This tutorial is about a bind off that is ideal for finishing off “knit 1, purl 1” ribbing. It is known as an Italian or as a tubular bind off, but no matter how you call it, this way of closing stitches is definitely worth a try. It is stretchy, does not form a ridge and makes the ribbing wrap around the edge creating a beautiful polished look of a well-finished fabric.
The downside is – this bind off is a bit fiddly to make, but don’t worry, I’ll guide you through every step with detailed instructions and tips.
A few notes before we get started:
1. This bind off is perfect for 1×1 ribbing. It works for other stitch patterns as well, but the finished look is not as nice.
2. It’s a variation of a “sewn bind off”, and that means we’ll work with a wool needle. Because a wool needle is usually sharper than a knitting needle, be careful not to split the yarn as you bind off stitches.
3. We’ll join stitches in pairs – knits to knits and purls to purls.
Now let’s get to binding off stitches!
If you are a visual learner, click here to watch every step described below in a video tutorial.
This part is optional. You can follow instructions in the “Bind Off Itself” part right away, but working preparation rows gives the bind off edge a more polished look.
As you see in the photo below, the edge of the swatch on the left is flat while the edge of the swatch on the right is fuller and more rounded. That edge is made with the preparation rows.
Plus, these rows ensure that the edge won’t become too wide as you wear the project. Click here to see the difference in the amount of stretch between edges bound off with and without preparation rows.
If you’d like to make the edge moderately stretchy and nicely rounded, work two preparation rows before you start binding off stitches:
Row 1: [knit 1, slip 1 with the yarn at the front of the work], repeat brackets to the last two stitches of the row, then knit 1 and purl 1.
Row 2: same as row 1.
As a result, you’ll get a look that is very similar to the look of 1×1 ribbing, but there will be strands in place of purl stitches in the top row.
I assume that your pattern starts with a “knit 1” because it’s the most common way to work “knit 1, purl 1” ribbing. If it starts with a purl stitch, then begin the preparation row with a “slip 1 with yarn in front” and knit the next stitch. The main idea is to knit the knit stitches and slip the purls.
BIND OFF ITSELF
Leave a tail that is at least three times longer than the bind off edge, and cut the yarn. Thread the tail into a wool needle.
I will use a piece of yarn in a different colour to make the instructions easier to understand, but of course, in real life, the yarn tail will be in the same colour as the stitches.
1. The first step of the bind off edge is a bit tricky, but it is essential to make sure the right side of the edge nicely shaped. In this step, I will also assume that the first stitch on your needle is a knit.
Place the wool needle at the back of the first knit stitch and then insert it from left to right into the first purl stitch, as it is shown in the photo below, and in this part of the video.
Pull the yarn through.
2. Now we’ll join two knit stitches. Insert the wool needle from left to right into the first knit stitch on the needle. Slip this stitch off the needle. Then insert the wool needle into the next knit stitch from right to left.
Slip the second knit stitch off the needle along with the first purl stitch. Pull the yarn through, but don’t pull it too tight. Make sure the strand at the top of the work is about as long as one leg of a stitch.
3. In this step, we’ll join two purl stitches. Insert the wool needle from back to front into the purl stitch that is slipped off the needle, and from left to right into the purl stitch that is on the needle.
Slip the purl stitch off the needle, pull the yarn through and form the strand at the top of the edge.
4. Now let’s join two knit stitches again. Insert the wool needle from front to back into the knit stitch that is slipped off the needle, and from right to left into the knit stitch that is on the needle.
Slip the stitch off the needle, pull the yarn through and form the strand at the top of the edge.
Repeat steps 3 and 4 to the end of the row. Then insert the wool needle from front to back into the last knit stitch, and from right to left into the last purl stitch.
Pull tight and secure the yarn.
Enjoy the beautiful bind off edge you’ve just created!
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