The 8 Million Hour Bind-Off…

…otherwise known as Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Sewn Bind-off.  I cruised right along on my Terra shawl and was so happy to be at the bind off.  Then I read the instructions and saw that “A sewn bind-off is highly recommended for the proper amount of elasticity needed to block shawl properly.”  I’ve done the sewn bind-off once before on a cowl.  It was a pain, and seemed to take forever, and it was “only” about 90 stitches.  This shawl has 312 stitches to bind off.  It took me 8 million hours.

Here is how the sewn bind off works.

1) Take a strand of yarn that is three times the length of your bind off edge.  And here is problem number one.  It is all crunched up on my needle, so I have no idea how long it is.  Also, I didn’t know if I should make it three times as long as the bind off edge after blocking or before.  So, I winged it and I got lucky and didn’t run out of yarn.

2) Thread the yarn onto a tapestry needle.  Put the needle through the first two stitches, as if to purl and pull the yarn through, leaving the two stitches on the needle. Here is problem number two.  The strand of yarn is so long that it took me about an hour (hence, part of the 8 million hour bind off) to pull the strand all the way through those two stitches.  AND, I started worrying that the yarn would get worn with all that pulling-through across the 312 stitches and break.  It didn’t.  But still…. I worried and that’s a pain.


3) Then put the needle back through the first stitch on the needle, as if to knit, and pull the yarn through (again, worrying) and take the stitch off the needle:

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4) One stitch bound off.  Repeat from #1 until all the stitches are bound off.  Eight million hours later, you will be done.

Before blocking:


During blocking:




 After blocking:

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So wonderfully warm and cozy.  The bind off was worth it.  It really is very stretchy and an excellent option when you need the stretchiness.

Oh, and then there were these:


Peanut Butter Chocolate Sandwich Cookies from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook.

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so. So. SO. GOOD!  (One of many excellent recipes in this book.  I’ve also made the Pork Chops with Cider, Horseradish and Dill (but without the horseradish and dill because I didn’t have it and with mustard instead) several times and it is terribly yummy.)

4 thoughts on “The 8 Million Hour Bind-Off…

  1. Looks great! Have you seen the “Jeny’s Surprising Stretchy Bind Off” on knitty.com. I have tried it and I like the way it works on toe up socks.

    1. Thanks! Yes, have seen that bind off and use it often — almost used it on this shawl because it is much less time-consuming but I was nervous that it wouldn’t be as stretchy as the one recommended in the pattern.

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