Saturday, September 26, 2009

Jeny's Stretchy Slipknot Cast-On

Since Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off was published in Knitty earlier this month, a number of knitters have asked me if there is an accompanying stretchy cast-on. Well, there is. It is the most elastic cast-on I know -- more elastic than the classic long-tail cast-on. And this one is not a long-tail cast-on so you don't have to worry about how much yarn to leave for the tail.

Like my bind-off, this cast-on is super-stretchy:

And like my bind-off, this cast-on also hinges at the bends of the ribbing.

I've created a video to show you how to do it.

This video is also available on YouTube at

The basic premise of this cast-on is this:

1. Make a slip knot.
2. Make another slip knot.
3. Continue.

It's really as simple as that. But it's a little tricky getting the slip knots to all line up right next to each other on the needle. The video will walk you through the tricky parts.

The origin of this bindoff is somewhat of a mystery. Years and years ago I learned it, or something like it, from a book. I later forgot how to do it, and couldn't find the original resource I learned from, or any knitters who knew it, so I had to figure it out all over again by myself. This happened a few more times over the years. And I still can't find the resource, or any other knitter who uses this cast-on. So who knows if it's an original, or if it's some ancient cast-on, lost in the midst of time. It doesn't matter -- it's an awesome cast-on that every knitter should know about. If you've ever used or seen anything like it, please post a comment!

Warning: This cast-on is a bit finicky about the kind of yarn you use. You should use yarn that is a smooth texture and uniform in width. Trying to do this cast-on with yarns like chenille, or any of the yarns shown here, will give you nightmares!

ADDENDUM 9/28: Now that this post has been up for a few days, other knitters who know this cast-on (or very similar) are coming out of the woodwork. Yaaay, I knew you were out there!

Check out this video:

The author twists the yarn around the needles with a different set of motions, but the end result is, in fact, the same.

ADDENDUM #2, 10/4: A-HA! Confirmation that yes this does in fact exist in print. See Montse Stanley's Buttonhole Cast-On, p. 76, fig 2.37.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Video tutorial for Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off

Cat Bordhi, grande dame of sock knitting, has just posted a video tutorial of my bind-off. Thank you Cat for helping me to spread the word!

Cat will be signing copies of her new book, Personal Footprints for Insouciant Sock Knitters, at Yorkshire Yarns in Lakewood WA on Thursday September 24, 4-8:30 pm. In addition to her fabulous sock construction patterns, her book also teaches the JSSBO as a bind-off for toe-up socks. Cat is a fabulous human being and well worth the trip to come meet her and say hello. I hope anyone within driving range of Lakewood (Tacoma suburb) will come to Yorkshire Yarns this Thursday!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off

Knitty is up! Yaaaay! will tell you all about how to do this bindoff, called "Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off."

I used to go to great lengths to avoid binding off -- going so far as learning how to do a k1p1 Kichener stitch so I could graft on a waistband. I generally avoided toe-up socks and other patterns that required a bindoff, losing out on a world of designs.

After I got seduced into the world of making moebii, which are knit from the inside out (unless you want to do a very messy graft) I realized that the jig was up -- I couldn't escape binding off anymore. This sparked a series of attempts to come up with a better bindoff, and this one quickly rose to the top of the bunch. It went through some evolution after I got in touch with (the AMAZING) Cat Bordhi. She helped to simplify and streamline it.