A Bind Off Study

Over the weekend, I finished my latest Hitchhiker Scarf.  As the bind off row approached, I was absolutely, 100%, without a doubt certain I would lose this round of yarn chicken.

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There’s just no way that is enough yarn.  I’ve done this enough times that I’m comfortable giving it the eyeball and I’m usually right.  I did what I normally do, ignored all evidence and moved forward.   I knew it was going to end poorly.  I don’t know why I moved forward.  I just did.

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and it worked out okay!?!  I’m still shocked over how much yarn I had left.  It just does not compute!

I used the Icelandic Bind Off here.  It continues to be my Bind Off Of The Year (Or BOOTY for short!)  It got me thinking about bind offs in terms of yardage.  Obviously, if I had used Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off, I would have used more yarn but I’ve sworn off JSSBO.  I don’t typically need a bind off to stretch, I just don’t want it to be tight.  For me, JSSBO is overkill most of the time.

As I seriously scrutinized this minute detail, it was a good time to pull out my newly acquired copy of Principles of Knitting.  I found it for $3 at a used book sale!  I was pretty stoked, it was the one book I was looking for!  Yippee!

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Turns out, it says nothing about the relative yardages of different bind offs and it doesn’t even mention the bind offs I use most.  (Now I’m wondering what the updated edition says…so much for this reference book answering questions!  LOL!)

With no help there, I decided to simply collect my own data.  I grabbed the nearest yarn & needles.  Worsted weight on a size 4.  I cast on what seemed like a decent amount of stitches, turned out to be 32.  I knit a few rows and then I bound off.  I marked the beginning and end of the bind off, ripped it out and measured.  I repeated this 5 times for each bind off.

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I started with the basic PSSO bind off, that would be the standard by which all others are judged.  I had certain expectations.  Turns out, they were wrong.  Theories are lovely but until they are reduced to practice, they’re only theories!  (apparently my inner scientist really wants to go back to work!)

In addition to the PSSO standard, I also tested the Icelandic Bind Off, the K2Tog tbl Bind Off and the (new to me) SSK Bind off.  I wanted to include JSSBO but I got sick of the experiment before then (and obviously, you’re adding a yarn over between each stitch so, it must use more yardage.  This may, in fact, be the most flawed part of the experiment but we’ll never know.)

I expected the K2Tog tbl and SKK to be the same.  I thought the Icelandic Bind Off would be the biggest yarn hog and the PSSO method would be the most conservative.

The Results:  They’re all exactly the same.  D’oh.  The PSSO Bind Off actually had the highest average, but the differences were insignificant across the board.

And so, when faced with a daunting round of yarn chicken, my go-to bind offs are pretty much identical.  Now I know…knowledge is power!

I feel like sewn bind offs are the next step.   I’m not a fan but It seems like they can accomplish a nice edge with less yardage??  Maybe I’ll suck it up and do a few swatches.  Any excuse to crack open my new Principles of Knitting!

 

11 thoughts on “A Bind Off Study

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