tappet tool cast off
basic techniques,  machine knitting

Casting Off: Using a Tappet Tool

You can use a tappet tool to give a nice chained edge to your knitting. The tappet tool should come with your knitting machine or you can purchase one online. They come in different sizes matching the gauge of your knitting machine.

You can only do this method if you can increase your stitch dial 2 or 3 numbers higher. You also need to be careful not to drop a stitch or your knitting may unravel. It takes a bit of practice but then you can set up a nice rhythm.

I use this method when I need to cast off all the stitches and I am knitting at tension 7 or below.

  • Pro: This gives a nice chain effect edge that is sturdy and not stretchy.
  • Con: You need to increase the stitch size 2, ideally 3 numbers higher. It is not good if you are casting off just a few stitches. May unravel if you drop a stitch, don’t go too fast. It is not good if you need a stretchy edge.

Instructions

You can chain from the left or from the right but you need to chain from the opposite end from your knitting carriage.

Setting up Machine
carriage on left
carriage on left

I am right-handed and find it easier to chain from left to right. Therefore I will knit until the next to last row when the carriage is on the left side of my machine.

If you prefer to chain from right to left then finish your knitting with carriage on the right.

If you are knitting in a tuck stitch or slip stitch pattern you will should now change the carriage settings to stocking stitch (switch off patterning). You can keep fairisle pattern, although it might be easier switching to stocking stitch with just your main yarn. If you are using a ribber then you should transfer knitting to main bed and use main yarn.

Increase your stitch dial. At least 2 numbers and 1 dot (2*). I try to 2** or 3 if possible.

I practice by making a couple of swatches to find out which setting gives the best. You do not want it too tight. My Knitmaster stitch goes to about 10* so I can just about use this method if I am knitting 4 ply fairisle at tension 8.

carriage setting ten
carriage setting higher

Knit 1 row at the higher tension. This makes the stitches big enough to chain. (My carriage is now on the right).

I leave the edge weights on the knitting but not too far up and remove them as I cast off. The weights help to keep the loops large enough to chain. I also like to move the needles forward about 1 cm as this gives me room to get my tool in and out of the stitches.

Casting off
take off first stitch
take off first stitch

Insert the tappet tool into the first stitch (furthest from carriage) and transfer to your tool to start.

I like to set up a 1, 2, 3, 4, …1, 2, 3, 4 etc rhythm. Yes I am actually saying the numbers in my head.

insert into next stitch
insert into next stitch

Step 1: Insert the tappet tool into the next stitch (now the first one on the left). As you do so, make sure that the first loop is now below the latch.

pull new stitch through
pull new stitch through

Step 2: Pull this new stitch loop through the one already on the tappet tool.

put needle in hold
put needle in hold

Step 3: With your left hand, pull the needle to holding position

hold stitch on tool
hold stitch on tool

Step 4: Push the needle back all the way to non-working position. You should now just one stitch (the second) on your tool. You may need to turn and hold the stitch to the left a bit to keep the loop on your tool

Now you repeat for the next stitch and so on. Take off the weights as necessary and have no weights for last stitch.

fasten off last stitch
fasten off last stitch

When the last stitch is on the tool, turn the tool to grab the yarn and pull through. Then fasten the yarn on the mast and cut to release your knitting.

It takes a while to get the rhythm so practice until you get it just right.

tappet tool cast off
tappet tool cast off

It does make a nice cast off edge which will match the tappet tool cast on.

Happy Knitting!

Carol

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