tutorials

modified Icelandic BO

Recently, I needed to find a Bind Off which could match German Twisted Cast On. I love using this method for border in ribbing because it’s easy to do – it’s a variation of long-tail CO which is most familiar to me -, and it gives a reversible and sturdy edge perfect of hard-wearing items (if you don’t know this technique, see this link). But the strength of this CO above all is its elasticity.

I already knew Elastic BO which is often used to finish top-down shawls, but I don’t like it much (I can’t get a neat edge with it!). So I did a little research on the Internet and tried all stretchy BO I found, like Jeny’s surprisingly stretchy BO, Russian BO, Icelandic BO.
And the winner is Icelandic BO, because, in addition to its elasticity, it gives a similar edge to German Twisted CO.

With this BO, you knit a stitch through another one, which makes the latter bound off like this.
But I thought it a little tricky and changed the steps breaking it up into simple movements: unlike the classic BO (you knit or purl stitches before passing them over other stitches), you pass over stitches before knitting them.
I think I made it easier and don’t worry, you get the same end result 😉

So here’s a tutorial of “modified” Icelandic BO!

Step 1: Knit one stitch with a looser tension.
icelandic-k1-small
It has to be said that the more yarn you use for binding off stitches, the stretchier your BO edge.
Theoretically, you don’t use more with Icelandic BO than normal BO. But the stitches get looser, I suppose, as you knit a stitch through another. With this “modified” method, as all operations are similar to normal knitting ones, you may tend to keep the same tension. So please repeat like a mantra that you should do it loosely! Larger needles can be helpful.

Step 2: Slip the next stitch purlwise.
icelandic-sl1-small

You have now 2 stitches on your right needle.
icelandic-2sts-small

Step 3: Pass the knitted stitch over the slipped stitch.
icelandic-pkso-small

Knitted stitch is bound off.
icelandic-pkso'd -small

Step 4: Slip back the resulting stitch to your left needle.
icelandic-repl1-small

Repeat these 4 steps until all stitches are bound off – yes, you knit the stitch slipped back on your LN.

Then, knit the last slipped back stitch, and extend the loop like this and break yarn.
icelandic-loop-small

And you get this!
icelandic-bo-small

This swatch is CO with German twisted and BO with Icelandic.
icelandic-swatch-small

And a Garter swatch CO and BO the same. Isn’t it nice?
icelandic-garter-small

To be sure, I asked Hélène Magnússon – French woman living in Iceland and designing knitwear inspired by its tradition – if she knew this BO. She says it’s known and used in Iceland but not typically Icelandic. She teaches it in her workshops and supposes she gave the name to this method indirectly.

And if I had to find a BO which has a similar looking to the German Twisted CO, it’s because I had to finish this little cowl in Broken seed stitch begun with German CO, and on cowls, 2 edges are visible.
Spring Thaw Tam size2-worn-small
The cowl pattern will be offered as a free download shortly. Stay tuned!

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