Great teachers. Teenage boys. The Gettysburg Address.  A box of Kleenex. Watch The Address, a new film by Ken Burns.

In Which We Microwave the 3-Needle Bind Off

3nboblanket.jpg
Dear Ann,
The people, most of whom are named Heather, are CLAMORING to know the three-needle bindoff method Cristina used to join the squares of her naturally dyed wool blanket. (Three comments is clamoring; four is a revolution.)
Luckily, I have a post in the deep freeze that I can re-heat. Way back when, I described, ever so succinctly considering it was me, how I had joined the squares of a baby blanket using a three-needle bindoff on the right side. Here’s the post, with loads of photos that will make you nostalgic if you knit a square for that bloggy baby shower.
But let me just show you the tech-y bits. I’m assuming you have a bunch of squares, more or less equal in size, that you want to join together without sewing the seams. This method will give you a very strong, flexible seam, and it gives a decorative finish to the side showing the bind-off, and a super-tidy, clean finish to the other side. The only downside is that you do create more ends to weave in. I’m just putting that out there. For me, it’s not a problem. For you, it might be the End of the World As We Know It.
3nbopickup.jpg
Step 1: Pick up stitches along the 2 edges to be joined. You will have each square on a separate needle. Ideally, you want to have an equal number of stitches on each needle, but if you have a few stitches more on one needle, they can be dealt with gracefully as you bind off (explanation below) .
3nbobindoff.jpg
Step 2: Bind off the 2 rows of stitches together. To do this, you hold both of the loaded needles in your left hand (arrange them wrong-sides facing if you want the bind off to show on the RS). Then
insert the right needle (the third needle) through the first stitch on EACH of the left needles, and knit them together. Repeat this once more, which will give you 2 stitches on your right needle. Now pull the first loop on the right needle over the second loop, as in an ordinary bindoff. Repeat this step until you have one stitch remaining on your right needle, and fasten off.
If you have an extra stitch on one needle, you must pick up 2 stitches on that needle, and knit those two together with one stitch from the other needle. In effect you are doing a K2tog and a 3NBO in one heroic moment of uber-competence. Yay you! It really works. If there is more than one extra stitch, space the double pickups evenly. The fix will not show. Scout’s honor.
You join the squares into strips using this method, and then to join the strips, you do the same thing, only picking up lots more stitches.
3nboRSseam.jpg
This is how the bind off looks on the RS. Very similar to crocheting the edges together. But knittier!
Humble Pig
I believe the instructions for making the knitted pig that y’all are going nuts about are in this book. (Cristina please correct me if this is wrong.) Knit a whole barnyard! (Henry Fussy pattern not included.)
Everybody relax now.
Love, Kay

Tags:

29 Comments

29 Comments

  1. Okay seriously…I still want that pig pattern. It looks a lot like the elephant pattern Cristina put on her blog; is it just a variation?? Oh, and the Amy Butler book? Definitely at the top of my Christmas wish list.
    For real though, I just bought a hardback copy of Charlotte’s Web for my hope chest; I NEED TO KNIT THAT PIG!!!!!!

  2. First comment? Really?? See how bad I want that pattern now?

  3. Yep, that pig pattern is in the Freya Jaffke book, but you could also find it (and several other similarly styled animals) in A First Book of Knitting for Children by Bonnie Gosse and Jill Allerton — Waldorfy knitting gurus.

  4. Yes, it turns out the knitting DNA of most animals (from African plain to American barnyard) is remarkably similar! That’s the book, Kay–I’m going to post a horse from the book when I finish his ears this afternoon–I like him even more than the pigs. Crafts Through the Year by Petra and Thomas Berger is another Floris Publications title I can’t recommend highly enough for people who want to craft with and for children. And Petra Berger’s Feltcraft.

  5. Thank you so much for the wonderful information on the three needle bind off join method (pictures and all). I really wanted to know how you did it but thought I’d just wait. I’m glad I did wait…we wouldn’t want a revolution, would we? Thanks a bunch :)

  6. Hi there,
    I’ve been reading your blog for nine months or so, but have never commented!
    I’ve only been knitting for the afore mentioned nine months, but I was wondering if it would be possible to kitchener the squares in a blanket like that together? I know that would result in alot of kitchener-ing, but couldn’t you pick up the same number of stitches along the sides of each square and then kitchener them together, forming a very small, two stitch wide border of stockinette around each square? I’ve never tried this (i’ve not had to join any squares), but I wondered if it was doable, and what it might look like (I have a vague feeling that it could look quite nice, but am willing to be persuaded otherwise!).
    I just thought i’d ask because you both seem to know alot about knitting blankets and joining squares together!
    Love your blog, always witty and entertaining with some lovely knitting thrown in.
    Take care,
    Mithranstar x

  7. Thank you so much! The Chuppah assembly has just become that much easier. You guys rock!

  8. As always, you make it fun! I’m not afraid of no stinkin’ extra ends!

  9. So how long til the knitted pig KAL gets underway? Last one to attempt a ballband pig is a rotten agg!

  10. Thank you! I’m really not as pushy as I sound in those comments up there…I dunno what was going on with me last night.

  11. What blanket is this? Have we seen this before???

  12. I love that blanket in the top picture. Those are all of the pinky colors that I can’t seem to live without! Thanks for the instructions for the 3 needle bindoff too, b/c if I ever make one of those blankets I am going to have to come up with something other than sewing!

  13. Thanks for the re-tutorial. But Christina – what yarn was used in your auction blanket???? NEED to Know!! Thanks!

  14. kay, i’ve just re-visited the photos of bébé Jamie with the gorgeous pinky confection of a blanket. *sniff*! could it have been that long ago?? absolutely love-r-ly.

  15. Thank you! I figured you must pick up stitches and then use the 3 needle bind off, but it’s nice to have it confirmed.

  16. I love reading blogs where I learn something. Thanks for the new technique.

  17. Thanks so much for the 3-needle bind off instructions and photos. Could you add a photo of what the back side looks like? I’d like to see that, too. Thanks.

  18. Thanks for 3-needle bindoff. Those strips I knit ten (actually, 10+!) years ago may finally become the afghan they were intended for.

  19. the pig is hilariously fun to make. here’s how i made the pig’s tail: chain 8 stitches. in the 7th chain stitch, sc 3x. in the 6th chain, sc 2x. in the 5th chain, sc 3x. and so on, til you get to the first chain. voila! it curls! attach to pig!

  20. post script…..”jiffy” is a bargain, fuzzy yarn for the piggies….baby soft colors, too. how’s about a blue one with pink eyes? anything goes :-)

  21. That photo that starts this post: deliciously beautiful!

  22. Just thought I’d tell you that after reading about Cristina’s blanket, I put a hold on that Barbara Walker afghan book at my library. There were no previous holds, so I should get it pronto. And now, a day later, I see that there are 3 holds on it! Do you think we all got the idea at the same time by *coincidence*??

  23. Wait a minute, I just had a flash of inspiration. What if you knit a barnyard, and a Charlotte’s Web shawl? I love that book.

  24. I think the three needle bind off is great. I am someone else can figure all this out. Guess that is why you write the books. :) I just have one question. When you add the 4 blocks together do you three needle bind off on those too or do you do like others have done on the kal blog and just pick up the stitches to knit the next one till you have 4 together? Thanks for all the great info.

  25. Whew! I got stuck wallowing in the beauty of those afghans you sent off. Love the 3 needle bind off. So easy and so attractive. As usual, thank you so much for your great info and even better photos!

  26. So, Kay, is that a new blankie up top, or just a picture of the old “peachy-orangey” one? Either way, it is beautiful.

  27. Thank you for posting a link to how that gorgouse baby blanket was made.

  28. Wow! it’s such a great idea a TNBO for a blanket. I’ve always wanted to knit that kind of blanket but the tought of sewing so much it just hurt.
    Thanks for sharing ;)

  29. kay and others in large urban settings will probably believe this. on the elevator i was explaining to new-knitter spouse about how 3-needle BO might be way to do something he was intrigued about (but i thought was beyond his skill, oops).
    we’re on 21. stop at 13, “hi, mary, was just trying to explain…” floor 13 knitter takes off about the technique. have to part at lobby; she’s on her way to laundry in basement.
    just never know where one of these posts will lead. thanks for lovely photos (is it your camera or do you photoshop?), yours, naomi