I first discovered Decrease Bind Off when I was researching bind offs for Level 3 of the Master Hand Knitting Program. I used it, wrote about its pros, cons and applications, then forgot about it. A few years later I was searching for a stretchy bind off for a lace shawl and ran across the Decrease Bind Off again. After binding off 523 stitches using this method, I became somewhat addicted to it.
What it is: Decrease Bind Off is a slightly stretchy bind off that creates a neat, tidy edge. It's a good substitute for the standard bind off, especially for those who tend to bind off too tightly. It's fast. It's easy to do.
What is isn't: Since it does not involve lifting one stitch over another, it is not tight. Tension is easier to control. It's not floppy or sloppy looking. It does not cause the edge to flare out.
Other names: K2tog Bind Off, Alternate Bind Off, Stretchy Bind Off, Twice Worked Bind Off, Russian Bind Off, Lace Bind Off, Estonian Bind Off, English Bind Off, Twisted Bind Off. As you can see by the names, it has been widely used for a long time by knitters from different regions.
How to do it: *k2tog through the back loops, slip stitch just worked back to the left needle; repeat from * to end. You're basically knitting 2 together through the back loops, returning the stitch, then knitting 2 together through the back loops again, returning the stitch, etc.
I recently used it on a regular sweater and love how it looks and behaves. It's a good one to use when binding off toe-up socks too. I hope you have a chance to try it and add it to your knitting toolbox of techniques.
Bush, Nancy. IT Knitted Lace of Estonia. Loveland, CO: Interweave Press LLC, 2008.
Sease, Cap. Cast On, Bind Off. Bothell, WA: Martingale, 2012.
Hello! I'm Donna Estin, knitwear designer, certified master knitter and instructor. I enjoy designing artistic knitwear that is comfortable. I specialize in sweaters with a contemporary silhouette.