Bind off (4,2,1)

Hi all!
I already made this Faroe isles fisherman’s sweater before, but it was in a smaller size. I am shaping the neck and something just doesn’t feel right. My spideysense is tingling because although I began the neck shaping at around 27" I’m now 2+ inches into the neck shaping and haven’t bound off enough stitches.
The pattern reads “working back and forth in stockinette … bind off, on every row, 4, 2 (4, 2; 4, 2; 4, 2; 4, 2, 1; 4, 2, 1) sts at neck edge.”
I’m doing the second largest size – the 4,2,1 option.
So I interpret that as bind off 4, work to end of row, flip work, bind off 4, work to end of row, flip work, bind off 2, work to end of row, flip work, bind off 2, work to end of row, flip work, bind off 1, work to end of row, flip work, bind off 1, work to end of row, flip, bind off 4 … etc.
Is that not right? Should I be binding off at the start AND ends of rows? I cant tell if it’s just taking longer to BO because the size is bigger or I have made a misstep.
I appreciate any insight.

Did you miss binding off for the back neck? This is to be done whilst the front neck shaping is still taking place. It is not one then the other.

You began front neck at 27 inch which is shorter by 1 1/4 inches than the pattern states- is this the correct length for what you want? The finished project would be shorter overall is that right?
If so, you would want to work out at what length to bind off for back neck, the pattern suggests 3/8 inch shorter than the overall length. You can work out what measurement to bind off your back neck stitches based on this - but it happens before the front neck shaping is complete.

The 4, 2, 1 is for the front neck edge only and each bind off happens at the neck edge once for the right neck, once for the left neck. So you are correct that it is bind off 4 (beg of row, neck edge) work to end of row, turn, bind off 4 work to end of row, turn bind off 2 work to end, turn bind off 2, etc. But do not repeat the 4,2,1 again.
Whilst you are still doing that, when you reach 1/8 inch shorter than finished length you bind off for back neck. This is going to reduce the stutch count and cause you to not be able to complete the front neck edge on each round, rather, for some rows it will be front neck edge then back neck edge.

I think you’ll get it.
I hope this helps.

Welcome to KH!
You want to make sure that you’re binding off at the neck edge only. Since you’re working in the round with steeks eventually for the sleeves, the only opening is the bound off neck sts.
Bind off 4 at the neck edge, work to the end, turn, bind off 4sts, work to the neck edge on the other side, turn, bind off 2. Then work to the end of the row, turn, bind off 2sts. And so on for the bind off of one on each side.
What is the name of your pattern?
Since you’ve given us the relevant information in your post, it’s best to delete the photo. We can’t post large portions of patterns here due to designer copyright.


Ok, so it sounds like my gut instinct is correct. I’m supposed to end up with 29 sts on each shoulder after the back neck BO, so I’ll just keep working the 421 pattern until it works out (and shaping the back neck near the final rows). Eep!
The pattern is “Fisherman Sweater” from the beautiful book Faroe Island Knits.
My first sweater turned out amazingly, but was tragically too small for me. So this go around I bumped up a few sizes, and in worried I went too big, ha! It’s hard to tell though because knitting up from the bottom with steeks I find makes it hard to really gauge how long it is.

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I like bottom up for the fun of knitting fewer sts as you get closer to the top. We’d love to see a photo when you finish.

The sweaters in the book are stunning. This preview may not cover yours but they do look tempting.
Thank you for the source.

I will totally share a pic when I’m done. I will also share my other sweater that was too small.
I got my copy of the book from my local library. A great find.

I misread your first post and thought you said you were making the largest size. Sorry about that. That was why I had mentioned the length.
I worked out the stitch count for a few of the sizes just to check my own understanding, and the count worked by following the bind off numbers once only for each front neck edge. It doesn’t repeat, which it sounds like you are doing.
BO mid front initially, I don’t remember how many stitches
BO 4, 4, 2, 2, 1, 1 for front neck - no repeats of this, total 6 rows (I don’t think this would be more than the 2 inches you said you’d already worked)
Back neck BO mid back the given number,
Then BO on back neck edge 1 each side.
My guess is the back bind offs will be after the 2, 2 front bind offs and the final rows front and back will be the single bind off.

Perhaps this is your plan. Its just that when I read your post it sounds like you are doing 4,4,2,2,1,1,4,4,2,2,1,1 bind offs until reaching a given stitch count. Its the sort of thing I’d get my head trapped into thinking and then 3 days later realise what I’d done and have to tink back.
Sorry if I am misleading, it just feels like you’re working beyond the row count for the front neck… and your spider sense was tingling too.

I hope it goes well.

So just do the 4,4,2,2,1,1 BO once, huh? That would make much more sense for the length. I’m just not getting the math to add up. Maybe I messed up the initial front BO.

How many sts did you start with and how many sts were in the front neck bind off?

The front neck 4,2,1 decrease is a total of 14sts.

Yes, exactly.
I did the maths for the smallest size (i just used this to check my thinking) and the largest size (I thought at the time this was the size you were working) and it worked on both those sizes.
I know you needed to remove the pattern photo due to copyright, I can’t check the maths now as I have a memory of the largest size numbers but no idea of the second to largest.
Perhaps check again?
It was place markers for front and back [given stitch count for each].
Then front neck bind off plus 4, 4, 2, 2, 1, 1 equals [bind off total]
So, front stitch count minus bind off total equals 29 for each shoulder.

Back is place markers [given stitch count t]
Back neck bind off plus 1 and 1 equals [bind off total]
So, back stitch count minus total bind off equals 29 for each shoulder.

If this makes no sense and you are still scratching your head perhaps you can just type up the overall stitch count, front back marker position, and the front back neck bind off numbers?

Yeah, I’m still not getting the right end stitch count. I must be missing something.
For example, here’s what I get for the smallest size:
-17 (front BO)
-12 (4,2 neck edge BO)
-27 (back neck BO)
-2 (back neck edge BO)
= 80

Wait … Maybe I just got it. The above math DOES work out, because there should be 20sts on each of the RF, LF, RB, and LB?
Did I just get it?


Well done! That makes sense. Twenty sts each for RF, LF, RB, LB.

Yes, that’s it!
With this can you work it out for your own size now?
Don’t forget the back bind offs begin before the front bind offs are finished too. My guess on this is after the bind offs of 2 on the front neck to do the centre back bind offs. Then it is likely to be 1 at front neck, 1 at back, neck then finish this side. Then work the last few rows of the other side, bind off 1 front and 1 back (or 1 back and 1 front, I’m ot sure which direction you are rejoining from).

I hope this will work for you now.