Kitchener or K1P1 Sewn Bind-off

This article describes two methods of performing the Kitchener bind-off. It is also known as a K1P1 or tubular bind off. This k1, p1 bind off complements k1, p1 ribbing and produces a neat border suitable for necklines, sleeves, fingerless mittens (shown at left) and other finished edges. Read more for stepwise, illustrated instructions.
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The bind-off is worked with a darning or tapestry needle and one or two knitting needles. When worked with two needles, the process is like the Kitchener bind-off used for socks. For either method, the bind off begins with a set-up process for the the first knit stitch and first purl stitch.

The single needle method is described first, followed by the two needle method. A contrasting colored yarn is used to demonstrate the technique.

    Tools
  • One or two knitting needles, in a size smaller than used for knitting the work. The smaller holding needle provides clearance and working ease for the darning needle.
  • One darning needle.

METHOD A - SINGLE NEEDLE







    Prepare First Two Stitches
  1. Insert the darning needle pwise in the 1st knit stitch. Leave the stitch on the left hand needle.
  2. Pass the darning needle behind the knit (1st) stitch. Then bring the yarn to the front between the knit stitch and the purl stitch.
  3. Insert the darning needle in the 1st purl stitch kwise and leave the stitch on the knitting needle.
  4. The set-up of edge stitches is completed.

Step 1Step 1 Step 2Step 2 Step 3Step 3 Step 4Step 4






    Repeat Pattern
  1. Pass needle through first stitch knit-wise, and slip it off the needle.
  2. Pass in front of the first purl stitch to purl the next knit stitch. Leave both stitches on the knitting needle.
  3. Purl the first purl stitch and slip it off the knitting needle.
  4. Pass behind the knit stitch, then bring the darning needle to the front between the 2nd (now 1st) knit stitch and the second (now1st) purl stitch. Knit the purl stitch and leave it on the knitting needle.
  5. Repeat steps 1 - 4 until all stitches have been bound off.


METHOD B - TWO NEEDLES
I find that the two needle method provides greater stitch uniformity and can be completed more quickly. Stepwise, illustrated instructions can be found in the related article on grafting toes. The article has a couple of extra steps, specific to preventing "boxy toes," but has the complete photographs for the 6-step process described below.


Set-up for Two Needle Bind-off Method
The two needle transfer is illustrated for an alternative method of performing the K1P1 bind-off. Two different needles are used for illustration purposes only. Two needles are held in the right hand, the front one is shiny metal and the rear one is cream colored plastic.

In the photo at right, 2 knit stitches have been transferred to the front needle and 1 purl stitch to the rear (cream colored) knitting needle.

Divide Stitches to Two Needles
Hold both receiving needles in the right hand and alternately pick up a knit, then purl stitch, by rotating the needles as a pair so that the desired needle is aligned with the next stitch to be transferred pwise.

  • Cut the yarn, leaving a tail 3 to 4 times the width of the ribbing fabric.
  • Transfer all knit stitches to the front needle.
  • Transfer all purl stitches to the rear needle.
    Kitchener Stitch Set-Up (steps 1 & 2)
  1. Insert the darning needle pwise in the first stitch of the front needle and draw the yarn through. Leave the stitch on the needle.
  2. Insert the darning needle kwise in the first stitch of the rear needle and draw the yarn through. Leave the stitch on the needle.
  3. Kitchener Stitch Repeat Pattern (steps 3 - 6)
    I find that the following mnemonic (memory aid) is helpful for the repeat pattern: Knit Off, Purl, Purl Off, Knit.

  4. Insert the darning needle kwise in the first stitch of the front needle, draw the yarn through, and slip the stitch off the knitting needle. (kwise front) Mnemonic: Knit Off
  5. Insert the darning needle pwise in the next stitch of the front needle. Draw the yarn through, but leave the stitch on the knitting needle. (pwise front). Purl
  6. Insert the darning needle pwise in the first stitch of the rear needle, draw the yarn through, and slip the stitch off the knitting needle. (pwise rear). Purl Off
  7. Insert the darning needle kwise in the next stitch of the rear needle. Draw the yarn through, but leave the stitch on the knitting needle. (kwise rear). Knit
  8. Repeat steps 3 through 6 until all stitches have been bound off.

Related Post
Kitchener Stitch Two Needle Method sock example

ABBREVIATIONS
kwise --> knit-wise
pwise --> purl-wise

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