Toe-Up Socks: Binding Off, Cuffs, and Edging

You are ready to finish knitting your sock. But there is one last skill you need to learn – a stretchy bind off.

Before you start the bind off, try the sock on and make sure it fits. If there are problems, examine the sock closely and determine if they are serious enough to need to be fixed. Dropped stitch definitely needs to be fixed. You will have a run like in pantyhose and it’s going to be a major issue. Catch the stitch and work it back up to the position you are in the on the needle if you know how. Ripping out and reworking is the other option.

Cuffs and Edging

At some point, this sock must come to an end. A common way to help the sock cling to the leg is to knit a bit of ribbing. You want to make sure when you are working your cuff that you have checked the leg and cuff length against your measurements for the back of the leg so that you start the cuff at the appropriate point. If you have been working in ribbing, this may simply be a continuation of what you were doing on the leg.

Before you start the cuff and any decorating edging, read through the directions and make sure you understand them. Before you get to the bind off, try the sock on one last time to make sure that is fits and is the right length.

Stretchy Bind Offs

If you want your socks to fit well and be able to get them over your feet, your best bet is a bind off that is particularly stretchy but will will still contract around the top of your sock. The standard bind off you would use for most items is not meant for this purpose. It is very inelastic. There are two that work particularly well when you need a stretchy bind off. This would be a good bind off to also consider if you are working a sweater from the top down.

EZ’s Sewn Bind Off. If you have been around knitting for a long time, you knew Elizabeth Zimmerman’s wisdom had to show up sometime. This bind off, developed by EZ, requires a tapestry needle. You will cut a very long tail and then sew the tail through the last row of stitches in a way that creates a very elastic bind off. Here is a video from New Stitch a Day demonstrating this method. Here is an article from Knitty that demonstrates several bind offs, including EZ’s Sewn Bind Off.

Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off. This bind off method was created by Jeny Staiman. It uses a yarn over between stitches in the bind off to increase the amount of yarn that is used per stitch. This is a great bind off. Jeny wrote an article with pictorial demonstrations of her bind off for Knitty and avideo by Cat Bordhi demonstrating the bind off.

Once you have bound off your sock, the only thing left to do is to work in the ends and start the next sock.

Congratulations on a job well done! Before we finish up, let’s review the skills you had to use to knit a sock

  • Taking accurate measurements
  • Selecting appropriate yarns and needles for your project
  • Selecting a pattern that works with your yarn and needles
  • Understanding gauge and working a swatch
  • Provisional cast on
  • Knitting in the round
  • Increase and decrease stitches
  • Short row shaping
  • Picking up stitches
  • Stretchy bind offs

Socks pack a punch when it comes to learning new techniques and stretching your knitting skills. They are also a great project for expanding your skills by learning new methods for knitting in the round, experimenting with how cables and color work affect elasticity, and even a way to try your hand at a lacy design before tackling a big project like a shawl.

I hope you have enjoyed this course in knitting socks from the toe up and are already dreaming about your next pair. Happy knitting.