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Emily Explains: Binding Off in the Middle of a Row

featured image binding off

Finally getting to a point where you feel confident enough to knit sweaters is so exciting! I recommend all beginning knitters have no fear about knitting sweaters – it is so much fun!

At some point in our sweater knitting, we all come across a pattern where we need to bind off in the middle of a row. This commonly happens when we reach our necklines (wohoooo- a sign you are almost done!). It can also be used as a design element in a sweater. Aneto is a beautiful example of what it can look like when we bind off in the middle of a sweater. Aneto binds off in the center, shaping a circular hole right in the middle! After the body of the sweater is completed, a crocheted piece is made and attached to fill the hole.


In many of your patterns you’ll find that when shaping your neckline or a circular opening you are asked to “knit ___ number of stitches then join another ball of yarn, bind off in the center and knit to end.”

If that sounds confusing to you, here is how it looks:

Knit ___ number of stitches then join another ball of yarn (highlighted in yellow!)

 bind off 1

Bind off in the center using the ball of yarn you joined and knit until the end (highlighted in yellow!)

 bind off 3

Screen Shot 2013-07-16 at 10.07.14 AM

                      working right side                                                                                        working left side

Continue knitting each side with its own ball of yarn.

bind off 6

Bind off each side following your pattern.

bind off 7

I hope this helps the next time you have to join a new ball of yarn or bind off in the middle of a row within your knitting patterns.

Happy knitting!


17 Comments Post a comment
  1. Harlee Cole #

    Emily, this came right on time. I am in the process of knitting my very first sweater and I am almost done! I just am about to deal with the neck opening and I am glad that you have made it crystal clear for me. As always, job well done explaining this technique!

    Harlee Cole

    July 16, 2013
    • emilyoneil #

      Congratulations on your first sweater! I am so glad this helped

      July 16, 2013
  2. This is so clear, and totally de-mystifys this instruction. I have been stockpiling yarns for several sweaters, but haven’t started any — partly due to instructions like this!

    July 19, 2013
    • emilyoneil #

      I’m so happy this helped!

      July 19, 2013
  3. Nanababyhats #

    Loved the example with the highlighted yarn. But my question is – when you have 18 sts between marker and it tells you to k2, BO 14, k2 – does that mean the when you knit the 3rd st you pass the 2nd st over the 3rd and count that as BO 1? Please help. thanks

    July 26, 2013
    • emilyoneil #

      Thats a great question!
      This actually means that when you knit the 4th stitch you pass the 3rd stitch over and this counts as as your first BO stitch. Continue until you have bound of 14. You should then have 2 knit stitches on either end of your BO stitches between your markers.
      I hope this helps – Good luck with your knitting!

      July 26, 2013
      • Nanababyhats #

        Oh yes, I’m knitting mitts and the thumb increase area has given me fits – until now. One more question, please. On the ws, when I get to the thumb opening that’s now BO, I’m to do some increases. What is the best way to avoid a little hole at the beginning st?
        thanks, Nanababyhats

        July 26, 2013
      • emilyoneil #

        It’s hard for me to get into specific patterns but Martha at should be able to help you : )

        July 26, 2013
  4. Sarah #

    So helpful! The sweater in the example is so lovely. Do you have the pattern for it?

    December 10, 2013
  5. Reblogged this on …supposedly this, but maybe that… and commented:
    This makes a lot of sense! I wish I knew this sooner, but better late than never, lol! Now I can finish the sweater I started a year ago, but couldn’t figure out how to do this. Now I can also try to make other things that have called for this. ^_^

    January 20, 2014
    • emilyoneil #

      I’m so glad this helped!
      Happy Knitting

      January 20, 2014
  6. E McAfam #

    My pattern says knit 30 turn and bind off 6 how do I do that?

    March 25, 2014
    • emilyoneil #

      Hmmm I don’t want to misguide you so I will refer you to pattern support for help – They are great and can look over the Berroco pattern with you.

      March 25, 2014
  7. What’s up, yup this piece of writing is actually nice and I have learned lot of things from it regarding blogging.


    July 22, 2014
  8. Sarah Rollings #

    My pattern for fingerless gloves says to bind off 5 stitches at beginning of row and end of row. I am knitting on circular needles. I understand how to bind off at the beginning of row; confused about how to bind off at end. This bind off is for the thumb. I would appreciate any help. Thank you. My name is Sarah

    January 27, 2016
    • emilyoneil #

      I believe what you would do in this case is knit until there are five stitches left on your needle. Knit one, knit the next stitch, and pass the stitch before over, beginning the bind off you did at the beginning of your row. Work across the five stitches. When you reach your last stitch you will need to break your yarn and pull through. Then, leaving a tail of yarn you can reattach where needed and continue following your pattern.

      If you need additional help with the pattern, please feel free to contact

      January 27, 2016

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