bind off -v- decrease for sleeve top


Hello ~ I’m a relatively novice knitter, working on a pattern for a man’s jumper. I’ve just finishes the decreasing & binding off to shape the sleeve head. To start with, the pattern instructs to BO x sts at the beg of row (so BO worked on both P & K sides), then goes on to DECREASING x sts at beg of every row, for a number of rows, then goes back to BOing(!) for the remaining rows to the point whereby the very top of the sleeve is a pointed triangle (unlike most other sleeves I’ve seen which are curved).
Unfortunately, I’ve no doubt due to my lack of expertise, my BO edges are very ‘ragged’. I know this won’t matter when it’s made up, but (aside from the fact that I don’t like the look of it!) it is going to make picking up the stitches for the shoulder seams quite difficult. My ‘ordinary’ edges, however, are quite neat, so MY FIRST QUESTION is:
Is there any reason why I couldn’t simply have
done ALL the BO rows using decreases instead?

I’ve searched everywhere to find an explanation as to what the difference is between BingO and decreasing, and I did find this, on this site …:
“A bind off is different from a decrease; they dec several sts in one spot, and a dec just decreases 1 st in one place. If you’ve done the underarm as BO X sts and now it’s saying to dec at both ends of the row, then you would ssk at the beginning of the row and k2tog at the end.” … but it’s only telling me what I’ve just done!

I just can’t fathom how doing decreases all the way would make any difference to the end result!

My 2nd question is …:
Could anyone please advise me how to create a neat, one-stitch per row, edge to my work?

Regardless of which pattern I’m using, I currently:
slip every last stitch of every row with yarn at the back, turn work
work every first stitch of every row as a Ktbl

This, for me, creates a relatively neat edge, BUT I have just worked out that it DOES NOT provide one-stitch-per-row along each edge, and I’m a bit uncertain how that’s going to affect my having to pick up stitches during the making up process.

Do hope this all makes sense?!

If you’re reading this, then thanks for bearing with me, and many thanks in advance to anyone who may be willing to provide an answer!


If you decrease one or two sts at each end of the sleeve cap, the cap will gradually decrease over many rows, so many that the cap will not fit into the armhole opening. It will also be pointed rather than rounded. That’s the reason for the bind offs toward the top of the cap. This is a nice bind off for shoulders and the top of sleeve caps.

Working the ssk and k2tog decreases at each end one or two stitches in from the ends will smooth out the edges.

I don’t slip a stitch at the beginning of rows because the slipped stitch then stretches across 2 rows and I find that just complicates seaming. Usually picked up sts aren’t necessary here.
It’s fine for sock heels, where you do pick up sts, but not along seams, at least for me.


Hello salmonmac, and thank you for your prompt response. I realise I didn’t phrase my question very well, not least I shouldn’t have blurred the problem I’ve got, with the pattern, with my issue of untidy edges.

The pattern says:
“Keeping patt correct cast off 4sts @beg of next 2rows, then 3sts @beg of 2 foll rows, then 2sts @beg of 2 foll rows [60sts].
Dec 1st @each end of next row, then on 5 foll alt rows [48sts].
Work 1 row.
Cast off 2sts @beg of next 22 rows.
Cast off rem 2 sts.”

… and what this has produced is pointed, i.e., totally triangular!

Also, my starting st count was 78sts, which actually (going by the instructed row count) left me with 4sts at completion of 22nd row.

As you say, I work my ssk and k2tog in (3sts) from the edge, and that section looks much nicer than the BO ~ (incidentally, I use BindOff rather than CastOff to distinguish between the other CO, namely CastON, but my understanding is there is no difference between BO / CO, it’s just variable terminology from either side of The Big Pond; I’m in UK).

What prompted my question was that looking at the pointed, triangular cap I have ended up with, with untidy edges along the BO section, I can’t see how there would have been any difference in end result if I had just carried on using decreases rather than BingO … which, if I’ve understood your answer correctly, is what you are saying?

So that, in turn, lead me to query the difference between the two methods of reducing the size if something.

I can hardly believe this, but having written all this, a whim made me do just one more google search for help with this pattern … and despite having done so numerous time, the search has now returned a post on another website (LoveKnitting) by a guy who has also completed this jumper … and he’s posted photos, which show that the sleeve caps are indeed triangular!!

So good to know that I’m not just being completely dim … that IS how it’s meant to be!

Now to find a solution to making my edges neater, generally, without slipping a stitch which causes, as you say, the end stitch to stretch across 2rows. You say you don’t do what I do, but I wonder, if you wouldn’t mind, could you tell me how you address the issue of having neat / tidy?

Again, thanks for your time :slight_smile:


Usually when a pattern asks you to bind off sts, that gives you the look that the designer has in mind. I’ve often seen bind offs of 4-6sts at the top of the sleeve cap to round the cap. Your pattern has a series of small bind offs which will give a more pointed look which is presumably what the designer wanted. They use of different size bind offs as opposed to decreases of single sts is different and produces different results.

With practice, edges get neater, even in garter stitch. I find my edges neat enough especially considering that they will form part of the seam. I do work the sloped bind off (linked above) to prevent a stairstep edge however at sleeve tops and shoulders.

What is the name of your pattern?


The end result completely threw me, as I’ve never seen a triangular / pointed sleeve cap before. It was really reassuring to see a photo of a completed sleeve (very neatly knitted by a guy on LoveKnitting!), although odd that I’ve searched so many times for help with it, and the LK site has never shown up in the results before!

It’ll be interesting to see how it all fits together ~ I’m just having to wait a bit before I have adequate space to block it.

The pattern is called Park Village, from Rowan.


I’ve never seen this either so I’m intrigued about the sweater. Please do post a photo when you finish and enjoy wearing the sweater.