A knitter can never have too many different cast on and bind off techniques in their arsenal. This stretchy bind off is very simple—it's great to use on cuffs and at the edges of shawls that need to be stretched out in blocking. Fitted garments, like socks, that require some give to put on really benefit from this style of binding off. It gives a nice looking chained edge, with plenty of give, and it bounces right back into shape. This simple technique is a variation on the regular bind off that will make your knitted garments easier to take on and off.
Watch Now: How to Knit a Stretchy Bind Off
Equipment / Tools
- 1 set of knitting needles
- 1 skein of yarn
Knit From the Back
In a regular bind off, you knit the first two stitches. Here, you knit the first two stitches together through the back loops. Start by inserting the tip of the right needle into the back of both stitches and then knitting them.
Slip and Repeat the Stitch
Return the single stitch that is on the right needle to the left needle by slipping it purlwise. Lastly, repeat the first two steps across the whole row until all the stitches are bound off.
Now you're ready to use this bind off whenever you need extra stretch in your finished item. It's a useful technique that will help make the cuffs of socks, sleeves, stocking hats, and necklines more comfortable to wear. If you've been having problems with your knitting resulting in an opening for the garment that needs more give, try switching to the stretchy bind off stitch. The best part is that if you don't like it, you can just rip out the row and finish your project in a different way.
If you need even more stretch, do the bind off on a larger pair of needles than you used for the cuff up until that point.
See this stretchy bind off in action in these ruffled leg warmers, sized for kids from babies up to age 10. They are a great item for little dancers and need to have stretchiness at both the top and bottom of the leg warmers. Leg warmers are definitely an item where one size does not fit all. It seems we all have a different arrangement of wide or narrow calves paired with slim or wide ankles.
It can be a challenge to knit leg warmers without getting good measurements from the person you intend to wear them. With the stretchy bind off, you have more leeway with size, and it makes for a more comfortable fitting item.