Sock Top Cast Off

I like to make my socks from the toe up and for the last pair I used “Zimmerman’s Sewn Off” for casting (binding) off the top. This was the cast off recommended for the 2X2 ribbing cuff. My question is, "Do any of you have another method to suggest? Is there a better method for 2X2 ribbing?

Great question! I agree that the sewn b/o is less than a perfect match for 2x2 rib. Ditto for chain b/o using larger needles. So I’m on the same quest as you are, and have been doing a little homework prior to commencing my next pair of socks; these are my plans:

Since I like tubular for 1x1 rib, I’m going to give the 2x2 version a try, even though it’s supposed to be a bit slanted, making it not quite the holy grail. I’m going to pit it against the decrease b/o and two-row b/o. (These are all described in Montse Stanley’s Knitter’s Handbook. This is my favorite currently published knitting reference by far so I recommend it to anyone who doesn’t have it.) If anyone has additional suggestions, I’d love to add them to my roster. I have a feeling the decrease b/o is going to win, but there could be an upset, who knows. I’ll report here after I do my experiments (will have to wait until I finish off some Christmas projects). Please report your findings too, Lightning57. :wink:

I have a small book named Socks! The Next Step by Carole wulster. It contains directions for socks from the toe up, cuff down, on two circulars, by Magic Loop, one at a time or two at a time. Her recommended finish for toe up, with a ribbed cuff is the Kitchener Stitch for Rib. I’ve never heard of it before, but maybe you can find the instructions on line. I’ve not done it, so can’t tell you any more than that.

I like the look of the Kitchener Stitch. The BIG BOOK OF KNITTING has a good section on it. I couldn’t figure out how to do it though. A sweater that I am making called for binding off in the pattern for a rib binding that I worked around the neck. I didn’t think about that method, but then it might not be stretchy enough for socks. Thanks for your replies.

check the bind off part on KH, I’m sure there’s something similar there.

Kitchener is actually the same as tubular. It’s also sometimes called invisible. (Sorry I forgot to mention that earlier.) The 1x1 version is nice-looking, I agree. It’s also pretty easy once you get the hang of it – I found myself saying the steps out loud when I tried it the first time and that seemed to help a lot. If that doesn’t work for you, you could also try separating the knits and purls onto two needles and doing it like “regular” kitchener.

I’ll let you know what I think of the 2x2 version when I get around to trying it. It does look a bit more complicated. One of my books suggested not to try 2x2 until after mastering 1x1 so you may want to practice 1x1 first – it’s a good one to know, anyway. It’s really not that hard, and you will wonder why you ever did it any other way. Really.

OK! I redid the cuff as a 1x1 ribbing so I could bind off with the kitchener bind off method. It does look good and I was so happy to have that sock finished. BUT! Although it is stretchier than others and I did not pull the yarn through tightly, the cuff doesn’t stretch enough. No, I don’t have large calfs. How does everybody else finish off their socks? I don’t like feeling as if I’m trying to pull an over stretched, maxed out band over my leg.

Thanks for trying to help me.

Okay, so I did a lot of testing of different b/o’s for double rib and…

The one that won (for me) was Stanley’s decrease b/o “in pattern,” (switching from knit to purl to match the rib). Not a perfect match, but very easy to do, and not bad looking. A definite improvement over basic chain b/o in pattern. (Note: There seems to be a version of chain b/o that is sometimes referred to as decrease b/o, but I’m specifically referring to the decrease b/o found in the Stanley book.)

I found a few different ways to do tubular (aka kitchener, aka invisible) for double rib, and I didn’t find any of them particularly nice looking. I tried a version on the needles (tricky), a version off the needles (a bit easier), and another version that involved “exchanging” stitches to make the double rib into the single rib before doing regular tubular b/o for single rib. They all required two rounds of double knitting before the final b/o, as well as use of a tapestry needle on the final round.* I decided it was not worth the effort given that the decrease b/o looked better, and was about 10,000 times faster and easier.

I’m sure that nobody’s going to be examining the cuffs of DH’s new socks, but it was a fun exercise anyway. YMMV, of course.

*It was a total AHA! moment for me when I realized that tubular b/o was called tubular because the double knitting creates a little tube. Why it took me so long to realize it is beyond me.

When you did the kitchener for single rib, did you do 2 rounds of double knitting first? It doesn’t seem to be a requirement (Amy doesn’t show it in her video, and I don’t think the Vogue book mentions it either), but at least 3 books I found recommend it. It may make a difference in stretchiness.

Yes, Jane I did. I have now removed the bindoff twice, which isn’t easy and takes quite a while to do. I think I have come to the conclusion that I made them smaller than I needed to. They fit and feel good on my foot and leg, but I guess they could be some what looser (which would probably give me the extra stretch needed. Maybe I should have worked more than 52 stitches in circumference. I used the chart in Sally Melville’s second book on the Purl stitch along with my measurements. I have worked both socks except the cuffs. I guess I could frog them both back to the heel and work the legs again but increase them to a higher number of stitches. Maybe a total of 56 -60. What do you think?

Oh yes, I have experience removing that b/o so I know it’s a pain. Have you tried doing the double knit part of the b/o on larger needles? If you haven’t, it may be something to try before doing any major frogging. If that doesn’t work, increasing up the calf would probably be the way to go. I had to do that for DH’s boot socks. To calculate the number of stitches to increase, I’d measure the circumference of your leg at the area where you want the cuff to end by your stitch gauge and then subtract a little (maybe 10%) for snugness. Are you working in a pattern? That could complicate the increasing bit.

Oh yeah. If you’ve been working both socks together all this time, you might want to switch to one at a time. It’s less frustrating to frog one sock than two when something doesn’t work.

I didn’t frog anything. Instead, I did a sewn bind off. It doesn’t look as nice, but it works better. BTW, when the sock is on the foot the top looks very nice. Thanks for all your help.

Congrats on finishing! :woohoo: So glad you didn’t have to frog.