A step-by-step tutorial on knitting the yarn over bind-off to create a super stretchy edge – perfect for cuffs & hems.
Are you looking for a simple knitting technique that creates a very stretchy edge? Maybe you are currently knitting a shawl or some toe-up socks and you realized a standard bind-off just doesn’t work? Well, then the yarn over bind-off might be exactly what you are looking for.
It’s super easy to knit. Basically, it boils down to adding a yarn over in between each stitch of the edge and thereby adding a little bit of extra fabric so your edge ends up super stretchy and neat.
Let’s dive right into it!
Note: I earn a small commission for purchases made through links in this article.
Instructions: How to knit a yarn over bind-off
This stretchy bind-off is a simple variation of the standard technique any beginner will learn. You only need two add two easy steps to the repeat.
- Knit two stitches as normal.
- Pass the second stitch over the first one on the right needle and drop it off the needle. Until now, there is literally no difference compared to a standard bind-off.
- Add a simple yarn over (and maybe secure it with your right index finger if you are a continental knitter).
- Pass the new second stitch over the yarn over you just created.
- Knit one stitch and repeat steps 2-4 until you reached the desired length. You always alternate between casting off one stitch from the original edge and one yarn over.
You can use this same technique to bind-off in pattern. Instead of knitting the next stitch, you can also purl it before you add the yarn over.
Also, if you feel this bind-off is a bit too stretchy or flares out too much, do consider placing a yarn over only every second or third stitch. That way, you can manage the stretchiness according to the requirements of your project!
I personally feel that the yarn over bind-off creates a very neat edge. You will, however, also notice that it flares out a bit. So, definitely do keep that in mind (but less so than the stretchy bind off for the 2×2 rib stitch). I don’t think it actually matters when you are using it for a hem or a cuff. Typically these sections of your knitting are under stress and work with negative ease anyway.
But, let’s suppose you are knitting a scarf or so, then it will quickly become very noticeable and possibly even distracting. Here, other stretchy bind-off techniques (like Jeny’s surprisingly stretchy bind-off might be the better choice).
4 thoughts on “How to knit the yarn over bind-off”
This looks like just the thing for a pair of socks for someone I know who has to deal with swollen ankles–but enjoys warm wool socks–so thank you! I’ll be using it soon 🙂
Is there a matching cast on
Not that I know of, Joan.
I found this to be a wee bit awkward at first but I love the result!! Thanks also, to your comment about skipping a yarn-over now and then, I don’t get concerned of I lose my place.