How To Pick-up Stitches—the Cocoknits Way

There are several ways to pick-up stitches. This is the version I use along a stockinette stitch (St st) edge as for a collar or front band of a cardigan.

I use a small (#1, 2 or 3) 36” circ needle to pick up the sts first, then knit them (as opposed to picking up and knitting the sts as I go).  I do this for two reasons:

  1. I like the neatness of it
  2. It allows me to adjust for the correct number of sts before I start to actually knit the collar or front band.

Here’s how I do it:

picking-up stitches 1picking-up stitches 2

See the V which is the end stitch? I’ve outlined it in the second photo.

You are going to insert your little needle through the INSIDE arm of that “V”.  In the photo above it would be the left arm of the “V” …

picking-up stitches 3… as indicated by the green arrow. You do this because if you went into the very outside edge you would wind up with holes and a loosely connected collar.
picking-up stitches 4You are going to pick up “V”s from three rows, then skip the fourth. This will give you the exact proportion of rows to stitches that you need for a collar or front band. This is good to know if you want to deviate from a pattern and add length by adding extra rows. As long as you pick up three rows, skip the fourth, you will wind up with the correct number of sts
picking-up stitches 5Here’s what it will look like once you pick up:

And here it is with more sts picked up:

This will give you the correct amount of sts so when you knit the front band or collar it won’t sag or pull up. It works every time. It also makes for easy counting…just count the clusters of three sts then multiply by three.

And if you do the bias bind off along a shaped neckline, it will be easy to continue picking up that edge V:

picking-up stitches 1picking-up stitches 2

Although the ratio is usually more like 4 sts, skip the 5th. You may be required to pick up one st for each one bound off. Whatever is required, you can sort it all out before you begin to work the collar.

You’ve picked up all along the front edge, around the neckline, the back neck and back down the other side. Now you are ready to knit the first row on the RS. You will notice that the sts will be situated on the needles the right way on one edge, but will seem to be sitting on the needle backwards along the other edge. Along the edge with the backwards sts, simply knit each st through the back loop.

Say you were supposed to have 102 sts along the front edges, but you have 103 on one side and 101 on the other. No problem: as you knit the first row (RS facing) simply k2tog once anywhere on the first edge and pick up one more st along the other edge. You can do the same type of adjusting along the back neck if necessary. Now you have the correct amount of sts and are ready to begin your collar or front band.

2 Comments

  1. GG

    I always struggle with this, so thank you for giving me a visual. I will be trying this soon as my current project calls for picking up quite a few stitches. Wish me luck!

  2. NancyL

    I am FINALLY about to pick up and knit a collar for Veronika – yes, I’m THAT CLOSE – so I’m very glad I checked in here first!

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