A few weeks ago when I posted a tutorial for five stretchy bind-off methods used in knitting, it started a very lively discussion on Instagram. Everyone has their own favorite way of doing a stretchy bind-off, and I got so many great suggestions for new techniques to try. Here they are: five more stretchy bind-offs you can use for toe-up socks, hems, cuffs, or shawls.
#1. Simple Stretchy Bind-off
The Simple Stretchy Bind-off is a variation of the Elastic Bind-off, the very first one I introduced in the previous blog post on stretchy bind-offs. In this version you knit the knits and purl the purls, then either knit or purl two stitches together through the back loops — depending on what the previous stitch was. This method is well-suited for any rib pattern and the bound-off edge matches your ribbing perfectly.
This bind-off was recommended to me by many people on Instagram. @elwiewallin writes: "Very Pink has a simply awesome stretchy bind-off on her YouTube. I only use that one now." High praise!
#2. Lace Bind-off
If you do a search for "Russian Bind-off" on YouTube, you can find tutorials for several different techniques — including this one. I've learnt the Elastic Bind-off as Russian, and they are indeed quite similar... but not quite the same. Here's the difference.
Lace Bind-off: K2tog tbl, *place the stitch on the right-hand needle back to the left, K2tog tbl*, repeat.
Elastic Bind-off: K2, *place both stitches on the right-hand needle back to the left, K2tog tbl, K1*, repeat.
In the Lace Bind-off, each stitch is worked 1.5 times whereas in the Elastic Bind-off they're essentially worked twice. That's why the Lace Bind-off is slightly less stretchy than the Elastic one.
#3. Yarnover Bind-off
As the name suggests, in the Yarnover Bind-off you add an extra yarnover after each bound-off stitch, then pass the first stitch on the right over the yarnover. Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-off is essentially a variation of this method but with the yarnovers added before each stitch. Unlike in JSSBO, all yarnovers are done the regular way (that is, front to back) in the Yarnover Bind-off.
This method adds quite a bit of yarn to the bind-off edge which makes it very stretchy but the edge tends to flare out considerably. That's why this bind-off is best used in projects that are going to be blocked and stretched aggressively, such as lace shawls.
#4. Lucy Neatby’s Modified Conventional Bind-off
This bind-off method was suggested to me by slowandsteady on Ravelry, and it's one I'd never heard of before. The Modified Conventional Bind-off is very similar to the Icelandic Bind-off in that you insert the needle into the first stitch purlwise, the second stitch knitwise, and then work them together in this crossed position.
The difference between the two methods is in whether you pull the next stitch on the left through the stitch on the right (Icelandic) or not (Modified Conventional). Pulling the new stitch through creates a little bump on the bind-off row, which makes the Icelandic Bind-off blend in well in garter stitch. The bind-off row on the Modified Conventional Bind-off, on the other hand, looks like a smooth chain of stitches — more like in the standard bind-off.
I tried both of these methods when I was trying to figure out the difference and I can tell you this much: the Icelandic Bind-off is very annoying to unravel!
#5. Elizabeth Zimmerman's Sewn Bind-off
I saved the scary one for last. 🙈 Not that this bind-off is very difficult, per se! Personally I just tend to avoid any kind of technique where you have to break the yarn and sew something. The sewn bind-off is much like Kitchener stitch, only you're working with one set of stitches on one needle.
Because you need to break the yarn and estimate the length of tail you're going to need, this bind-off method is best used for smaller pieces where you don't have to bind off hundreds and hundreds of stitches. It also creates a slightly raised or bumped ridge so if you want a bind-off edge that perfectly blends in with the rest of your work, this is perhaps not the ideal choice.
An honorable mention goes to @this.creative.life who unvented her own bind-off after trying JSSBO:
"I use a crochet hook and a chain stitch between every two cast-off stitches. I kind of came up with it myself. I tried Jeny’s stretchy bind-off and didn’t really like it. The crochet hook and chain stitch method was kind of a lead on from that."
Now this sounds like something I must try!
Do you have a favorite stretchy bind-off that I've missed? Let me know in the comments below.
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