Picking up stitches

Welcome to the next technique post for our summer HAP-Along! This is a trick that works in lots of other places too – picking up stitches is a common task and very straightforward.

The first thing to get out of the way is the terminology: there is, as far as anyone can tell, no difference between “pick up” and “pick up and knit”. Patterns use both expressions to mean exactly the same thing, and So whichever words are used, this procedure is what is meant.

Holding the work in your left hand and the needle in your right, poke the needle through the edge of the work where you want to make the new stitch, knitwise. “Knitwise” means that the needle is going from front to back, and from left to right, exactly like a knit stitch.

Since we’re using the loopy edge that you get from the yarn over increase, our needle is going through one of those loops, but if your edge is different, the path of the needle remains the same: front to back, and left to right.

Wrap the yarn around the tip of the needle…

… and pull the loop back to the front of the work.

Then simply repeat this procedure until you’ve amassed all the stitches you need, gaining new stitches one at a time. If you’re going round a corner, you’ll probably need to pick up a couple extra to mitre around the bend. And here’s our little garter stitch square with stitches picked neatly up from two sides, ready to go round the next corner and head for the other two sides:

It’s a nifty technique, and one that you’ll use for button bands and collars over and over again. Knitting a hap with a garter stitch centre is the easy way to start picking up stitches. If you’re picking up from stocking stitch or another stitch pattern, there’s a wee bit more to consider, but we’ll come back to that in another post.

Things are really hotting up over in the Ravelry HAP-Along thread, and we’ve got a tag for your Ravelry project pages: tagging with TIKHAPALONG will make it much easier to follow each other’s progress! See you over there!

2 comments

  1. Victoria’s avatar

    Hi,

    thanks for the tutorial on picking up stitches. I was just wondering about the yarn. Do you use the working yarn to pick up the stitches or would you attach a new thread of yarn? I’m still a relative beginner. When I knitted the band for a shrug, I had to attach a new thread. The pattern wasn’t explicit about that…
    I’d love your expert insight on that! Thanks!

  2. thisisknit’s avatar

    Hi Victoria – thanks for your question!

    In the pictures above we are using the working yarn as, after completing your centre square in a Hap-style pattern, the yarn is in the correct position to allow the knitter to do so.

    In the example of your shrug, and for most button bands, collars etc you would need to join in a new strand of yarn to work the new section.

    So essentially if there’s yarn available at starting point for picking up then you can go ahead and use it, but otherwise you would join in a new strand.

    I hope this helps! Let us know if you have any other questions at all, or if there are any specific techniques you would like us to cover here.

    All the best,

    Lisa

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