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Tutorials: Picking Up Stitches Properly

Feb 16, 2009

When we presented Lisa Shroyer’s post on entrelac last month, several hot topics came up in the user email: How do you REALLY pick up stitches properly? Where do you put your needle? How do you get the stitches spaced properly? And what is the difference between “pick up stitches” and “pick up and knit stitches”?


Apparently, the phrase “pick up and knit” causes confusion for many knitters.

 

What is "picking up and knitting"?


Picking up stitches is a way to add new stitches to an already finished bit of knitting--along the sides for a buttonband, perhaps, or at the neckline for a collar. You can add stitches to any edge: a cast-on edge, a bound-off edge, or the side edges.

There are two steps involved:

1.  Pick up loops along the edge of the knitted piece, using a spare knitting needle. (This is the "pick up" part.)
2.  Knit new stitches into those newly picked-up loops. (This is the "and knit" part.)

That's why many instructions say "pick up and knit"--it is a two-step process. Most knitters do both steps for each single stitch--pick up the loop, then knit a new stitch into it--before moving on to pick-up-and-knit the next stitch. However, there are many skilled knitters who pick up all the loops along the edge at once, placing them on a spare needle. They then switch the spare needle with the new loops to their left hand, and knit all the new stitches onto the loops in a second, separate step. It doesn't matter which way you do this, as long as you do both steps—pick up, and knit--for each stitch.



Here are some step-by-step photo tutorials:

Picking up stitches along a slipped-stitch row edge (such as a sock heel flap)

Picking up stitches along a cast-on or bound-off edge


In future posts, we’ll talk about how to pick up stitches evenly, and how to pick up stitches from a non-slipped stitch row edge.

-- Sandi

 


 

 

Guides To Interesting Stitches: The Harmony Guides

Entrelac has seemed to capture the imagination of a lot of knitters this year. I think one reason is that it is fun to do; another reason is that it is something different, a change from the usual knit-purl "ruts" we tend to knit ourselves into. If you find yourself yearning for something interesting to spice up your knitting, take a look at the Harmony Guides, a series of stitch dictionaries from your friends right here at Interweave Press. There's an entire book devoted to Lace & Eyelets, another one covering creative variations of the classic Knit & Purl texture stitches, and one on Cables & Arans--and the Cables & Arans book is even on sale! Coming soon, and available for pre-order now is the long-awaited Harmony Guide: Colorwork.

 


 



Sandi Wiseheart is the editor of Knitting Daily.

What's on Sandi's needles? I cannot tell a lie. There might be the sleeve of a Spring sweater from the new issue that just jumped onto my needles, when I wasn't looking. All I can say is, I read Vicki Square's article in the new Spring Knits called "Start as Many New Projects as You Can," and her last sentence inspired me: "Knit anything and everything you want--and enjoy the scenery!" So I am indulging my knitting habit, and not worrying about whatever the knitting police might have to say about it.

 


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Comments

TessM wrote
on Mar 19, 2009 3:28 PM
I see there are more than a few people confused about slipping stitches -- I like to think I have a clear explanation posted here: http://tessknits.com/archives/9 Please leave a comment if it helps!
SueW@3 wrote
on Mar 1, 2009 7:48 AM
As a self-taught but seasoned knitter, I just want to say how useful I find these tutorials. I agree with FranL. Thank you...
ColleenG wrote
on Feb 25, 2009 1:07 PM
Wow! I taught my sister to knit three years ago and part of the knowledge that I imparted to her included picking up stitches. Did you know the extent of the fire storm you would ignite? My sister called me and felt that she had been betrayed by her only sister! This was not the case because the technique I showed her was exactly the same one illustrated in the photos. The wording of the article is only adding to the anxiety of the novice and expert alike. I teach knitting at my LYS and when I teach this technique I tell the students that the pick-up is the part where you dip your needle (or hook) into the existing fabric and the knit is when you wrap and draw through the new loop. If people have knitting anxiety they should really consider finding a skilled teacher in the real world to help them. I loved reading the comments! Lynn G. sounds like a kindred spirit. Long live passionate knitters everywhere!
Kathy46 wrote
on Feb 23, 2009 7:10 PM
I found the explanation and photos of the two different applications (vertical and horizontal) "pick up and knit" to be perfectly clear. The existing fabric is grey. Begin to pick up a row of new loops by inserting a (smaller) needle into a specific location into the grey fabric, wrap the green yarn (as if to knit) once around the needle, and then pull green yarn through the grey fabric. This equals one new picked-up stitch. Repeat and you will have a right hand needle full of new green stitches ready to continue knitting or purling, as desired. I loved the clear photos showing result of picking up only one or picking up both loops. I now know HOW the result is different and can see how it can be used to advantage in my future knitting. This whole discussion is fascinating because we are all translating words into concepts into knitting actions. If we were all in the same room demonstrating to each other, a lot of the confusion would quickly be cleared up. But we are not. The only sentence I disagree with is "It doesn't matter which way you do this, as long as you do both steps—pick up, and knit--for each stitch." It does matter. You end up with two different results, with the working yarn at opposite ends of the fabric. Also if you pick up one stitch and then knit it before moving on to pick up the next stitch, you create two problems. You have doubled the amount of work to frog if the stitch count comes out wrong. You also have made tensioning this first row of new green stitches more difficult. A row of simple loops can be evenly adjusted by a few simple tugs. A row of new already knit stitches is more locked in and may not have the same tension as the original grey fabric. [ I have used the "green" and "grey" yarns to help the confused readers perhaps to see their way out of the confusion. ] I recently pulled out the first sweater I knit thirty years ago, just to see how I picked up the stitches for the turtleneck. Wow, talk about muddling through! I sure am glad there are sites like this to educate me into a better technique than I had back then. Thanks.
ArleneT wrote
on Feb 19, 2009 1:04 PM
HI, I love your tutorials and learn alot from them. My main reason for writing is: are you coming to STITCHES WEST in Santa Clara, CA?? Weather has been iffy but today its great. N. CA is not balmy like S. CA but its close to S.F. and alot to other things. Since the midwest got to have you (and in bad weather probably) we'd like you to visit us too! Please, Please!
Mirl56 wrote
on Feb 19, 2009 3:23 AM
"Most knitters do both steps for each single stitch--pick up the loop, then knit a new stitch into it--before moving on to pick-up-and-knit the next stitch. However, there are many skilled knitters who pick up all the loops along the edge at once, placing them on a spare needle. They then switch the spare needle with the new loops to their left hand, and knit all the new stitches onto the loops in a second, separate step" This is the most confusing thing I've ever read. The pics totally match what I've always done for 'picking up and kniting" but how can one do the 'all the pick ups' and then knit them separatly - that just doesn't make any sense. Show me some pics of this and how it is different.
FranL wrote
on Feb 18, 2009 3:48 PM
I am among those who found this tutorial very helpful. I'm still a relatively new knitter and have yet to try an actual garment (unless you count socks as garments), so maybe I'll understand some of the more detailed comments later. But I was intimidated by picking up stitches in the little bit of sock knitting and entrelac that I have done to date, and have had hit-or-miss success. I found this tutorial really clarified the process for me. As far as the terminology goes, for as long as I can get away with it, I'm going to simply treat "pick up" and "pick up and knit" as the same thing and not think too hard about it. Thanks!
GraceJ wrote
on Feb 18, 2009 10:00 AM
Yeah, what Lynn G said!
GraceJ wrote
on Feb 18, 2009 9:57 AM
Wow, this COMPLETELY confused me. I thought I had been doing it right, but the written description above just DOES NOT explain this process clearly. Luckily, the picture tutorial assured me that I have been doing it right all along. The problem is what part of the process is the pick up" part. For me, "pick up" is what I do with the yarn to form the new loop... which the tutorial shows as the "and knit" part. What this entry entirely fails to explain is that "pick up" means to insert the needle into the stich where you plan to pick up a new loop/stitch. I don't know how anyone would identify this as picking up anything, but whatever. I'm just annoyed that I read this article and because immediately confused, rather than enlightened.
Ladymark wrote
on Feb 18, 2009 7:23 AM
Yikes! Have you ever heard of so many people agreeing in so many different ways??! The good news is, we all know what we mean, and how this step should look. I do feel for beginning knitters, however, doing this for the first time. Because of the controversy, I once tried the (for lack of a better term) "knitting the same pick-up twice" method. It both looked and felt wrong, so I came to the conclusion, like so many others, that it was all really one step. I heartily endorse NancyJ's idea of using either "pick up" or "knit up", though there are very few patterns that have one only "pick up" existing loops without doing SOMETHING to them. As a teacher of special education students, I recognize that this is truly a labelling problem. Before a group discussion, one needs to have everyone on common ground, particularly about terms. Poor Sandi-did you realize you'd unleashed a storm?
Julie C wrote
on Feb 17, 2009 2:56 PM
I'm with the folks that were confused by this. I already know how to do it, but this tutorial makes it sound like you're supposed to pull the yarn through, and then knit that loop. As far as I can tell, that doesn't make any sense. Whether you "pick up" or "pick up and knit" (I've heard them used synonymously), you're basically just making a loop by pulling new yarn through an existing edge. Then, later on, when you come around to that place, you have a loop to knit (or purl) into.
Elizabeth wrote
on Feb 17, 2009 10:09 AM
Thanks, Sandi! I was just knitting socks last night and wondering about how to pick up along the sock heel. I used the back loop and got holes. Now I will try the other method. What a timely post! Just for the record, I did not find this confusing at all. In fact, I was using a pattern that said to pick up the stitiches, then go back and knit them..I found that very confusing, as I always pick up a stitch and then knit it. But your explanation cleared up the confusion with this pattern. Waiting for more on this topic. Great help. What about how to space buttonholes?
ValerieV wrote
on Feb 17, 2009 9:50 AM
Sorry Sandi, I agree with those who say this is a very confusing post. Picking up and knitting consists of one step, pulling loops through the existing knitting fabric either with a crochet hook or a needle. This is row one of whatever is being added. A needle works best to make sure the stitches are oriented properly but the stitch mount can always be corrected on the next row of "real" two needle knitting. (Row 2) Some people make this into two steps by first inserting a knitting needle into the fabric under the bars between the first two columns of stitches. With these bars on the needle as "stitches" the first row of the new knitting (band, collar, whatever) is knit. (Row 1). Too bad we don't have some unambiguous way to describe these steps. I've always disliked "pick up and knit " for this reason.
Sumac wrote
on Feb 17, 2009 9:05 AM
Are there only two of us (UpTown Fibers and me) who noticed that Step 5 shows the yarn going from front to back on the needle? Which direction is correct, the photo or the "as if to knit"?
jschragal wrote
on Feb 17, 2009 3:23 AM
Would someone please tell me the "trick" for picking up stitches on the left side of a baby bootie? I figured it out about 20 years ago but can't seem to do it now. I can always pick the stitches up on the right side but the stitches on the left side can't be picked up the same and "match" They also seem to "ladder" on the left side. I meant to write down what I did waaay back then but life got in the way ; > )
AnnaP wrote
on Feb 17, 2009 2:11 AM
I think it's actually the 'pick up' part that causes the confusion. 'Picking up' could refer to putting the needle into one of the previously made stitches (the grey yarn in the tutorial) and putting that stitch on the needle again. It could also refer to putting the needle into a gap, wrapping the yarn around it and picking up the new yarn, forming a stitch. In the latter case, the stitches on your needle are already made with the new yarn; in the first case, you need to knit them to get the same result. (And this would be actual knitting, requiring a second needle.) I guess they could be described as 'pick up old and knit new stitches' and 'pick up and (thereby) create stitches', although that might not actually be clearer... I think the main thing to remember is that for both 'pick up and knit' and 'pick up', the intended result is that the stitches *on* your needles are made with the new yarn and the ones directly below them are with the old yarn. How you get there is a matter of preference.
LeslieB wrote
on Feb 16, 2009 6:38 PM
Great tutorial. I only learned how to make socks last winter and I am still learning. I do great with top down, next up toe up... Thanks
PamF wrote
on Feb 16, 2009 6:35 PM
I quote "That's why many instructions say "pick up and knit"—it is a two-step process. Most knitters do both steps for each single stitch—pick up the loop, then knit a new stitch into it--before moving on to pick-up-and-knit the next stitch. " If you actually picked up a loop, then knit into it -you would have two stitches (vertically), then the knit stitch would connect to the next loop --so the yarn would not connect a row of stitches in a horizontal row, but would move up and down, back and forth from one row to the other. I agree that the explanation only made things more confusing.
SarahS@2 wrote
on Feb 16, 2009 5:03 PM
This may not be the place to post this but I can't find anywhere on help what to do if you stop receiving your Knitting Daily emails. I haven't been receiving my Knitting Daily emails for a couple of weeks now. If someone could help I would appreciate it! I don't want to miss any posts but I sometimes forget to check if it is not emailed.
JillW wrote
on Feb 16, 2009 3:02 PM
I agree with all the others who have commented about the confusion between the tutorials and the written description hope that Sandi will address that, but I am glad to learn that pick up and knit doesn't mean to knit the stitch after you pick it up. Also, I have a question for Gabrielle - when you do a sock heel that calls for K1, Sl 1 across - do you also slip that stitch as a purl, all the way across? I too thought that you should purl a slipped stitch unless they say otherwise, but sometimes it just looks/feels weird that way. What about SSK? Thanks for all the discussion and tips!
JeannineB wrote
on Feb 16, 2009 12:49 PM
What a fascinating discussion! I am among those who use a crochet hook to pick up stitches (for example, along a neckline). I pick up a few stitches at a time, using a crochet hook that is a little smaller than the knitting needles I used for the body. After I've picked up 5 or 6 stitches (or there-abouts) , I then transfer them to a circular or dp needles (whatever I intend to use to knit the collar band). I continue in this manner all around the neckline. When I'm finished, I then work around the neckline in the first row of the ribbing or pattern stitch called for by the pattern. This makes a nice smooth connection to the body of the sweater, with no "extra row" of knitting before starting the pattern stitch. Sandy, thanks for a great tutorial!
Gabrielle wrote
on Feb 16, 2009 12:24 PM
As far as 'slipping stitches', my understanding that you should slip stitches as if to purl, unless told to do otherwise. Some patterns give the instructions anyway, but if there aren't any, you always slip as if to purl. This is in all the reference books I have, including Barbara Walker's wonderful books. It has always worked for me, and leaves a nice chained edge....at the end of the row, you can either knit the last stitch, or purl the last stitch, as long as you keep it the same every time. I do it on dishcloths, but I slip the first stitch as if to knit and I purl the last stitch of every row. Makes the sides nice, clean and even. I slip the first stitch on my socks, as if to purl, and it makes a nice edge for picking up and knitting stitches.
MarleneG wrote
on Feb 16, 2009 12:15 PM
Thanks for the GREAT photos. I actually have been doing this correctly, but as a relatively new knitter, I have always had my doubts! The photos were a great illustration -- loved the closeups showing exactly where the loop was pulled thru. Cannot wait until we learn how to pick those pesky stitches up evenly!
NancyJ wrote
on Feb 16, 2009 11:07 AM
Don't understand, really don't, why you can't use EZ's differentiation....pick up or knit up. It's so much easier to use those terms than going on and on about 'pick up and knit'.
AIRknitter wrote
on Feb 16, 2009 10:15 AM
This is wonderful information for right-handed knitters. Alas, I am not so sure it's as good for left-handed knitters. I am left-handed and use a crochet hook for casting on and picking up stitches. Sandi, you look so happy. *smile*
JennieVH wrote
on Feb 16, 2009 9:59 AM
Count me as another who is more confused after reading this than before. Your note also says "However, there are many skilled knitters who pick up all the loops along the edge at once, placing them on a spare needle. They then switch the spare needle with the new loops to their left hand, and knit all the new stitches onto the loops in a second, separate step." This doesn't make sense--either you're pulling the yarn from the end of the new loops back to the beginning to knit, stranding it across the back of those loops, or you're knitting from the end of the new loops back to where you started picking them up--which means your yarn isn't at the end of the new, picked up stitches! I'll probably just keep picking up loops through the edge of my fabric as I've always done. Picking up and then knitting loops seems to create holes between the stitches.
Lynn G. wrote
on Feb 16, 2009 9:18 AM
I agree with Susan D....the majority of books say that the expression "pick up and knit" is not as you are describing, and definitely NOT two separate steps involving knitting a traditional knitted row off of the pulled up loops, but rather what you showed in your tutorials. (I had to add that Montse Stanley knew her stuff...). Apparently, the two expressions ("pick up" versus "pick up and knit") are synonymous; the longer expression was invented in order to give a separate name to the wrapping of the yarn around the inserted needle (the picking up of a loop), and the "knit" was added to describe the way in which that loop is pulled through the fabric and the orientation of the stitch on the needle. The part of your blog entry that is the most confusing is the description of some people choosing to pick up all of the loops at once before doing the knit step. If the definition from the BOOKS is used, then the "knit" step is equivalent to pulling the picked up loops (the wraps) through the existing fabric edge. If someone were to pick up all of the stitches at once BEFORE doing the knit step (the pulling through step), then basically they would be wrapping tons of loops around one knititng needle, in back of the fabric edge, holding that wrapped needle to the left, and digging through the fabric afterward with the additional right-hand needle, in order to get all of those wrapped pulled through the fabric at regular intervals. Such a method would be highly inefficient and messy, so I think what you described is someone picking up an entire edge of stitches, through the fabric as shown in your tutorial, and then actually" knitting" an additional row. If so, this is exactly the "misinterpretation" of the terminology that all of the reference books warn against...they all say that there is no actual knitting from these new loops, just that the stitches are "knit" only in the sense that they have been pulled through the edge fabric in the same manner as traditional knit stitches have been pulled through the stitches on the row below in regular knitting. Given that this blog is meant to instruct beginners and to clear up misconceptions, it will be vital for you to get a definitive answer on this point and write a follow-up column, as your tutorials do not match the written description that you gave. I have been knititng for years, and I only came upon the reference book entries last year. I realized, with a shock, that I had always misinterpreted the "pick up and knit" to mean that one had to actually knit these new stitches before going on to the next row in the pattern, so, for example, I would pick up stitches around an entire neck edge, using a crochet hook and placing them one by one onto a circular knitting needle, then I would knit an additional row before following the rest of the pattern. The reference books clearly state that what I was doing was adding an extra row of knit stitches to my knitting and that this was not what my patterns intended for me to do. I agree with T.H. that it also matters which direction you pick up the stitches because sometimes the next row, if you are interpreting the "knit" instruction as a separate step, would be a purl row. I think my use of a circular needle helped to avoid this problem...I guess I would pick up in the direction that would leave me on a right side row...BUT I was still doing the overall instruction incorrectly by adding that additional row of knit stitches. Please write a follow-up article that gives us a clear answer to this issue...If you disagree with the references that say that "pick up" and "pick up and knit" are synonymous, and you really believe that the "knititing" is a separate step (especially ih your description of method #2 in your blog entry), please provide additional references to back this up. Thank you.
LindaD wrote
on Feb 16, 2009 9:10 AM
I learned this from a LYS. Use a small DPN in left hand, inserting the tip from the back and lifting the stitch. insert the right needle into the stitch and either knit it now or if too tight place it on the needle until all picked up. It is a little awkward at first but goes quickly and you can keep count of how many you have picked up so far. I dedicated this small DPN to keep in my handy kit of tools. Thanks for the tutorial re the vertical edge. I find it the most difficult. Linda D
sibarita wrote
on Feb 16, 2009 8:27 AM
thank you for the wonderful tutorial. I have the problem that - picking up stitches to do a lace edge at the bottom of a vest - because it goes in another direction than the stitches of the vest I have too many stitches for the lace. Is there a rule every how many stitches you must pick if you intend to knit in another direction (from left to right instead of from top to bottom)?
T.H wrote
on Feb 16, 2009 8:24 AM
I'm afraid that I find myself more confused now than I was before I read this information. If one were to just "pick up" along a cardigan neckline or a button band, then the next action would be to knit the picked up stitches for GARTER stitch, or to purl those stitches for stockinette stitch. You're bringing your yarn with you, so it will be at the end of the section from which you picked up stitches (as is shown with the green yarn in all of the photos). Of course, if you've picked up stitches in the round, then you can just go ahead and knit once you reach where you began, since the working yarn will be right there and ready. As Phoenix said, I have my way of doing the deed so I'll continue along my merry way. I'm don't think that I would suggest this tutorial (as it is written) for a new knitter.
JessicaP wrote
on Feb 16, 2009 8:22 AM
Thank you for the explination with CLEAR photos. I mind is now at ease that have been picking up stitches correctly. Now I need a tutorial on blocking, especially lace, with such clear photos!!!!!!
lpphr wrote
on Feb 16, 2009 8:22 AM
Thank you for this tutorial. I'm in the process of making my first sweater vest and this couldn't have come at a better time. Now - I'd love to see an example of picking up stitches and knitting around a v-neck or the shoulder part of a sleeve. I'm still confused about that and my instructions do not say whether to use a circular needle or straight needle.
sally@3 wrote
on Feb 16, 2009 8:19 AM
Doesn't it change the front side of the pattern if you pick up and knit as you go vs pick all of 'em up then knit?
phoenix wrote
on Feb 16, 2009 8:09 AM
I agree with SusanD's comments on this one, my reference books define pick up an knit differently than this article. However, I've long since made my own peace with pick up and knit and how I perform it, and so stopped worrying about it. I will add that the variation of picking up the stitch and knitting the same stitch doesn't really make sense to me (why would you create two rows immediately for one stitch?) and I think it gives funny looking results. The article is nicely unequivocal though, and the tutorial is very clearly demonstrated, so I think it will make people who really want to feel they have the "right" answer happy.
VeraH wrote
on Feb 16, 2009 8:05 AM
I would like to see a detailed discussion about a "slipped-stitch row edge." I've stumbled upon comments about this a couple of times by knitting icons such as Elizabeth Zimmerman where she says, "I always slip the first stitch of every row." Do you always slip the stitch according to the type of stitch that is first on the needle, i.e. slip a purl stitch as if to purl; slip a knit stitch as if to knit? Then, I had to wonder what happens at the other end of the row? Do you knit the stitch as usual because you're going to slip it when you turn your work, or do you slip it, too? I've been learning knitting and knitting techniques over the last year and I find that some of the experienced knitters throw out offhand comments like the rest of the inexperienced world knows exactly what they're talking about, leaving me in a "duh" moment. I want to know how, when, and why, and is there a "never."
JenniferS@6 wrote
on Feb 16, 2009 8:04 AM
I agree with SusanD that these instructions seem contrary to what all my knitting books say. However, the tutorials make the process crystal clear. It seems that the "and knit" is simply the way the stitch is positioned on the needle and how the yarn is drawn through the stitches, rather than a separate action. Very helpful! Thanks.
JanO wrote
on Feb 16, 2009 7:45 AM
Thanks for the clarification. No matter how many years you've been knitting, it's always good to learn the right way to do things. I am one of those knitters who picks up all the stitches first and then knits them in place. It took me YEARS to finally come up with a method that I was satisfied with! When picking up the stitches, you don't have to use the same size needle that you're knitting with. I keep my thin little sock needles close by just for these situations. The smaller needles slip into the loops much more easily and it's much easier to see the number of stitches you've picked up. If you need to pick up more, you can pick them up at either end of the needle. Once the stitches are picked up, they slide along the smaller needle smoothly in most cases, and can be easily knitted with the right sized needle for the garment. If a large number of stitches need to be picked up, you can use this method with long circular needles as well, as long as you're using something smaller than the needle you've been using to knit with. It only took me 40 years to figure this out! ; - )
MargotN wrote
on Feb 16, 2009 7:40 AM
I was actually more confused by this at first than I was to begin with. When my mother taught me to knit she referred to this whole process as picking up stitches. It took reading the tutorials a second time to connect that inserting your needle into your piece is the picking up step and wrapping the new yarn and pulling it through is the knit step. Labeling those steps of the tutorials like this might make it clearer for home taught knitters like myself.
on Feb 16, 2009 7:37 AM
This is the best tutorial on picking up stitches I've ever seen, bar none! You have done an incredible job of making the procedure so easy to understand. The pictures are great, too! Thank you Carol Ann
MarinU wrote
on Feb 16, 2009 7:23 AM
Interesting -- I don't knit my picked up stitches. Never have. I just pull new yarn throgh the knitted piece then treat that as a new set of stitches. I've never had a problem, no holes, no wonky bits. Perhaps you could address why I should be doing that extra step of knitting each picked up stitch...?
Sharry Bone wrote
on Feb 16, 2009 7:06 AM
I was so excited to see the tutorial on picking up stitches!! But I can't get it to print out!! Any suggestions. It only prints the first two steps and then skips to the end. I would love to print these out and keep them handy as I always have problems!!
lindakkelso wrote
on Feb 16, 2009 7:00 AM
I find picking up stitches with a knitting needle difficult so I use a crochet hook instead. After I pick up a stitch I can yarn over and draw a new stitch through the just picked up stitch (pick up and knit) then transfer the new stitch to my needle. Easy, fast and accurate. I agree that the pick up vs. pick up and knit is confusing; and so are many knitting instructions. It seems to come with the territory. But knitting is not finish carpentry, a stitch (or row) here or there doesn't seem to really be an issue in the final product (unless it produces a mistake in a pattern). Don't sweat the small stuff and remember: It's all small stuff. Happy knitting! linda
GabyP wrote
on Feb 16, 2009 6:57 AM
I would only add that a very wise and experienced knitter taught me to "pick up" using a crochet hook. I then slide the stitches off the back of the hook onto the knitting needle--it goes very quickly and is easy to keep a consistent tension. I love the photos of the differences between going under both side of the chain vs the back side only. Thanks for clarifying a gray area in my knitting!
UptownFibers wrote
on Feb 16, 2009 6:56 AM
I noticed that in step 2 the yarn was wrapped as if knitting, then in step 5 (i think) the yarn was wrapped as if purling, or over the front of the needle instead of around the back of the needle. Just an observation. This only happened in the first tutorial, not the one with the loops. Just wondered if the author noticed. Jackie
JennyS@2 wrote
on Feb 16, 2009 6:50 AM
I, too, use a crochet hook most of the time. Just be careful how the yarn is hooked, or the stitches will be twisted. The wording in the tutorial and other sources I've used in the past make it sound like "pick up and knit" is two separate steps. If so, that will make two rows...the "pick up" step is one row and the "knit" step is the next row. The pictures make it look like one step...one row. Good tutorial and illustrations. Thanks.
Josie wrote
on Feb 16, 2009 6:37 AM
This is a great tutorial and really clarified lots of things I have been just "fudging" over the years. I am wondering about the whole concept of slipped stitches....I have searched my knitting books and googled everything I can find on slipping stitches, but don't seem to get consistent answers on when to "slip as if to knit", "slip as if to purl" and what the lone word "slip" refers to in a pattern. Some patterns clarify what is to be done, and others leave me hanging....is there a hard and fast rule to go by? I know the stitches twist different ways depending on what method you use, so if the pattern doesn't specify which one, how do we know what to do? Thanks for any help! Josie
BrendaC wrote
on Feb 16, 2009 6:32 AM
How to pick up stitches evenly. Can't wait for that!!! I almost always end up ripping out my picked up stitches at least once before getting them semi-evenly spaced.
CarolG wrote
on Feb 16, 2009 6:26 AM
The easiest way to avoid holes when picking up stitches is to avoid chain selvage [slipping the first or last stitch] altogether. A slipped stitch is unknitted and is 'holey.' If you stick to stockinette or garter every row, you can then easily use a finer needle and pick up in the 'nub' at the end of the row and knit it with your regular needle. There are no holes using this method. Plus, you get a much smoother pickup and a flap that has the same flexibility as the rest of your sock. And, it does away with the hole that often appears at the instep join when slip stitch is used. Many [most] heel flap patterns recommend initial slip stitch for ease in picking up. Finding the nub is not hard. Just roll the edge toward you and run your finger down the edge. You'll feel the nubs. It's the thread that wraps around when you turn the knitting. If you don't want to search for it, hold a length of crochet thread at the edge and let the turning wrap around it. Then all of the nubs are delineated and very easy to find. Rose
PatriciaL wrote
on Feb 16, 2009 5:57 AM
Sandy, thank you for your patience! Picking up stitches along a horizontal edge is not hard but picking up stitches along a vertical edge, such as a neckline, is another matter. What is the secret?
SusanP@7 wrote
on Feb 16, 2009 5:41 AM
very informstive. but how do you add stitches ti the side of a garment or the neck where you have decreases and the stitches are not so obvious
RobinL wrote
on Feb 16, 2009 5:36 AM
These step by step photos great. I use a crochet hook (rather than a knitting needle) and just slip stitch through all of the picked up stitches onto it. Then I knit off the "wrong" end of the crochet hook back onto a knitting needle. I've found that this helps me get the nice tight and neat edge that I was never able to get using a knitting needle.
sockknitter wrote
on Feb 16, 2009 5:16 AM
Great tutorials. Thanks for those helpful instructions!
SusanD@2 wrote
on Feb 16, 2009 5:10 AM
I've got a bit of a problem with these instructions in that every other book in my knitting library says that to 'pick up and knit' does not mean what this article says it does. To pick up and knit creates the first new row of knitting just by picking up that new loop. That is, after all, exactly what knitting is, right, creating a new loop of yarn on the needle? As to why it's called 'pick up and knit' rather than 'pick up': it is possible to pick up stitches along an edge ( usually a garter stitch edge) by running a spare needle along the edge and actually picking up loops from the already knitted material, not adding new loops with new yarn. For reference: see The Knit Stitch; Stitch 'n Bitch; Knitter's Handbook by Montse Stanley; or The Knitters Companion by Vicki Square.
JillD wrote
on Feb 16, 2009 4:46 AM
Ah, how wonderful. I've always struggled to get a neat join when picking up stitches, and now perhaps I will get it to work properly. I've always picked up the lot and then knitted them: I'm hoping that if I knit as I go, it will get rid of that row of loose stitches which make a ladder at the join.