Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Picking Up Stitches

In all of my cardigan patterns, the button and buttonhole bands are picked up and knit after the cardigan body and sleeves are completed. This technique can often give knitters problems. How does one pick up stitches so they are even along the body of the sweater?

For this technique you will need: 

  • a cardigan with the fronts completed
  • a tape measure
  • a crochet hook approximately the same size as your knitting needles (one without a plastic grip so the stitches can slide from one end to the other)
  • knitting needles, either circular or straights
  • removable stitch markers



Step 1: Dividing front into sections

The pattern should indicate the total number of stitches needed along the front band. Depending on the total number divide this into 5 to 8 sections with approximately 20 stitches in each section. The fewer stitches in each section the more accurate your picking up will be

The Math

Example: This cardigan requires 109 stitches along the front. I've divided this number into 5 sections.
I know that 110 can be divisible by 5 evenly so 110 / 5 = 22 stitches in each section but I only need 109 stitches so 4 sections have 22 sts and 1 section has 21 sts (22 x 3 + 21 = 109)

Lay the tape measure across the front to find the length and divide this length into 5 sections. For this sample I have 20.75" length divided by 5 equals 4.15" for each section.

Using four markers, mark each 4.15" section.

Step 2: Using Crochet Hook to Pick Up Stitches

Using your crochet hook, pick up your calculated number of stitches from the starting edge to your first marker. 

If you don't want to eyeball the evenness of the picked up stitches you can count the number of rows in the section and divide it by the number of stitches you need to pick up. For example, if I have 44 rows in the section and I need to pick up 22 stitches I would pick up 1 stitch every 2 rows (pick up a stitch, skip a row).


I like to poke the crochet hook through the 2 strands of each knit/purl stitch along the edge, wrap yarn around hook and pull through. 



Step 3: Transfer Stitches to Knitting Needle

Once all the stitches required for the first section are on your crochet hook (for this cardigan, 22 stitches), they will now be transferred to the knitting needle. Slip each stitch from the non-hook end of the crochet hook onto the knitting needle.





Step 4: Repeat

Repeat steps 2 and 3 for the remaining sections along the front edge. 

Don't forget that some sections may have 1 stitch more or less than a previous section so the total number of stitches along the edge works out according to the pattern instructions.



Once you are finished all stitches should be sitting on your knitting needle and you will be ready to work a wrong side row.

Happy Knitting!