Finishing: Picking Up Stitches

Pick up stitches using a knitting needle or crochet hook and yarn. For a neater edge, use needles or a hook one or two sizes smaller than the working needle. After the pickup is finished, change to the needle size indicated in the instructions. The right side of the work is facing, unless instructed otherwise.

If the number of stitches to pick up aren't included in the instructions, measure the area of pickup, and multiply that number by the stitch gauge of the border pattern to be applied. Divide the area of pickup into quarter sections, or smaller spaces if necessary, and mark with pins or thread. This will help you maintain the same number of stitches in each. Example: Pick up and knit 100 stitches. Divide the area into fourths, and pick up 25 stitches in each quarter section. If the border uses a different color than the pickup area, pick up the stitches in the main color, then change to the new color on the next row.

Picking Up Stitches Along a Bound-off Edge

With the right side of the garment facing you, insert the tip of the right-hand needle into the first full stitch beneath the bind-off row (fig. 24a), wrap the yarn around the needle, and pull it through the stitch, creating a new stitch on the needle. Repeat in each stitch until the required number of stitches are on the needle.

Along a Bound-off Edge: Figure 24a
Along a Bound-off Edge: Figure 24a

Picking Up Stitches Along a Side Edge

With right side facing, unless instructed otherwise, join the working yarn at the lower edge if not already attached. Insert the right needle into the fabric through the first full stitch of the first row and wrap the yarn around the needle knitwise. Pull through a loop, creating a new stitch on the right needle (fig. 24b).

Along a Side Edge: Figure 24b
Along a Side Edge: Figure 24b

Repeat the process, spacing the pickup stitches along the side edge as necessary, but always working into a full stitch. What's important is to not leave any holes or uneven spaces in the work. It's sometimes better to pick up more stitches than indicated, and then decrease the extra stitches evenly across the first row. You may want to practice stitch pickup along the side edges of your gauge swatch before picking up stitches on the actual garment.

Picking Up Stitches Along a Curved Edge

Curved edges are usually a combination of edges...horizontal, diagonal, and vertical. To pick up stitches along an edge that was formed by making decreases, such as along the neck shaping of a sweater, insert the needle into the stitch below the edge stitch (fig. 24c) -- not between the stitches -- to prevent holes from occurring when the pickup is finished.

Along a Curved Edge: Figure 24c
Along a Curved Edge: Figure 24c

The next step in finishing your work is to sew seams and weave in yarn tails. Learn how on the next page.