As promised, I'm letting you in on my new seaming/anti-seaming finishing process as it occurs on my latest project!

I had heard about this thing called a "three needle bind-off" and how great it was, so I wanted to learn how to do it.  I found dozens of places telling me how to actually bind off the stitches together, and will be bringing you my experience with that later, but I couldn't find anywhere to tell me how to knit the front and back so that I ended up with my shoulder stitches waiting to be knit, instead of bound off.

Here's what I mean: to use the three needle bind-off, you must have the shoulder stitches for both back and front "live" on the needles, so that you can knit them together.  So how does one finish the pattern after the beginning of shoulder shaping, and still keep those stitches live?

When in doubt, I turn to Ravelry, and as usual, it hasn't let me down.

The lovely Neen offered this cogent explanation:

When it says to bind off, don’t…just count off the number it says, and place a marker, then finish the row. On the next row, do the same for the other should, but stop knitting when you hit the first marker. Remove the marker, W&T (pass the yarn between needles to the other side, slip the stitch, pass the yarn back, replace stitch on left needle, turn work, pass the yarn to where it needs to be for the next stitch, if necessary). Knit the number to be bound off, place marker….keep going! When you have finished all the rows, you have a bunch of stitches that were wrapped, and a bunch of live stitches.

To the left, you can see how this looks on my current project (a delicious sweater from a 40's McCall's)!  When I reached the first row of shoulder shaping I was told to BO 6 sts at beg of next 2 rows.  So here's what I did:
1. I did not bind off.  That's right, I ignored the pattern.  It did hurt, just a little bit.
2. I knit in pattern for six stitches, then placed a marker.
3. I knit across the row and turned.
4. I knit in pattern for another six stitches, then placed another marker.
5. I knit across the row to my first marker and stopped, removed the marker, wrapped a stitch, and turned.

The picture to the left is just after I've wrapped the stitch, and am getting ready to turn the work.  I had now reserved 6 sts at each end of the row, so it was time to move onto the next shoulder shaping directions, which were to BO 4 sts at beg of next 10 rows.  So, after I turned, here's what happened:
1. I knit in pattern for four stitches, and replaced my marker
2. I knit in pattern across to the second marker I placed above (you are only ever working with two markers - one for each side - so you just knit across until you hit the one on the other side)
3. Removed the marker, wrapped and turned
4. Knit four stitches in pattern and replaced the marker
5. Knit in pattern across to opposite side's marker...

And repeat!

And as promised, after I had reserved all the stitches that I was instructed to bind off, I was able to bind off for the neckline, and what remained were two sets of live shoulder stitches, as you can see above.  So, onto the stitch holders they go, until the front is complete!


08/27/2010 13:47

08/27/2010 13:51

Sorry for the blank...bad mousing skills.

When you bind off, you may want to pick up the wraps, if they will show, and slip them so that they are to the wrong side of the stitch being worked....or not. It depends on if they show, and how it looks.

You also might want to work the shoulder shaping 2 rows before you are supposed to, so that you can do the shaping, short rows and all, then work one last pair of regular rows across and back, to get everything nice, neat, smooth and all wraps picked up, before binding off.

Some people don't wrap, and only slip the first stitches, it works great for some, not for others...experiment!

I'm glad my explanation helped.


Your comment will be posted after it is approved.

Leave a Reply