So this may seem like a dumb question, but I just have to clarify.
Let's say I'm knitting along in a pattern and it tells me to bind off (BO) 3 stitches.
To BO, you have to knit one first, then after you knit the second stitch, you pull the first over the second -- voila, BO made. So if it says to BO 3 stitches, does that first knitted stitch (that later pulls over the second) count as 1 of the 3? So are 3 or 4 total stitches (including the first stitch knitted to pull over) necessary to BO 3 stitches? If I count three times that I pull a stitch over another to create a BO, that's technically 4 stitches used. Unless I'm supposed to count that first knitted stitch as 1 of the 3. (And thus only pull a stitch over another twice.)
And is this universal across all patterns? Sometimes I feel like it's one way, sometimes I feel like it's the other way, and I never know for sure what to do when I come across a BO mid-way in a pattern like that. Do I really knit 4 stitches to BO 3 and pull over 3 times, or do I count that first one as my first stitch of the BO and technically only pull over twice?
Set me straight on this please!