Sunday, April 1, 2007

Easy, fake tubular bind off: casting off 1/1 ribbing the TECHknitting way

includes a how-to
If you heard you could create a tubular bind off with knitting needles, and do it as fast as a regular bind off, would you think it was an April Fool's joke? Well, the good news is that although it IS April fool's day, this isn't a complete joke. You CAN create a sort of a tubular binding off, fast and easy, with knitting needles alone. Here is another TECHknitting "unvention"* FAKE tubular bind off.
click picture
fake tubular 1/1 bind off picture COPYRIGHTFirst, some terminology. "Binding off" and "casting off," "bind off" and "cast off" are all terms used inter- changeably. They refer either to finishing off your knitting by turning a line of live stitches into a stable, finished edge, or they refer to the finished edge itself.

Why a FAKE tubular bind off?

Real tubular casting off is flexible, good-looking, reversible and ... something of a pain. Real tubular bind off is unquestionably an good skill to have (and here is a link to it) yet it is rather slow.

The TECHknitting fake tubular bind off much quicker. Although it is non-reversible and somewhat inflexible, it makes up for these shortcomings by being easy and fast. Plus, there are situations (pocket tops come to mind) where flexibility and stretchiness are not wanted, yet a pretty bind off for ribbing IS wanted.

Fake tubular bind off is done with the standing yarn, not a length of yarn, and it is done with knitting needles, not a sewing needle. It doesn't look as quite good as real tubular bind off, but it's a decent imitation. And although it is as quick and easy as regular 1/1 bind off, it makes a better, thicker edge than regular bind off does, and looks a whole lot better. See for yourself--here's a comparison of all three types of binding off, side by side.
click picture3 bind offs. Copyrighted

HOW-TO--fake tubular bind off

(These instructions are for 1/1 ribbing only.) The easiest way to arrange matters is so that you've got a knit stitch on the tip of your right needle, and the first stitch to bind off is a purl.

click picture
Step 1 With your right needle, purl the purl stitch waiting on the tip of your left needle (TIP: draw the purl stitch loop up fairly large--as you will see when you get the rhythm of this bind-off, this purled stitch has to stretch across two stitches before it will be bound off in its turn.) The stitch thus purled (brown) will now be at the tip of your right needle. Insert the tip of your left needle into front of the stitch TWO stitches in from the edge on your right needle (green). Following the path of the red arrow, draw the green stitch LEFTWARDS over the top of the brown stitch and drop the green stitch off the tip of your left needle. The green stitch has now been bound off (inset picture).

click picture
Step 2. Knit the knit stitch which is waiting next on your left needle (brown). Slip the brown stitch back to your left needle. Next, slip the stitch at the tip of your RIGHT needle also onto the tip of your left needle (green). (The illustration picks up at this point--where both brown and green stitches have been slipped to the left needle.) Insert the tip of your right needle into the front of the brown stitch. Following the path of the red arrow, and draw the brown stitch RIGHTWARDS over the top of the green stitch and drop it off the tip of your right needle. (TIP: Adjust the tension so that the brown stitch loop is not too big--as you will see as you get the rhythm of this bind-off, the bound off knit loops do not have to stretch at all, and therefore do not need to be made too loose.) The brown stitch is now bound off (inset picture). Return the green stitch to the tip of your right needle by slipping it purlwise (open).

Repeat steps 1 and 2.
Ta da! An easy, fast, good-looking bind off (cast off) for 1/1 ribbing, made with very little trouble.

TECHtip: On circular knitting, for the last stitch: thread the remaining yarn onto a sewing needle and sew the final stitch shut. Avoid a jog by passing the threaded needle once around the base of the first stitch bound off, then work in the tail right along the edge, under all those slipped knit loops.

(BTW: A regular bind off (the orange sample in the second illustration) is created by repeating just step 1, over and over again, knitting the knit stitches, and purling the purl stitches.)

*"Unventing" is when a trick reveals itself to you--a trick you expect someone somewhere has done, but it's new to you.
(You have been reading TECHknitting on: Fake tubular bind off: casting off 1/1 ribbing the TECHknitting way)


Micki said...

Very cool!

suzy lee said...

this is neat...worth reading!

marjorie said...

This is great. I'm going to print and study it as a way to finish the pockets on my husband's sweater. I was planning a real tubular bindoff, but I was afraid it would be too stretchy. This has the good looks of the tubular bindoff but the firmness I think I want.

MezzoDiva said...

Thank you for your terrific technical tips. This blog is a goldmine!

Re: the easy fake tubular bind off - WOuld you recommend it as sufficiently stretchy to work for the cast off cuff of toe-up socks?

--TECHknitter said...

Hi MezzoDiva--a better sock top is coming to this blog in the future. But until then, I would say "yes," this cast off is stretchy enough IF you take care to draw up the purl loops far enough. (And, the FTBO is for sure a better alternative than the regular bind-off)


Carson said...

I've now got you bookmarked for later :)

Clair St. Michel said...

Revolutionary! Wow. I agree Carson, this is going on my bookmarks list.

Fiut said...

This is very interesting!! I'd be completely happy if in this way i can bind off 2x2 rib... Is there any hope?

--TECHknitter said...

Hi Fiut: I don't think this can be adapted to 2x2 ribbing--that would make the underlying stitches have to stretch very far, and I don't think the result would be too good. Sorry


Mwaa said...

I love this fake tubular bind off. I've been looking everywhere for a good bind off for k3p1 ribbing. So far everything looks terrible. The FTBO actually looks the best so far (treating the middle k stitch as if it were a purl).

Do you have any tips for k3p1 bind off?

Rózsaszín pöttyök said...

I really thank You. It'd make things easier...

Sarah said...

Hello TECHknitter - thank you for your wonderful blog. I too am wondering about a k3p1 bind off.

TECHknitter said...

Hi Sarah--thanks for your kind words, and thanks for writing.

Re: k3 p1 bind off: I would think that the best trick would be, as Mwaa said, to treat the middle K stitch as if it were a purl, and work the EFTBO (Easy, Fake Tubular Bind Off) that way.

Otherwise, you could try a 1x1 "real" tubular bind off, using the same trick, and see which effect you like better.


emilybieman said...

great bind off - is there a youtube upload?

TECHknitter said...

Hi Emily--there is no you tube video of which I am aware--this blog really features illustrated instructions, rather than videos (at least so far!)

nekkidknitter said...

I just wanted to thank you for your clear, detailed, and infinitely useful instructions! I've used this particular tutorial twice now and have been very pleased with the results. Binding off ribbing that doesn't need to be super stretchy is always a pain, because most easy methods result in a weirdly splayed edge. But this looks great. Do you think it would also be a good solution for a double-knit scarf? I'm thinking it should work, since DK is essentially just 1x1 ribbing with two strands.