Everything you need to know about Elizabeth Zimmerman’s sewn bind-off in knitting
Are you looking for a super simple yet super stretchy way to finish your knitting? Well, then you absolutely need to try the sewn bind-off. While it does indeed use a tapestry needle (and many knitters don’t really like them) it’s just a simple 2-step repeat. There’s absolutely nothing to worry about.
This bind-off was first popularized by Elizabeth Zimmerman but is now a main staple among passionate knitters. Like many of her other un-ventions, it’s perfectly suitable for beginners since it’s just so simple and easy to remember.
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- Break the yarn leaving a tail that is at least 3-4 times as long as your project is wide stretched out.
- Thread the tail on a tapestry needle and go through the first two stitches on your needle as if to purl (so from right to left).
- Next, pull the tapestry needle only through the first stitch knitwise.
- Drop the first stitch off the needle.
Note: You can combine step 3+4 and drop the stitch as you pull through.
- Go through the (new) first two stitches purlwise.
- Repeat steps 3-5 (so pull the needle through only the first stitch knitwise and drop it as you go, etc).
You can control the stretchiness of this edge yourself. The tighter you pull after each pass, the less stretchy your edge will be. Under normal circumstances, no loops should bunch out from your edge, though.
How stretchy is the sewn bind-off?
This method to cast-off stitches is quite stretchy. It’s typically around 20-25 percent stretchier than a standard bind-off. Do, however, keep in mind that the resulting edge will largely depend on your sewing tension. The tighter you pull after each stitch, the less give will the finished bind-off have.
Now, you might also be wondering if you can use this method for other knitting stitch patterns. Can you also use it to bind off a rib stitch in an invisible way?
The answer is yes and no. You absolutely can use the sewn bind-off for any knitting stitch pattern using the exact same repeat. However, if you want to create an in-pattern edge, then you would have to pick a different technique – typically a grafting technique like the tubular bind-off will be needed.