Yesterday I finished my new shawl (woohoo! Pattern coming soon!), which involved binding off a ton of stitches along the bottom border. You know, like most shawls do.
When I bind off a lot of stitches on a project that will be blocked larger than its off-the-needles size, I always bind off with a needle one or two sizes larger. You’ve probably seen patterns telling you to do this. The reason is so that there will be more yarn in the bindoff, which will make the bindoff able to stretch as much as the rest of the fabric is stretching.
But have you ever tried to actually do it?
Since you’re likely on a long circular to hold all those stitches, it would be only natural to grab another circular to use for binding off. I know I used to do that by default, since I don’t even own straights anymore and knit everything on circs anyway.
Well if you have, you know that it is SO annoying.
Your larger circ’s cable is flopping all over the place unused the whole time, and you end up juggling two unweildy, almost-empty circulars by the end of it.
So, don’t do that. Learn from my countless frustrated hours of binding off a zillion stitches and:
Use a double-pointed needle instead.
A DPN lets you use only the part of the needle you need. It is easy to control, concise, and the best part is, there’s no floppy cable! You’ll still have your original circular to maneuver, but it’s way easier to deal with one floppy circular than it is to deal with two. It’ll probably feel weird to you at first when you start, but if you’re like me, you’ll quickly get used to it and start zipping along that seemingly never-ending bindoff.
I estimate that I can bind off 2 to 3 times faster using a DPN than using a second circular. That’s time well-saved to knit more interesting things!
By the way, my DPNs are mostly all 7-inchers, so that’s what I used here, but if you have 6″ or 5″ needles those would work too. I wouldn’t want to use a super-long DPN if I had a choice, but if that was the only needle on hand you could, of course, make it work. (Please read that that like Tim Gunn for full effect)