Ultimate Guide to Two Stretchy Bind-Off Knitting Methods on the Decrease Bind-Off
I showed you a really great cast-on for toe-up socks, but what do you do when you get to the cuff and it’s time for binding off? Lots of folks, myself included, get a little tight-fisted when it comes to their knitting bind off, and it’s a bit demoralizing to knit a beautiful sock that fits you perfectly … that is, it would fit you perfectly if you could get the cuff edge on over your heel! That’s why you’ll learn a stretchy bind-off knitting method called the decrease bind-off—also known as the lace bind-off.
Today, I thought I’d show you how to bind off knitting flexible enough for neck edges, sleeve edges, and even sock cuffs. This bind-off is so flexible that many people use it when binding off lace projects, as regular bind-offs, being a tighter than the lacy stuff surrounding them, can distort the edges of the lace. This bind-off is thus often referred to as the lace bind-off, but many people also call it the decrease bind-off.
Step-by-Step Instructions for the Stretchy Bind-Off Knitting Method
Version A: Knitting through the back loops
This version gives a bind-off edge that looks just like a standard bind-off, but it is much stretchier.
- Knit together the first two stitches on the left needle THROUGH THE BACK LOOP. (Figure 1)
- Slip the new stitch on the right needle back to the left needle. (Figure 2)
- Repeat 1 and 2 until all stitches are bound off.
Notice how the bind-off edge is nearly indistinguishable from your normal bind-off, but give it a tug and you’ll see how much more flexible it is. (Figure 3)
Version B: Knitting through the front loops
The finished edge of this version looks slightly different but is just as stretchy as the other version. Which to use when? I’d say it’s a matter of personal taste.
- Knit together the first two stitches on the left needle. (Figure 4)
- Slip the new stitch on the right needle back to the left needle.
- Repeat these two steps until all stitches are bound off.
Notice that I show two samples in (Figure 5); the stitches are worked exactly the same way in both, but in the sample on the right, I used bright green yarn for the bind-off row so that you could see the finished effect more clearly.
Note that you can also use a variation of this bind-off on the purl side of a garment: Either *P2tog, slip new stitch to left needle; repeat to end–OR *P2tog tbl, slip new stitch to left needle; repeat to end.
All right then: Go forth and dive into this stretchy bind-off knitting method—or, if you use the British nomenclature: Cast off! Also, check out this FREE eBook on how to cast-on knitting and bind-off knitting for even more cast-on and bind-off expert tips and projects.
Ann Budd teaches her fabulous class on casting on and binding off in 45+ Knitted Cast-Ons and Bind-Offs. With over 45 cast-ons and bind-offs in your repertoire, you’ll be prepared for any project you want to tackle!
One of my favorite all-time knitting “helpers” is The Knitter’s Companion, a book filled with step-by-step illustrated instructions on everything from cast-on & bind-off methods and everything knitting in between! Need a reminder on how to graft a sock toe, or how to sew a shoulder seam without it looking all lumpy-bumpy? Then The Knitter’s Companion is going to be your new best friend. Add the Knitter’s Companion to your library today!