There is not much information as to how the Icelandic bind off has got its name. Was it invented in Iceland? Or is it the bind off that Icelandic knitters use most often? I don’t know.
But one thing is certain – this bind off is beautiful. It looks like a reversed stockinette i-cord sitting on top of the fabric. It blends in perfectly with garter stitch and makes a lovely decorative finishing when used with other stitch patterns.
Another important benefit of this bind off is its elasticity. The edge created by Icelandic bind off stretches quite a bit, but at the same time, it holds shape well. That makes it perfect for binding off shawls, blankets, toe-up socks, as well as sweater cuffs and necklines.
No purl stitches in this bind off, only knits. That’s important. I tried to knit the knits and purl the purls on a ribbing pattern, but the “knits only” look is much better, so we’ll stick with the traditional version.
HERE’S HOW TO DO IT:
If you are a visual learner, watch this quick video tutorial that shows every step explained below.
1. Knit 1 stitch and place it on the left needle.
2. Insert the tip of the right needle purlwise (from right to left) into the front loop of the first stitch on the left needle. Make sure the tip of the right needle is at the front of the tip of the left needle.
3. Now insert the tip of the right needle knitwise (from left to right) into the front loop of the second stitch on the left needle.
4. Wrap the tip of the right needle with the yarn and pull the wrap through the front loop of the second stitch. Or, simply put, knit the second stitch.
5. Slip both stitches off the left needle, and keep the new stitch on the right needle.
6. Place the new stitch on the left needle.
Repeat steps 2 to 6 until you bind off all stitches. Then cut the yarn and pull the yarn tail through the last stitch. Pull tight to secure.
To make the process of binding off stitches more efficient, don’t take the needle out of the stitch after you finish step 6. Instead, make sure the tip of the right needle is at the front of the tip of the left needle so that you could easily move to step 3 and pick the front loop of the second stitch.
This little trick will help you find a better rhythm and bind off stitches faster. That’s always a good thing because it means that we can start wearing the freshly finished project much sooner 🙂