Binding off

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We’re often admonished by a designer to bind off loosely. Pictured above is a modified three needle BO, but as I kept pulling it too tight I moved to a hook to keep it moving along since I kept dropping it as I went along. Going up a needle size may help in loosening up a BO, but there is a (by far) more important concept to grasp that seems to be missed by many knitters. Simply making sure you aren’t pulling on the yarn already used, as if you were tightening up a stitch, is where the important trick really is. You should ONLY be pulling from the working yarn. When making new stitches this is a pretty easy thing to do, the worked stitches can’t get excessively tight because they are still on a needle holding them in place. Once you get to working a BO and those stitches don’t have the prop in place, it’s amazingly easy for the work to dangle and pull on the bound off stitches – pulling them tighter than any of the stitches in the main piece.
In the pictured piece I had to pick up a stitch, bind it off with a live stitch, and allow for stretch in the adjacent 1×1 ribbing. In order to combat the pull I added an extra yarn over for each stitch. This made sure there was more than enough yarn behind each one to pull from as it tried to pull taunt, and allowed for extra stretch with the ribbing.
I hope that made sense.
Maybe later I’ll tackle why going up a needle size won’t help (honestly) with casting on loosely when using the long tail cast on and variants.

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