An Easy Bind-Off for Toe-Up Socks

If you’re looking to finish knitting your own pair of toe-up socks, I have two recommendations for you. The bind-off I settled on was the elastic bind-off. I’m also, however, a fan of Elizabeth Zimmerman’s sewn bind-off.


I’ll also spend a little time in this post talking about why you need a special bind-off for toe-up socks in the first place. It’s not exactly intuitive, but if you use a standard, non-stretchy bind-off, you might not be able to get your socks on. That would be a pity after all the time you spent knitting. So without further delay, let’s get into this!

Why Do You Need a Special Bind-Off?

The cuff of a sock has to be loose and stretchy enough to fit over your heel as you’re pulling it on. The standard bind-off most of us learn is pretty firm, to put it mildly. The knit two, slip the right stitch over the left, knit one, slip the right stitch over the left, etc. will give you a very sturdy bind-off without much stretch. It’s terrible for toe-up socks.

The Elastic Bind-Off

I did a little hunting around online and found several recommendations for toe-up socks. The elastic bind-off turned out to be my favorite. The biggest reason why I like it? It’s simple. I’ve tried so many bind-offs that have a zillion steps in the process (I exaggerate, but only by a little). When I read the end of a sock, I am tired and ready to be done. I do not need a complicated process waiting for me before I can finish.

The elastic bind-off is very simple. Here’s all you need to do: 1. Knit two stitches. 2. Slip the left needle into the front of those two stitches. 3. Knit the two stitches together through the back loop. 4. Knit a stitch. 5. Repeat steps 2-4 until you finish. When I’m binding off a sock and get to the last stitch, I like to pick up one extra stitch at the beginning of the round to draw everything together. Then I bind off that extra stitch with the remaining stitch, break the yarn, and draw it through the final stitch.

Elizabeth Zimmermans Sewn Bind-Off

I use this bind-off for all of my fingerless mitts, and I like the amount of stretch it gives. I find, though, that it’s a little more fiddly than the elastic bind-off, which might not be something you’re interested in after finishing a sock (in the same way many people don’t like to graft a toe).

Curious to learn more about knitting or to dig deeper into stretchy bind-offs? Click on through for tutorials, free patterns, technique tips, and more.

White Frame Corner