One of my pet peeves with top-down knitting (or toe-up for socks) is the bind-off never seems organic to the piece being made. This is the area that would be the cast-on from the bottom in a traditionally pieced sweater and I’ve never really been satistfied with the edge at the very last when knitting from the top. Other knitters seem to struggle with this as well – I get a lot of emails about hem trouble – too tight, flipping, generally misbehaving…
So, while I had the opportunity, I reached out to my fab knitting friends on Facebook and got some great solutions for a stretchy ending — SOS: hey lace knitters – what’s the best non-tight bind-off for curvy lace?
I ended up using a Knitted Lace Bind-off as demonstrated in this video by the lovely Miriam Felton:
This produces a nice stretchy edge – but too stretchy at first due to the inelasticity of the cotton/alpaca blend yarn I was using. So, I went down a needle size and VOILA!
A very nice finish – rather organic, methinks – the bind-off now flexibly follows the natural curve the lace wants to make and maintains the proper dimension of the hem itself.
To make sure, it was time for another fit session on the my new adjustable mannequin.
This time however, I’ve dressed the form to give it a neat base-appearance. The exposed dials (and gaps) were driving me crazy! My measurements cusp the largest dial settings available on this model. The mannequins are offered in two ranges – medium or large – and I bought one from the medium range.
So, when it was fully set to match my dimensions, there was significant space at all adjustable points. This actually doesn’t interfer with the performance of the mannequin but really was a visual distraction for me.
Using a thin-gauge knit tank top and skirt, the fit mannequin now has a smoooooth “shell” that also is approximately what I might be wearing when I slip on my new sweater. :)
Emboldened by my success with the hem bind-off, I decided to go for broke when I was finishing the neckband.
But the Knitted Lace Bind-off I used on the bottom edge was too stretchy for this area —
Taking a cue from other cardigan finishing I’ve done when working on a horizontal band, I bound off my edge ribwise: K1, p1, pass first stitch over second, across.
It was lovely! And just stretchy enough! Not sure how this would work on other yarns but it blended in really well with the established pattern of the band itself.
And there’s something about two wins – made me go crazy fast on the first sleeve – and now am about 1/3 done with the second.
Using a Magic Loop on this one – teflon coated 29″ needles with a skinny, skinny cable. zoom