How to work a Three Needle Bind Off

Mango Moon Yarns Cable Time Pillow Kits

All projects start by casting on and end by binding off! A three needle bind-off does double duty to bind-off your stitches and create a seam in your project. This is a technique you can use to join two sets of live stitches, especially handy for the bottom of a bag or at the shoulders on a sweater. We’ll show you how to work a three-needle bind off using our Cable Time Pillow as an example. The Cable Time Pillow pattern, designed by Therese Chynoweth. This is our Spring KAL, join us in our Ravelry group to discuss the three cable pattern options and your color choice of Mango Moon Yarns Big Bang.

Getting Ready to Bind-Off

Mango Moon Yarns Cable Time Pillow get ready to seam

Each pillow version, the pillow is knit from the bottom up in the cable pattern of your choosing until the piece measures approximately 16”. Our sample shown here is knit in the all-over twist stitch (Pillow C). Begin by gathering your notions and turn your piece so the wrong sides are facing you.

Notions needed:

  • Your finished project
  • An extra circular needle
  • Scissors
  • Tapestry needle
  • Project yarn

Getting your stitches lined up

Take a moment to make sure you have half the number of stitches on each end of the circular needle. Here we have used extra yarn to mark the middle of the circular needle. You may find it easier to move your stitches to a longer circular needle. You should have 52 stitches on the front needle and 52 stitches on the back needle. The purl stitch from the beginning of the round is the first stitch on the back needle. 

Setting up for the three needle bind off

Take your spare needle, slip the first stitch from the front needle (1), knit together the first two stitches from the back needle (2a & 2b) and pass the slipped stitch over (3).

Working the 3 Needle Bind Off

Next, knit together the next stitch from the front and back needles(A). Pass the previous stitch over this newly worked stitch (B) to bind-off one stitch (C). Repeat this step until you have 3 stitches remaining, two on the front needle and one on the back needle.

Cable Time Pillow In Progress

It will feel a little fiddly in the beginning, but as you bind-off stitches, you’ll see the nice neat seam emerge.

Last stitches of the three needle bind off

When you reach the remaining 3 stitches, (top row) slip the two stitches on the front needle as if to knit them together, knit the stitch from the back needle, and (bottom row) pass the stitch over, for the final bind-off. Fasten off the remaining stitch.

Pillow is inside the case

Take a moment to weave in your ends. You wouldn’t want any ends to pull through on your new home accessory! Turn the piece so the right sides are facing. You can lightly block if desired at this point. Insert the pillow form and you may want to cut the tag off the pillow form to avoid a crinkly noisy pillow!

Seaming complete

Now you need to graft the cast-on edges together. Take a long piece of yarn threaded in the tapestry needle to graft the cast-on edges together. There are a number of ways you can do this; we like the directions in Maggie Righetti’s Knitting in Plain English. This is a seam you’re weaving from the outside, and you want it to look smooth as if the seam was on the inside. Your pillow is complete! Find your favorite spot and snuggle in!


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