A Proper Cocoknits Neckline

Every neckline should be as tidy as the one on the right. Unfortunately, most are written like the one on the left. Since I can’t travel to every corner of the world to teach this in my European Finishing class, I’m posting instructions for the Proper Cocoknits Neckline for every knitter to use and enjoy!

If you are leaving your neckline raw, these techniques are a must.  Even if you are picking up stitches to finish the neckline, look how much easier picking up stitches will be around the neckline of the sample to the right.  I have worked this sample in Stockinette stitch but the technique works just as well when working in stitch patterns.

A Proper Cocoknits Neckline // Neckline Bind-off Comparison

Initial neckline bind-off

Step 1: When your pattern tells you to BO center sts for a neckline, place markers on either side of the sts to be bound off. Believe me, this eliminates any confusion as to how many sts have been BO!  Depending on your pattern this could be any number, I am using 7 sts for this example.

A Proper Cocoknits Neckline // Initial neckline bind-off – step 1

Step 2: On the RS work as established to 1 st before the first marker. For the example, I have used St st so I knit to 1 st before the marker. Kf&b into this st.  If you are working in a different stitch pattern, work in pattern to that last st, then k1f&b.

A Proper Cocoknits Neckline // Initial neckline bind-off – step 2

Step 3: Remove marker and knit the first st of your BO. Even if you are working in a stitch pattern, you will BO in KNIT, not in pattern.  This is the horizontal equivalent to a vertical selvage stitch.

Now pull the extra st (the one you made by knitting through the back of the previous st) OVER this st (in other words, BO using the new, extra stitch). You can’t count this as a BO because you added a st, then got rid of it – this is why I have you place markers to denote the sts you want to BO, it’s easy to get distracted here.

Now continue to BO normally (knit, pull over, knit, pull over, etc.) until you get to the second marker.

A Proper Cocoknits Neckline // Initial neckline bind-off – step 3

Step 4: Now you have one st on your Right needle and the marker is the next thing on your left needle. Remove the marker and BO one more st. This will guarantee that you have bound off the correct number of stitches.

A Proper Cocoknits Neckline // Initial neckline bind-off – step 4

Step 5: Work as established to the end of your row. You can see that the beginning of the BO is nice and neat, no gap where you began the BO.

A Proper Cocoknits Neckline // Initial neckline bind-off – step 5.1

A Proper Cocoknits Neckline // Initial neckline bind-off – step 5.2

If you are continuing with neckline decreases, be sure to continue with Bias BO.

Finishing with a bias bind-off

After the initial BO for the center neck sts, you will finish the Right Front first and will probably have multiple BO’s at the neckline edge. For these you want to use Bias BO to avoid the stair-step effect of a regular BO. (See the original Bias Bind-off tutorial.) It begins on the first WS row after you have BO the center neck sts:

Step 1: WS: Work as established to 1 st before your neckline. Slip the last st purl-wise, turn.

A Proper Cocoknits Neckline // Finishing with a bias bind-off – step 1.1

A Proper Cocoknits Neckline // Finishing with a bias bind-off – step 1.2

Step 2: RS: slip the first 2 sts purl-wise.

A Proper Cocoknits Neckline // Finishing with a bias bind-off – step 2

Step 3: Pull the 2nd st over the 1st; This counts as 1 st bound off.

A Proper Cocoknits Neckline // Finishing with a bias bind-off – step 2

Step 4: If you have further BO, they are normal (knit, pull 2nd st over first).

A Proper Cocoknits Neckline // Finishing with a bias bind-off – step 4

Let’s take for example the instructions “on neck edge BO 3 sts once, 2 sts once, 1 st 3 times”, you would work the first of the initial 3 BO’s using Bias BO:

WS: work to last st, slip the last st p-wise, turn.

RS: slip the first 2 sts p-wise, pull the 2nd st over 1st. You would need to BO 2 more sts normally (knit, pull 2nd st over first, repeat once) to get to a total of 3 sts bound off on the first row, then work remaining sts as established to end of row.

Step 5: Continue as established for subsequent BO’s.

A Proper Cocoknits Neckline // Finishing with a bias bind-off – step 5

To continue with the example:

Next WS row you would again work to the last st and slip it p-wise, turn.

RS: slip the first 2 sts p-wise, pull the 2nd st over 1st (1 st bound off), then BO one more normally (2 sts bound off), k to end of row.

Next WS row, work to the last st, slip it p-wise, turn.

RS: slip the first 2 sts p-wise, pull the 2nd st over 1st. This is your 1 BO, work sts as established to the end of row.

You would work these two rows 2 more times so that you have bound off 1 st 3 times.

Once you have finished all BO’s for neckline edge, finish the Right Front per your instructions. That leaves the Left Front to be finished as follows:

Step 6: WS of Left Front: Join your yarn and work one WS row with no slipping or BO’s. In the example pictured the WS is a purl row; purl every st leaving at least a 6” tail at the neckline edge.

A Proper Cocoknits Neckline // Finishing with a bias bind-off – step 6

Step 7: RS: Work sts as established (example is knit) to last st, slip last st p-wise, turn.

A Proper Cocoknits Neckline // Finishing with a bias bind-off – step 7.1

A Proper Cocoknits Neckline // Finishing with a bias bind-off – step 7.2

Step 8: WS: slip the first 2 sts purl-wise, pull 2nd st over first. BO additional sts normally (in example, BO 2 more sts; purl 1, pull 2nd st over first, repeat).

A Proper Cocoknits Neckline // Finishing with a bias bind-off – step 8.1

A Proper Cocoknits Neckline // Finishing with a bias bind-off – step 8.2

Step 9: You will finish the Left Front exactly as the Right Front, working Bias BO on WS. Once you are finished you can tighten up the tail you left and use it to neaten that change in direction if necessary.

A Proper Cocoknits Neckline // Finishing with a bias bind-off – step 9

19 Comments

  1. Thank you so much for sharing this technique. I can’t wait to put it into practice.

  2. viewstitch

    Very clear, concise method for binding off a neckline. You have just improved everyone’s knitting. Great!

  3. Belinda Duke

    Love the pics and thorough, simple instructions!

  4. Debbie

    Julie, I am amazed at the simple genius of this bind-off. Once I learned it (knitting Veronika), I’ve never looked back (and wondered why no one had thought of it before). Thanks for your many fabulous contributions to the knitting world!

  5. Amy

    This is awesome. Thank you so much

  6. Nina

    Excellent tutorial.

  7. Debbie

    This is great!

  8. joan

    Thanks! Very clear instructions.
    Necklines are always a problem for me – I can’t wait to try this.

  9. Helena cordeiro

    these explanations, for getting a tidy neckline! will be tremendously! helpful to me!
    I´m not na advanced knitter, but i like very much to knit, and also doing everything i can do, to improve my knitting. The neckline, is always, something that i dón´t feel comfortable with. Until now!
    Thank you! So much! For sharing it
    Helena.

  10. YasminaB

    thank you so much for this tutorial. I am going to write it down so I don’t forget to use it next time I make a pullover. It’s so neat, makes a big difference to the appearance of the neck.

  11. Michele Schillerstrom

    Thank you for the concise explanation. I have knit more than 50 sweaters and sometimes I absolutely hate my neckline. You’ve helped me alot with this genius explanation.

  12. emcar

    gracias por la explicacion,es estupenda y facil de entender

  13. This is perfect- thank you!

  14. Nancy King

    I’ve finished knitting Liesl. It was in mt UFO bag.. it’s fits I’m so excited.
    I waant to crochet the neck and arms…..is there a way to do a I-cord?
    Or what are your ideas?..
    I’m so loving your Knit Star.

  15. I was also taught to slip the stitches to be bound off. This technique also achieved a smooth and clean line.

  16. MJ, the SKEINdinavian

    Absolutely BRILLIANT!!! Thank you so much for a better way of binding off necklines and for an EXCELLENT tutorial. I am forever in your debt.

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