Sunday, January 29, 2012

3 Needle Bind Off

 The Three Needle Bind Off is a great technique which joins sets of live stitches.  You can use it to bind off and join shoulder seams, among other things.   Perhaps you would like to use a particular stitch for a scarf, and would like each end of the scarf to look the same.  For instance, a lacy heart motif where the hearts face the same direction, would look better if you knit until the scarf is half as long as you want it to be, and then knit the other half, and join them using the 3 needle bind off.  This way, your scarf would look exactly the same on both ends, instead of the hearts being upside down on one end.  This is a great way to join two pieces of a scarf where a ruffle is knit on at the beginning of the fabric.  By knitting the pieces separately and then joining them in the middle, each end of your scarf will have a perfectly matching ruffle.

This technique requires a third needle in the mix.  If you don't have a third needle the same size as the one you used to knit your fabric, a size larger may be used, which will help keep your seam from being too tight and puckering the fabric.  Or, you can use a smaller needle to hold the stitches from the first piece of knitting, so that your second needle is freed up to knit the second piece and do the joining.  A more fiddly way is to place the live stitches onto a stitch holder, and then before doing the 3 needle bind off, slip them back to your second needle, then use a larger needle to bind off.  Whichever way you feel most comfortable is the way you should do it.

You will get a nice, neat invisible seam on the right sides of your fabric using this technique -  or, it can be used for decorative purposes on the right sides of the fabric.

For an invisible seam on the right sides of the fabric, you will want to make sure that the right sides are facing each other for the join.

To make the seam visible, make sure that the wrong sides of the fabric are facing each other for the join.

Make sure that you have an equal number of stitches on each needle to bind off, also.

Below is a picture of two pieces of garter fabric that have been joined using the 3 needle bind off

And here is a little sample of stockinette fabric that has been joined
I accidentally deleted the back side, showing the neat seam - you can get a look at it in the video though.

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