5 Ways to Fix A Too-Tight Bind-Off

A too-tight bind-offA too-tight bind-off is the Achilles’ heel of the perfect knitted project.

It’s the most common complaint I get in my finishing technique classes. So how do you know if you should worry?

Four Clues Your Bind-Off Is Too Tight:

1 -- If the edge of your garment looks narrower than the rest of it, your bind-off might be too tight.

2 -- If you can’t get your hand or foot or whatever it is INTO your knitted garment, your bind-off might be too tight.

3 -- If you tug the bind-off edge and it doesn't have any give — if it feels like the yarn is going to break, your bind-off might be too tight.

4 -- If you can feel tension in your hands while you’re binding off, like you're holding on and trying to keep everything together, your bind-off might be too tight.

So why is this happening?

There are two reasons your bind-off would be too tight: you're knitting too tight or you picked the wrong bind-off. We’ll deal with harder problem first.

#1: You're Working Your Bind-Off Too Tight

Tip: If you have bad habits while binding off, you probably have them while knitting, too. Fix both problems at the same time with these tips!

1. Tension your yarn correctly


Weave your yarn properly through your fingersA. Weave the working yarn through your fingers so you feel like you have control of it ----------->


Let your yarn flow through your fingersB. Give it some slack: let the yarn feed through your fingers as you knit ----------->


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2. Make sure that you are holding your yarn at all times

Some people have a bad habit of not holding the yarn at all.


Not properly holding your yarnI see these three habits a lot ----------->

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3. Use the tips of your fingers on your stitches to help control them


Not using your fingers for control

When you avoid touching your stitches, you have less control ----------->

When people don't feel like they have control, they hold their yarn too tight.

Holding the yarn tight makes the bind-off too tight.


Use your fingers for more control

To get more control, put your fingers all over the stitches ----------->

Don't be shy! Hold the stitches on the needle so that you feel like they’re not going to go anywhere.

Get a good grip on your stitches and show them who's boss.


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4. Slide each stitch down onto the barrel of the needle


Slide your stitches down your needle

Leaving all your stitches right at the tips of the needle is a recipe for very, very tight stitches ----------->

The size of your stitches is going to dictate the size of your bind-off.

Push the stitch all the way down with your finger each time.


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5. Last-ditch trick: Use a bigger needle in your right hand

Use a bigger needle in your right handThis isn’t a permanent solution but it can help in a pinch.

Just use a needle 1-3 sizes bigger in your right hand as you bind off.

#2: You Chose the Wrong Bind-Off

The other reason that your bind-off might be too tight is that you picked one that isn't stretchy enough.

If you’re not a tight knitter in general and you have no problem knitting things with proper tension but you find that your bind-offs are too tight, this might be why.

In my upcoming ebook, I Love Bind-Offs, I give you 12 great choices for stretchy bind-offs.

Many of them are easy, most of them are fast, and a lot of them are fun. Excited yet?

Once you have the ebook, you're never going to run into this problem of picking a bind-off that's not stretchy enough.

Recap: To sum up, the ways to fix a too-tight bind-off are:

  • Tension your yarn better
  • Get control of your stitches
  • Slide them down the needle
  • Try a bigger needle, and
  • Pick a stretchier bind-off.

This Tip Is Part Of "I Love Bind-Offs" -- Available Now!

I Love Bind-Offs Ebook Cover

Rated 5 Stars on About.com! Learn More

Related Posts:

Trying just a few of these tips will go a long way towards improving your bind-offs. If they don't, post in the comments and let me know! I'll try to help figure out what's going on.

Related Post: If you're knitting or binding off too tight, you might have sore hands and forearms. Check out my Top 5 Stretches for Knitting Pain and Stiffness - the most popular blog post on KnitFreedom, 2 years running.

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If you liked this tutorial on how to fix a too tight-bind off, post in the comments!


35 thoughts on “5 Ways to Fix A Too-Tight Bind-Off”

  1. Blast and darn. I did it again. And, this time, I have no more of this yarn left with which to “dress” the absurdly-tight finish. A whole inch or more narrower. Well, just goes to show me, (again), I should not have tried so hard to use every inch of that skein of yarn – which I have no idea where I bought it. I could crochet in a cover-up, I suppose, but blast and darn it.

    Great instructions here. Too bad I didn’t take a break and read it before I did it again.

  2. Liat-

    Have you ever considered showing how to UNDO a too tight bind off? I used your invisible stretchy bind off on a sock but must have pulled the bind off too tight because I can’t get the sock over my heel. I used expensive yarn and don’t want to just toss the orphan aside….

  3. I love, love, love all of the information in your posts! I have been knitting for many years and look forward to learning your techniques … This makes me a better knitter. Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge!

  4. Bernadette Lozada

    Good job .Your tutorials are very helpful. I tell all my knitting friends about you. Look forward to getting your book.

  5. Thank you, great review for me. Now I need to review binding off ribbing for a top down hat. Is it knit the knits and purl the purls? Thank you, Liat.

    Joanie

    1. Hi Joanie,

      It’s a little more complicated than that. To bind off on ribbing, you’ll need to do more than knit the knits and purl the purls. You’ll want to do an actual stretchy bind-off like Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off.

      In my upcoming e-book, I Love Bind-Offs I will teach you 12 different stretchy bind-offs you can use on ribbing. Just make sure to check your email on Saturday the 8th when the ebook becomes available! I will be sending out a big discount to all newsletter subscribers.

  6. I really liked the format of the pictures in this lesson. The commentary on the left side complimented the GOOD & BAD comments on the images. Very helpful!

  7. Your tutorials are wonderful and I have already recommended them to my knitterfriends, however, they are not all are computer-savvy and would be much more likely to use a hard copy. I look forward to more info there. Meanwhile, thanks so much for the help with a perennial problem of mine!

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