Connecting pattern pieces

I’m knitting my first project, a tea cozy, and I’m a bit confused about what to do next. The project has 3 pieces, two sides and a top, and I’ve finished knitting the sides and bound them off. These were the instructions:

SMALL TEA COSY (Make 2 pieces alike) <br><br> Cast on 36 sts.
1st row…
2nd row…
Rep last 2 rows until work from beg measures 3 ins [8 cm] ending with right side facing for next row.

First, should I not have bound these pieces off, but just run a piece of yarn through the stitches?

Second, if I was right to bind them off, should I have the right side facing at the very end (eg. after binding off), or at the end of the last row that I knit regularly (before binding off)?

The next bit of the instructions is to start making the top, but it doesn’t say how many stitches to cast on. Am I supposed to connect it to the side pieces somehow? Will that determine how many stitches it has? (Here is the beginning of the instructions for that part.)

Shape top: 1st row: K3. *Tw2R. K3. K2tog. Rep from * to last 5 sts. Tw2R. K3. 2nd row…

When it comes time to sew the pieces together later on, do I use a regular needle and thread, like I would to sew fabric, or is there a special way to sew knitting together? These are the instructions:

Sew 2 pieces tog with a 1OE /Í ins [4 cm] seam at lower edge and a 2 ins [5 cm] seam from top.

Thanks for your help!

I don’t think you were supposed to bind them off.

My guess is that you were supposed to make two, keeping the top stitches live–which is why they say to have the right side facing for next row–you’re going to keep going when it’s time.

You can take out the bind-off quite easily once the last stitch is picked out.

Then you would work the top using the stitches from the two sides.

To seam knitting, you use the yarn you’ve been knitting with, and I suggest using the mattress stitch (there is video for it.)