Neckline shaping confusion


I’m working on the pattern from hell, and am about to start the neckline shaping. It’s a crewneck sweater, and I can’t wrap my head around the bind offs. The instructions read:

When work measures…bind off 25 centre sts for neck (that’s easy).
At neck edge, bind off every alt row 4 sts at once and 3 sts at once. At the same time, bind off for shoulder on every other row 6 sts twice and 7 sts once.

Wouldn’t binding off so many sts at once look weird? I’m not sure I understand. for “bind off every alt row 4 sts at once” does that mean 2 on one side and 2 on the other? Am I making it worse? :crazy_face:

The pattern doesn’t even tell you how many sts should be remaining on your needle. I currently have 77 sts before starting the neckline.

Any help you can offer would be much appreciated! Thank you!

The directions will make a bit of a scoop neck. It’s not that unusual to bind off 4sts then 3sts to shape this kind of neck. Remember that you can only bind off at the edge at the beginning of a row

To work both shoulders at the same time, you’ll need two balls of yarn. Otherwise you can finish one shoulder then work the second shoulder. Bind off a the neck edge 4sts, work one row, bind off 3sts. At the same time, bind off 6sts at the armhole edge, repeat this bind off 2 rows later and then bind off 7sts two rows later.

There’ll be a single stitch left on the needle to fasten off.

Thanks, salmonmac! Just so I’m reading this right, binding off the centre stitches will give me two pieces to work on (the shoulders). I bind off 4 sts first and finish that row, then bind off the armhole sts on the wrong side (purl–it’s a stockinette pattern) row, and when I start the next knit rows, bind off the 3 sts again for the neck? Am I more or less binding off on every row and the number of sts depends on whether it’s the armhole or neckline? Thanks again!

Bind off the center, knit to the end of the second shoulder and turn. Bind off at the armhole of shoulder 2, purl to the gap. Bind off shoulder 1 at the neck and finish the row, turn and knit the armhole edge bind off. Continue to the gap, then bind off at the neck edge of shoulder 2.

I find that it helps to make a little diagram of the bind offs and cross them off as I work them.

Drawing it out did help! Thank you, salmonmac. I do have one more question, for the final armhole bind off for shoulder 1, it looks as though I’ll be knitting one more row than on shoulder 2 since the bind off is done at the beginning of the row. Should I just knit a full row for shoulder 2 without doing any shaping to get the same number of rows? If I did the drawing correctly, all the bind offs should take 7 rows in total.

It’s really not a problem that the rows are offset. That includes the final bind off. If you looks at the gauge, one row is only a short fraction of an inch.
Good for you for getting this to work.

Thank you! And since the pattern doesn’t say, I could leave the remaining stitches live and do a three-needle bind off later, right? If I don’t have to sew, I’m all over it! :blush:

How many sts do you start with before the center bind off?

I start with 77, and now that you’ve asked, I realize I did my math wrong. :roll_eyes: I think I end up binding off all the stitches. I forgot to divide the 52 that are remaining after the second bind off by 2. It looks like I bind off 26 sts total. Could I leave the remaining 7 live or should I bind them off?

So 77 makes sense. Twenty-five at the center, 26 for each shoulder. That’s 4 + 3 at the neck and
6 + 6 + 7 at the armhole. If you have an extra 7, yes, bind them off.
Do you still have 26 for the second shoulder?

If you mean when i knit the front (the instructions I gave in my first post was for the back), yes, if my math’s correct, I’ll start with 30 sts for each shoulder after I bind off the centre sts, and then the bind off instructions are slightly different for the front, but I end up with 7 sts on each shoulder at the end that I’m supposed to bind off.

Yes, I’m just going by the numbers in your first post. The instructions for the front may well be different. The shoulder sts front and back are usually close to each other since they are joined at the finishing. It seems reasonable to bind off the last 7sts.

Thank you, salmonmac! I really appreciate all of your help!

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Hi again. I did charts for both the front and back shoulders/neckline, and if I’m reading it correctly, I won’t have 7 sts remaining on the front section as I thought. I’ll end up binding off till I have one left. Here are the instructions for the front:

Bind off the 17 centre sts for neck (start with 77, so left with 60; 30 for each shoulder)

At neck edge, bind off on every other row 4 sts once, 3 sts once, and 1 st, 4 times. At same time, bind off for shoulder on every other row 6 sts twice and 7 sts once

I’ve attached the charts I created for both the back and the front in the hopes that someone can confirm I did this correctly. Is it normal to have an uneven number of sts for the front and back at the shoulders? I feel like I’m missing something. Thank you!
Back Shoulders
Front shoulders

Good, that’ll work. Usually there are no sts left after the neck and shoulder decreases and the back and front shoulders match up.
Nicely done!

Great! So it’s okay that there are no sts left on the front and I just bind off the remaining 7 on the back and then I seam it, it should all come together?

Yes, you’ll have two steps (bind offs) of 6sts and one of 7sts on each shoulder front and back. They’ll match up.

Okay, thanks again, salmonmac! You’ve been a lifesaver! :hugs: