tool and how much slack I needed. Now I love this method, although I can only do it properly when going from right to left. It is only good for times when you can easily remove the cast-off from the posts, so not good for partial knitting.

See which method you like best.

Method 1: In front of Sinker Posts (gate pegs)

This is an easy way to decrease one of more stitches and also for partial or full cast offs.

  • Pro: This method is quick and easy and good for small decreases e.g. armholes on body and sleeve. Also good for partial cast-off in middle of knitting where it is difficult to do method 2 e.g. centre neckline and buttonholes. You will need a spare bit of yarn to to do this.
  • Con: Difficult to get even edge, often too tight. can easily drop stitches.

Instructions

You usually do this starting on the carriage side, i.e. the side with the yarn. If you do it elsewhere, then you will need cut off some spare yarn. If you want to cast-off both sides, then you cast-off one side and then knit to the other side and then cast-off on that side.

brush back latches
brush back latches

If you are casting off a large number of needles e.g for swatch, you might like to bring the needles forward a little so that you can open all the latches with your cleaning brush. This saves time. You may also find it easier to cast off a swatch by removing yarn from carriage and pulling out about 60 cm of yarn to use, catching the other end on the mast to stop any tension.

If you are just decreasing or casting off a few stitches, then you do not need to bring the needles forward, and you can open the latches with the transfer tool. It is best to use a claw weight at the edge of your knitting as you cast off, to make sure that your cast-off edge is not too tight.

remove stitch
remove stitch

First take off the first stitch using the transfer tool. (Put tool on hook and then use tool to move needle forwards and backwards). Push the empty needle back into non-working position using fingers on the needle butt.

behind latch
behind latch

Holding yarn in left hand and tool in right, put the stitch onto the next needle and use the tool to pull needle forwards so that the two stitches fall behind the latch. Take off the transfer tool

yarn around needle
yarn around needle

Wrap yarn around this needle and then with right hand push the needle butt back to knit these stitches. You now have one stitch on the needle and have decreased or cast off one stitch.

Repeat the instructions for as many stitches as you want to cast off.

use two claw weights
use two claw weights

If, like me, you tend to cast off too tightly, then you can add an extra claw weight to pull down on the stitches as you make them, thus making them bigger.

quick cast off
quick cast off

This cast off is quick and easy but might not always look the best.

Method 2: Behind Sinker Posts (gate pegs)

This is an easy way to decrease one of more stitches and also for partial or full cast offs.

  • Pro: This method produces a nice even edge and it is more difficult to drop stitches. Good for casting off tops of sleeves and shoulders.
  • Con: Can be very difficult to learn and not very quick. Need to be able to remove from sinker posts, so not good for partial cast-off in middle of knitting e.g. centre neck and buttonholes.

Instructions

You can do this on the same tension as your knitting and start on same side as knitting carriage. You do not need any extra weights on your knitting.

It is easier and quicker to do the cast off if you open all the needle latches before you start.

Remove first stitch onto transfer tool (as for method 1) and push empty needle back into non-working position.

move behind post
move behind post

Whilst keeping the stitch on the tool (make the stitch bigger if you can by pulling the yarn a bit), move the tool with stitch behind the sinker post to the hook on the next needle.

tool on hook
tool on hook

Yes it is difficult to do and can take a lot of practice.

pull needle forward
pull needle forward

Now use the tool to pull the needle forwards so that both loops are behind the latch. Push the needle back a bit if necessary to get it into position. Remove tool from needle (keep in the hand ready for next one).

yarn around needle
yarn around needle

Wrap the yarn around the needle with your left hand and with right hand push needle backwards with the butt to knit the two stitches together. This is the same as for method 1.

You have now cast off your first stitch.

remove your cast-off
remove your cast-off

Repeat for rest of the stitches that you want to cast off. Your knitting will be held by the sinker posts. You need to lift it up to remove it.

I have done this for armholes. You need to be careful to remove just the cast-off from the sinker posts without disturbing the rest of your knitting.

nice cast-off edge
nice cast-off edge

You have now made a nice cast-off edge to your knitting.

You might also wish to view this video to see someone doing this type of casting off.

Happy Knitting!

Carol

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