modified Icelandic BO

Recently, I needed to find a bind-off which could match German Twisted Cast On. I love using this CO for borders in ribbing because it’s easy to do – it’s a variation of a long-tail CO, which is most familiar to me -, and it gives a reversible and sturdy edge perfect for hard-wearing items (if you don’t know this technique, see this link). But the strength of this CO is, above all, 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.
We can say that the more yarn you use for binding off stitches, the stretchier your BO edge is.
Theoretically, you don’t use more yarn with Icelandic BO than normal BO. But the stitches get looser as you knit a stitch through another, I suppose. 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.

You have now 2 stitches on your right needle.

Step 3: Pass the knitted stitch over the slipped stitch.

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

Step 4: Slip back the resulting stitch to your left needle.

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.

And you get this!

This swatch is CO with German twisted and BO with Icelandic.

And a Garter swatch cast on and bound off the same. Isn’t it nice?

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 that had a similar looking to the German Twisted CO, it was 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 is offered as a free download. Enjoy 🙂

8 thoughts on “modified Icelandic BO

  1. this is great! Thank you so much . I made a cowl with German twisted cast on and this BO is perfect. Will be sharing on my Ravelry project page.

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