Techniques in Depth: Bind Off Loosely

July 22, 2019

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  • Thank you. Very clear and great to have a roundup of binding off options. I hesitate to ask given knitters’ strong opinions on the subject… but anyone out there like me who finds it worth doing a kitchener-style seen bindoff on the top edge of a toe up sock? It takes some extra time and Cate but I really love both the look of the edge and the perfect amount of stretch on the top of ribbing.

    • Sewn not seen…

      • A sewn bind off is very good, too! I didn’t include it here for a couple of reasons: I wanted to focus on methods that produce similar-looking edges. And I do find the “cut the yarn leaving enough tail” can be a source of some stress…

    • I will do almost anything to avoid Kitchener stitch. I am left handed and the whole enterprise seems backwards and non-intuitive. I make toe-up socks to avoid KS!

  • Perfect timing! I am within a few rows of finishing a shawl and wondering what the best bind off would be. Thank you!

  • So helpful! I hit save after the first sentence of the third paragraph.

  • Very helpful. I agree about Jenny’s stretchy bind off being too stretchy for sox. A pattern recommended it and after a regular bind off was too tight, I did Jenny’s and now the sox just slip of my feet.

  • This article was very informative and useful. I had just encountered a bind-off dilemma of the hem of a sweater and had pondered this exact issue.

  • Thank you for this in-depth look at binding off. The pictures really helped. I immediately saved the article for future reference.

  • First time for me to read an article with so many new and wonderful bind off methods. Thank you!

  • Thank you Kate! I can finally finish the neckline of a sweater that is languishing in a project bag (for an embarrassingly long time). You have given me answers as to why the two bind offs I tried failed and now I have a good options to get it to fit properly – finally!

  • Thanks for your info!! Yes, loosely….. I made two one-piece log cabin knit projects, one lap size and the other full size (by PU at the ends)…..where there were a kabillion BO/s and PU/s to do…….I BO using a size larger needle… great… making a third full size log cabin (blanket) as we speak…..good project to while away the evenings…..easy enough to forget to grab the BO needle; pay attention.

  • Is the Kitchener-style sewn bind off mentioned in the Comments, the same as Elizabeth Zimmerman’s sewn bindoff? I’m getting a little confused. Otherwise as usual, Kate, your explanations are crystal-clear. Thank you so much.

    • The Kitchener-style bind off mentioned in the comments is the Tubular bind off. Although it’s got a few commonalities with the sewn bind off, they are different.

  • Anothe excellent article! The lifeline is a great idea. I always though I would have to have the lifeline a few rows down and not the last row. This would have been helpful this past weekend when I had to take out a cuff and redo the BO because it was too tight.

  • Thanks Kate! I used a “stretchy” bind off for a top down toque which caused to bottom to flare out. My toque looks like a beĺl. I’m going to redo it using the Russian lace bind off.

  • I just found this info & it’s going to make my knitting so much better. THANK YOU!

  • How would you incorporate the Russian Lace bind off on a k1p1 rib? Do you just knit it as above rather than binding off in pattern? I am struggling with the bo on my first-ever sock. The first time was too tight, the second time I used a bigger needle and it looked sloppy. There may have bern a third time…

    • Hello! You can just work it as all knits, no adjustment needed for (k1, p1). Working that type of bind off purlwise is looser, and so combining knits and purls in the same edge risks making it a little inconsistent. I hope that helps!

      • Thank you!

  • So helpful. My bind off is too tight. Now I have options. I especially like the lifeline suggestion…brilliant!

  • My local yarn store (Yarn Social KC: ) is running a “yarn bingo” and one of the squares I have yet to daub is “try a new-to-you bind off” so I was just thinking about binding off! Thanks as ever Kate!

  • Thank you so much this article was very helpful

  • For some reason, pictures are missing in some of the examples. I restarted my computer and it did not change. Something on your end?

  • Does she have a book?

  • There are lots of variables: sometimes you want super-stretchy; sometimes just a bit extra, and every knitter’s tension will be different. So I can only speak for myself. I’ve been knitting a rather floaty cardigan, finishing with a few rows of seed stitch just to give it a nice border. I need a bit of stretch but I don’t want the band to pull in at all. I have found that if I just do the yarn over every second stitch (on the knit stitch is easier) this gives me just the amount of stretchiness or ‘give’ that I want. My advice is: experiment.