The three-needle bind-off is a great way to cast off live stitches, but it also joins two fabric pieces together. Read my guide.
Table Of Contents
- What Is The 3 Needle Bind Off?
- How To Do The 3 Needle Bind Off In Knitting
- More Uses for the Three-Needle Bind Off
I reviewed, fact checked and updated this post on May 28, 2023.
What Is The 3 Needle Bind Off?
People use this particular bind off method to join two pieces of knitted fabric, and you end up with two pieces seamed together. The three-needle bind-off creates a line of ‘Vs,’ similar to what the crochet chain stitch looks like. Go slowly so you get a neat selvedge edge.
Three Needles Bind Off Garter Stitch (Knit Stitch)
Step 1 – Put the swatches right sides together so that the two needles (read my guide about the options for needles) with the swatches on them are right beside each other. Oh, and remember to get another straight needle. It’s not a three-needle bind-off with just two needles, is it!
Important note: Since this method of binding off results in a bit of a ridge, it’s best to hide it inside the work. You can put the wrong sides together, but the ridge shows on the right side once you have finished.
Remember: You need the same amount of stitches on both of the two needles.
Step 2 ‘Knit 2 Together’.
Right-handed: Insert the right needle into the first stitch on the needle closest to you, knitwise. Then go through the first stitch on the back needle, knitwise. Yarn over, pull through and take the stitch off of the left needle.
Left-handed: Insert the left needle into the first stitch on the needle closest to you, knitwise. Then go through the first stitch on the back needle, knitwise. Yarn over, pull through and slip that last stitch off the right needle.
Then, do what you just did again, so that you have ‘knitted two together’ twice. You now have two stitches on your right needle. (left needle if you are left-handed).
Step 3 The bind off.
Right-handed: Take either one of the two needles in your left hand, and bind off one stitch on your right needle by bringing the second stitch over the stitch closest to the tip and off. Now there should be one stitch on your right needle.
Left-handed: Take either one of the two needles in your right hand, and bind off the stitches on your left needle by bringing the second stitch over the stitch closest to the tip and pass it off.
Now there should be one stitch on your left needle.
Step 4 Knit 2 Together. (Again).
Do another knit two together. You now have two stitches on your right needle again. (Left needle if you are left-handed).
Step 5 Do another bind off!
Do the same bind off you did in step 3. Follow the 4th step and this step until you have bound off all your stitches. Then you can cut your yarn, tie off the end, and weave it in. Well done!
Here’s a great tutorial by Purl Soho on youtube.
Three Needles Bind Off Purlwise
A similar technique to the knit stitched three-needle bind off.
Instead of putting your needle through the first stitch on the front needle, you bring the yarn to the front, stick the needle purlwise into the first stitch on the back needle, and then into the first stitch on the front needle.
You yarn over and ‘purl two together.’ Continue with the bind off sequence above.
How To Do Three Needle Bind Off In The Round
You can do the same bind-off method with a magic loop. Just follow the same sequence above. The only difference is that you end up with the top of the tube closed.
More Uses for the Three Needles Bind Off
Use the three-needle cast off for things you need to seam closed, sock toes, the tops of hats, amigurumi heads, etc.
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FAQS About The Three Needle Bind Off
How Do You Hold Knitting Needles In The Round?
You hold circular knitting needles like you would when you hold straight needles, like a knife. The only difference between the two is that there is a cord that connects the needles.
Alternative To Three Needle Cast Off
A great bulk-free alternative to the three-needle cast-off is the Kitchener stitch.
Three Needle Bind Off Vs. Kitchener Stitch
The Kitchener stitch is handy, especially when you knit socks. This stitch closes up live stitches, so you don’t have to cast off the stitches, then seam it together with a needle and thread. Sock knitters use the Kitchener stitch to close off the remaining stitches, thus making the toe.
The biggest difference between the three-needle bind off and the Kitchener stitch is that the former uses three knitting needles, and the latter uses a needle and some thread. Kitchener stitch is less bulky than the three-needle bind off.
Hope you found this guide to this way of casting off helpful. This is an essential skill for any knitter!