How to Pick Up Stitches


Knit Maker 102


Lesson Info

How to Pick Up Stitches

Often when you're working within a pattern, you'll see that it says either pick up stitches or pick up and knit stitches. Really those terms are interchangeable. It's sometimes confusing to people. It really just means the same thing that I'm about to show you. When would you pick up stitches or pick up and knit stitches? Well, you'll need to know how to do that for the mittens project that is part of the bonus material for this course. You'll be picking up a couple of stitches, I'm just gonna pull this in, for the thumb. So that's one time, but you'd also use it for a button band, if you'd worked a cardigan and maybe you wanna have a button band that is knit the other way so that the stitching is going this way versus this way, you'd pick up stitches then. You could potentially do it for a pocket depending on what kind it is. Maybe if you just needed to pick up for sleeves. There's many times when you have to just add stitches, but it's not adding stitches in the way that you'd increa...

se, it's creating them with brand-new yarn. So I'm gonna use an opposite color or a contrasting color yarn only because I want you to be able to see a little better. Almost always you would pick up with the same color that you were already using. Let me get that out of the way. All right, so my piece, this is normally how your piece would sit. So this is knit, this was knit from the bottom to the top. So let's say that this is a cardigan or whatever and we wanna pick up along the side. You're most often gonna pick up along the side because if you were working this way you'd probably be able to just increase or make new stitches or just pick them up, you know, from the additional row. There are some exceptions, but often what will happen is that you need to pick them up along the rows. So to do that, you're gonna see that there are different, you can see the rows here. You need to find wherever it says to pick up stitches, but we're gonna say that this is saying that it's gonna pick up alongside the edge and knit. So all that means is, to pick it up, is stick your needle under the loop, the first loop, lay that yarn over the needle and then you have to do a little scoot number, and now that's set. For whatever reason, they're counting that as knitting. It's not actually a knit stitch, but it is a stitch that's ready to be knit for the next round. I should also say that you always wanna pick up stitches on the right side of your work, otherwise you're gonna have a weird selvage. Although, I shouldn't say always 'cause that can actually be kind of a cool design feature. But nine times out of 10 that's what you're gonna do, and I'll show you what I mean in a second. All right, so depending on, the pattern will tell you how many stitches to pick up, and depending on gauge, and there's other factors, it might say pick up 10 stitches evenly across row, or it might say pick up a stitch every other row for two end. And that would just accommodate for the row gauge being different than the stitch gauge; meaning you might get more rows than you do stitches per inch, so you just have to accommodate for that. But, all you need to know is that you're diving in through the next loop on the edge, you're scooping that new yarn and picking it up. And that's all there is to it. I'm just gonna go ahead and keep going just so that I can, and I'm, because this is a bulkier yarn I'm going kind of every other row that I see. That is not an exact science. Really, if you wanted it to be exact, you'd have to bust out the calculator and figure out the gauge difference. But, for the purposes of this tutorial, we are just picking them up. So I mentioned that you wanna go on the right side most of the time or almost all the time, unless it's a specific reason where they want the seam to show. And what that means is, or why you do that I'm almost to the end so I'm gonna show you, Oh I stopped going every other row. I just went rouge. Why you would do that is because you're only going through one loop so the row underneath it, you can see right here, you're going to get a little bit of a selvage edge, which I actually have designed before where I wanted the selvage edge to show, but I usually create that with the way that I seam and not with the picking up the stitches. I just think it looks a little bit cleaner. But, so then you pick them up and then you would just flip the piece over if you were working flat like this and you would just work the stitches as if they had always been stitches forever and always. And when you pick up stitches going the opposite way then you knit, so we picked up along the vertical side versus the horizontal piece, you'll notice that, I'm going to flip it over in one second that the stitches will be off shooting in a different way. I'm about to lose this from the tail so I just want to pull that down. So, you can sort of start to see, see how the stitches run this way from this piece that you worked. But now, because you picked them along the side, you're going to be knitting in that opposite way so they'll be perpendicular. And that's really all there is to picking up stitches and knitting them.

Class Description

Are you a beginning knitter ready to advance your skills? Join Vickie Howell and learn how to knit advanced beginner projects like hats, mittens, and chunky lace cowls.

This class will give you both the confidence and the practical tools you need to take the next steps in your knitting process. As you build on your basic knitting skills, you’ll learn how to:

  • Work with advanced tools, like fancier yarns and double-pointed needles
  • Pick up stitches and knit in the round using double-pointed needles
  • Read a knitting chart
  • Increase using the M1 and kf&b methods
  • Decreasing using the k2tog and ssk methods

Vickie will guide you through the creation of bobble stitches, cable knits, mosaic color-work, how to block your projects, and basic lace knitting.  

Don’t be afraid to try out more complicated projects and produce more elaborate knitted goods! You’ll leave this class in it to knit it, with the confidence and tools you need to create gorgeous work.


Ramona Morrissette-Nagai

She is engaging, warm, and educational.