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What is Crochet Bind Off?
Using Chain Stitch to Bind Off Lace Knitting
by Jackie E-S
Some knitters like to use a crochet hook as the working needle instead of a knitting needle when binding off. Essentially you are just using the hook to pull the yarn through the stitches being bound off. One stitch is bound off at a time, leaving a smooth chain-looking type selvedge to the bound off edge. It's mostly a matter of personal taste whether to use a knitting needle or crochet hook when doing a basic bind off (and sometimes, just a matter of what you have on hand!).
There is also another type of crochet bind off in lace knitting where a group of stitches (usually 3 to 5) are secured together with a single crochet (or double crochet for our folks using UK terminology). Then a crochet chain of several stitches is made, then another 3 or more stitches are crocheted together in a group, etc. to complete the bind off of all stitches. This results in a decorative looped edge that can be designed to coordinate nicely with the look and feel of the lace knitting pattern.
An example of working a decorative crochet bind off is shown here. This example is from a work-in-progress photo I took while making the model for the
Bobble Lace Flowers Triangle Shawl pattern.
Decorative crochet bind off does not require much knowledge of crochet. If you need a refresher on chain stitch and single crochet, stop by Needlecraft Univerisity online library.
For creating this type of looped decorative edge, I like to use a crochet hook that is smaller than the knitting needle size. For example, on the Bobble Lace Flowers Triangle Shawl, I used a 3 mm knitting needle for knitting the shawl and a 2.25 mm crochet hook for binding off. Of course, as in all of my HeartStrings pattern, detailed instructions are included in the pattern.
I find that using the smaller crochet hook has these advantages:
- It is easier to get the hook inserted into the stitch(es).
- The chain between the groups of stitches doesn't look as thick as when using a hook that is the same (or larger) than the knitting needle size used. Consider that a crochet chain is 3 strands thick compared to a knitted stitch that is two strands thickness (i.e. one strand of yarn on each side the loop of the stitch). I feel the smaller hook helps keep the 'visual weight' of the chain more balanced with the look of the knitted stitches.
One other note on the decorative crochet bind off — Using a knitting needle as the working needle in place of the crochet hook is possible to get a similar effect. That's something I might touch on at another time. Let me know if you are interested.
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