Tutorial: Invisible Sewn Bind-Off in Pattern

The Invisible Sewn Bind-Off is a little known, but incredibly awesome, bind-off. It’s similar to Elizabeth Zimmerman’s sewn bind-off, but I find it easier and more adaptable. One of my favorite things about this technique is that it can be used to bind off “in pattern.” This means knit stitches get bound-off knit-wise, and purl stitches get bound-off purl-wise. As if that wasn’t exciting enough, it’s also incredibly stretchy and will not cause your cast-off edge to curl. What is not to love!

The technique often elicits eye squints and lip biting the first few minutes, but once you understand the technique, it becomes very easy to memorize and goes fairly quickly. Essentially, the second stitch from the right determines how you will bind off the first stitch on your needle (i.e. the stitch sitting at the end, waiting to be safely wrapped and finished off). Whatever the second stitch is, you will do the opposite of that to that second stitch, then you will do the opposite of that to the first stitch. Clear as mud, right? Just follow along with a project in hand and I promise it will all work out.

1. Measure out a length of yarn three times the length of your cast-off edge. Do this by wrapping your yarn loosely around the length (or circumference) of the edge to be cast-off, then measure this length out twice more. I always add a few extra inches for good measure.

2. Thread the tail into a tapestry needle. With working yarn on left needle and right side facing you, begin the following sewn stitch pattern.

If the second stitch from the right is a knit, then:

* pass the tapestry needle (from front to back) purlwise through the second stitch

* then pass the tapestry needle (from front to back) knitwise through the first stitch, slipping it off the knitting needle

If the second stitch from the right is a purl, then:

* pass the tapestry needle (from front to back) knitwise through the second stitch

* then pass the tapestry needle (from front to back) purlwise through the first stitch, slipping it off the knitting needle

So easy!

(Photos or video tutorial coming soon).

This bind-off is ideal for cable work, for 1 x1 ribbing, 2 x 2 ribbing, or when you need a stretchy bind-off for fingerless gloves and socks. It is featured in the Whitman Fingerless Mitts pattern.

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