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.


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.


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!


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.


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!


Stuff on my Cat


stuff on my cat knitted toys rebecca danger itty bitty bat

Of all the ridiculous things I’ve done in my time (Hello knit portrait of Bill Murray!), I’ve never submitted a photo to Stuff on my Cat.  I think I’ve found a new mission in life!   I’m envisioning the scene from ET when he uses stuffed animal camouflage to hide.

Rocky isn’t convinced yet but I think I can win him over with the power of knitting and an assist from Rebecca Danger!  Clearly, I’ve got my work cut out for me!  Today, I’ve got twice as many critters as I did yesterday…so I’m making progress!

stuff on my cat fractional fish rebecca danger knitting

This little swimmer is the Fractional Fish from Rebecca Danger’s 50 Yards of Fun.  Yay Stashbusting!   And three cheers for instant gratification knitting!

Once the instant gratification bug hits, there’s not much to be done except ride it out.  I think it’s going to be another hat binge.  This blog has operated for 28 days without a finished hat!?!  It’s time.

hat band ribbing yarn chicken spiral pooling

So I jumped in with both needles!  It took about two inches for reality to set in.  The yarn will absolutely win this round of yarn chicken so I quit while I was ahead.  I ripped it off the needles but couldn’t bring myself to undo it.  At least, not yet.  I really like the way the variegation is pooling & spiraling, maybe I’ll find a way to salvage it!   In the meantime, the needles are clicking away on this…

yarn bowl fogknits hand dyed yarn ribbing hat

…definitely enough yarn this time!  This is some of the yarn my Mom dyed for me.  I think the ‘special occasion’ I’ve been saving it for is finally here!  I’ve got an idea.  It’s a good one.  It involves surface crochet?!?  I rely on duplicate stitch too much.  It’s time for something new!

Fingers crossed that I’ll have something noteworthy to share for FO Friday!  I’m excited about this one!


The Doodler: Clue 3 (In Which Improvising Goes Awry)

I expected to have Clue 3 done by today.  As usual, Stephen had different plans.  This is all the progress I’ve got to show for my weekend.


Wedge 1 is complete!  I’m calling that a win for the moment!  Now how to proceed?   Wedge 1 has left me with 70 g of a 100 g skein, meaning Wedge 1 used 30 g.  We all know these wedges grow…I am doubtful that 70 g is enough to complete 2 more wedges.


I thought, perhaps, I could stretch my yardage by adding a stripe of Color B between wedges.  It’s still a solid plan.  Unfortunately, my execution left something to be desired.  I put my stripe on the wrong side…I had unsightly purl bumps.  I usually wave off ‘mistakes’ and embrace ‘design features’ but this was too much.  Purl bumps are just TOO offensive.  So I set about to tink back two 500+ stitch rows.   It’s taken days.  There may have even been a trip to the timeout corner.  I stopped short of corporal punishment, though.  That wouldn’t have benefitted anyone.

So, new plan…knit until I run out, add more colors as necessary.  Rainbow stripes are the best design feature ever, anyhow!


The Stripe Goes On

Two days off sounds like a lot.  Turns out, it’s not!  At least not when you’re cramming all the abandoned weekday chores, an entire week of social visits and as much knitting as possible into those two days.  I’ve got some stripes to show for my weekend efforts though…


I’m happy about them which is a good thing.  I can now direct all my attention to the never-ending will I have enough yarn question.


That green ball is shrinking at an alarming rate!  I’ve got 18 stripes (or 36 rows) left.  It doesn’t look to bad but looks can be deceiving.   The center of that ball is hollow.  Earlier in the project I center pulled for a bit.  It’s officially mantra time.  At least the rows are getting shorter. At least the rows are getting shorter.  At least the rows are getting shorter.  At least the rows are getting shorter.  At least the rows are getting shorter.

Lost at Yarn Chicken, Again!

For the second time this project, I have knit as fast as I possibly can and my yarn did not get any longer.  WTH?  I thought that worked!?!  The good news is, I don’t think it matters.  I lost at yarn chicken.  Big whoop.  I’m used to it by now!  IMG_4169

Not only was I about six rows short, I stopped mid row.  And you can’t really tell!  I’m very pleased with myself for just moving on!  I’ve been on the brink of becoming a perfectionist.  Glad to see I haven’t gone over that edge, yet!


The thing is…this is becoming a habit.  I’m only 2 ridges into my next wedge and I’m worried that it’s now time to run out of green.  This shawl is rapidly approaching shlanket stage (half shawl, half blanket!) so… Yarn Chicken:  Round 3!


I think I’ve learned my lesson!  I’m prepared this time!  I’ve still got lots of yellow and a tiny bit of dark grey!  and they have a great contrast gradient in a black & white photo.


I’m not even gonna worry, I’m going straight for the stripes this time!  I’ll save the worry for the yellow i-cord bind off I’ve got planned!  Despite the fact that it hasn’t worked yet, I plan to knit as fast as possible!  And I’ve got two whole days off this weekend!  That’s soooo much knitting time!  I can’t wait!