I’m so excited about bind-offs for lace right now.
While I was studying for the I Love Bind-Offs ebook (more about that below), I solved a problem that I didn’t even realize that I had, which was that that I never really gave a thought about how to bind-off for lace.
I had the feeling I wasn’t the only one.
To make sure, I checked the 20 most popular lace scarf patterns on Ravelry.
ZERO patterns gave specific advice about bind-offs. “Bind off loosely,” was as good as it got.
Most of the patterns forget to tell you to bind off at all! Clearly, people aren’t thinking about bind-offs when they are thinking lace. Why not?
My theory: When you’re knitting a lace project, you spend hours and hours painstakingly following a complicated pattern to make your beautiful piece.
By the time you get to the end, you just want to finish. And why shouldn’t you? We don’t get any guidance otherwise.
BUT: The problem is that when you just use a regular bind-off on lace, it’s not stretchy enough.
I know, stretchiness isn’t top-of-mind when you think about lace. It’s not like the cuff of a mitten where you need it to stretch out and stretch back.
Lace makes open, airy, flat designs, but the only reason they get to be open and airy and flat is because after you knit them, you BLOCK THEM.
You soak them, you squeeze them, you stretch them, you pin the edges into points, all so that you can see the beautiful pattern that the lace creates.
And here’s where the bind-off is key because the bind-off has to be able to take all this abuse. And only a STRETCHY bind-off has what it takes.
A Stretchy Bind-Off Is Best For Perfect Lace Projects
A standard bind-off is just too firm to use as a bind-off on lace. That’s why patterns tell you to “bind off loosely” — they’re trying to compensate for lack of stretch by making the loops larger. But I have a better solution for you.
A word of caution, though: a bind-off that’s too stretchy will make a weird flare along the edge. The last thing you want on a beautiful lace project is to have an edge that looks stretched or wider than the whole project.
And don’t forget the clock! When binding off lace, you’re usually dealing with a ton of teeny-tiny stitches. Whatever bind-off you use, it can’t be slow, because you’ll be at it for a while.
I decided my students shouldn’t have to settle for less-than-perfect bind-offs, and so in order to find solutions to this problem, I sacrificed a bunch of my lace projects in progress (believe me, they weren’t going anywhere).
I divided each lace project into two or three sections and did a different “stretchy” bind-off on each one, and then I blocked them and took pictures and decided for myself which ones work the best — and what I consider my favorite option.
The three winning bind-offs I found were the Frilled Standard Bind-Off, which I am going to teach you today, and the Picot Chain Bind-Off and Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off (JSSBO), both of which I teach you in I Love Bind-Offs.
The Winner: The Frilled Standard Bind-Off, An Easy and Perfect Fit
My favorite bind-off for lace, the Frilled Standard Bind-off, was actually not in any of the books I studied as a suggested lace bind-off. But it turned out to be the all-around winner for ease, speed, and stretch.
This bind-off is stretchy enough that you can block it and stretch it, but it’s not so wide that it will look stretched out. And, not only does it fit perfectly with scalloped and straight edges, it also comes darn close to matching the wrong side of the Long-Tail Cast-On.
Learn the Frilled Standard Bind-Off
Frilled Standard Bind-Off: Video
Tip – many readers have asked what needles I’m using in the video and photos. I’m using my favorites: Signature Needle Arts needles. I recommend the Stiletto Tip.
Frilled Standard Bind-Off: Step-by-Step Instructions
K1 but don’t drop the st off the L needle
BO 1. Loop remains on L needle
K into the loop that’s still on the L needle
Repeat steps 2-5
The finished bind-off. Frill!
This Tutorial Is Part Of “I Love Bind-Offs” — Available Now!
Rated 5 Stars on About.com!
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Leave A Comment
Thank you for all your lovely comments last week! I hope you’ve all tried last week’s tip and you have a lace project on which to try this week’s hypothesis — that the Frilled Standard Bind-Off is the best there is for lace.
And what do you think of the new icons? Big enough? Helpful?
I love to hear all your thoughts, stories, and feedback. I answer as many comments as I can on the day of publication, so if you have a question for me, ask it today!