Grandma Knitty Home
Knitty: little purls of wisdom
what's the editor up to lately?feature articlesKnitty's generous selection of patternsKnittyspinŽarchive of previous issuesMeet other Knitty readers and chat in our coffeeshop!sign up for the free Knitty newsletterLooking for an ad fromone of our advertisers? Click here!Our tiny, perfect online shopping mallGet yourself a little Knitty treat!read the behind-the-scenes news at Knitty

Find exactly what you're looking for

The answer to your question about Knitty is probably here!

Take home something Knitty today

Advertise with Knitty

Get your cool stuff reviewed in Knitty

Full information about how  to get published in Knitty

Read exactly what FREE PATTERNS really means...respect our designers and authors rights [and thank you]

Knitty is produced in a pro-rabbit environment

© Knitty 2002-2006. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited. This means you.


Cool stuff!Techniques with TheresaThinking Beyond the PatternFrankenknits™
Minicables2 socks in 1S-wordRebuild it7 knits for 7 flicks
Knittyspin>Shannon Okeydye fingerprintwoolly acressheep wraporangina

Knitting Tips

Bind off: Part Deux

Last issue, I covered several (lots!) of the more common ways to bind off... and promised that this issue I'd cover the 3-needle and some decorative bind offs, so let's just get right to it, shall we?

3-Needle bind off
For the 3-needle bind off, you'll need -- surprise! -- 3 needles. The bind off joins two sets of live stitches that are still on the needle. It's an excellent way to bind off and join shoulder seams simultaneously. It provides a strong, stable seam that is nearly always less bulky than casting off and then sewing. It can be used to join any two sets of live stitches, but should be avoided for sock toes as it does leave a bit of a ridge on the inside of the knitting. But be careful -- it's quite easy, just like regular binding off, for this bind off to be done too tightly which will result in the seam puckering. A good way to avoid this is to use a needle a couple of sizes larger as your third needle, the one held in your right hand.

You must have an equal number of stitches on 2 needles. For an invisible seam, have the right sides facing inwards, towards each other.

Hold the third, larger needle in your right hand. *Insert it knitwise into the first stitch on the needle closest to you and at the same time knitwise into the first stitch on the back needle.

Wrap as for a knit stitch and draw the working yarn through both stitches to make one stitch which is now on the larger, right hand needle.*

Repeat from * to * so that there are now two stitches on the right hand needle.

**Using the tip of one of the needles in your left hand (here shown using the needle closest to you)

...lift the first stitch worked over the second stitch worked...

...just like regular binding off! **

Work one more stitch, then repeat from ** to **.

On the inside of the work, the 3 needle bind off looks like this:

And thus can be used for a decorative chain on the outside of the work - just hold the WRONG sides together while working the bind off instead!

Double crochet bind off
The double crochet bind off uses a crochet hook of approximately the same size as the knitting needles held in the right hand. Use the crochet hook to knit two stitches.

*Wrap the yarn once around the crochet hook...

And pull it through both loops.

Knit one more stitch with the crochet hook* and repeat from * to *.

The result is a decorative edging that looks like this:

Picot bind off
The picot (a French word meaning "small points") bind off forms an ornamental edging that looks like this...

The points can be made larger or smaller, depending on the effect you want. The bind off makes a very flexible edging, as you are adding more stitches while making the picot points and thus the bind off row has more stitches than the knitting itself.

To make a 2-stitch picot:

*Cast on 2 stitches using the cable cast on.

Then immediately bind off 4 stitches using the usual method.

Slip the single stitch on the right hand needle back onto the left hand needle.*

Repeat from * to * until end.

The picot points can also be made with only one stitch (for a very subtle effect) or indeed with any number of stitches you choose. Just be sure to bind off at least twice the number of stitches that you cast on. And this is one bind off where it's okay to work rather tightly -- the picot points will be neater that way.

A picot edging -- being very flexible -- is a good choice for baby things and the tops of toe-up socks. It can also lends a delicate decorative touch to blanket edges, wrist warmers and tops.

I-cord bind off
I-cord, worked on the bind off row, makes a decorative edging that is firm and has a nicely finished appearance. Applied i-cord is lovely for neck or front edges where a simple, clean look is wanted rather than a garter stitch or ribbed edge. However, it can be a bit tricky to do well... if you've never made plain I-cord before, you might want to practice a bit at that first.

Cast on 3 stitches, using the cable cast on.

*Knit 2 stitches, then k2tog through the back loop.

Slip the three worked stitches back onto the left hand needle. Then pull the working yarn tightly across the back of those 3 stitches* and repeat from * to *.

The result is a raised, I-cord edging running perpendicular to the body of knitting -- thus "applied I-cord". If you're going to be working this technique over a large area and it seems to be puckering the knitting below, try substituting a k3tog tbl (instead of k2tog tbl) every 3-4 rows of I-cord to help keep the knitting laying flat.

References: Vogue Knitting and Knitter's Book of Finishing Techniques



Theresa is a 30-something American living in Norway with her husband and step-daughter.

She keeps a (sometimes updated) knitting journal here.