As I’ve talked about in other posts, I’m a big fan of the Three Needle Bind-Off. I use it in almost all of my vest designs and many of my bottom-up sweater designs too. But one aspect of utilizing this technique that isn’t often talked about is the long-tail – one of the preparatory steps for this technique is when you are instructed to cut your yarn, leaving an extra long tail that will later be used to bind-off your stitches during the the Three Needle Bind-Off technique. But having such a long tail dangling there when you still have more to knit can be a nuisance and can cause things to get tangled up.
For example, below is a picture of my 1979 cardigan vest (one of the Front’s of that garment) right after I had transferred my stitches to a piece of scrap yarn and then cut my extra long tail – it’s quite the mess!
I still have more knitting to do, and so having this extra long tail hanging there will just cause a) confusion and b) a big ‘ol mess! It’s like if you have long hair and you are exercising or cooking and you just need your locks out of your face and out of the way. In that case, a hair tie is your best friend, but in knitting, what can you do to get your long tail out of the way?? A locking, removable stitch marker! See below how I ball up my end, then fasten and secure it all together using one of this locking stitch markers:
As displayed in steps 1-4 above, take the end of the tail and start wrapping it around to create a little ball. Once you have most of the tail in a little ball, insert your removable marker (in the open position) so that it goes through the entire ball, and then lock it. Voila! Your long tail is now out of the way and secured! Just like putting your hair up in a pony-tail 🙂
Sometimes it can start to unravel a bit and I have to ball up my tail a bit tighter, so depending on the yarn you are using you may need to fiddle with things a bit. Sticky wool is obviously easier than say, a linen or cotton yarn. But just play around with it and hopefully it will help you as much as it’s helped me!