Garter stitch may well be the perfect knitted fabric. Anyone can do it, it can help you meet handsome strangers, and looks great coming and going.
But let’s face it — on garter stitch, a regular bind-off never seems to cut it.
The fabric spreads out more than Stockinette stitch, but doesn’t bounce back in like ribbing, plus you’ve got those horizontal bumps to try to match.
A regular bind-off just makes a pulled-in, inflexible edge. Ick!
Now, with more than 40 perfect bind-offs at my disposal, I set out to find THE bind-off that I would use on every Garter-stitch project from now on.
I decided the ideal bind-off would be:
. . . .— stretchy but not too stretchy
. . . .— a good match to the horizontal bumps
. . . .— fast and easy
I picked the three bind-offs out of my upcoming ebook that I thought would work the best. They are shown at left.
All three turned out to be great choices!
Picking a Winner
I would be hard pressed to pick a favorite from among my top three choices. I know that for any project over 60 stitches wide, I would choose the fastest one: the Icelandic bind-off, which is what I’m going to teach you today.
The Icelandic bind-off (shown at left) is faster because it is done “on the needles” as opposed to sewn with a tapestry needle.
For any long-edged Garter-stitch project like the Color Affection shawl that’s so popular on Ravelry (pictured below), I recommend this excellent bind-off.
It matches the fabric almost perfectly, and is strong, stretchy, and sturdy — just what the doctor ordered.
For Long Swaths of Garter Stitch, The Icelandic Bind-Off Is Perfect
See for yourself! I’ll teach you the quick and easy Icelandic Bind-Off below, and you can try it on a swatch of Garter stitch and see what you think.
For a narrow project (less than 50 stitches or so), I recommend the Latvian bind-off. An easy sewn bind-off, it makes a soft and stretchy line of V’s on the right side (and matches the Long-Tail cast-on).
Runner Up: The Latvian Bind-Off —
A smooth and stretchy sewn bind-off. Find it in I Love Bind-Offs, coming March 8th.
On the other side of the garter stitch, it blends in completely. It’s also super stretchy. And, if you get a rhythm going, it can be relatively fast for a sewn bind-off.
A Perfect Match
My third choice for Garter-stitch bind-off is the EZ sewn bind-off, which matches the Garter stitch fabric and stretchiness the best of all three choices.
Third Place: EZ Sewn Bind-Off —
A perfectly-matching bind-off for beginners, coming March 8th in I Love Bind-Offs.
The only drawback is that it’s a little slow (because it’s a sewn bind-off) and it’s not as easy to get into a rhythm as on the Latvian bind-off. It may also be hard to get your tension perfect right off the bat.
Try It For Yourself
The best way to see what bind-off is your favorite is to do a sampler and try all three. In my upcoming ebook, I Love Bind-Offs, I give you directions for how to make samplers for each category of bind-off, so you can learn and compare many bind-offs at once.
Learn the Icelandic Bind-Off
This is a medium-speed, stretchy bind-off that’s good for intermediate knitters. It’s one of the stretchiest of the standard bind-offs. Amazing for garter stitch, as discussed above.
Tip: You can use the Icelandic Bind-off on any fabric, not just Garter stitch. Try it on Stockinette – it will make a pretty little rolled edge.
Icelandic 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, which I’ve collected over many birthdays. Make sure to get the Stiletto Tip.
Icelandic Bind-Off: Step-by-Step Instructions
With R needle, reach through 1st st purlwise.
Catch front loop of 2nd st.
Draw 2nd st through 1st st.
Wrap your yarn to knit. Pull yarn through.
Complete the K stitch.
Move st back to L needle.
Repeat steps 1-6 across row.
Cut yarn and pull through last st.
Icelandic Bind-Off: Tips and Tricks
One thing to help you do this bind-off faster is to get into a rhythm.
Don’t be afraid to stretch the stitches as you do them so that you can get into a rhythm and make sure that the bind-off comes out nice and even. If your tension varies a lot you’ll notice the bind-off won’t look as nice.
To go faster: when you put the stitch back on the left needle, leave the right needle-tip inserted in the stitch.
You will already be in position to catch the front loop of the second stitch and start the movement again.
Also, make sure to push each completed stitch onto the barrel of the R needle, even if only briefly, before you pass it back to the left-hand needle.
This will keep the stitches from getting too tight.
Icelandic Bind-Off: Animated Demo
This Tutorial Is Part Of “I Love Bind-Offs” — Available Now!
Rated 5 Stars on About.com! Learn More
- Frilled Standard Bind-Off: Best Bind-Off for Lace
- How to Neaten the Last Stitch of Your Bind-Off: Flat Knitting
- How to Neaten the Last Stitch of Your Bind-Off: Round Knitting
- 5 Ways to Fix a Too-Tight Bind-Off
- What I Learned From Knitting 200 Bind-Offs
- What All the Bind-Offs Look Like: A Bind-Off Extravaganza
Leave A Comment
What’s the last project that you did in Garter stitch? Were you happy with the bind-off you used? Can you suggest anything to our readers?
Or were you, like me, doomed to never be happy with your Garter-stitch bind-offs (until now!)?
Leave a comment below and let me know.