Tuesday Tip – Keeping Track of Bind Off
Over the years I’ve talked a lot about “Reading Your Knitting”, as well as knitting tricks to make your life easier. I’ve written about how to keep track of your rows, how to keep track of your cast on, how to keep track of your cable rows, today’s “how to keep track of” is is about your bind off.
It’s happened to all of us, we are binding off a bunch of stitches and suddenly wonder, “how many have I done?”
How Many Stitches Have I Bound Off?
First let’s get a few basics out of the way.
- When doing a tradition pass over bind off, you knit 2 stitches and then pass the first stitch over the second. This counts as ONE stitch bound off.
- This is also one stitch worked after the bind off . . . so, if you are binding off in the middle of the row and you are supposed to have 20 stitches remaining, you will have 19 on your left needle and one on your right needle since you have already knit that stitch.
So looking at this process of knitting and passing over, what you get on your needles looks something like this:
Yes, it’s all well and good to say, just count them as you pass over, but sometimes the phone rings, the TV show gets good, or our minds wander. It happens.
So here are two easy ways to “read” your bind off.
1) Count the Braids
Each “braid” is a stitch lying down on it’s side. You’ll notice two things when counting the braids:
- The edge stitch looks like it’s pulling in a bit, because it is. Because stitches are shorter than they are wide (think of an average gauge, 18 st + 24 rows), when it lies on it’s side to wrap around the next stitch, it will pull in a bit, hence it being difficult to “bind off loosely.”
- The last braid will have a stitch coming out of it.
Sometimes with dark yarn or fuzzy yarn you might have trouble seeing the braid. So, tip #2:
2) Count the Columns of Stitches
With this method of reading you’ll notice two things:
- The edge stitch will roll in. Make sure you unroll that edge to count the first column of stitches.
- The first “unbound off” column of stitches will be the one that is coming out of the last braid.
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