How to Work a Three Needle Bind Off

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The three needle bind off is an easy way to join knitting with live stitches on both ends or with stitches in a loop or a circle like the end of a sock toe.

When a provisional cast on is used you can pull back to the live stitches at the beginning of the work and join them to the stitches at the end of the work, say for an infinity scarf or a headband.

All About the Three Needle Bind Off

As it sounds like, the three needle bind off is worked with three knitting needles. One set of live stitches is on each needle, and you use the third needle to knit them together and actually perform the bind off.

For this to work you need the same number of stitches on each needle.

From the right side or front side of the work, as you will see below, this bind off looks like a row of purl bumps. If you don’t want that on the outside of your project, make sure that you work it from the wrong or back side of the work.

The needle you use to work the bind off can be the same size as the one you knit with or one size bigger or smaller if that’s what you have handy. Here I’m showing the bind off on a loop scarf that was knit on a circular knitting machine, so the needles are merely to hold the stitches, and the right side is the only side I have access to, but this shows you what the bumps look like on the outside of the project.

Three Needle Bind Off Tutorial

To get set for the three needle bind off, you need the same side of each piece of the work facing (see above) and on knitting needles that are pointed to the right so that you can knit from them. Orient the needles with the stitches so one is in front of the other.

Take your third needle and go into the first stitch on the needle closest to you as if to knit, then through the first stitch on the second needle as if to knit.

Work a knit stitch as if they were one stitch.

Repeat this so you have two stitches on the third needle.

Pull the first stitch over the second, just like you would do in a standard bind off.

Knit the next stitch on the front needle together with the next stitch on the back needle and continue to bind off across.

When you get to the end you’ll have one loop left on your third needle. Cut the yarn and pull the loop open until it disappears. Weave in the yarn end

You can see the finished seem above. As I noted it looks like a round of purl bumps on the facing side, but in most cases you can flip the project inside out and work from that side to keep the front side smooth if you’d rather.

Three needle bind off is quick and easy to do and a great substitute for grafting in some circumstances.

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