How to Pick Up and Knit Stitches

In this tutorial, we will explore the essential technique of “pick up and knit” commonly used in garment patterns to create polished edges and button bands. The video demonstrations cover various scenarios, including stockinette stitch edges, garter stitch edges, and cast on edges, offering a comprehensive guide for knitters.

Distinguishing “Pick Up” from “Pick Up and Knit”:

Understanding the subtle difference between “pick up” and “pick up and knit” is crucial. The former involves merely lifting a strand from the existing work without knitting into it, whereas the latter incorporates knitting on the opposite side of the work, typically at the opposite end of the row.

Number of Strands to Pick Up:

The tutorial advises picking up two strands for a stronger seam, with exceptions such as garter stitch edges where one strand may suffice. The number of strands to pick up on the cast-on edge depends on the specific cast-on method used.

Holding the Working Yarn:

Knitters can choose to hold the working yarn in either the left or right hand, aligning with their knitting or crocheting preferences. For those struggling to pick up stitches with a needle, employing a crochet hook can be a helpful alternative.

Determining How Many Stitches to Pick Up:

Patterns will specify the number of stitches to pick up, varying based on the edge type. For side edges, a common approach involves picking up two stitches every three rows. The tutorial introduces a “Pick Up Math” formula to calculate the pick-up percentage and convert it into a fraction for precise stitch placement.

Common Percentages Converted to Fractions:

  • 0.50 = 1/2
  • 0.67 = 2/3
  • 0.75 = 3/4
  • 0.80 = 4/5
  • 0.83 = 5/6
  • 0.86 = 6/7

The tutorial encourages rounding up or down to the nearest fraction and adjusting stitch placement accordingly.

Video Demonstrations:

Pick Up and Knit on a Stockinette Stitch Edge:

  • Notable tip: The first stitch may appear wonky, so work between the first and second stitches.

Pick Up and Knit on a Garter Stitch Edge:

  • Observations: Garter bumps occur every other row, and a quick “cheat” is provided for picking up every other row.

Pick Up and Knit on a Cast On Edge:

  • Insight: When looking at the work upside down, the spaces between knit stitches on the cast-on edge create an almost imperceptible seam on the right side.

Final Thoughts on Picking Up Stitches:

The tutorial concludes by emphasizing the flexibility in adjusting the number of stitches picked up, as long as it aligns with the overall stitch pattern. Caution is advised against picking up less than every other stitch to avoid puckering.


This comprehensive lesson provides valuable insights and practical tips for knitters seeking mastery in the art of picking up stitches. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced knitter, these techniques will enhance your skills and confidence in tackling various garment patterns.

Read More: How to Knit Front and Back (KFB) Increase: A Simple Guide

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