I'd bind off the first 8, work the 3 handle stitches and finish the row with the other 8. Then I'd bind off 8 and have the yarn there for the handle.
If it bothers you to have one side a row longer than the other, you can follow the directions and bind off the second 8 when you do the first. You'd then cut the yarn and start knitting the handle stitches only. You can snug up and weave in the tail later. Just start knitting with the yarn. If you like, you can knit the first stitch with the tail and main yarn held together.
"Trust the pattern!"
Time flies like an arrow, but fruit flies like a banana.
Hop aboard while we follow the cloud-covered van of knitting harmony, man!! Woooo!! --Hedgehog
IngridKH on Ravelry