The Right Cuff

Here’s a lesson in what happens when you apply the wrong bind off to a sock knit from the toe up.

Bendigo sock - poor fitting cuff

I finished the sock when I was at the lunch time knitting group yesterday. I was in a cafe, with no needle to do the sewn bind off, which is better for the cuffs of toe up socks. I tried a different bind off and hoped for the best. This was not the best!

I used the method which makes a lovely edge but isn’t as stretchy as promised. It looked like this.

Too tight cuff

But when it came time to try it on, it wouldn’t, as you can see from the top photo, even go over my foot. Fail! This bind off was simply worked by knitting 2 stitches together through the back loop, placing the new stitch back on the left hand needle and repeating. Alternatively you can do it by not knitting through the back loop. I don’t know if this provides a more stretchy bind off. I should try it some time because going through the back loops made this tighter than even a regular bind off would.

A few minutes’ work this morning and I was right as rain.

Bendigo sock 1

There are some great demonstrations of different bind off methods in this Knitty article.

I mentioned in my last post that I’m feeling like I’ve got too many projects on the go and that I need to finish something. The way I’m planning on doing this is to set myself deadlines. I know I’m good with deadlines. I like to set myself a challenge.

For instance, I’m crocheting a Chevon Lace cardigan for my sister, Fee, at the moment. It’s been sitting at the point of division for the sleeves for seemingly weeks. I kept putting it off until I could measure it properly on Fee. Now that I’ve managed that and have passed the point of dividing for sleeves, I’m off and running. I’ve decided I’d like to have it finished by the weekend, which means focussing pretty much solely on that. It’s a fast project – the body is the crochet equivalent of solid stocking stitch. Monogamy is really the only way to go when the number of WIPs gets you down.

That said, I’m about to launch into some sewing for the morning but I’ve got stuff to prepare for my class tonight and that’s my justification!



16 thoughts on “The Right Cuff

  1. Choosing the best cast on/bind of makes SUCH a difference doesn’t it! I’ve just undone and redone the cast-off on a shrug, and in that case the tubular cast-off was too tight. Montse Stanley’s Knitter’s Handbook has a brilliant whole chapter on cast ons and offs – well worth getting the book if you haven’t already just for that chapter!

  2. I’m a recent sewn bind off convert… can’t imagine using anything else for toe up socks now. Especially for my Dad, who has often voiced his concerns about tight sock cuffs over the years.

    Completely agree on monogamy when it comes to finishing off WIPs. Once I knocked over the big pile of WIPs I had going a couple of years ago, I restricted myself to two WIPs at any one time (the theory being one for commuting, one for home). I feel a lot more productive as a result!

  3. I always knit socks toe-up (because I hate anything to do with sewing or sewing up) and I use Jeni’s surprisingly stretchy bind-off and it works for me every time. Cat Bordhi’s video is great.

  4. i love that you share your setbacks as well as your triumphs! the socks look lovely too, well rescued. unusually for me, i’ve had a bit of a cast-on frenzy too, so much i want to knit, so little time! and you’ve reminded me that i really like the chevron cardigan …

  5. Love the colors of your socks. I use the same stretchy bind off (k2tog tbl) & it works all the time. The only difference is I use a bigger size needle (3.25mm) when casting off compared to the 2.5mm that I use to knit the sock.

  6. I’ve done a crocheted version of that bind-off, but I made an extra loop before each stitch in order to get it stretchy enough.

    My favorite is the Kitchener bind-off: I K1, P1 the last row, and take the knits and purls each onto their own needle so it’s more like grafting. It took me some practice and a lot of ripping back to learn to do it, but I love the way it looks like the knitting magically ends at the cuff.

  7. I had the same problem with my first toe up sock. Sigh. I hate undoing bind-offs! But yay for you, you did it!

    I must try Jeny’s SS bind off one day.

  8. Having encountered this exact same problem I fear the only suitable toe up bind off is a sewn one. I am yet to rectify my problem cuff. Sigh. Yours looks lovely now tho.

  9. I have cast of with p2tog put the stitch back on the lh needle then repeat, but I usually do cuff down, so I avoid the problem!! Nice wool!!!

  10. Have you tried Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bindoff? It was introduced last September in Knitty but I learned it at Sock Summit from Jeny herself in Cat Bordhi’s class. Ingenious, and very stretchy.

    Cat has a video for it, which may be more intuitive for you than written instructions:

    So many ways to get knitting done; I love that!

  11. Ouch, that does look like a really tight bind off! You know how sometimes instructions will say to bind off with a larger needle in order to keep it loose? I’ve discovered that if I do that, I don’t pay attention to binding off loosely enough, and I end up with a tighter bind off than I would if I just used the regular needle and did it nice & loose. It’s like I subconsciously think the larger needle will take care of it all. Not really related to your bind off problems but just felt like sharing! Glad you could fix it relatively easily!

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