A step-by-step tutorial (+video) on knitting Jeny’s surprisingly stretchy bind-off the continental way – perfect for rib stitches.
Are you looking for a super stretchy bind-off to finish your ribbings? Did you notice that your cuffs or hems always lack that little bit of extra give whenever you use your standard method? Then I’m sure you will find Jeny’s surprisingly stretchy bind-off a lovely alternative.
It was first popularized by Jeny Staiman in 2009 and quickly gained popularity in the knitting community. It is reasonably easy to knit, stretchy (as the name would suggest), doesn’t flare out all that much, and is very versatile. You can basically use it for any knit-purl combination, though it is typically used for ribbing.
I personally am not that happy with the name. I would argue that knitting techniques should have descriptive and systematic names (like the equally as stretchy yarn over bind-off). Double-decrease bind-off would thus be a better name. Less confusing for beginners if you ask me.
Either way, let’s knit it together the continental way.
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- Start with a backward yarn over (so you wrap the yarn around the needle clockwise, instead of the usual counter-clockwise).
- Knit one stitch.
- Pass the second stitch (the yarn over) over the first one and drop it off the needles.
- Add a regular yarn over.
- Purl one stitch. You should now have three stitches on your right needle.
- Pass the second stitch over the first stitch on the right needle and drop it off the needles.
- Pass the last stitch over the first stitch and drop it off the needles as well. Essentially you are knitting a double decrease here.
- Add a backward yarn over.
- Knit one stitch. You should be back to three stitches on your right needle again.
- Pass the second, and then the third stitch over the first one, and drop both off the needle the way you did before.
- Continue repeating steps 4-10 to knit Jeny's surprisingly stretchy bind-off.
If your pattern starts with a purl stitch, then you have to start this bind-off with a regular yarn over followed by a purl stitch. As I said in the introduction, the idea is knitting every stitch the way it appears according to the following system:
Instructions for the 2×2 rib stitch
Jeny’s surprisingly stretchy bind-off is also a favorite for a 2×2 rib stitch. The technique is the exact same but I thought a lot of readers might benefit from having the written instructions just in case. My swatch starts with two knit stitches and then you can finish your project as follows:
- Step 1: Start with a backward yarn over.
- Step 2: Knit one stitch.
- Step 3: Pass the second stitch over & drop it off the needle.
- Step 4: Add a backward yarn over.
- Step 5: Knit one stitch (3 stitches on the needle).
- Step 6: First, pass the second stitch over the first one and drop it off the needle. Then pass the last stitch over the first one and drop it as well.
- Step 7: Add a yarn over.
- Step 8: Purl one stitch (3 stitches on the needle).
- Step 9: Pass over and drop the second and third stitch on the right needle.
- Step 10: Add a yarn over.
- Step 11: Purl one stitch (3 stitches on the needle).
- Step 12: Pass over and drop the second and third stitch.
- Repeat steps 1-12 over and over again until you reached the desired length
Again, the trick really boils down to understanding that you simply have to add a backward yarn over before every knit stitch and a standard yarn over before every purl stitch (read this article if you have problems telling the difference between knit and purl stitches & how to read your knitting).
Do note, however, that there is also a special stretchy bind-off for the 2×2 rib stitch you might want to check out instead. Both methods are entirely valid and I leave it up to you and your preferences/pattern to pick the one that works best for you.