the simple magic of tubular bind-off

Little details can transform a simple item into something very special. A tubular bind-off can take a humble 1×1 rib edging and turn it into a finished and sophisticated feature. It sounds tricky and complicated, but is straightforward once you break down the steps. One quick word of warning — you do need to be comfortable grafting! The method I use for 1×1 rib (how I knit the cuff on the majority of my socks) is most similar to what Ysolda shows in her tutorial post.

I’m providing a quick photo sketch of the process in this post and a list of links to several clear tutorials at the end. It’s the time of year when decent photo light is fleeting and I missed it today.

When your ribbing is one round before the desired length, with a second needle*, knit the knit stitches onto the original needle and slip the purls with yarn in front onto the second needle.

* I try to make this second needle slightly different — either it’s a size smaller or the cable is a different colour (as in these pics) or maybe it’s tip isn’t as sharp — it helps keep me using the correct needle.

Work a second round purling the stitches on the second needle and ignoring the stitches on the first needle.

Then graft around! I like to cut the yarn about 3.5 times longer than the bound off dimensions.


As I knit my socks two-at-a-time on one needle, I keep a small coil-less safety pin on hand to hold the two stitches of the first sock while I finish off the second.

These haven’t been blocked yet, but I think they look quite nice!

I don’t often do this bind-off as it requires time and some extra planning. You can do it without a second needle, but using one makes it easier for me. My other favourite bind-off for toe-up socks is Jeny’s Super Stretchy Bind-off.

Tutorial links:
Tubular bind-off


Other links that came up in my research

This post was first published in 2015 has been updated slightly for 2024.

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