Sewn Bind Off Tutorial with No Sewing

Hana loves yellow. She’s been asking me for handknit yellow socks. I was worried that by the time I had time to knit them she might have a new favourite colour—she does that sometimes.

Since I needed a new sample for my Tip-Toe-Up Socks class, the decision was easy—yellow socks! Hana loves them and she still loves yellow.

In the class I show how to knit a replaceable heel for these socks and it requires some grafting. I demonstrate grafting on the needles which feels much more like a knitterly endeavour than Kitchener stitch does.

Feet standing on a chair wearing yellow hand knit socks worked toe up with a stripey heal and toe, modelled with one shoe on and one shoe off.

When I finished off the socks the other day I wanted to try a new (to me) stretchy bind off. I had heard that Elizabeth Zimmerman’s sewn bind off is among the best. Hmm, but I don’t like sewing. So I applied the same logic as grafting on the needles and it works wonderfully. Let me show you.

Hand stretching the opening of a sock showing how stretchy the bind off is.

Tutorial

Start with a tail about four times the length of your bind off edge.

Step 1:

Sock cuff on a circular needle with right needle inserted through next 2 sts on left needle, performing a knit two together (k2tog).

K2tog leaving the two stitches on the left needle …

A large loop of yarn being drawn through the first two stitches on the left needle.

and then enlarge the new stitch pulling the tail all the way through until there is no longer a stitch on the right needle.

Step 2:

Right needle inserted purlwise through first stitch on left needle; working yarn is coming from the second stitch on the left needle.

P1, leaving the stitch on the left needle and pull the yarn all the way through.

Step 3:

Right needle with slipped stitch and yarn tail threaded through next stitch on left needle and slipped stitch on right needle, this action transfers first stitch of round to the end of the round.

Slip the last worked stitch to the end of the round to become the final bind off stitch.

Knitting in the round with working yarn running through the first stitch on the left needle and then the last stitch on the right needle.

This step creates a neater finish when working in the round.

Step 4:

Bind off being worked on a sock cuff with right needle performing a knit two together (k2tog).

K2tog leaving the two stitches on the left needle …

Yarn tail threaded through the first two stitches on the left needle.

and then enlarge the new stitch pulling the tail all the way through until there is no longer a stitch on the right needle.

Step 5:

Bind off being worked; right needle inserted purlwise into first stitch on left needle with working yarn threaded through second stitch on left needle.

P1 …

Needle pulling on the only stitch on right needle to enlarge it and pull the tail through.

dropping the st off the left needle and pull the yarn all the way through the dropped stitch.

Two step repeat of bind off completed showing tail threaded through first stitch on left needle, then last stitch worked that has just been slipped off needle.

 

Repeat Steps 4 and 5 until all the stitches are bound off.

Bind off edge of cuff held between thumb and finger and bent towards camera for bird's eye view of top of bind off.

When working flat (not in the round), skip Steps 1 to 3 and just work Steps 4 and 5.

Try this bind off on your next pair of socks or neck edging and let me know if you like it.