Three-needle Bind Off: Watch Out!

By Ann Shayne
May 8, 2018
Field Guide No. 6 will lower your blood pressure by 10 points.

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  • I got up this morning to frog about 4 inches of my Parallelogram Scarf. I couldn’t figure out what I had done, until I found it:. Once when there was yarn at both ends of the circular needle, I picked up the wrong end and merrily began knitting. Lemme tell ya, it made a huge difference. A huge bad difference.

    Oh well… I like this yarn, and I like to knit. I just get to enjoy knitting this yarn a little longer.

  • It makes us feel better, to know that even professionals make mistakes every once in a while.

  • been there, done that and lived to tell. glad i am not the only one.

  • Who was the journalist who used to say “… and now, for the rest of the story!” Paul Harvey, maybe? Well, I need the rest of your story on how to fix this issue because I just completed the 3 needle BO on my Weekender sweater. I found the errant lone stitch ready to run down the front of the sweater from the neck. Just like yours. What do I do now?!? Try to open up my neck line and gingerly place stitches back on two needles??? AIEEE!!!

    • Kim, Kim, Kim. This is a very sad thing to discover, isn’t it? I wish I could slide a latte across the table to you for consolation. I think there are two options: the hard way and the fudgey way. The hard way is to undo that seam to the point of the problem, carefully catching the live stitches as you go on two needles so as to avoid further hearthbreak. Then you re-do the three-needle bind off, and you’ll have great satisfaction that you averted disaster.

      The fudgey way is to get a piece of sewing thread and a sharp needle, catch the errant loop, and stitch it down. I know a very wise knitting legend who fixes dropped stitches like this and swears by it. I have done it once myself, on a stitch dropped so far back that I couldn’t imagine ripping out the whole scarf. And it was visible to nobody, not even me, once I finished the shawl.

      Good luck! You got this!

      • The fudgey way is good enough! I did this in the middle of a shawl, an SSK missed one of the stitches and it laddered down. I found it after I had washed and blocked. No way was I going to remove the knit on edging! So I hooked it back up to where it belonged, and sewed it down with a bit of yarn. I wouldn’t be able to find the mistake any more.

        PS: Kay cracks me up. Three needle leave on!

      • Goodness…..I’m such a green knitter/crocheter since 1970/1974 and have dropped my share of ‘all things’ , yarnie or otherwise so I giggled and wiggled reading your stories. ((:

        Speaking of dropped and ‘din stop, or missed to remiss, I was double knitting a scarf/muffler yesterday and dropped a stitch…..three rows back; ugh!! I did get it picked up…..the front side…..interesting how double knitting works….but erred later on, failed to fix-it so I ”’took a hook””’ to it for a bind off, did a RSC (reverse single crochet) all around and it is now a lovely, color-way…..coaster; LOL!!

  • I do that. All. The time. So then I just pass them over each other, one by one, like binding off a pot holder!

    • Oh, scratch that — reading too fast and assumed you made the mistake I always make, which is to forget to bind off any of them! I have a bad habit of just knitting them all together but forgetting to bind off. So then I do it in one pass at the end. Wheeeee!

      • Yes! I’ve totally neglected to BIND OFF when doing this bind off. Ack!

        • YOU GUYS. It’s not called the Three Needle Leave On.


  • Me too! K2Tog but no binding off! Just blindly knitting away, I guess. I am looking for a baby who needs that cute sweater ‘cause I just want to knit it. And bind it off!

    • I’ve just cast one on with no baby in sight, solely for the baby gift stash.

    • Ha, I’d be more than happy to send you my address! My only granddaughter is expecting a cute baby boy in September!

  • I found that I had failed to bind off a stitch in a cardigan years after I had knit it, it had even been machine washed several times (it was a cotton cardigan) and survived. I did the easy thing, I left a safety pin in it, exactly as shown in your photo. No problems ever resulted.

  • I find that it’s always a good idea to periodically inspect your knitting. sometimes I just go on autopilot, missing increases, decreases or whatever!

  • Never heard of the three needle bindoff. Show me how to do it.

  • So adorable……and thanks for the heads up!
    This is totally unrelated to the baby sweater, but I want to thank whichever of you recommended the Neapolitan Novels. I’ve just finished “My Brilliant Friend” and have downloaded “The Story of a New Name”, because I simply cannot wait to get started on number 2! Thank you so very much!

    • So glad! I’m deep into Book 3, oh wow what a tale.

  • Cheeky baby and Cardigan perfection.

  • You all make me so happy.

  • I actually had this EXACT experience last week, for the first time. It’s a PITA to fix .

  • I’d like to know how you fixed the layabout lollygagger in the baby sweater!

  • I did a YouTube video of a modified three needle bind-off which is perfect for this decorative look. The chain stitch sits up perfectly on the top. I put it up when I couldn’t already find it anywhere and people were asking me how to do it. If you are interested in checking it out, type in “Knit Purl Three Needle Bind-off”. It is definitely an unvention, but one worth bringing back, I think.
    Love the baby and the cardi!

  • For a visible 3 needle bind off I alternate k2tog, p2tog. It leaves a straight seam .