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

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:

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!

About Liat Gat - Founder

Hi, I'm Liat, founder and video knitting expert at KnitFreedom.com. If you liked this article, you'll love the tips you learn from our FREE video knitting newsletter. Get it now by subscribing here.
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14 Responses to 3-Needle Bind-Off: A Great Easy Bind-Off For Sweater Shoulders

  1. Ha Ha Ha… That picture of the”amazing shoulders”guy made me laugh.

  2. Brian M says:

    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.

  3. Sandra says:

    You’re too funny! those are some”amazing shoulders”heheee~ and the bind-off is trés chic~!

  4. liatmgat says:

    Thanks guys!! Who says knitting can’t be sexy?! ;)

  5. Renna says:

    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! :-)

    • liatmgat says:

      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. fruma says:

    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?

  7. Robyn says:

    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!

  8. Kemer says:

    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 ?

  9. Grace says:

    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.

    • Liat Gat says:

      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?

  10. Rosemary says:

    great instruction…very patient…nice, easy to listen to voice…two thumbs up!!!!!

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