A Step-by-Step Guide to Knit-on Borders

{this post contains affiliate links, if you purchase I’ll earn a commission}

Close up of green shawl with bright pink cabled border

A knit-on border is a border that is knit perpendicular to the item and attached to the live stitches one row at at time. You can work a knit-on border with the working yarn from your project, or you can switch yarns for a border of a different color.

Knit-on borders are common in lace work, but lace isn’t really my style. I use knit-on borders in garter stitch to add textural interest to simple shawls. Another reason to use a knit-on border is to achieve interesting-shaped borders. One example is my Love Frenzy shawl, which features a border of triangles in different sizes. (pictured below. Ravelry, Love Crafts)

One of my favorite things about knit-on borders is not binding off hundreds of stitches. Even though I’m doing the same amount of knitting, not having the long bind-off at the end makes it feel easier. Years ago, I knit a shawl with a knit-on cable border. I just loved the look of that cable framing my shawl (pictured above). Unfortunately, that was during a lull where I wasn’t publishing many patterns. I never did go back and write up the pattern. Maybe I’ll design something newer with a cable border one of these days. I’ll let you know if I do!

Love Frenzy shawl close up

Knit-on Border Tutorial

Knit-on Border Tutorial

Here are step-by-step instructions for how to add a knit-on border to your project. This is the method used to add a knit-on border to your shawl or other knitting project. The pattern you are using will give you specific instructions for number of stitches to cast on, stitch patterns to use, etc.


  • Your knitting project that needs a border, still on the needles, or a knit practice swatch still on the needles.


  • The needles for your project.


  1. Using either your working yarn or a new color of yarn, cast on the border stitches next to the body stitches of your piece. pink knit swatch with yellow stitches cast on to the same needle
  2. Knit to the last border stitch. Knit the last border stitch together with the next body stitch, through the back loops. Turn work. knit the last border stitch together with the next body stitch, through the back loops.
  3. Slip one stitch purlwise with yarn in front. Knit to end. Turn work. Slip one stitch from left needle to rught needle.
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 until all body stitches have been worked. A knit swatch with a knit-on border still on the knitting needle.
  5. Bind off the border stitches. Knit-on borders being bound off.
  6. The right side of the border has a column of knit stitches where the border meets the body.


You can add a knit-on border to shawls, sweaters, blankets, basically any project where you want a little extra detail at the edge.

Author: Kelly

I create disaster-movie-worthy knitting patterns.

2 thoughts on “A Step-by-Step Guide to Knit-on Borders

Leave a Reply

Skip to Instructions
%d bloggers like this: