How to knit the yarn over bind-off

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.

close up of the yarn over bind off edge on a wooden table

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!

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Instructions: How to knit a yarn over bind-off

someone showing how stretchy the yarn over bind off is

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.

Active Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes

Instructions

  1. Knit two stitches as normal.

    starting the yarn over bind off with two knit stitches
  2. 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.

    passing the second stitch over the first on as normal
  3. Add a simple yarn over (and maybe secure it with your right index finger if you are a continental knitter).

    adding a simple yarn over to the needles
  4. Pass the new second stitch over the yarn over you just created.

    passing the new second stitch over the yarn over
  5. 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.

    repeating the steps over and over again for the yarn over bind off

Notes

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.

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.

someone showing the super stretchy yarn over bind off

But, let’s suppose you are knitting a scarf or so, then it will quickly become very noticeable and possibly even distracting. Here, other bind-off techniques (like Jeny’s surprisingly stretchy bind-off might be the better choice).

Anyway, that’s how to knit the yarn over bind-off. Comment below in case you have any further questions.

how to knit the yarn over bind off - a step-by-step tutorial for beginners

1 thought on “How to knit the yarn over bind-off”

  1. 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 🙂

    Reply

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