My favourite stretchy bind-off

Whenever I need a stretchy bind-off I always turn to Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off. It looks great and keeps its shape well, making it the perfect finish for lace shawls, sock cuffs or the hem of a top-down jumper. What makes this binding so stretchy is that you work a yarn over (yo) before every stitch, giving the bind-off that little bit of extra yarn and increasing its ability to stretch.

How you ‘prepare’ each stitch will depend on whether it is to be worked as a knit or a purl stitch.

If it will be a knit stitch, you will need to bring the yarn over the right needle then under again to the back of the work (the opposite to a standard yo). You then knit the next stitch as normal.

If it will be a purl stitch, you will need to bring the yarn under the right needle then over again to the front of the work. You then purl the next stitch as normal.

If you are binding off a ribbed cuff or a hem, you will probably want to continue to bind off in rib for a neat finish. Changing between the knit and purl stitches will require a different method for ‘preparing’ your stitch. Here I am binding off in 1×1 rib, but the method for switching between a knit and a purl stitch applies no matter which style of ribbing you are using.

Stretchy bind off. Setting up for the first stitch. Working yarn is carried over and under the right needle which is inserted in to the first stitch on the left needle ready to knit.

1. My first stitch will be a knit stitch, so I have carried the yarn over the the top of the right neeedle then under again to the back of the work before knitting the first stitch.

Stretchy bind off. Yarn over has been bound off over the first stitch knit on the right hand needle.

2. You will now have 2 stitches on the needles. Lift the yo over the knit stitch and off the needle, just as you would for a standard bind-off.

Stretchy bind off. Right hand needle is inserted in to the next stitch on the left needle as if to purl. The yarn is still held at the back of the work.

3. As my next stitch is to be a purl stitch, I am going to leave the yarn at the back of the work while continuing to purl the next stitch.

Stretchy bind off. There are now three stitches on the right hand needle, the first knit stitch, the yarn over and the second knit stitch.

4. The act of purling the stitch with the yarn at the back of the work will create the yarn over needed to ‘prepare’ the purl stitch.

N.B. Depending on the yarn you are using you may need to pull the work down a little to help the stitches sit evenly on the needle.

Stretchy bind off. First knit stitch and the yarn over have been bound off. The second knit stitch still rests on the right hand needle.

5. Now I need to bind-off the yo and the first knit stitch. I prefer to do this both together for speed but you can do this one at a time if you find this easier.

Stretchy bind off. The yarn has been left at the front of the work to create the yarn over when the next stitch is knit.

6. As my next stitch will be a knit stitch , i will leave the yarn at the front of the work and continue to knit the next stitch.

I will then bind of the yo and the previous purl stitch as before.

This method of binding off the yo and the previous stitch together is the same for all stitches, whether you are binding off in stocking stitch or rib.

What’s your favourite stretchy bind-off? Do you have a method that you think is stretchier, neater, more decorative? Let me know in the comments below or using the hashtag #CreateRelaxUnwind on Instagram.

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