Sweater Two, Installment Three: Montview Cardigan

With the collar knitting all done, it was time to bind off.  Before I knew that so many different types of bind-offs exist, I would always do a standard bind-off, which produces a very firm and inelastic edge.  I ended up with quite a few projects where I wasn't totally happy with the bind-off edge, but I had no idea how to fix it.  It really became important when I started knitting toe-up socks, because it's impossible to get your foot into a sock with a too-tight cuff.  And then I discovered Leslie Ann Bestor's book, Cast On, Bind Off, and it really opened my eyes to the idea that I could use a different bind-off to get the edge that I wanted.  I like that her book describes different bind-offs, shows pictures of the edges on the right and wrong sides, and discusses when it's most appropriate to use each one, so that you can make your own decision. 

I also think that patterns should include a recommended bind-off (and cast-on) technique.  You'd be free to change it, of course, but at least a recommendation would give you an idea of what the designer thought the edging should look like.


This is all to lead up to the fact that I tried the suspended bind-off with my garter stitch collar, and it wound up being too tight.  It pulled the edge into a sort of crescent shape, and pulled the corners upward (when they should really be square at the bottom).  I ripped out that bind-off and went for the Icelandic bind-off (excellent description, pictures, and video from Liat Gat).  Figures that I would buy a book filled with bind-off techniques and then end up looking for one online!  I was looking for a bind-off technique that would produce an edge that stretched a little bit, just enough to hold the garter stitch flat, but not so much that the garter stitch would flare out at the edges.  The Icelandic bind-off did just the trick; you can see how square the collar is at the bottom hem.  I'm very happy with it, and have pinned on the sleeves in preparation for seaming. 

Do you have a standard bind-off technique that you use every time, or do you decide on the bind-off for each pattern individually?