I’m preeeeetty sure the first time I ever encountered the Sloped Bind-Off was in a Brooklyn Tweed pattern (that has come up again so often lately, Bellows). Since then, I’ve used it everywhere it makes sense in my knitting, and in my own three sleeveless patterns: Anna Vest, Camellia Tank and Sloper (coming soon). It’s useful anywhere you want a smoother bind-off than the stair-step effect that traditional bind-off leads to — so in cases where you’re binding off gradually (a few stitches per row at a time), such as with armhole or shoulder shaping. But I find it especially key when the edge you’re creating is the finished edge, and not one you’re going to seam or pick-up stitches into, such as the armhole edge of Sloper (that’s a funny coincidence, I just realized) pictured above.
So how do you work the sloped bind-off? Easy: When you’re working the last row before a BO row — e.g., you know the next row begins with something like “BO 4 sts, work as established to end …” — you stop one stitch short of the end of the row. Turn your work. Now you’re ready to start that BO row, but you have one unworked stitch already on your right needle. With yarn in back, slip the first stitch from the left needle to the right needle, and pass the unworked stitch over it, binding off that one stitch. Now proceed with the rest of the instructions. If the instruction is to bind off more than one stitch at that point, you only do this with the first one — the adjacent stitches are bound off as usual. Repeat the sloped BO each time the first stitch on the following row is to be bound off.
WHY? When you BO a stitch the normal way, it lies at a 90-degree angle to your fabric — it’s a square corner. So if you BO 4 sts and knit the rest of the row, then work your way back to the end of the following row (back to where you started, in other words), then BO the next few stitches on the third row, you’re terracing your work, right? With the sloped BO, the BO stitch at the edge is leaning into the fabric from the row below at more of a 90-degree angle, so you’re creating a curve instead of a terrace. So simple and yet such impact!
PREVIOUSLY in Hot Tips: If it ain’t broke, don’t rip it!