Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Outline Stitch Bind off

I'm having a printer crisis, which is going to be a problem for one of the knitters in my Reversible Cabled Scarf class tonight, because I have 4 students, but only 3 handouts and my printer wants to print only on the left side of the page, in weird colors. This is a problem, given my photos are on the left and the text on the right.

So in an attempt to make it up to one of those students, I'm posting a slightly modified version of handout for the Outline Stitch Bind off, also known as the "Casting-On/Cast Off."
The edge of a long tail cast on is made up of a series of backwards loops that resemble cursive letter e's strung together.

The Outline Stitch bind off is a type of sewn bind off that matches the long tail cast on. If you're knitting a scarf, or other item that has both the cast on and bind off edges exposed, it's a nice technique to have. (Note: when I say this is a "type" of sewn bind off, I mean just that. It's not the bind off known as "the" sewn bind off, which produces a different edge. Incidentally, the tubular bind off is also a type of sewn bind off.)

The bottom set of blue loops represents the backwards loop portion of the long tail cast on (the part created from the long tail hanging over your thumb). The "heads" of those loops wrap around the base of the stitches above them. At the top of the drawing is the path of the Outline Stitch bind off, which (if you turn the picture upside down) wraps around the base of those stitches. In truth, the loops wrap around one leg of one stitch and one leg of the stitch next to it, so (as with grafting pieces together that were knit in opposite directions), the bind off is actually a 1/2 stitch off from the cast on.
Here's how to do it:
Work the last RS row of your fabric (assuming the smooth side of the cast on is the RS). Keep the side just worked facing you.

Cut a length of yarn 3 times the width of the area to be bound off.
Thread the yarn through a tapestry or darning needle.

Hold the yarn above the knitting needle. Insert the darning needle down through the center of the 2nd stitch ...

..and up through the center of the 1st stitch.

Let the 1st stitch come off the needle.

Repeat across the row, inserting down through the center of the 2nd stitch and up through the center of the 1st stitch, then letting the 1st stitch come off the needle.

Make sure you hold the yarn up above the knitting needle and out of the way of the threaded needle that's being pulled through the loops. You don't want to pull that threaded needle through the big loop of yarn, the way it's shown in the photo below.
If you're just the teensiest brave and you can see your stitch orientation, you can pull the knitting needle right out and sew directly into the loops.

If it looks sloppy when you're finished...

...tighten up the loops, starting at the left edge and pulling gently on each loop.

>Does it really match the cast on edge?

Depends on which side you look at

Garter and Seed Stitch

Not so great from the “smooth side” of the cast on/bind off, as the top row is knits, interrupting the continuity of the stitch pattern.

From the back side, garter looks good

and seed stitch isn't bad, either

Stockinette looks great on both sides

And ribbing looks pretty good.

That's all for now -- I have to eat and then head over to the yarn shop!


Deborah said...

I love your instructive posts, rox!
-Mt. Mom

Sue said...

Thanks for a great tutorial on a bind off that's hard to find any info on! I tried this last night on a swatch to practice, but I could not figure out what to do with the last stitch left on the needle. How do you handle that?

Rox said...

I posted a response to your question on Ravelry, but I'll answer again here.

Once you've connected the two last loops together, you're done. You don't need to enter that last loop a second time. The first stitch comes off the needle after only one pass through it, and the last stitch is the same way. Since there isn't another stitch to the right of the last stitch, there's no need to go through it a second time. If you look at the drawing, you will see that there is one fewer bind off stitch than cast on stitch. This is due to working 1/2 stitch "off" when knitting in the reverse direction. The two "legs" of the stitches you're working with belong to two different stitches.

Julie said...

I found this through Ravelry. I had unthinkingly used a knitted cast on for a sock and didn't even think about it until the sock was finished! It took me over an hour to unpick the cast on edge, but this bind off was relatively easy. Thank you!

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