We often need to pick up stitches along a side edge of the knitted fabric (when joining sleeves to the body of a sweater, or adding the front bands on a cardigan, for instance). Hand knitters frequently struggle with this technique; it can be frustrating trying to pick up the required number of stitches evenly. This is so much easier on a knitting machine. Here are some tips to help.
For the neatest edge, unless the pattern specifically tells you to do something different, always pick up under 2 strands, and hang them both into the hook of the appropriate needle.
Along the edge there will be a looser stitch, then a tighter stitch; these alternate along the edge. They are frequently referred to as loops and knots. Sometimes the pattern will say something like "pick up 3 stitches per every 4 rows". You should pick up the first loop, the next knot, the next loop, and skip the next knot. This is 3 stitches every 4 rows, exactly what the directions require. Repeat this sequence throughout.
Sometimes the pattern will tell you to pick up X number of stitches evenly along the edge.
Pick up the beginning and ending stitched (points 1 left and 1 right on the illustration) and hang on the appropriate needles.
Pick up 2 stitches in the center and hang on needles 1 left and 1 right of center 0.
"Guestimate" the middle point of the fabric on the left and hang on the approximate center needle on the left; do the same on the right side. This is point 3 on the illustration.
Once again "guestimate" the center points and hang these. Do this on both the right side, as shown, and also on the left (points 4 on the illustration). Continue dividing and hanging the center points until only 3 or 4 stitches remain in each section; hang these stitches on the appropriate needles.
It is not necessary to count anything by using this method. I used a little chant when teaching this technique. "Divide in half and hang; divide in half and hang; divide in half and hang". One of my students called it her "divide and conquer method". I think that describes it very well.
Names of the Parts of the Machine
Preparing to Knit
BEGINNER KNITTING TECHNIQUES
Casting On and Knitting Stockinet
Waste Yarn and Ravel Cord
eWrap Cast On
Backstitch Bind Off
Stitch Through Stitch Bind Off
Transfer Tool Practice
Mattress Stitch Seam
Joining On The Machine
Pick Up A Side Edge
Rehang and Join A Sleeve
Rehang and Join Button Bands
Basic Short Row Techniques
This tutorial was copyrighted and uploaded to the original Clearwater Knits website in 1997. This page was added July 28, 2016.