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Starting the Stretchy Bind Off
A knitter can never have too many different cast on and bind off techniques in her arsenal - and there are a lot! This Stretchy Bind Off is very simple and is my favorite to use at the edges of shawls (which need to be stretched out in blocking) and on cuffs. It gives a nice looking chained edge, with plenty of give, and it bounces right back into shape.
A regular bind off has you knit the first two stitches. Here, you knit the first two stitches together through the back loops. You do this by... inserting the tip of the right needle into the back of both stitches and then knitting them.Continue to 2 of 3 below.
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Continuing the Bind Off
Next, return the single stitch that is on the right needle to the left needle by slipping it purlwise.
Then, just repeat steps 1 and 2 across the whole row until all the stitches are bound off.
Using the Stretchy Bind Off
I told you that was easy. Now you are ready to use it whenever you need extra stretch in your finished item. That probably includes the cuffs of socks, sleeves, stocking hats, and necklines. If you've been having problems with your knitting resulting in an opening for the... garment that needs more give, try switching to the stretchy bind off stitch. The best part is that if you don't like it, you can just rip out the row and finish it in a different way.
One trick if you need even more stretch is to do the bind off on a larger pair of needles than you have used for the cuff up until that point.
See this bind off in action in the Ruffled Leg Warmers pattern, sized for kids from babies up to age 10. They are a great item for little dancers and need to have stretch at both the top and bottom of the leg warmers. Or, use this ribbed leg warmers pattern suitable for all ages. Leg warmers are definitely an item where one size does not fit all. It seems we all have a different arrangement of wide or narrow calves paired with slim or wide ankles. It can be a challenge to knit leg warmers without getting good measurements from the person you intend to wear them. With the stretchy bind off, you have more leeway.Continue to 3 of 3 below.
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More Stretchy Bind Off Stitches
Do you want to see more bind off stitches to use when you need extra stretch? Here is another variation, with step-by-step instructions and photos.
Stretchy Bind Off for Toe-Up Socks and Beyond: When you knit a sock from the toe up, you want to make sure it is stretchy enough, or you won't be able to get the sock on your foot. This version is known as Peggy's Stretchy Bind Off. You can get even more stretch by working it on a needle that's larger than you were using for the rest of the project.