Chain loop bind-off worked with knitting needles, not crochet hook.

A few days ago, I saw a nifty bind-off linked on Pinterest*: a faux crochet loop edging.

Neat! I thought. Why didn’t I think of that?! Because I suddenly realized how I would do a crochet loop edging with only knitting needles. (Useful for those of us who can’t crochet for whatever reason.)

Then I clicked through, as is my habit with the niftiest of Pins, even when I think I know how it works.

It was then I discovered that it wasn’t what I thought at all! It’s a beautiful way of creating a superficially similar effect, but it isn’t the method I thought up in that split second. I’ll be saving it for later in case I need it, though.

Now, here’s how to do a crochet loop edging with only knitting needles. It is structurally identical to the traditional way of using crocheted loops to finish the edge of knitted lace in a delicate way, but not hard at all.

img_16341

The sneaky thing is that a knitted-on cast-on is really a crochet chain in disguise. Try it and see: cast on some stitches using a knitted-on cast-on, slip the last stitch onto another needle (or secure it with a safety pin) , and slide all the other stitches off. Tug gently: bam! instant crochet chain.  (Note: it might be most obvious if the knit stitches are wrapped around the needle with an Eastern stitch-mount, with left legs in front.) You might want to use a smaller needle than usual, since the needle forces the chains to stay more open than they would if crocheted with a hook.

I used honeycomb lace as a starting point for the swatch above because I like it and because it comes to nice points which look good with this technique.

Honeycomb stitch pattern, a traditional design.

Honeycomb

Row 1 (RS): k2, *k2tog, yo x 2, ssk; work from *, k2.
Row 2 (WS): k2, *p1, k1, p2; work from *, k2.
Row 3: k2, *yo, ssk, k2tog, yo; work from *, k2.
Row 4: k2, p4, k2.

Cast on 20 stitches. Work rows 1-4, then work rows 1 and 2 again, for a total of 6 rows.

Bind off:

  1. ssk. (slip 1 stitch knitwise, slip the next knitwise, knit 2 together through back loop.)
  2. slip worked stitch back to needle with the other stitches.
  3. cast on 3 stitches using a knitted-on cast-on.
  4. slip 1 and drop the next 3 stitches.
  5. (slip 1 knitwise) x 3, knit 1, pass 4 stitches over.
  6. slip stitch back to needle with the other stitches.
  7. cast on 7 stitches using a knitted-on cast-on.
  8. slip 1 and drop the next 7 stitches.
  9. (slip 1 knitwise) x 3, knit 1, pass 4 stitches over.
  10. slip stitch back to needle with the unworked stitches.
  11. repeat steps 6-10 until only 2 unworked stitches remain.
  12. cast on 3 stitches using a knitted-on cast-on.
  13. slip 1 and drop the next 3 stitches.
  14. slip stitch back to needle with unworked stitches.
  15. sssk. (slip each stitch knitwise, knit 3 together through back loop.)

The number of stitches to be cast on is arbitrary; I used 7 for the big loops but could have used 5 or 15.

Note: as with anything like this, I figured I wasn’t the first person to come up with this idea. It’s fairly  well-known that the knitted-on cast-on is a crochet chain. And indeed, when I went looking, I found some paid knitting patterns that seem to include this method in their instructions (though since I don’t own the patterns, I don’t know for certain).

*Linked by Donna Druchunas, who often pins interesting things.

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