Bind Off Kitchener Stitch: Best Invisible BO for 2×2 Ribbing

Do you knit beautiful sweaters, but your finishing techniques fall flat? Do you need just one small trick to take your knitting from “pretty good” to “Seriously!?! You made that?!?” Then let me introduce you to the best rib bind off: Kitchener stitch.

You may know about it for your socks, but you should also know that, hands down, it’s the most gorgeous, professional-looking invisible rib bind off I have ever used. This step-by-step photo guide to the Kitchener stitch bind off will have you stitching like a pro in no time! 

(A quick note to clarify the terminology: This style bind off may also be known as (or can be worked in place of) an invisible bind off, a tubular bind off, or an Italian BO.) 

Where to use the Kitchener Stitch Bind Off? 

The #1 place where I will ALWAYS use the Kitchener stitch bind off for 2×2 ribbing is on the collar. That ribbing is right up next to your face and will be seen all the time. 

I usually also take the time to work an invisible rib bind off on the sleeve. They’re a fairly small set of stitches to work and you’ll see them all day long while typing, driving, or just staring at your phone. 

Another place you can use a tubular bind off for 2×2 ribbing is on the hem. Now I’ll admit, I don’t always take the time to work it here. It’s a lot of stitches and can take a bit more time. But I never regret it when I take the time. Here’s why: 

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Why Bother with a Bind Off Kitchener Stitch?

If you take a little extra time now, you’ll get to enjoy the gorgeous professional look of an invisible rib bind off for years to come.

But you’ve knit the dang thing and now you just want to be done. You can whip out a bind off in pattern in 10 minutes and be done with it. I get it! But here’s the thing. In most cases it will take you an hour or less to use this work a rib bind off in Kitchener stitch. 

One hour to enjoy a gorgeous finish for the rest of the sweater’s life. That’s a good trade off in my books. 

Still not sure? Check the picture below to see the difference that taking the time can make! (Top: Traditional Bind Off; Bottom: Bind Off in Kitchener Stitch) 

Regular bind off on top, invisible rib bind off on the bottom

I’m So Confused! Which Stitches are Worked When? 

I’m so glad you asked! The confusion is totally normal. Here’s why:

Every stitch is worked twice when working any kind of Kitchener stitch bind off. And when working a rib bind off, you always work knits together with knits and purls together with purls.

Where this gets confusing is when you’re working a 2×2 ribbing… because sometimes the next knit is the next stitch and some times its not.

So here is the order that you’ll be working the stitches (hint: Each stitch matches the number in the steps below).

Where to Work Steps 1-4:

Know which stitches you're working when in a bind off kitchener stitch for 2x2 ribbing.

For Steps 1 & 2, you’ll be working the 2 knit stitches that are next to each other. For Steps 2 & 3, you’ll be working the 2 purl stitches that are next to each other.

Where to Work Steps 5-8:

Know which stitches you're working when in a bind off kitchener stitch for 2x2 ribbing.

For Steps 5 & 6, you’ll work the 2 knit stitches on either side of the purl set. For Steps 7 & 8, you’ll work the 2 purl stitches on either side of the knit set.

This will complete the bind off for all 4 stitches in the first picture.

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Kitchener Stitch Bind Off in the Round vs Flat

Steps 1-8 of the repeat are worked exactly the same whether you’re binding off in the round or binding off flat. But binding off flat requires a 2-stitch set up and a different wrap up. They’re marked clearly below!

If you’re working this rib bind off in the round, you basically don’t have to set up! This is because you will work the first and third stitches a second time during the wrap up section.

Just follow the instructions for your invisible rib bind off and you’ll be golden!

Pre-Rib Bind Off Prep

  1. Work ribbing until the next two stitches are a pair of knit stitches.
  2. Cut your yarn, leaving a long yarn tail, at least three times the width of your knitting, plus an additional 6 inches for weaving.
  3. Thread the yarn onto a tapestry needle.
Sewn Bind Off - Easy Invisible BO photo tutorial

A few notes before you begin:

  • Make sure you work knit stitches together and purls stitches together
  • During this technique always check the tension to make sure it is equal and not too tight. 
  • If possible, don’t put your needles down when you are in the middle of the Kitchener stitch as it can be difficult to remember where you left off. If you absolutely need to, then make sure you’ve worked a full repeat so that the next two stitches are knit stitches.

This technique takes some concentration when you first learn how to do the Kitchener stitch. But before long you’ll be sewing away and actually enjoying it!

Set Up for Rib Bind Off In The Round

  1. Lock a stitch marker around the back leg of the first and third stitches.

Set Up for A Flat Rib Bind Off

  1. Insert your tapestry needle purlwise into the first stitch, leaving it on the needle.
  2. Insert your tapestry needle knitwise into the third stitch (the first purl stitch). Pull the yarn through both stitches.
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Bind Off Kitchener Stitch Repeat

First, insert your tapestry needle knitwise into the first knit stitch and slide the stitch off your knitting needle onto your tapestry needle.
Step 1

1. First, insert your tapestry needle knitwise into the first knit stitch and slide the stitch off your knitting needle onto your tapestry needle.

Insert your tapestry needle into the next knit stitch purlwise and leave it on your knitting needle. Pull your yarn all the way through, ensuring the yarn is behind your needles.
Step 2

2. Insert your tapestry needle into the next knit stitch purlwise and leave it on your knitting needle. Pull your yarn all the way through, ensuring the yarn is behind your needles.

Skipping the knit stitch on your knitting needle, go behind your work, and insert your tapestry needle into the first purl stitch purlwise from the back of the work to the front.
Step 3

3. Skipping the knit stitch on your knitting needle, go behind your work, and insert your tapestry needle into the first purl stitch purlwise from the back of the work to the front.

Insert your tapestry needle into the second purl stitch knitwise. Pull your yarn through, keeping your yarn behind your needles.
Step 4

4. Insert your tapestry needle into the second purl stitch knitwise. Pull your yarn through, keeping your yarn behind your needles.

Insert your tapestry needle knitwise into the first knit stitch on your knitting needles. Slide the first knit stitch and the first purl stitch off your knitting needle.
Step 5

5. Insert your tapestry needle knitwise into the first knit stitch on your knitting needles. Slide the first knit stitch and the first purl stitch off your knitting needle.

Keep the tapestry needle in front of your work, insert the tapestry needle purlwise into the next knit stitch. Pull your yarn through, keeping it in front of your work.
Step 6

6. Keep the tapestry needle in front of your work, insert the tapestry needle purlwise into the next knit stitch. Pull your yarn through, keeping it in front of your work.

Insert your tapestry needle purlwise the first purl stitch on your knitting needle.
Step 7

7. Insert your tapestry needle purlwise the first purl stitch on your knitting needle.

Place your tapestry needle behind the next 2 knit stitches and then insert your needle knitwise into the next purl stitch. Pull your yarn through, keeping it behind your work.
Step 8

8. Place your tapestry needle behind the next 2 knit stitches and then insert your needle knitwise into the next purl stitch. Pull your yarn through, keeping it behind your work.

Repeat the 8 steps above until you have 4 stitches left, beginning with a pair of knit stitches. Then work Steps 1-4 one additional time. You will now have 3 sts–1 knit followed by 2 purls–on your needles.

Finishing the Kitchener Stitch Bind Off In the Round

Slide all three stitches onto your tapestry needle purlwise–DO NOT slide off the needle and onto the yarn. Open the interlocking stitch marker and place the purl and knit stitch on your stitch marker back on your knitting needle. Transfer all 3 stitches on the tapestry needle back to the knitting needle.

Work Steps 4-8 of the Bind Off Kitchener Stitch Repeat.

Congratulations! You have finished your invisible bind off for 2×2 rib in the round! Weave in your ends, block that sucker, and enjoy the beautiful finish all life long!

Easy Kitchener Stitch Bind Off

Finishing the Kitchener Stitch Bind Off Flat

1. With the yarn behind your work, insert your tapestry needle knitwise into the knit stitch and slide off.

2. Slip the first purl stitch off your knitting needle.

3. Insert your tapestry needle into the last purl stitch knitwise and pull your yarn through.

Congratulations! You have finished your invisible bind off for 2×2 rib in the round! Weave in your ends, block that sucker, and enjoy the beautiful finish all life long!

Want to See This Invisible Rib Bind Off In Action?

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Thanks for joining me for another awesome tutorial! I’ll see you Thursday for a gorgeous new shawl release!

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Bind Off Kitchener Stitch: Best Invisible BO for 2x2 RibbingBind Off Kitchener Stitch: Best Invisible BO for 2x2 RibbingBind Off Kitchener Stitch: Best Invisible BO for 2x2 RibbingBind Off Kitchener Stitch: Best Invisible BO for 2x2 Ribbing
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