What is Icelandic Bind-Off?

Learn about this stretchy edge that plays well with garter stitch!

Katrina King Feb 25, 2022 - 3 min read

What is Icelandic Bind-Off? Primary Image

Close up of Icelandic bind-off technique. All photos by Matt Graves.

As a knitting designer and a general all-around student of craft, I am always on the lookout for new techniques or variations on the norm. In knitting, both cast-on and bind-off techniques come in all shapes and sizes. They create edges that range from decorative to super stretchy to reliable basics.

Often, a stretchy bind-off is needed for the cuff of a sock or brim of a hat that will still keep its shape. Not only is the Icelandic bind-off a great functional choice in those cases, its raised edge can add dimension and interest to a shawl or sweater.

Icelandic Bind-Off front

Icelandic bind-off worked on stockinette (above) and garter (below) swatches.

This technique works with stockinette and other pattern stitches, but it blends extremely well with garter stitch.


Icelandic Bind-Off: K1, * transfer st from right needle to left needle, insert right needle pwise into first st on left needle, then kwise into front loop of 2nd st, pulling 2nd st through first st but leaving both sts on left needle. Wrap yarn around right needle and knit 2nd st, then drop both sts from left needle; rep from * until all sts have been BO.

When pulling the second stitch through the first on the left-hand needle, the two stitches cross to create an ‘X’ showing that you have the stitches lined up correctly.

Icelandic Bind-off back

Reverse side of stockinette (above) and garter (below) swatches.

Using these contrasting colors shows how the bind-off loops through the live stitches versus pulling them across. This gives the edge stretch and a slightly rolled appearance.

Katrina King just keeps learning in craft and in life. Along with lace knitting, she also has crochet, weaving, spinning laceweight yarn, embroidery, and tatting in her tool bag. You can follow her craft adventures at Threaded Dream Studio. When she’s not crafting, she can be found following sports, reading epic fantasy novels, and keeping up with her two daughters.