A new finish

With the upcoming new year, we’ll be hearing all about new beginnings, but right now I’m interested in a new finishing technique.  Namely, a new-to-me stretchy bind-off.

I finally finished the Shetland Lace Rib Socks I’ve been working at off and on since (ahem!) May.   That’s just awful.  But I have  resisted all temptation to start another pair (or two) until I  finished these.  They are KnitPicks’ Gloss, a 70% merino 30% silk yarn, in Cocoa.  That is a lovely yarn, and I highly recommend it.

Shetland Lace Rib Socks

Shetland Lace Sock Tops

Tangent Warning – Why did it take me so long to finish these?  I like the easy lace pattern, I like the yarn and the color, I definitely like the intended recipient, so what was the holdup?  I don’t have a good answer, but I wish I did.  I always like to understand why I do the things I do, or at least have a good working theory.  There was some angst about the fit, and I ripped back a bit to work on that, which could explain part of it, but I was not excited about these even before I got to that part.  Actually, I’m still a little concerned that they still might be too long, so they may end up with someone else, which means the original recipient will get to pick another yarn.  It’s all good.  Just not all fast.

Okay, back to the bind-off.  My preferred sock method (if you care to know) is toe-up, provisional cast-on of half the total stitches, short-row toe and pick up the CO stitches, then on up to a short-row heel, maybe with a few stitches added for a teeny gusset there, to be decreased away when the heel is turned.  Then up the leg until it is about as long as the foot.  I learned on, and still prefer, five double-pointed needles.  Not four.  That makes it way too tight at the corners for me!  Anyway, I’ve used and been pretty happy with Elizabeth Zimmermann’s sewn bind-off for my socks for quite some time now, but ran across this stretchy bind-off and thought I’d give it a try.

It looks a little more substantial than the sewn one, with  a more definite line of demarcation than the sewn bind-off shown on the blue sock, which just seems to fade into the ribbing.    Because of its added bulk, you can see that it flares ribbing out a bit.  But especially for socks, that’s totally immaterial – it’s the stretchy that is important.

Comparing Sock BOs

So how does it go?  The instructions I have are for K1P1 ribbing, but I’ve adapted that a bit, so here goes.  Just remember to work each stitch as it is, then do the “2tog” according to the stitch you just worked.  I hope that will make sense when you actually get to it!

For K2P2 ribbing: K2, with yarn in back, slip left needle into the front of the 2 stitches you just worked, and K2tog.
*P1, with yarn in front, slip left needle into the back of the two stitches on the right needle and P2tog.  Repeat.
K1, with yarn in back, slip left needle into the front of the two stitches on the right needle and K2tog.  Repeat.
Continue from * until all stitches have been worked, break yarn and pull through last stitch. Using a yarn needle, work in the end of the yarn.

I am confident that most of the rest of the knitting world knows all about this BO, and even knows the name for it.  But I thought I’d share it anyway.  If you do happen to know what this method is called, please leave me a comment with that bit of information.  I don’t have the time to go browsing for it just now, but would like to know!

Next up, a pair of “thank you” socks… and a pair for me, too!

And here’s something I bought a while back at The Shivering Sheep in Abilene, Kansas during the Central Kansas Yarn Shop Hop.  Dare I say that it would be a perfect last-minute stocking stuffer?

Keychain Sock Blocker

I might actually get this one finished before spring.

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