Sunday, April 1, 2007

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

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 this isn't a joke. You can create a sort of a tubular binding off, fast and easy, with knitting needles alone via this "unvention"* FAKE tubular bind off.
click picture
fake tubular 1/1 bind off picture COPYRIGHT
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 beautiful (and here is a link to it) yet it has two problems. It is rather slow plus it is not a good technique to use with fragile yarns.

The fake tubular bind off is quicker and does work with fragile yarns. On the downside, it is non-reversible and somewhat inflexible. On the upside, it is easy and fast. Plus, there are situations (pocket tops and front band edges on cardigans come to mind) where flexibility and stretchiness are not wanted, yet a pretty bind off for ribbing would be welcome.

Fake tubular bind off is done with the running yarn attached to the skein, not a cut length of yarn, and it is done with knitting needles, not a sewing needle. And although it is as quick and easy as regular 1/1 bind off, it makes a better, thicker edge, and IMHO looks 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.

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 perhaps 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)