The Yarnologue

Three Needle Bind-Off

If you follow Knitting Fever on Instagram, you’ve seen the progress on my Tucked Pullover.

tucked-pulloverA few nights ago I took the exciting step of joining the shoulder seams.

There is nothing quite as inspiring as the point when your knitting (or crocheting) project suddenly looks like the garment it will eventually become.

The pattern has you shape the shoulders using short rows, then join the seam using a three needle bind-off.

I like using a three needle bind-off to join shoulder seams because it is relatively quick and results in a clean and stable seam.

This bind-off results in a ridge, so you’ll want to hold your two pieces with the right (public) sides together. After you’ve finished working the bind-off you’ll turn the garment right side, which will hide the ridge on the inside.

In order to work a three needle bind-off, you need the same number of “live” stitches held on two needles.

Position your knitting with the public sides facing and the needles holding the live stitches parallel.

IMG_3373In this picture I’ve already worked my first stitch. You see one needle from my Denise set holding the stitches from the front shoulder. A double pointed needle is holding the stitches from the back shoulder. The second needle from my Denise set is being used a my right-hand needle.

IMG_3374Next, work two stitches together. Make sure you go into one leg from both left hand needles. Usually, you knit while working a three needle bind-off. Looking at these pictures again I see that I was purling. No wonder it felt awkward at the time!

Once you have two worked stitches on your right hand needle, pass the first stitch over the second as you would for a normal bind off.

Continue working across the row as you would for a regular bind off, remember to work the two left hand stitches together.

IMG_3375Ta-da! A finished shoulder.

Three needle bind-offs can be used for sock toes, too, if you don’t mind a ridge on your toes.

This method of bind-off can also be worked on the public side of a garment to create a decorative edge.

Do you have any tips for working a three needle bind-off? Share them in the comments.


  1. I have never attempted to three needle bind off.however it looks like a good bind off for joining granny squares together as well as shoulders and other things. I like the idea of the ridge for the granny squares. Thanks for this instructional article.

  2. Hi there, I desire to subscribe for this webpage to get hottest
    updates, therefore where can i do it please help out.

  3. Hi Stephanie.

    You should see a “subscribe” box on the right hand side of your page. Enter your email address and you’ll begin receiving our blog digest every Saturday.

  4. love that sweater….where can I get the pattern…thanx

  5. Hi Elaine.

    The Tucked Pullover is in the Fall/Winter 2013 issue of Knit.wear magazine from Interweave Press. You can probably still find a copy at your local yarn store.

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