I'm having so much fun knitting this sweater that I am flying on these needles. I finished the front of the sweater, and learned a new way to create a nicely rounded neckline that is being shaped by binding off stitches by groups (my preferred method of shaping necklines), yet avoiding entirely that dreaded "steps" effect:
First row: Bind off your first group of stitches. Continue knitting to the end of the row.
Second row: Knit the second row as required by the pattern. When you reach the last stitch that comes before the row of stitches you bound off in the previous row, leave that stitch on the left needle. Turn your work.
Third row: The stitch you didn't knit should be on your right needle. Slip the next stitch (the one that has the working yarn) onto the right needle, and then slip the first stitch (the one you didn't knit) over it. Finish binding off the second group of stitches.
Continue knitting the following rows in this manner until all your groups of stitches are bound off to shape the neckline. And it works! It really makes for a perfectly rounded neckline! Pardon my exclamation points, but I got excited when I saw how nicely rounded my neckline came out. I deserve a toy surprise.
I never place my stitches on a stitch holder, and then pick up stitches to knit on the neckline ribbing. To shape my necklines, I bind off stitches by groups every two rows. Then, after the garment has been sewn together, I knit the neckband ribbing as separate piece. When I reach the last row of the neckband ribbing, I'll knit one last knit row (all knit stitches, not ribbing) on the right side and then knit a few rows of stockinette stitch using a contrast yarn. Then I sew the neckband to the garment stitch by stitch, unravelling the different colored yarn as I go along, and using my knit row stitches as the "foundation" to sew neckband onto the garment.
I learned this method from Phildar
's patterns, and it may not be the quickest way to finish a neckband, but I find it useful in lots of cases.