Yarnless Bind Off: Normal and Stretchy

I’ve spent a lot of time on this blog talking about how to cast on or start a piece of knitting, but so far, I’ve only described two ways to bind off. That’s because I have fewer bind-offs in my bag of tricks. Nevertheless, I have a couple more to post.

One of my favorites is called the yarnless bind off. It’s yarnless in the sense that you use the yarn that is already on the needles, not the working yarn that’s hanging from the beginning of the row or round. It’s also the technique that all knitters discover eventually, but never admit to, because they think they’re committing some knitterly infraction.

Yarnless Bind Off (Normal)

The yarnless bind off is useful when you know or suspect you don’t have enough yarn to bind off in the usual way. Here’s how it works:

1. Find your starting point.
a. When you’re knitting flat, start at the end farthest from the working yarn. If you’re using circular needles, hold the tip nearest the end of the round in your left hand. If you’re using single-point needles, first slip all the stitches to another needle, so the working yarn is closest to the button; then put that needle in your left hand.
b. When you’re working in the round, do a little prep work. First, slip the first stitch of the round to the right needle. Then bring the working yarn between the needles, to the front if you’re knitting or to the back if you’re purling, and drop the working yarn. Finally, return the slipped stitch to the left needle.
2. Slip two stittches to the right needle.
3. Pass the second stitch over the first stitch. This means that you use the tip of the left needle to pickup the second stitch (the one farthest from the tip of the right needle), lift it over the first stitch (which is closest to the tip), and let it drop off the needle altogether. Only one stitch remains.
4. Slip one stitch to the right needle.
5. Repeat Steps 3 and 4 until one stitch remains. The remaining stitch is on the right needle and has the working yarn at the base.
6. Draw the working yarn through that last stitch and pull the tail to close the loop.

Yarnless Bind Off (Stretchy)

The stretchy yarnless bind off is useful when you need the bind off edge to be especially loose, like when you’re making a hat that starts at the crown, socks that start at the toes, or gloves or mittens that start at the fingertips. It’s also a great way for tight knitters to loosen things up. It’s a two-part process. Part 1 (Step 1 below) sets up the bind off, and Part 2 (Steps 2 through 9 below) actually bind off. Here’s how it works:

1. On the last row/round of the project, work 1 st as directed, * yo, work 2 sts as directed; rep from * until no sts rem. The last yo may be followed by one or two stitches. If working the yarn overs into the existing pattern feels overwhelming, simply knit or purl across the entire row or round with the yarn overs (e.g., [K1, * yo, k2 *] or [P1, * yo, p2 *]).
2. Find your starting point.
a. When you’re knitting flat, start at the end farthest from the working yarn. If you’re using circular needles, hold the tip nearest the end of the round in your left hand. If you’re using single-point needles, first slip all the stitches to another needle, so the working yarn is closest to the button; then put that needle in your left hand.
b. When you’re working in the round, do a little prep work. First, slip the first stitch of the round to the right needle. Then bring the working yarn between the needles, to the front if you’re knitting or to the back if you’re purling, and drop the working yarn. Finally, return the slipped stitch to the left needle.
3. Slip one stitch to the right needle, drop the yarn over off the left needle, and slip another stitch to the right needle. There are two big floppy stitches on the right needle.
4. Pass the second stitch over the first stitch. This means that you use the tip of the left needle to pickup the second stitch (the one farthest from the tip of the right needle), lift it over the first stitch (which is closest to the tip), and let it drop off the needle altogether. Only one stitch remains.
5. Slip one stitch to the right needle. There are now two stitches on the right needle.
6. Repeat Step 4 to pass the second stitch over the first.
7. Drop the Yarn over off the left needle and slip the next stitch to the right needle, repeating Step 4 again.
8. Continue as established, working the normal yarnless bind off except that you’re dropping all yarn-overs as you come to them.
9. When only one stitch remains, draw the working yarn through that last stitch and pull the tail to close the loop.

All of this sounds a lot harder than it is. For the yarnless bind off, you’re really just slipping stitches from one needle to the other and passing each stitch over its neighbor, and for the stretchy version, you add lots of yarn overs to the last row so that, when it’s time to start slipping stitches and passing them over their neighbors, you can drop the yarn overs making the stitches extra big.

Advertisements

I-Cord Ideas

Contributed By Karen Schrade

I-cord is a narrow knitted tube. It can be an accessory, an edging, a decoration, and so much more. It is usually made by casting on 2, 3, or 4 stitches.

Stockinet I-Cord

I-cord is made like this:

1. Cast the number of stitches called for (usually 3 or 4) onto a double-pointed needle.
2. Knit them with a second dp needle.
3. Slide them to the other end of the needle, without turning the work.
4. Bring the yarn around the back.
5. Repeat Steps 2 through 4 until you have the length called for.
6. Finish with sl1, k2tog, psso, drawing yarn through loop and fastening off.

**You don’t need double points. You can just return the stitches to your left-hand needle if you’re using “regular” straight needles.**

Reverse Stockinet I-Cord

The basic directions for I-cord make a tube with the knit side out. To make the I-cord with the purl side out:

1. Cast on 3 sts.
2. Slide to other end of dpn, or return sts to left-hand needle.
3. Pull the yarn across the front of the sts.
4. Knit 3.
5. Repeat Steps 2 through 4 until you have the length called for.
6. Finish with sl1, k2tog, psso, drawing yarn through loop and fastening off.

By pulling the yarn across the front rather than across the back, you are effectively turning the I-cord inside out.

Applied I-Cord

There are variations that allow you to knit i-cord onto another piece of knitting:

Applied I-cord is attached to an edge after the item is completed.

1. Work two rows of I-cord in the regular way.
2. For the third row, knit the first two stitches; then pick up a stitch from the garment and knit it together with the third stitch of the I-cord.
3. Repeat Row 3 along the edge of the item.
4. Either sl1, k2 tog, psso, drawing yarn through loop and fastening off, when the end of the i-cord is reached, or if working in the round, graft two ends of I-cord together.

You can use a contrasting color for your I-cord edgings.

Attached I-Cord

To attach I-cord while knitting a piece of fabric, add 3 stitches (for a 3 st I-cord) to the side(s) of the piece of fabric.

Row 1: Work to the last 3 sts (the I-cord sts), and with yarn in front, sl 3 purlwise.

Row 2: K3 (the 3 I-cord sts), work across, or if you want I-cord on both sides, to the last 3 sts, with yarn in front, sl3 purlwise.

**Wrapping the yarn clockwise, in the opposite direction from usual, on the I-cord sts makes the corded edge firm and regular.**

I-Cord in the Middle of a Row

(Ana’s addition)

You can work i-cord in the middle of a row to mark the turn in a purse or make decorative piping near a button band.

Just slip the same 2 or 3 stitches on alternate rows. For example:

Cast on 11 sts.

Row 1: P11.
Row 2: K5, kfb, k5.
Row 3: P5, sl2, p5.
Row 4: K12.
Repeat Rows 3 and 4, ending with:
Even row: K5, k2 tog, k5.
Odd row: P11.

I-Cord Cast on

Elizabeth Zimmermann’s I-cord cast on:

1. Invisibly Cast on 3 stitches.
2. Work I-Cord until you have as many “rounds” of Cord as you want stitches for the project.
3. Weave the end of the Cord to the beginning of the cord.
4. With the working yarn, Knit Up one stitch for each round of Cord.

** Ana’s note: If you don’t like picking up stitches, you can insert a skinny needle purlwise into the first stitch before working each row of i-cord. When you’re done, use the project needle to work the stitches off the skinny needle through the backs of the loops.**

I-Cord Bind Off

For a nice edge on a bind off, do an I-cord bind off.

1. With the sts to be bound off on the left-hand needle, cast on 3 extra sts.
2. For Row 1: k2, k2tog-tbl. This is the last of the 3 “extra sts” and the first of the sts to be bound off.
3. Return 3 sts to l-h needle.
4. Repeat row 1 until all sts have been “bound off”.
5. Either sl1, k2 tog, psso, drawing yarn through loop and fastening off when the end of the i-cord is reached, or graft two ends of I-cord together if working in the round.

** Ana’s note: If you want the i-cord bind off to be in a contrasting color, work the last row before the bind off in the CC. **

Three-Needle Bind off with I-Cord

You can do a 3-needle bind off with I-cord for a decorative seam, joining two pieces for a cushion cover; shoulder seams; the bottom of a bag, etc.

With your 2 pieces of knitting facing each other, right side out, cast on 2 I-cord sts.

*Knit 1, slip 1, knit together the first st of each shoulder piece, pass the slipped st over (1 st effectively bound off)*

Slip the 2 sts on the right needle back to the left and continue working from * to * until you run out of sts to be bound off.

** You can also do 3 or 4 sts for the cord. **

Double I-cord:

1. Cast on 7 stitches.
2. Knit 4. Slip the last 3 stitches purlwise with the yarn held in front. Turn .
3. Repeat Steps 1 and 2 until the double i-cord is the length you need.

Reinforced I-Cord

This method for making a strong, non-stretching I-cord came from Joan Hamer. It can be used for purse handles or anything else when you want a stiffer cord.

1. Using #4 dpn’s, cast on 3 sts. Do not turn.
2. Slide sts to the other end of the needle.
3. Hold a piece of cable cord the desired length of your I-cord in back of work, with 3-4 inches (8-10 cm) sticking up above left needle.
4. Bring working yarn underneath cable cord and knit 3 sts. Yarn will be coming from left edge of piece. Do not turn.
5. Slide sts to the other end of needle and UNDERNEATH cable cord, thus enclosing the cord inside the I-cord tube.
6. Check your work to make sure your cord is always enclosed in the tube. As you work, keep pulling a bit of cord up so that 3-4″ are always sticking out the top.
7. Continue in this manner until you have the desired length of cord. Pull down on the piece periodically to even out the gaps.
8. Finish off ends, taking yarn through the cable cord to prevent the cord from slipping, or use sewing thread to anchor them. Tie the ends together in a slip knot after threading through eyelet holes in your bag, or knit tabs to attach to bag and thread the cords through the tabs.

Joan L. Hamer Editor/Publisher Pine Meadow Knitting News http://www.fibergypsy.com/pmkn/

Square I-Cord

The directions for square i-cord are in Elizabeth Zimmermann’s book, Knitting Around, .

Just make i-cord as usual, but K1, P1, K1 rather than knitting all 3 sts.

I-cord Bobbles

From The Santa Barbara Knitting Studio & TRISH DESIGNS

1. Knit into the front, back, and front of the same stitch.
2. Slip these new stitches back to the left hand needle and knit them again.
3. Repeat Step 2 as many rows as needed.
4. Pass the 2nd and 3rd sts over the first, ending with your original stitch. You never have to turn the work, and if you pull the yarn tightly across the back the bobbles come out very rounded.
5. if you pick up the original stitch from the left edge of the bobble (right at the beginning of it), slip it onto the right hand needle and pull the new stitch off over it (as in binding off), pulling the bound off stitch tight. This closes up the back of the bobble and makes it more like a little ball.

Uses for I-cord

• I-cord can be coiled and sewn together to make coasters, placemats, hot pads, even a throw rug if you aren’t easily bored.
• I-cord works as bag handles and the ties on caps.
• I-cord can be threaded through eyelets for booties, caps, or bags.
I-cord can be used as ribbon to tie up gift packages.
• I-cord can be glued around a picture frame with perhaps a bow tied on one corner as trim.
• I-cord at the top of a cap, tied in a knot, makes a cute finish.
• I-cord in various colors can be sewn onto finished fabric for flowers, letters, etc instead of duplicate stitch.
• I-cord can be used to make a tassel as follows:

I-Cord Tassel for the Top of a Cap.

After decreasing the crown of the cap to app. 15 sts, sl all the sts onto a holder. *Taking one stitch at a time, k into the front, back, and front of the st making 3 from 1. Work I-cord for desired length, maybe 2 or 3 inches and finish off.*

Repeat for each of the sts and tie a piece of yarn around the base of the cords to complete.

Other I-Cord Projects

Soccer ball hat:

Soccer ball hat:
Referee stripes border this close-fitting cap which is adorned with a 3-dimensional soccer ball. The ball is knitted of 7 bobbles in black and white. The pattern is written for circular knitting with row-by-row instructions and sells for a modest price.

I-cord gloves:

Using Meg Swansen’s I-Cord finger technique, these gloves are started at the fingers and finished at the cuff.

Maggie’s Rags Free Knitting Patterns – Christmas Wreath Ornament

You’ll make 3 I-cords and braid them together for this little ornament.

Tutorial: Standard Bind Off

Binding off is the term used for finishing off the last row of stitches so they don’t unravel when you’re done knitting. Another term used for the same thing is casting off. Just as with casting on there are many different ways to bind off. This method is called binding off in knit. Binding off like this generally makes a tight bind off. You’ll probably want to use a needle 2 or 3 sizes larger to keep from making it too tight. You can also try to make your stitches looser as you go.

HOW TO BIND OFF

Step 1

Knit the first two stitches.

Step 2

Use the left needle tip to pick up the first stitch you knitted and draw it back over the second stitch and completely off the needle. This will leave only one stitch on the right needle. To pick up the stitch place the left needle point through the front of the stitch from left to right. The left needle tip should stay in front of the right needle. Lift the stitch up and over the stitch to the left. At the same time lift the stitch completely off the right needle while making sure the left stitch stays on the right needle.

Step 3

Knit the next stitch on the left needle. You should now have two stitches on the right needle.

Step 4

Repeat steps 2 and 3 until you have knit and bound off each stitch on the left needle. You should have only one stitch remaining on the right needle.

Step 5

Cut yarn and draw it through the last loop. Pull it snug.

CONGRATULATIONS!

You’ve bound off your work. With all the skills you have learned you can begin making things for yourself. Most people start with simple scarves and washcloths.