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How to Bind-off Toe-Up Socks

Why the regular bind-off method is not good for toe-up socks

When binding off a toe-up sock you need to be careful that the bind-off edge won’t end up being so tight that you cannot pull it over your heel which will be the case if you use the regular bind-off. On the other hand, you don’t want the bind-off edge to be too loose either. In my opinion for instance the Jenny’s surprisingly stretchy bind-off produces too loose of an edge for socks.

I think the easiest bind-off method for toe-up socks is the Russian also known as the elastic bind-off which is definitely stretchy enough but flares only a little. When you wear the sock you don’t even notice the flare because the socks are stretched when you wear them.

But my absolutely favorite bind-off method is the tubular bind-off that is very neat and beautiful and does not flare. The tubular bind-off method is however a bit more difficult and time consuming than the Russian bind-off.

How do you make the Russian bind-off

Work the first two stitches in pattern, then knit those stitches together through the back loop, work the next stitch in pattern and knit the worked stitches together through the back loop. Repeat until you have worked all the stitches. Cut the yarn and weave in ends carefully.

You can use smaller needles for the bind-off if you’d like to make it a bit snugger.

How do you make the tubular bind-off

1 x 1 rib

Setup round 1: *(knit 1, slip one with yarn in front) repeat from * to beginning of round.
Setup round 2: *(slip 1 with yarn in back, purl 1) repeat from * to beginning of round.
Next round: Slip each stitch purlwise, slipping the knit stitches onto the working needle and the purl stitches onto the spare needle.

Break the yarn, leaving a tail that is approximately 3 times the length of the edge. Using the Kitchener stitch graft together the stitches on the front (working) needle and back (spare) needle. A step-by-step photo tutorial available here.

You can make the tubular bind-off without a spare needle as shown in the video below:

2 x 2 rib

If you are going to make tubular bind-off for 2 x 2 rib you need to first transfer into 1 x 1 rib. See a great tutorial here.

2 Responses

  1. Thank you!! For all of this: the site, the tutorials, teaching my mom how to toe up, teaching me how to make a better heel, and more!

    One question: what do you think of the “Jen’s Surprisingly Stretchy” cast-off for socks? I do all mine toe up, and hated socks until I learned how to knit them toe-up, so I’m grateful for your sock tutorials!

    1. Hi Leah! I think that “Jen’s Surprisingly Stretchy” cast-off for socks is too loose for socks. I personally use the elastic or tubular bind-off for toe-up socks.

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