Stretchy bind-offs can be used on toe-up socks, on scarfs that are knit lengthwise so the bind-off is as stretchy as the cast on. They can also be used on collars for sweaters, or as with my current project the top edging for a drawstring knapsack.
Which Stretchy Bind-Off Is Best?
There are many more than three ways to bind off your work that gives it more stretch than the standard bind-off.
For the tops of toe-up socks, I want a bind-off that is stretchy, but not sloppy looking. I want the same thing for a collar edging. It needs to go over the head, but not be loose and inconsistent in gauge.
For a lengthwise scarf, I want a bind-off that approximates the stretchiness of my cast-on edge. This is particularly important when you’re using a wavy stitch pattern like Old Shale.
Then there are times you’ll want to match your bind-off with the final stitch pattern in your fabric. Or adorn the knitted piece with a bit of texture in your bind-off.
The four bind-offs that I most often use (other than the standard bind-off) are:
- Fast Stretchy Bind-Off – This one is quick and easy and adds more stretch than the standard. It doesn’t add a lot of stretch, but it has similar stretch as a long-tail cast-0n. I use this one most often when I’m binding off a long, lengthwise scarf.
- Stretchy Sewn Bind-Off – Use this bind-off when you need a lot of stretch, such as at the top of a toe-up sock. Like the long-tail cast-on, it requires that you estimate how much yarn will be needed to finish the bind-off, and it’s disastrous if you underestimate.
- Icelandic Bind-Off – I just learned this bind-off as part of my latest project. It’s almost like a braided bind-off and looks very nice. It’s not ornate, but it adds a decorative finish to your work.
- I-Cord Bind-Off – Very stretchy and adds a tubular edging to your fabric. Great for blankets, especially if you used an i-cord cast-on. It’s a time-consuming bind-off, but offers as much stretch as the fabric you’re binding off as well as a very neat edge.
Here are four short video tutorials in each technique in case you want to try them out:
I also use other bind-off edgings like an abbreviated rolled collar edging and a picot bind-off.
What are you favorite bind-offs for various knitting situations?
As I noted, I got to learn the Icelandic bind-off for my current project.
The Fight On Project Bag by Dario Tubiana uses this understated, decorative bind-off at the top edge of the bag. It’s sturdy and attractive. But it also gives the project a technique to add to your favorites. That’s if you didn’t already know it.
Dario also calls for doing duplicate stitch on the highlights of the BLM fist motif. I opted to start by doing it stranded and will finish with duplicate stitch as he suggests.