Bind off suggestions

I am getting ready to bind off a top down sweater in 1x1 twisted rib. My yarn is a cotton alpaca blend and have heard that it can stretch quite a bit over time. Would you do a regular bind off to try and avoid this happening? Or is there another bind off that would allow some stretch without flaring out over time?

@bluejeandolly I think you may be fine with your favorite in-pattern bind off. It is my impression that the alpaca is more likely to stretch vertically (get longer on your body) and not so much horizontally.

Maybe @ilexedits will jump in and correct me? She’s far more experienced than I.

@EllenDeKnitter, thanks for the vote of confidence! Unfortunately, @bluejeandolly, I’m only just now working with my first cotton-blend yarn (with linen), and I’ve never used alpaca at all. How about a shout-out to @knitterlady13?

My first suggestion would be to practice different bind-offs, in your 1x1 ribbing, on some swatches. It might be hard to pull each stitch over if you continue working the stitches twisted, though, so reverting to untwisted might be necessary. That’s another reason to practice first. If it flares, you might go down a needle size (or two, even). There are just so many variables that what works perfectly for everyone else on the planet simply may not work at all for you. :rolleyes:

Thanks for the tag @ilexedits.

@bluejeandolly I agree with ilexedits about trying out different bind-offs on a swatch to see which bind-off appeals to you visually. I like to bind off ribbing in pattern, but you may find that you like a regular 1x1 rib bind off better than a twisted rib bind off, so I’d try both of those. Are you knitting in the round? If so, the other bind off to try would be to bind off in purl (on the right side) which will be less obtrusive than binding off in knit. If you’re knitting flat, then alternatively you can try a standard knit bind off, but on the wrong side.

I’ve worked with a lot of plant fibers and alpaca (and other fibers that don’t bounce back) and I don’t think you’ll end up with the issue of the ribbing flaring due to fiber growth…especially not with a twisted rib and/or if you’re using a smaller needle. Twisted ribbing tends to lay nice and flat anyway and does not tend to flare.

More of a concern is the entire garment growing/stretching as you wear it because cotton and alpaca don’t have that bounce-back quality and especially because cotton is such a heavy fiber. Think about how a pair of cotton jeans (not the type with spandex) will feel tighter right out of the wash, but become baggy over the course of a day of wearing. That’s similar to the effect you get with the types of fibers you are using and cotton in particular. To counteract that, you can knit at a slightly tighter gauge than you would normally with the expectation of growth. This might not work for everyone, but with fibers that grow or stretch out, I usually swatch until I get gauge and then go down one needle size from the needle I reached gauge with. YMMV on that. LOL! I started doing that after a cotton top I knit turned into a very revealing tunic over the course of an afternoon.:o

@bluejeandolly If the pattern called for a yarn similar to what you used, you’ll probably be OK. You also might find that the alpaca, being a lighter weight fiber than the cotton, helps the garment not be quite as heavy, so perhaps it won’t stretch out too much.

Hi. I’ve knitted with alpaca and with cotton, but not both together. They both tend to stretch a bit, or a lot, depending on how heavy the yarns are. For this reason, I usually don’t use ribbing at all. Instead, I will use a garter stitch or seed stitch border. The times that I did use ribbing on a heavy cotton (Sugar and Cream yarn) fisherman knit sweater, I knitted an elastic thread into the ribbing along with the yarn. It’s still looking good now, around 25 years after it was made.

But you you are asking about binding off. If you want a binding that won’t flare, I agree with
Knitterlady13 about using a smaller needle size, but I worry that it may be too tight. If you’re trying to make the bind-off match stretch in the knitting, it may be as simple as using a needle a size or two larger for the bind-off. Or, you can use a stretchy bind off. I love this type for necklines and shawls. Here’s a link!…torial-2115677

eta more information.

Thank you @EllenDeKnitter and @ilexedits . I have never really done a twisted rib or worked with alpaca before and was trying to take a shortcut. Guess I will have to give it the old college try and swatch. :joy:

@knitterlady13 - yikes! hadn’t thought about the sweater growing in quite that manner. :flushed: I knit to gauge using recommended needles. I will be sure to wear a tank under it the first time I wear it. I don’t think anyone wants to see this old lady’s body in quite that manner. And I’m not to keen to share it either! lol.

@SpinsterJulieB - many thanks for the link. I have used that bind off before but had forgotten about it. Think I will give it a try with this yarn. :blush:

Haha,I made the mistake of substituting Pima Cotton in a pattern that was made in wool. :sweat_smile: Not a good idea after all… That thing sagged so much that my swatch was worthless and I ended up winging it and just guessing length and estimating probable stretch :confused: wouldn’t recommend. There’s a reason I don’t wear that top much.