Tension in EZ’s Sewn Bind Off

Today I want to give you a little tutorial for tensioning your yarn during EZ’s sewn bind off. If you don’t know who Elizabeth Zimmermann (or EZ for short) is, she’s one of the knitting icons. Although she passed away in 1999, her knitting recipes and ideas continue to inspire knitters and designers alike. There was a short article written by Jared Flood in last years’ spring issue of amirisu, page 69, if you want to know more about her.

It so happened that I needed to work this sewn bind off at the end of a Brooklyn Tweed pattern. Yes, I’m talking about my Lumen shawl. But the written directions don’t specify how loose or tight the bind off should be, only to adjust if you feel it’s not neat enough. Here’s what I did.


If you haven’t bound off a single stitch yet, start by breaking off a piece of yarn that is three times as long as the edge you want to bind off. Thread the edge through a tapestry needle and insert it purlwise through the first two stitches. Continue with step one.IMG_9974 1. Insert the tapestry needle knitwise into the first stitch on your needle. Slip that stitch off your knitting needle, but leave it on the tapestry one.
IMG_9977 2. Leaving that slipped off stitch be, insert the needle into the next two stitches on your knitting needle, purlwise.
IMG_9980 3. Pull the yarn tail through those three stitches at once. You can make sure the long tail doesn’t tangle by guiding it with middle finger and thumb of the hand that doesn’t pull on yarn.
IMG_9981 4. When you are close to done, you will see this little loop. This tensions your bind off. If you stop pulling now, the bind off will be very loose.
IMG_9982 5. In the end, it should look something like this. I coloured in the little loop again, so you can see where I bound off that one stitch. You can still loosen it up a bit by tugging on the piece of knitting that’s already bound off.

For a nice and even bind off, make sure you have the same tension, i.e. the loops have the same size. Repeat steps 1 – 5 until there is only one stitch left. Pull out your knitting needle – as that stitch is already secured by your working yarn – and pull the yarn snug.

If you found this tutorial helpful, feel free to leave a comment and if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask them.

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