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3-Needle Bind-Off: A Great Easy Bind-Off For Sweater Shoulders

Liat Gat - Founder

February 18, 2011

Nice shoulders! Ha ha. The 3-needle bind-off makes a strong and secure seam for sweater shoulders and anywhere you need to seam up knitting. Handling 3 needles at once is the only thing that makes it a bit tricky. Here I show you how to do it easily.

You want amazing-looking shoulders, right?

No, no, no! Not that kind! On your sweaters!

Well, if we can’t all have the first, I promise that we can all have the second.

A great technique for finishing sweaters shoulders is the three-needle bind-off.

However, this can be a little intimidating! Yes, it uses three needles instead of the usual two – but other than that, it’s a pretty straightforward bind-off.

Why You Should Learn The Three-Needle Bind-Off

  • It’s faster than Kitchener or mattress stitch
  • It’s stronger and sturdier than a regular bind-off
  • You don’t have to use a tapestry needle or a mental mantra to get through it

Also, a surprising number of non-sweater projects call for the three-needle bind-off (1,933 on Ravelry, to be exact) – most notably the adorable stuffed monsters by Rebecca Danger, and “Grove,”by Jared Flood. Ready to be able to master these projects?

Keep These Tips In Mind For The 3-Needle Bind-Off

  • Use a smaller needle for your third needle
  • Remember to turn your knitting wrong-side out
  • Push your next stitches to the very tips of your needles

Ready to see how it’s done? Make a sample Magic-Loop tube, or knit two flat swatches, and practice along with me:

KNITFreedom - 3 Needle Bind-Off: Seam Up Knitting With The Three Needle Bind Off
KNITFreedom - 3 Needle Bind-Off: Seam Up Knitting With The Three Needle Bind Off

You can see that once you get the hang of this, it is an ideal way to quickly seam up project like sweater shoulders and stuffed animals, that need to have secure seams.

Related Tutorials:

If you liked this tutorial on the three-needle bind-off, post in the comments!

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17 thoughts on “3-Needle Bind-Off: A Great Easy Bind-Off For Sweater Shoulders”

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  1. My pattern calls for a YO 3 needle bind off for shoulders of a sweater I’m finishing.
    Please help, I can’t find any references to this particular bind off.

    1. Hi Grace, I’ve never heard of the YO 3-Needle Bind-Off – your pattern doesn’t give any details about how to do it? Could you try the regular three-needle bind-off and see if it works?

  2. Oh Dear, it took me some time to get to the video. I just couldn’t take my eyes off of your Three-Needle Bind-Off: How To Seam Up Shoulders photo. I mean the lines and the cut of the shoulders,ohhhhhoooooofffff.

    Seriously, this is an awesome bind off , and I wonder if I could use it on my Einstein Sweater/Coat that I will be starting ?

  3. You can keep the knitted shoulders — i’ll take the guy!!

    hehe! already downloaded it thru my youtube downloader.

    had a happy happy joy joy birfday today. a friend took me out to a HUGE chinese lunch, and now I’m knitting the new hat designed by Ysolda for someone else’s birfday!

    i’ll show ya later!

    Robyn & zoo

    ps: hope ya had an awesome trip!

  4. Question… The Garter Knit sweater that is shown in the 3 needle bind-off looks intriguing. How can I find out the name of the pattern and the type of yarn used?

  5. You always use the most ‘appropriate’ photos in your blogs posts! ;-)

    I’ve heard of the 3 needle bind-off, but never used it or seen it demonstrated. I had no idea it was so simple. Now I need to knit something to use it! :-)

    1. It’s amazing how many patterns call for it! I’m sure you will find something good. I have a new pattern coming out in Tangled that calls for it – I’m so excited to show you all when it gets published!

  6. Loved these last couple posts. I’ve been dreading the finish work on a vest I started months ago (my first”piece-work”), but I’m feeling much more confident now! Nicely done.

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