Forever and ever

Finally. I had two projects that I wanted to finish before I went all the way to crazy-town with brand new exciting stuff, and I’ve been such a virtuous and dedicated knitter. Jen’s socks are finished, and that meant the only thing left on the needles was the “priority shawl”. This shawl is Sweet Dreams, except I changed a few things.

That’s a lie. I changed a whole bunch of things. I had more yarn than was called for, and the yarn was the superlatively delicious Sexy, from the Buffalo Wool Co. This yarn is so nice that once I decided that Sweet Dreams was my pattern, I couldn’t stand to waste an inch… so I altered the pattern to make things work for me.  I change the width, I changed the way I cast on… I did a crazy voodoo short row thing to make the whole shawl less crescent shaped, and frankly, at this point there’s no way to know if this shawl is going to work, or if I’ve just spent tons of knitting time, brain energy, beads and beautiful yarn making a shawl, or an extremely oddly shaped table runner. (Truth be told, if this thing is a train wreck, I won’t even use it as a table runner. I’d rip it out and start over. The ingredients are too delicious to waste on an inanimate object with no nerve endings.)

bindingdet 2014-08-15

This shawl is on a deadline.  I don’t need a shawl to be finished for awhile, but if this insane amount of modification doesn’t work, I need time to reknit it all, and so this thing should really have been done a few weeks ago.  I knew this, and was feeling a little hysterical about it, so I really applied myself over the last few days, and this morning, wrapped in glory and delighted with my progress, I finished the very last beautiful row, placing a rather bonkers number of beads as I went.

binding 2014-08-15

Now all that’s left is the bind-off, which frankly, I hadn’t given a ton of thought to. Bind-off, I thought.  No biggie. Wrong again.  There are currently 600+ stitches on my needle.

I have no explanation for why I thought that this bind off wouldn’t take a million years, but when I counted it up, I stroked out a little. That would have been enough, but then I took a look at the instructions for the bind-off, and the bottom fell out.

It’s a picot bind off.  Cast on three, bind off five – and that, my knitterly compadres, is a bridge too far. I see now that this is going to take forever – or at least until Sunday. This bind-off is going to take so long that the world will have a different population when I finish. People will die, babies will be born… I am going to be casting off forever. I see that now.

moredet 2014-08-15

I’m off to start. Today is my daughter Meg’s 23rd birthday (I KNOW. HOW DID THAT HAPPEN) and the family converges here in just a few short hours. I’ll make a dinner, light candles, make it beautiful, and start. Binding off. Forever.

What’s the harshest bind-off you ever did?


136 thoughts on “Forever and ever

  1. I don’t mind binding off, even picot. I like the anticipation of a completed item. The shawl looks beautiful–can’t wait to see it finished.

  2. I did an entrelac lace shawl in Kid Silk Haze with a ruffled border that, by the time I’d doubled it twice, was 4,800 stitches–talk about the forever bind-off! Good luck–it certainly looks beautiful in your pictures. Best, Terri Major

  3. Amen, sister. I’m knitting a chuppah for my sister-in-law’s wedding. It’s on August 31. The stitch count in the final row was about 1600. It’s a knitted-on, 12 stitch, 16 row repeating pattern that only binds off 10 stitches per repeat. Each repeat takes 9 minutes for me to do. That’s exactly 24 hours of knitting if there really are 1600 stitches. And I have a 1year old who doesn’t sleep And I solo parent. And I’m completely nuts.

  4. Andrea FTW. Best of luck! My bindoff is a knitted-on one too and I’m super scared I’m not going to have enough yarn. I’m actually kindof afraid to continue. Afraid enough that I’ve finished 2 1/2 cowls while eyeing the knit-bindoff project in the corner. Ugh.

  5. Pingback: Forever and ever | Yarn Buyer

  6. Actually I just this morning finished my Snow Angel shawl (ironically also a Boo Knits pattern) that used the picot bind-off. There were times when I wanted to throw it at the wall because it seemed so endless, but after about 8 hours of work (broken up over several days!), it’s now a done deal – yay!

    • I’m just finishing the exact same pattern, started on the picot bind-off, and then after a short while undid it again and am most of the way through the crochet bind-off now. Too much pain for the picot for me, and I think I like the crochet bind-off more (or i’ve convinced myself of that anyhow). Hopefully be done tonight!

  7. That looks really lovely! I can’t wait to see the finished product – I’m sure that it won’t be a table runner 🙂

    Harshest one I ever did? Anne Hanson’s “Snowflakes in Cedar Woods.” US3 needles, 6′ square shawl, knitted-on edging (I’m counting that as a bind-off). It took WEEKS, and by the end my remaining yarn was looking wee enough that I was seriously contemplating another 3,000 yard skein just to complete the edging. Luckily I made it with a few gms to spare.

  8. Knitted on border, circular baby blanket, fingering yarn. I think there were 540 stitches, I did a simple (k2tog, YO) in garter stitich with a couple of plain stitches where I joined it. But I didn’t like the smooth edge, so I cast on two stitches at the outer edge, every row, then bound them off. My border was 11 stitches, plus the cast on/bound off two. My “bind off” became about 12,000 stitches and took weeks. Good luck with your picots!

  9. Joe is NOT crummy at selfies. That’s the best pic of you (and the top of his head) that’s been on the twitter/blog that I’ve seen in a LONG time.

  10. The harshest bind off was on the skirt of my wedding dress with over 2000 stitches. I wasn’t happy with how it looked, so I ripped it back and kept knitting. Finally the day before said wedding, I still wasn’t done and decided to call it quits. I ran a double length of yarn through the live stitches and tied it off with a hope and a prayer and called it done. I wore my dress with no disasters, and plan to frog and reknit the skirt someday so that it is finally what I had envisioned in my head. But I’m not quite ready for that just yet.

    The project is up on Ravelry as “Mega Epic Challenge” if you’re interested.

  11. I’m sorry, but I had to giggle a bit because I could just *feel* it coming, those doom-filled words: picot bind off.

    That’s exactly the most nerve wracking bind off I’ve done! Picot bind off on Stephen West’s Color Craving shawl: I didn’t even count the stitches; it would’ve sent me screaming into the night. I wanted the beautiful end result, so nothing to do but slog through it. Lol. Happy Picot-ing!!

  12. 638 sts. 4-stitch I-cord bindoff. But before I could start, I had to frog the first BO attempt (by someone else), which gave me 536 live stitches (the other 102 were picked up). THEN I could do the 638 st. I-cord BO.

  13. My harshest bind off was also for a shawl, and I had reworked the edging to the point where the shawl was about 100 rows longer than the original pattern. The bind off was one of those loopy ones where you crochet a bunch of stitches together and then chain for some number of stitches and repeat across. Don’t ask how many stitches there were, if not over 1000 then pretty danged close.

    I ran out of yarn.

    I had a little panic attack and then counted how many stitches I had left and calculated how many loops I still needed to finish the bind off. I then counted how many loops I had made before running out. Then I ripped that bind off out and did it again with one less chain stitch in each loop and finished the shawl with 6″ (15cm) of yarn to weave at the end.

      • After all that knitting I was really very annoyed at running out. Especially when it was a one pound cone, buy another cone to finish the bind off? Not if I could think of any other way. 😀 (Which is good, because I think it was discontinued yarn by that point too, it definitely is now.)

  14. I don’t know if I ever took note of the harshest bind off I ever did, but I am sure it was no where near the neighbourhood of 600+ stitches. Bon courage, mon amie. 🙂 Can’t wait to see the final, blocked miracle.

  15. Honestly, the most difficult bind-off I ever did was not the complexity of the pattern, but simply SIZE. It was over 1,000 stitches, and I reeeeeeeeeeeeally don’t like binding off. Really really really really really. And casting on. But binding off is worse.

  16. Harshest bind off ever? Could be the picot one for that shawl. Could be the massive extra large Haruni I did a while back. I don’t know because I’ve blacked it all out LOL

  17. It was also a picot edge on a shawl… But currently heading towards an I-cord edging on a cardigan……. Happy knitting. At least you are working with beautiful stuff.

  18. Picot bind-off. You are so close to the end, you’re in this whole finishing high, and yet you are making stitch after stitch after stitch. I think what makes it so horrible is that it is so perfect in so many ways and so there is never any impulse to do a different bind-off – and yet…

  19. OMG that is sooo beautiful.. every single bind off stitch will be worth it. I think I did a bind off like that once, I thought it would take me way into my next life, but fortunately i finished and lived to tell the story!

  20. I knit a lot of cuff down socks. Which means I do a lot of just grafting 24 stitches. I can’t think of ANYTHING I’ve done that comes close to a picot bind off of 600 stitches. Better you than me!

  21. My never-ending ending was on a laceweight Pi R Squared shawl, it was a knitted on edging with a 20 row repeat. It was a lovely edging which was just as well because I had to repeat it 69 times. I started putting in a marker every time I picked it up just to prove that I was actually gaining on it.

  22. I’m pretty sure binding off my Sweet Dreams took longer than knitting the thing itself. Maybe that had something to do with the fact that I beaded the picots. Using a crochet hook for the bind off helped me though. Have fun :s

  23. It really won’t take forever, I promise you. Just make sure, firstly, that you’re watching a movie or something else you like that totally distracts you from how many hours of your life are going by while you cast off. The second thing you should do is never look at how many stitches you still have to do. And the last thing is, think of how pretty all that picot is going to be. This mind over matter thing works for other things, like walking on the treadmill. May the force be with you.

  24. I am a new knitter. Only been knitting for little over a year. I have only cast off one way and before your post didn’t know there was another way! I love reading your stories and seeing what you knit up. Such inspiration.

  25. It wasn’t a bind off, but the 12-stitch border on my Celes. I still don’t understand how it is physically possible for that little knitting to take so long.

    • I hear you! Shawl border for a now-out-of-print shawl pattern, centre knitted by someone else, border knitted by me in one continuous strip and then sewn on by the person who made the shawl centre. It took me sooooooooo long because it was stupidly picky – just 11 sts wide and an 8-row repeat, but MILES of it, on eensy weensy needles. I could not knit if anyone spoke to me, or if there were other people in the room talking to each other, or if the TV was on. Got up two hours earlier than necessary to achieve the solitude and focus, and did maybe half a dozen repeats every day, placing a marker to show I was actually making some progress. Not a bind-off, but easily the most harrowing knitting experience of my life.

  26. Haven’t read all the comments, so maybe someone already said this, but would it be possible to do a gentle steam blocking on a lifeline (IIRC you are not a fan of steam blocking or lifelines, but hear me out), just to check that everything worked out the way you planned, before you do a gajillion hour bind off? I did a picot crochet bind off on my Vernal Equinox and if I’d had to rip it out and do it over again because of something I discovered after blocking, I would have stuffed the shawl into a pit of moths.

  27. I had to do an 800+ stitch picot bind off for a shawl. It took so long (a week?), I couldn’t do more than an hour without going into catatonia. I christened the shawl “Death by Picot Bind-Off”.

  28. One of my first projects (and my first sweater) was the spiral sweater from Elann. With the i-cord twisty bind-off. I don’t remember how many i-cords it is or how many stitches, but when every few stitches requires ten minutes to cast off, it takes awhile, especially for a beginner. And it ended up being too small.

  29. That would have to be my (farflegirl’s) Girasole. It used a 6-row repeat that used 3 stitches of the 640 each time. It seemed never ending, but was well worth it!

  30. I’m almost finished Sweet Dreams. I haven’t totally fallen In love with this project although I realize that it will be lovely, beads and all when completed. I made a big modification to the cast on which I know will be well worth the extra effort. For now though, I want this piece finished.

  31. I don’t ever count or calculate the number of stitches I’ve got to bind off – especially in large shawls. Better just dive in and do it!

  32. Stephen West’s Old Forge blanket, the 600 stitches each needed 19 knit stitches and a slip stitch. These were all done with 212 short pieces of yarn saved from years of natural dye classes. The blanket body was knit from skeins of yarn also from dye classes. Lots of great memories and hours of work, that edging took weeks.

  33. I made a Sweet Dreams as well. I love the lace and I love the yarn I chose and how lovely it is knit up in stocking stitch and in the lace. My yarn has a gentle metallic thread with the odd metallic slub and I love it. I am NOT in love the the crescent shape, at all. The wee tiny pointing bits at the ends just aren’t working for me. I have made other modified crescenty-rectangulary shawls and love them. I was wondering how to adjust this pattern. At first I played with knitting maths and then came a Yarn Harlot post about a fancy retreat trip with her knitting crew where they worked out knitting magic to modify this shawl. So I am waiting with needles and yarn at hand to learn just what knitterly magic you and the knit crew in your world came up with to make this fabulous! I would love to be ‘monkey see – monkey do!’

    Oh, and I didn’t count the number stitches in the bind off (though that picot edging is actually quite amazing after a great wet block). That would have been just too demoralizing and knowing how many stitches actually doesn’t make a wee bit of difference to just what a task it is the execute that bind off.

  34. Circular Baby Blanket that somehow ended up being big enough to cover a Queen size bed — knitted on ruffled seed stitch edge! Edge alone took four skeins of yarn. I was a wreck.

  35. My best friend from when I was 14 up to this very day, some 42 years later, is Patti. I love her so that meant I musr knit for her, right? Well, I asked her what she would like to have & it was a nice, long scarf in a neutral color so she could wear it with everything – because she was excited beyond words that I was doing that for her, bless her heart! So, I found a beautiful, soft, yummy yarn – natural fiber, hand wash/lay flat, expensive but on a to-die-for sale! The LYS where I found this great find just happened to have a new scarf pattern they had commissioned for a class that had just taken place and I loved it! It was to be knit lengthwise, which I had wanted to do for a while, and it was an 8 row repeat that was easy but yielded a really cool open-work/lace effect. The pattern gave the dimensions and stitch count and my yarn matched the requirements. BUT! Did I leave well enough alone? OF COURSE NOT! I decided, in my infinitely non-mathmatical mind to make it longer than the intended length. So I extrapolated and arrived at the magic number and started casting on. IT DID NOT PHASE ME THEN. But, when the give-it-to-her day arrived, I had a repeat to go, plus bind off – and it was supposed to have fringe! The repeat went well, until the last 15-20 stitches. Needless to say, I made it on a LONG circular needle. Now, I was at work, dictating communications whilst knitting like a fiend. But the fiendish knitting came to a drastic halt when my needle broke off of the cord. Cheap needle? NOT! But, that aside, I had 30 minutes, about 5463 stitches AND NO NEEDLES! You have never seen people scramble like my co-workers did to find a substitute! I ended up finishing it using a thin, billfold-sized pencil and a stylus! And, only then did I realize the length of this greatly anticipated scarf! Instead of the 60″ it was supposed to be, it was, and I am not joking, NINE FEET LONG! And did I mention that Patti is 5′ 4″? No joke. No lie. No exaggeration!

    • Wow, how many times did you have to go back to the LYS for more yarn? This can only be funny years later, and I must admit that now I am grinning. Your friend was well-wrapped up in that scarf and your love.

      • We wrapped up one of her granddaughters in it! Covered her from head to toe and back again! The picture is a great memory of the day! Patti is still wearing the scarf! But she has to put all 3 leaves in her dining room table to have the room to lay it flat to dry!!!

  36. Eh. It’s lace. It’ll block out. 🙂

    Harshest bind-off ever was an EZ sewn bind-off around the entire bottom of a sweater. Took a thousand years and required a gigantic length of yarn, which had gotten quite pilly by the time it had been pulled three times through every single stitch on the bottom hem of the sweater.

    From now on, it’s the JSSBO for long edges and nothing else.

  37. I knit a prayer shawl for a friend – half circle. The last rows were a contrasting color ruffle. I’d never done a ruffle before and doubled the number of stitiches on each row. The result was quite nice, but I had to use 3 circulars to accommodate all the stitches.- a VERY long bindoff.

  38. The Downtown Abbey KAL mystery shawl bind-off took FOREVER!. I think it was 628 stitches or something like that….
    And ya, I keep trying to get WIPs off needles, but other things (mostly socks) just keep jumping on.

  39. When I was 7 months preggers with my son (he’s 8.5 now), my mom gave me a big, beautiful white shawl for Christmas…that she hadn’t had the time or patience to finish because it had this ridiculous bind-off that required at least half the yardage called for in the pattern (VK what do you expect?) so I spent that last bit of pregnancy finishing my own Christmas present. It took ages but I had terrible insomnia so at least it gave me something to do.

  40. my worst bind-off was a “rectangular” shawl knit horizontally in old shale. three hundred and twenty-six stitches. which sounds not bad in comparison to your six hundred, but it was a similar situation of use-every-blessed-inch (silk lace handpainted in a bright rainbow) so it began with knitting then tinking the very last row and a half to be SURE i was using every blessed inch, then carefully binding off as loosely as possible to make sure i could block out the scallops as far as possible.

    it’s gorgeous. my pride and joy. but i am NEVER making anything like it again.

  41. Worst one the first one in 1961 when I was 12. I was all thumbs and inexperienced. Now, 53 years later the comfort level is good and it’s only time and enjoyment. Longest was Color Affection -endless

  42. The one on the circular shawl where, when I finally finished it and rinsed it and laid it out, I finally saw where I’d dropped a stitch a dozen or so rows before. I unbound it to there, took a deep breath…and fixed it. Totally succeeded.

    Happy Birthday, Meg! And gorgeous shawl, Stephanie.

  43. I recently completed the Lestrange Cloak, ( and while you might think the whole thing would be a complete slog, it was the shawl collar that killed me. It took ages to knit, and the bind of was an entire day of straight work – probably close to 700 stitches.

    I’ve actually knit Sweet Dreams twice (and modified it both time) and still haven’t done the picot bind off – just because I was worried about running out of yarn – picot is one heck of a yarn eater!

  44. The bind off I’m not starting yet.

    I have the edging on a cashmere beaded Permafrost, only I modified it to do the third chart three times and have an extra repeat on the last body chart. My husband calls it a beaded car cosy, since I decided to enlarge a 6′ diameter shawl and bead the whole thing. I’ve done the math on the number of stitches that I get to bind off at the rate of one every other row of edging, but it keeps making me faint until I forget it again.

  45. I usually add beads when doing the picot bind off, so it lasts even more than forever, but I completely adore the result. If I wasn’t desperately trying to complete an Alice Starmore cardigan kit before September, I’d even volunteer to bind off for you since Sexy is marvelous!

  46. A knitted on 8″ lace edge around an elongated Forest Path Stole, Jaggerspun Zephyr. What was I thinking? The edging took more time than the entire entrelac lace shawl. But it is a thing of beauty and was worth it as surely your glorious beaded delight will be, Steph.

  47. I did a picot bind off on my Cladonia shawl. Took me three hours and it didn’t have so many stitches as 600+. You poor thing.

  48. I am knitting with the same yarn and beads. It’s the Laura Nelkin mystery shawl that has a beaded bind off. Afraid that’s going to take quite awhile too. Looking forward to seeing you at Loopy Ewe’s Fall Fling.

  49. I just finished a beautiful shawl, “Dreamy Blossoms” by Diana Rozenshteyn. It is absolutely stunning! But like you, I added extra rows to make sure I used up every ounce of the yarn I was using. And then it happened! I like you read the bind off!!! With over 500 stitches I was not a happy camper! But to be honest I am so glad I did the picot bind off! Good luck with yours! Pop in a good movie!

  50. It’ll be gorgeous and it’s a fairly mindless bindoff…. and the color of the shawl is close enough to enjoy a nice beer or glass of wine while you’re doing it.

    worst bindoff ever for me? I’d say my first sweater (ok, it was my first knitting project EVER)… a weasley sweater, for my youngest son (he was in second grade)… biggest pita in the world was binding off the neckline because I kept doing it too tight, didn’t know how to pick up my stitches that i’d dropped then and had to rip it out a few times because it was too tight to go over his head (he inherited the big head from my dh’s side). It also seemed never ending because the first day he wore it to school, a kid he’s had trouble with before grabbed ahold of the collar and yanked it, breaking the yarn (red heart, I didn’t know such yummy yarns that I use now existed..) and unraveled quite a bit of the neck…. which the teacher tied off in a knot and cut the yarn…..

  51. Even without blocking (and I’m not sure it needs it), this looks like it could be a shawl, cowl, scarf, or even lap robe that is insanely soft and equally as warm. Perfect for the next Toronto winter involving a Polar Vortex!

    Hope it comes out right in the end. I know how heartbeaking it would be to have to frog this thing when it would otherwise be a few rows short of being completed. You would know better than I, but you’ve also been known to be somewhat delusional. . . .;-)!

  52. Yep, the picot bind off is my nemesis. My friend’s daughter was married 2 years ago, and a group of us made a beautiful knitted chuppa. It called for the dreaded picot bind off, and it all my madness I knew it was the right one for the project. It was between 1500 and 2000 stitches and took me FOUR DAYS to complete. Thank goodness I started well before the deadline, or the wedding would have taken place under empty branches.

  53. Jared Flood’s Girasole. I think there were 900 stitches on the needle and it was also a picot-type bind off. Took forever.

  54. Either the knitted bind off of Girasole or the insane number at the end of Nuvem. I’ll try not to think about either ever again.

  55. I’ve read you for years and have no doubt your bind-off will be done in no time!
    Today also my daughter’s first birthday… 1 year. Happy birthday to Megan and to my Olga too!

  56. I’m currently working on the Yggdrasil afghan, which technically has two bind-offs for the size I’m making. The first is 364 stitches and uses a 16-row repeat that binds off 9 stitches per repeat. The second is 604 stitches, with a 36-row repeat that binds off 26 stitches per repeat. I’m working on the first and not especially looking forward to the second.

  57. Ugh, sounds like a long weekend (or maybe good, quiet alone time). I designed my neice’s baptism gown and the skirt was over 1200 sts by the time I was done.

    I know how much you “love” crochet, but have you tried a crochet hook, *Ch 3, Sl 2 from needle*? The look is similar enough and A LOT faster.

  58. Mine wasn’t really a bind off, but the whole process. The night before the wedding I finished the embroidery on a shawl I’d knit, washed it, and went out into the yard to block it… And stepped in a hole and broke my foot… Crawled back into the house, got my son to take me to the ER… Got the foot wrapped after the x-ray… And then had to teach and supervise my 17 year old son in the very definite art of blocking a shawl. For a girl who is like a daughter to me. For a wedding the next day.
    The kid really stepped up and the shawl (knit lilies and embroidered bees) was a huge hit… And my son took his bows for having helped 🙂

  59. Earth-shattering bindoff, *twice*: In the old Golden Hands magazine there was a pattern for a white knitted lace long hooded coat as part of a wedding ensemble. There are more than a thousand stitches on the bottom row. I worked for a woman who knit this for her own wedding, finished it well ahead of time, and hung it up in her closet to wait for the big day. Just before the big day she tried it on, and during its weeks on the hanger it had grown 6 inches. So the day before her wedding she cut off 6 inches, put those thousand stitches back on her needles, and cast them off *again*.

  60. Geez, my longest bind-off, I think was the shawl I just finished, which was 339 stitches, but a complicated picot thing, too, which involved binding off two, casting on 4, then slipping one stitch over the next, then knitting together…. sheesh! It took me two weeks in my spare time. But then, I’m CERtainly not a lightning knitter like you are, Steph. I think I’ve had actually a higher volume of stitches that needed binding off the in past, but as they were conventional bind-offs along the edge of an afghan, they didn’t even register on the radar, really. This recent one was… complex. But hey, YOU’VE JUST CYCLED TO MONTREAL! This time, it was a really, really challenging ride. In case it’s not self-evident, you do possess the right stuff to get through this too. And then maybe go join the Royal Marine Commandos. ; )

  61. I once knitted a blanket for my brother. It was knit in the round and once I’d put in most of the balls of yarn I had, I was using size US 6 32″ circulars like giant DPNs with rubber bands on all their ends to keep the stitches from escaping. After the last increase the number of stitches on the needles was insane. I did not count. But each of my superDPNs was densely packed with stitches.

    Then I did a 10-stitch knitted-on garter edging.

  62. Stop. Close your eyes. Take a deep breath. Take several more deep breaths. While you are doing all of that breathing, clear your mind. Have a few moments of brain silence. Then consider that the time it will take to finish this shawl is very small compared to how long you will enjoy it. Also consider that you will always love the look of the shawl with that bind off.

    Just trying to help.

  63. The hardest bind-off I have done is the knitted-teeth edge on the Aestlight Shawl by Gudrun Johnston–it looks so cool but GOOD GRIEF I couldn’t seem to memorize them until I was 3/4 done and that didn’t really change my speed at all. I was happy to do a picot bind-off on the next project, it seemed so reasonable! The beads are so lovely with that yarn and the lace pattern! It will be worth it I’m sure!

  64. My self-designed lace pi shawl, for a friend’s wedding. (The “Website” link above is to one of my blog posts showing it.) A circle shawl, with a knitted-on lace bind-off, and I believe I was up to 880 stitches before starting the bind-off. This was my first finished lace knitting (I started one other project until I felt comfortable with lace, then plunged into this) and I had no idea how long a knitted-on lace border would take. On 880 stitches. I later counted up that I spent 40 hours knitting in that last 5-6 days, most of that the border, while working full-time. The last night, I only got an hour of sleep — I had to finish and block it! But I did it. And now I have no excuse for not knowing how long a knitted-on border takes, which doesn’t mean I don’t push the boundaries — but not quite so insanely. It is still my favorite way to bind off a lace shawl, though.

  65. By the way, Stephanie, apparently I have posted this shawl before when you asked the question some time ago about the project we were most proud of — since you commented on it on the blog. Heh. Well, *per aspera ad astra*, hmm? I put my all into that shawl, and appreciate the result more thereby.

  66. Anticipation and scheming is a big part of knitting for me. I haven’t don’t anything fantastic like the projects above. I thought I would start off small, like the picot edge on a sock – I am a coward.

    Serendipty called and I was happy to sit through a talk and display of one woman’s lifetime journey of knitting lace shawls – it got my appetite whetted for the journey ahead. This lady could knit 600 gms in one week!

  67. I am hoping it is not right at the edge. While the shawl is still pinned our run a strand of contrasting color to replicate the stitches that pulled out. Then loosen the pins a bit so no more broken strands. When dry replace the marked thread with original yarn and hide the ends. If it is the edge, loosen the pins a bit, let dry, and reknit that section. No fun but you know how to repair this then have cry or drink or both.

  68. Hardest bindoff? More like the most time consuming. I made a Pi Shawl ala Elizabeth Zimmermann and found Brooklyn Tweed’s 9-stitch side to side garter stitch edging. So that was, what, 18 stitches for every one of around a thousand stitches on the needles. And it looks amazing! So that’s okay.

  69. Not sure about the worst bind off, but it was probably something in lace. The worst cast on was an icord cast on from hell for a sweater worked in the round from the bottom up, and I ripped and redid it four times before I finally declared it enough. I was test knitting, or I’d have kicked that sucker to the curb after the second attempt.

  70. the longest bind off I ever did was the knitted edging on the Jacobean Square. It took almost 2 skeins of yarn and over 50 hours to complete. ♥ Good luck with yours!!

  71. Oiy! Just read on twitter that after binding off and blocking two threads in this shawl snapped. That is my worst fear when blocking lace. It often needs some tension for it to really open up but man, broken threads would stop my heart and you would have to pick me up from the heap I collapsed into on the floor. Stay strong Harlot, stay strong. And fingers crossed the threads aren’t in the midst of the lace or somewhere else complicated to mend.

  72. The leaf bind off for the Bridgewater Shawl. It has been two years in my yarn bowl and I am still not finished!! Maybe by..the end of the 21st centrury..which right now looks likely.
    Barb R.
    Shelton CT, USA

  73. The most heart-breaking one was when I ran out of yarn on a shawl two rows away from the end. I had one skein, it was a one-off dye, there was no way to match it. I ended up spending a great deal of time trying to figure out what to do and ended up doing a crochet bind-off with a different yarn entirely. Looks fine, but I remember the frustration and pain so vividly I now err very far on the side of having too much yarn.

  74. Just read about the snapped threads Sigh. Sending calm and positive thoughts. Breathe Walk away if you need to. Use pins to stop any more dropping. Chart out where in the pattern it broke. Add a thin silk thread to some leftover yarn and repair. I know you can do it.

  75. OMG I literally JUST finished that same shawl, with the picot bindoff last night/very early this morning. It literally took me a week. But I’m a slow knitter so I’m sure you’ll do it much faster than me. It’s worth it, but OMG what a slog. Good luck!

  76. Mine was also a picot bind-off on Helen Stewart’s Radiance Shawl over 760 stitches. The instructions were to cast on 2, bind off 5, so each time I cast on one less than your instructions… but it was over 760 rather than 600 stitches, so I figure we’re about even!

    It took me a few days; I think I tackled it in three knitting sessions, but I had to do something else in between. The finished object is worth it, though. I really hope your shawl works out and you don’t have to frog!

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  78. Picot is definitely the worst…but it’s greatly improved by (I’m going to say it) crochet. Crocheting picots is SO MUCH FASTER than knitting.

  79. The quickest way to do a picot bind off is with a crochet hook in your right hand. Where it says “cast on” you do “chain”. Where it says “bind off”, you do sc in the chains and bind off the real stitches. Much faster. Good luck. Sounds like it will be beautiful and scrumptiously soft. I’m doing my 4th “Beads and arrows” by Marie Fischer. 4th in a row. Addictive! My Christmas box is flush…
    Julie in San Diego

  80. Hah! That’s an easy one to answer. It was this sweater

    (I seem to recall being extremely chuffed that you gave it a ribbon when you adjudicated the KW Knitter’s Guild show a few years ago. :))

    That little dastardly ruffled edge starts out at 1500 stitches in laceweight, and then doubles. Twice.

    Yes, my friends, that is 6000 stitches to bind off.

    I don’t believe I have knit a ruffle since.

  81. Totally the picot bind-off. I feel as if I’m not making progress and it’s always 400+ stitched to start with. Can’t wait to see the shawl!

  82. Two broken threads! Egads – after all that work! Splice and weave. You can do a nearly invisible splice – I saw your tutorial for it and then weave it back to reknit the hole that the broken thread left. In all that beautiful lace, it will be nearly impossible to see.

  83. I am holding my breath to see if the broken stitches can be fixed.
    And yelling at the knitting gods that you did not get on the bus, and to lighten up!

  84. Happy Birthday to Meg! Best wishes with the bind-off – I agree that picot bind-offs are sometimes the worst, but they sure do look pretty. Fingers crossed for you that all your mods have worked splendidly – I’m sure they will be wonderful.

  85. Yeah but just think how amazing it will feel as you see the finished item coming into being! I think my harshest bind-off was on a shawl as well, but the finished object was definitely worth it!

  86. Wait a minute. You are going to bind off one million stiches in order to find out you might have to rip the whole thing out??? What planet did you say you are from? I did not quite get that. Oh, the planet of superwomen. Right :-)) that’s what I thought.

  87. I haven’t read all the comments, but I wondered if you would consider putting in a life line (Just In Case) and doing the Orenburg elastic bind-off that Galina recommends for her shawls. Where to find instructions? Some of the Piecework issues with Galina’s designs have step-by-step illustrations at the back. The point is to give you an extremely elastic edge for blocking purposes.

    Unless you really love the picot. You’ve proven you can stay in the game for the long run, and long cast-off.

    It looks exquisite. You’ve done a stellar job!

  88. Heh – beaded bind-off of Citron Grande. After I decided that Citron Normale was too small and so I picked out the beaded bind-off, added 3 more sections and then bound off with a bead on every other stitch. It was totally worth it, but yeah, it took 3 very fiddly days.

  89. The most excruciating bind off I did was a knitted edging bind off on a square shawl (Snow Falling on Cedarwoods by Anne Hanson). Not only where there a ton of stitches, I had to knit the edging at the same time! I ran out of yarn with like 10 inches left so I had to scramble to find a substitute yarn (the orig yarn was no longer available). OY. But I found it and finished it and I LOVE IT!

  90. You’re still AT THE BIND OFF. That means that, for all intents and purposes (I had to consciously decide not to post “intensive purposes” since that’s how I see it all over the internet LOL), you have finished knitting. Although I feel your pain…

    It’s like you arrived at Montreal at the end of the Rally, and everyone said, GREAT! Job well done! Now you just have to bike HOME. 🙂

    You can do it Steph. Compared to raising three intelligent and compassionate young women and cycling 600km to Montreal in the rain, this is PEANUTS.

  91. My most challenging bind-off was also on my second knitting project. It was a baby blanket for a dear friend’s third baby… with a lace edging. I didn’t know enough to pick up the stitches on the way around, and so I taught myself how to knit the lace edging (there was a typo, so it took me more than a few times through the repeat to figure that out, as it was my first lace) and knit a long, long, long strip of it, occasionally pulling out the blanket to lay the lace around and check things out. Then, since I did not know anything, I still needed to sew it on. Somehow I cobbled it together, and it looked nice, even considering how many mistakes I made in the process! I’m not sure if it has held up, though. Also, I guess this really doesn’t qualify as a bind-off.

    Stephanie, I’m thinking that a girl who rides her bike more than 600 km has more than enough tenacity to bind off 600 stitches, even if she isn’t quite looking forward to the process. It comes together in a similar way, doesn’t it? Every few stitches (or kilometres) adds up, even if along the way there seems such a distance left to cover!

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  93. I bound off a square couch blanket; in terms of binding off, I think that counts as more of a middle-distance (like, five miles instead of a full marathon). It took a while and was boring as all get-out–especially bad when you realize you’re slowing down from sheer exhaustion–but I got my 3 AM finish.

  94. The bind off of the Herringbone Princess shawl is actually the long ruffled edge, and so it was “make the corner ruffle, the ssk the last stitch of the border and one stitch on the shawl, and make a short-row ruffle every other stitch.” For something like 450+ stitches. I was actually excited when I had only 75 ruffles to go. It took forever, because every two stitches bound off was something like 120 actual stitches of knitting. It’s cute though, and I wear it all the time. At least, when the air conditioning in my office works.

  95. My harshest bind off was for Jared Flood’s Girasole, which also has a picot bind off for 800 stitches. I swear I lived and died a few times before the thing was done.

  96. i’m not nearly as experienced a knitter as everyone here, but i once made a shawl with a 300 stitch i-cord bind off… talk about time consuming! and i nearly ran out of yarn by the end too

  97. Beautiful color and I hope you list the modifications. I wonder if you ever read all the comments? Mite explain all that bike riding

  98. I haven’t gotten around to taking pictures of it for Rav yet, but my Spider Web Shawl had a 1,272 stitch bind off. And because the bind-offs I like the look of the best are also the ones that annoy me the most to execute… I did a beaded crochet chain bind off. So seven little stitches (seven chains? is that correct terminology? I don’t really crochet except for bind-offs) and a bead to get rid of each stitch. Took forever. I ended up putting it aside for a week in the middle because I just couldn’t face it.

    As annoying as the bind off was though… I LOVE the finished shawl. It makes me happy whenever I wear it.

  99. Harshest bind off? The very same shawl – Sweet Dreams. I knit the largest size without any mods, and it took me four days. Four. Days. I wanted to throw it out the window by the time day three rolled around. I was working away at it on breaks during work, while waiting for my ride, in the car during my commute, whenever I could grab a few spare minutes. I could swear I had dreams about binding off that shawl. But…it’s stunning. I’m so happy with the results that until you posted on the subject, I must have blocked out the hours invested in just the bind off and was considering knitting another. Eek.

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