The Best Stretchy Bind-Off for Toe-Up Socks: Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off (JSSBO)

...Plus, an interview with this bind-off's inventor, Jeny Staiman.

Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off (JSSBO) on 1x1 Rib

This is an intermediate bind-off for ribbing that is super stretchy. It is not blazingly fast, but it’s faster than most of the other stretchy bind-offs out there.

This bind-off, also called JSSBO, is a heavy-duty bind-off that stretches out — yes — surprisingly far, and then, accordion-like, springs back into shape. It does this feat better than many other stretchy bind-offs, which either flare when un-stretched or stay stretched out once stretched (and nobody wants that).

Why This Is My Favorite Bind-off For Toe-up Socks

Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off (JSSBO) for 1x1 Rib on Toe-Up Socks
Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off (JSSBO) for 1x1 Rib on Toe-Up Socks

Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off is...

  • Easy to memorize
  • Easy to do
  • Stretchy
  • Fast

Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off works with 1x1 rib, 2x2 rib, or any combination of knits and purls. I'll teach you how to do JSSBO for 1x1 rib below. You can refer to JSSBO for 2x2 Rib in your I Love Bind-Offs class to learn other combinations of knit and purl.

Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off Does Leave a Visible Edge

Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off on Super-Bulky Pink Knit Socks
Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off on Super-Bulky Toe-Up Socks

At left you can see JSSBO on the super-bulky toe-up socks I make for my sister each Christmas (made with 1 skein of Malabrigo Rasta).

Like most bind-offs, JSSBO works both flat and in-the-round. I usually use it in-the-round to bind-off the tops of my toe-up socks.

The only downside/caveat is that it's not invisible - you can see the bind-off stitches. If you want a stretchy bind-off that blends in invisibly with your stitches, try the Invisible Ribbed Bind-Off for 1x1 Rib, the Tubular Bind-Off for 1x1 Rib or the Kitchener Double-Rib Bind-Off for 2x2 Rib (all included in my I Love Bind-Offs class.

You don't have to use JSSBO only on ribbing, either. Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off is one of my top choices for bind-offs for lace. It leaves a pronounced and very sturdy edge. To do JSSBO on lace, just alternate the knit and purl movements as if you are binding off on ribbing.

About Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off (JSSBO)

Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off (JSSBO) on Feather and Fan Stitch Lace
Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off (JSSBO) on Feather and Fan Stitch Lace

The thing that makes this a great bind-off is that it is a knitted bind-off. That means that, unlike sewn bind-offs, which are done with a tapestry needle and the tail yarn of your project, this bind-off is done with just your knitting needles.

That means it's fast.

The other benefit to this bind-off is that it's easy to memorize - it doesn't have a lot of steps. Once you learn it and practice it a few times, you won't have to refer back to the instructions. And if you do, I've made a JSSBO steps cheat-sheet so that you can refer back quickly and easily.

How to Do Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off (JSSBO)

Video Thumbnail
Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off

1

1st st is a K.

2

Backwards YO.

3

K1.

4

BO 1.

5

Next st is a P.

6

Regular YO.

7

P1.

8

BO 1 twice.

x2

9

Next st is a K.

10

Backwards YO.

11

K1.

12

BO 1 twice.

x2

13

Rep. steps 5-12.

14

Cut tail and pull through last loop.

15

The finished bind-off.

Keep these tips in mind as you work Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off. To keep the yarnovers from getting mixed up:

Before a Purl Stitch: REGULAR YO –>
Before a Knit Stitch: BACKWARDS YO –>

Also, use your right index finger to push the backwards yarnover loop forward to loosen it up so you can get into it to bind off.

Push the yarnover forward with your index finger.

Click image to play. If GIF doesn't play immediately when clicked, wait 20-30 seconds. Click the GIF again to stop.

Interview with JSSBO Inventor Jeny Staiman

Headshot of Knitter Jeny Staiman
JSSBO Inventor Jeny Staiman

JSSBO was published in Knitty in Fall 2009. I was so impressed with this bind-off when I discovered it that I emailed its inventor, Jeny Staiman, to ask her more about her creative process.

KnitFreedom: Your fantastically-named "Jeny's Surprisingly-Stretchy Bind-Off" is the delight of technique fanatics everywhere. How did you come to invent it?

Jeny: I was entirely dissatisfied with the range of bindoff options I was able to find. I used to go to great lengths to avoid binding off just about anything, including grafting cuffs to knitted items using knit-purl kitchener stitch. Finally I got so sick and tired of these antics that I decided I was just going to have to come up with my own. Hence JSSBO was born.

KF: Was this the first technique or article submission you had made to a major knitting publication?

Jeny: Yes.

KF: You're known in your online persona as "curiousjeny." Does curiosity give you inspiration when you are knitting and designing?

Jeny: Yes! I knit like many people cook -- I can't follow a recipe without making substitutions or trying something different. I never work on a project from start to finish without exploring various tangents along the way, which sometimes keep me occupied for weeks.

KF: No doubt being a usability researcher in "real life" has given you some opinions when it comes to knitting pattern layout and design, as well as technique illustration. What makes a knitting pattern highly "usable?"

Jeny: There's no silver bullet to making a perfect pattern, because everyone learns differently. So IMO the best way to reach the most people is to accommodate a variety of different learning styles, i.e., use written instructions AND diagrams AND videos. And I can't emphasize how important it is to put patterns through multiple rounds of test-knitting and editing by people whose skill you trust and respect.

KF: In your Ravelry profile you say that sweaters have always eluded you. Do you still think you have to knit sweaters to be a "real knitter?" Is that milestone still important to you?

Jeny: Nah. One of these days I'll feel compelled to start knitting sweaters, but until that time, I'm still having way too much fun making socks, gloves, cowls, hats (and most recently, headphone covers).

KF: Is there a technique that has always frustrated you about knitting? Have you come up with any clever workarounds?

Jeny: Yes -- short rows. If I tell you any more, I'll have to kill you. Stay tuned to the airwaves for future developments there.

KF: How can interested knitters stay in touch and learn more about you?

Jeny: My blog bas been woefully underfed since I returned to work full time, but I still stay in touch on Ravelry. I have a link to my email on my blog (jeny@curiousknitter.com) and I frequently check my Ravelry mailbox (Rav ID = curiousjeny). I make a point of returning every email I receive from other knitters!

JSSBO for 2x2 Rib and Other Knit-and-Purl Combinations

Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off (JSSBO) on 2x2 Rib
Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off (JSSBO) on 2x2 Rib

You can do JSSBO for 2x2 rib and other combinations of knit and purl stitches by following the pattern outlined above. If your next stitch is a knit stitch, do a backwards yarnover then bind off two. If your next stitch is a purl stitch, do a regular yarnover then bind off two. It's that simple!

Refer to JSSBO for 2x2 Rib in your I Love Bind-Offs class for a detailed video and photo tutorial.

Find This And 50 Other Professional Bind-offs In Our Complete Course/Video Library, "I Love Bind-Offs."

I Love Bind-Offs ebook cover"This guide makes it possible to find the perfect bind-off for any project & to approach the end of a project with confidence. Five stars. - Sarah White, Editor of About.com Knitting

Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off is included in our beloved video library, I Love Bind-Offs. Learn over 50 perfect bind-offs for your projects, including stretchy bind-offs, invisible bind-offs, decorative bind-offs, seaming bind-offs, and even buttonholes.

Check out I Love Bind-Offs here, or access it monthly with Premium Monthly for $12.99/month.

Leave a Comment

Are you already a fan of Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off? Excited to try it? Have another favorite bind-off you'd like to share? Please let me know! Leave a comment on this post.

16 thoughts on “The Best Stretchy Bind-Off for Toe-Up Socks: Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off (JSSBO)”

  1. Louise Calabrese

    Liat…………. Oh how I love your new format. Those that are just learning…… are going to benefit soooooooooooooooooo much by it. All your tips and videos are so so important to a new knitter………….and you know what…. to us old timers too.
    The stretchy bind off is without a doubt my favorite way to go. And it makes putting on the socks so easy Also helps those who have a wider foot….. ankle. Loved the intreview too. You continue to share with us……and make knitting the WONDERFUL WORLD OF KNITTING. Hugs……… n smiles, love too, Louise

  2. Anita Fuehrer

    I recently did a pair of toe up socks and ended up unraveling them and re-knitting them top down because the bind off used was impossible to get onto my foot. Yay! No more of that!

  3. Liat, as usual you have helped sooooo many people once again. Everything I have learned about knitting I have learned from you so thank you. As a matter of fact when I finish a project I actually will say “Thank you Liat”!
    Patiently waiting for more of your clever “tips and tricks “.

  4. Welcome back, Liat!!! This is the first email I’ve received from you in many months and I totally agree with you about the JSSBO. I’ve been using your free pattern for two at a time, toe up, magic loop fingering socks for several years now and I always bind off with JSSBO and love it. I’ve taken several classes from you in the past and have learned soooo much from you and your videos. Thanks for all the info you share. I look forward to hearing from you more often now that you’ve surfaced again. Aloha… Beverly Lawler

    1. Beverly! It’s great to hear from you. Thank you for commenting here. It’s so exciting to be reviving the blog once again! Your comments really help.

      I agree – JSSBO is so convenient for toe-up socks. I always turn to it when I don’t feel like doing an invisible or sewn bind-off. Thank you again, and stay tuned!

      xo
      L

  5. Mary Protheroe

    Wow.I am overcome.Your videos are still the BEST. It will take me a bit to explore the site and I will enjoy it. I continue to send all the new knitters in the Knitting for Peace group in Helena, Mt. to Knit Freedom .They never have questions after that!!!

    1. Hi Mary,
      I am so grateful to you. Thank you for your kind words and for sharing KnitFreedom with your knitting group. Wow! If there’s ever anything I can made easier for you, please let me know!

  6. Hi Liat:
    Just want to say “welcome Back” and congratulate you on your new format.
    I also want knitters who have given up on learning Magic Loop to know that your video is by far the best. I was almost ready to give it up myself when I found your video and immediately grasped the concept and have not looked back. Anyone who truly wants to learn Magic Loop only needs to follow your few steps. Thank you for your clear and precise instructions!
    – Joan Kline

    J

  7. Carol Griffen

    So happy to see your smiling face again! You are the reason I did not give up when I first started knitting. Your calm soothing voice with excellent videos helped me to stick with it. Thank You

    1. Hi Carol,
      Thank you so much for your sweet comment! I loved that you stuck with knitting and that I could help you. You know, my wonderful, sweet students are the reason I stuck with KnitFreedom when things got tough a few years ago. So thank YOU! I really can’t tell you enough how much your support means to me.
      Hugs,
      Liat

  8. How I wish you’d been around back when I was first learning to knit. However, you were around when I first learned to knit magic loop and socks, and for that I am eternally grateful. I still maintain you have the best tutorials of anyone on the net, and am always quick to point newbies your way.

    I love your new look, Liat, and am glad to be seeing more of you, as you have SO much to offer the knitting community!

    Renna

    1. Hi Renna,

      I’m so excited to hear from you! I think you were the very first person to leave a comment on my blog when it first started (can you believe it was 10 years ago?!). You have been so supportive ever since.

      I’m hoping this new website look and function is going to work great for my favorite students and any new people you point my way. Let me know how you think it should be improved!

      Big hugs,
      Liat

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