Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Three Needle Bind Off tutorial

Now here's a tutorial I wouldn't have immediately thought of, but it turns out that many knitters are not familiar with the Three Needle Bind Off and that just won't do. Sandy Kay and I borrowed Lindsay's (our resident Fashionknitsta) nearly finished Vintage Baby Cardigan to demonstrate this super-easy technique - both in the English and Continental styles.

First a little background, the Three Needle Bind Off is used as an alternative to seaming knit garments.  Two in-progress pieces (i.e. still on their needles) are worked together at the "seam" to create an effortless join that has a little extra elasticity.  Please note: this technique is traditionally worked with the two pieces held right side to right side - ensuring that the seam will be on the wrong side and hidden.  Be sure to check this before starting!

It is also important that both of the pieces being worked together have the same number of stitches.  If they do not, correct this before working the bind off.

The first half of the tutorial is shown in the English style, the second half is in Continental.  The technique is worked the same for both, only the working yarn is held in a different hand.

Text instructions:
  1. Hold two pieces as if to knit in left hand, with the needles held parallel, making sure that the "right" sides of the garment are facing each other.
  2. Using right hand needle, go through the first stitch on the front left needle as if to knit.  Continue through the first stitch on the back left needle as if to knit.  The right hand needle will be poking through two stitches at this point.
  3. Knit the two stitches together by pulling the working yarn through both stitches.  Once both the stitches have been knit, slide these two stitches off the left needles.
  4. Repeat Steps 2 & 3, you will now have two stitches on the right needle.
  5. Using the back left needle, pull the first stitch on the right needle up and over the second stitch (as if to bind off).  This step may be a little uncomfortable at first.  We recommend that you hold the back left needle so that it sticks out an extra half inch, making it easier to manipulate the stitch being bound off.
  6. Continue in this manner, i.e. knitting one stitch from the front left needle with one stitch on the back left needle, then binding off the previously worked stitch (on right needle) over this new stitch.
  7. After you have worked across the row, the "seam" will look like a crocheted chain.  When you reach the last stitch, cut the yarn (leaving at least a 6 inch tail) and pull it through the remaining stitch.
  8. On the opposite side, the seam will be almost invisible.
  9. Congratulations, you've just completed one seam!
Next week?  Picking Up A Provisional Cast On!  And we have just the project for this.

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