The Best Stretchy Bind-Off for Toe-Up Socks: Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off (JSSBO)
...Plus, an interview with this bind-off's inventor, Jeny Staiman.
This is an intermediate bind-off for ribbing that is super stretchy. It is not blazingly fast, but it’s faster than most of the other stretchy bind-offs out there.
This bind-off, also called JSSBO, is a heavy-duty bind-off that stretches out — yes — surprisingly far, and then, accordion-like, springs back into shape. It does this feat better than many other stretchy bind-offs, which either flare when un-stretched or stay stretched out once stretched (and nobody wants that).
Why This Is My Favorite Bind-off For Toe-up Socks
Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off is...
Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off works with 1x1 rib, 2x2 rib, or any combination of knits and purls. I'll teach you how to do JSSBO for 1x1 rib below. You can refer to JSSBO for 2x2 Rib in your I Love Bind-Offs class to learn other combinations of knit and purl.
Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off Does Leave a Visible Edge
Like most bind-offs, JSSBO works both flat and in-the-round. I usually use it in-the-round to bind-off the tops of my toe-up socks.
The only downside/caveat is that it's not invisible - you can see the bind-off stitches. If you want a stretchy bind-off that blends in invisibly with your stitches, try the Invisible Ribbed Bind-Off for 1x1 Rib, the Tubular Bind-Off for 1x1 Rib or the Kitchener Double-Rib Bind-Off for 2x2 Rib (all included in our I Love Bind-Offs class).
You don't have to use JSSBO only on ribbing, either. Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off is one of my top choices for bind-offs for lace. It leaves a pronounced and very sturdy edge. To do JSSBO on lace, just alternate the knit and purl movements as if you are binding off on ribbing.
About Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off (JSSBO)
The thing that makes this a great bind-off is that it is a knitted bind-off. That means that, unlike sewn bind-offs, which are done with a tapestry needle and the tail yarn of your project, this bind-off is done with just your knitting needles.
That means it's fast.
The other benefit to this bind-off is that it's easy to memorize - it doesn't have a lot of steps. Once you learn it and practice it a few times, you won't have to refer back to the instructions. And if you do, I've made a JSSBO steps cheat-sheet so that you can refer back quickly and easily.
How to Do Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off (JSSBO)
1st st is a K.
Rep. steps 5-12.
Cut tail and pull through last loop.
The finished bind-off.
Keep these tips in mind as you work Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off. To keep the yarnovers from getting mixed up:
Also, use your right index finger to push the backwards yarnover loop forward to loosen it up so you can get into it to bind off.
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Interview with JSSBO Inventor Jeny Staiman
JSSBO was published in Knitty in Fall 2009. I was so impressed with this bind-off when I discovered it that I emailed its inventor, Jeny Staiman, to ask her more about her creative process.
KnitFreedom: Your fantastically-named "Jeny's Surprisingly-Stretchy Bind-Off" is the delight of technique fanatics everywhere. How did you come to invent it?
Jeny: I was entirely dissatisfied with the range of bindoff options I was able to find. I used to go to great lengths to avoid binding off just about anything, including grafting cuffs to knitted items using knit-purl kitchener stitch. Finally I got so sick and tired of these antics that I decided I was just going to have to come up with my own. Hence JSSBO was born.
KF: Was this the first technique or article submission you had made to a major knitting publication?
KF: You're known in your online persona as "curiousjeny." Does curiosity give you inspiration when you are knitting and designing?
Jeny: Yes! I knit like many people cook -- I can't follow a recipe without making substitutions or trying something different. I never work on a project from start to finish without exploring various tangents along the way, which sometimes keep me occupied for weeks.
KF: No doubt being a usability researcher in "real life" has given you some opinions when it comes to knitting pattern layout and design, as well as technique illustration. What makes a knitting pattern highly "usable?"
Jeny: There's no silver bullet to making a perfect pattern, because everyone learns differently. So IMO the best way to reach the most people is to accommodate a variety of different learning styles, i.e., use written instructions AND diagrams AND videos. And I can't emphasize how important it is to put patterns through multiple rounds of test-knitting and editing by people whose skill you trust and respect.
KF: In your Ravelry profile you say that sweaters have always eluded you. Do you still think you have to knit sweaters to be a "real knitter?" Is that milestone still important to you?
Jeny: Nah. One of these days I'll feel compelled to start knitting sweaters, but until that time, I'm still having way too much fun making socks, gloves, cowls, hats (and most recently, headphone covers).
KF: Is there a technique that has always frustrated you about knitting? Have you come up with any clever workarounds?
Jeny: Yes -- short rows. If I tell you any more, I'll have to kill you. Stay tuned to the airwaves for future developments there.
KF: How can interested knitters stay in touch and learn more about you?
Jeny: My blog bas been woefully underfed since I returned to work full time, but I still stay in touch on Ravelry. I have a link to my email on my blog ([email protected]) and I frequently check my Ravelry mailbox (Rav ID = curiousjeny). I make a point of returning every email I receive from other knitters!
JSSBO for 2x2 Rib and Other Knit-and-Purl Combinations
You can do JSSBO for 2x2 rib and other combinations of knit and purl stitches by following the pattern outlined above. If your next stitch is a knit stitch, do a backwards yarnover then bind off two. If your next stitch is a purl stitch, do a regular yarnover then bind off two. It's that simple!
Find This And 50 Other Professional Bind-offs In Our Complete Course/Video Library, "I Love Bind-Offs."
Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off is included in our beloved video library, I Love Bind-Offs. Learn over 50 perfect bind-offs for your projects, including stretchy bind-offs, invisible bind-offs, decorative bind-offs, seaming bind-offs, and even buttonholes.
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Are you already a fan of Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off? Excited to try it? Have another favorite bind-off you'd like to share? Please let me know! Leave a comment on this post.
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Related Course: Toe-Up, Two-at-a-Time Socks
Toe-up socks are the hippest and most addictive project in knitting right now, and it's easy to see why.
Knitters love making their socks from the toe-up because they can try on as they go, knit two-at-a-time, and there's no heel flap or picking up stitches.
The ideal project for any intermediate knitter to learn, improve, and enjoy.