Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Stretchy Bind-off

Well Jenny quickly spotted the “design feature” on my Swap Mitts! I used a K2tog bind-off and out-thought myself trying to remember which way I’d bound off the first mitt. So, I knit one through the back loops and the other through the front loops. Either way, it makes a nice bind-off that is good for socks if knit loosely, and is similar to an even stretchier bind-off used for shawl edges that you want to block assertively.

Now, I’ve seen this sort of bind-off done at least two different ways - knitting two stitches first and knitting a stitch between each decrease (Evelyn Clark), or just launching into the decreases with no stitches in-between (Nancie Wiseman & Vogue Knitting). The first method results in a stretchier and more substantial bind off, the second is a little firmer, but in my opinion, still easier to knit stretchy than a standard bind off. The choice to knit through the front or back loops depends on whether you want the look of a distinct chain or not, and to a lesser extent, if you are binding off from the RS or WS.

A photo? Of course! Here’s a little swatch from the RS:

Stretchy Bind-off - Four Ways
Click to go to full size on Flickr


Directions:

#1 K2tbl Bind Off with a stitch between:
Very stretchy, with the look of a chain stitch on the side it’s knit.

Knit 1, *Knit 1, insert tip of left hand needle from back to front through the front loops of both stitches on the right needle so as to knit them together through the back loops. Repeat from * to *.


#2 K2tog Bind Off with a stitch between:
Stretchy, a bit more fiddly than #1 since you really have to slip the stitches back to the left needle.

Knit 1, *Knit 1, slip stitches back to the left needle, K2tog*. Repeat from * to *.


#3 K2tbl Bind Off:
Firmer, but can be knit loosely for a fairly stretchy edge, chain stitch on the side it’s knit. When knitting in the round, I would knit this with one stitch to start, rather than none, as I find it easier to make a neat join at the end of the bind-off.

*K2tbl, slip this stitch back to the left needle*. Repeat from * to *.


#4 K2tog Bind Off:
As #3 this is firm, but can be knit loosely for a fairly stretchy edge. Again, when knitting in the round, I would knit this with one stitch to start.

*K2tog, slip this stitch back to the left needle*. Repeat from * to *.


And here are just a few links that I’ve checked out on this topic. Google is a great tool when looking for information on knitting techniques. But I’ve also found that I have to use quite a bit of common sense in evaluating the results, as each of us is posting our own opinion and experience. Remember, YMMV!

Knitter's Review Forum post

Grumperina
SheeptoShawl
WeebleKnits