How to Pick Up Stitches in Knitting

How to Pick Up Stitches in Knitting

Want to learn how to pick up stitches in knitting? This easy-to-follow guide and this video will help you master and improve your knitting skills.

Picking up stitches gives you the freedom to expand your project from the edges in any direction without creating transition spaces. So, how do you pick up stitches and knit?

How to pick up stitches in knitting
Image Source: Modern Daily

Below is a guide on how to pick up stitches and knit them.

You can pick up and knit stitches on a side or an edge. Here’s a video to help you learn how to pick up stitches on the side of knitting.

Here’s a guide to help you know how to pick up knitting stitches on an edge.

How to Pick Up and Knit Stitches Along an Edge

How to pick up and knit stitches
Image Source: Arenda Holladay

This video will help you learn how to pick up knit stitches along an edge. Check it out.

Picking up stitches is an important skill and best for creating neckbands, edges, collars, button bands, and sleeves.

Material Needed

    •  Knitting Needle
    •  Crochet

This is the best point also to know how to change colors in knitting your fabric, and you ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­can also change the knitting pattern without creating any visible transition space.

    1. How do you Pick Up and Knit Stitches on Horizontal Edge?

Beginners guide to picking up stitches
Image Source: Yarnspirations

      • Hold your garment on the right side facing you and insert the needle at the middle of the first stitch along the edge.
      • Ensure you insert the needle from the front side and pick up a stitch.
      • As if knitting, wrap your needle with the yarn and then pull it through to the front. You will have a new stitch along the edge of the old fabric.
      • Repeat the process by picking and knitting stitches as you move horizontally along the edge for a smooth transition.

      2. How to Pick Up and Knit Stitches on Vertical Edge

On vertical edges, you will pick and knit stitches in an upright position.

 Stockinette and garter stitches are the best for picking up stitches vertically. Let’s see below;

    • Stockinette Stitch

Knitting stockinette stitch
Image Source: Nimble Needles

When picking and knitting stitches in stockinette, you will not pick up all the stitches for each row along the edges. 

Depending on your fabric gauge, it’s recommended to pick three stitches for every four rows or two stitches for every three rows. This is because the gauge of rows is not equal to the gauge of stitches.

Step 1. Between the last and second to last column, insert your needle at the center of the first two stitches from the front.­­

Step 2. In counter-clockwise, wrap your working yarn on the tip of your needle

Step 3. Pull through the yarn, bringing it to the front side, and create a stitch.

Step 4. Repeat the process until you pick up and knit all the stitches along the edge.

    • Garter Stitch

What you need to know about garter stitch
Image Source: Noble Knits

Let’s learn how to pick up and knit garter stitch.

The number of rows in garter stitch is more than in stockinette stitch. You will then take one ridge for every two rows (one bump=two rows)

Step 1. From the front side and between the last and second last column, insert your needle between the garter bump.

Step 2. Wrap your working yarn around the knitting needle-like you want to knit.

Step 3. Pull the yarn to the front of the material using the tip of your needle. Repeat the process until all the stitches are picked up.

      3. How to Pick Up and Knit Stitches on Curved Edges

How to pick up and knit
Image Source: Pinterest 

A circular needle is the best for picking up stitches along curved edges.

Picking up and knitting stitches in curved edges is tricky and challenging. You have to do your math right depending on the arrangement of the stitches, as sometimes there are decreases.

Some curves have a ‘’combination of edges’’- diagonal, vertical, and bound off. The best way to pick up stitches and knit in all of them is to deal with them as they are.

Here are steps on how to pick up stitches along a curved edge.

Step 1. Using a circular needle, poke through the ‘’V’’ shape stitch in the last row.

Step 2. Pull the thread to the front like you are knitting and push it through the middle of the next stitch.

Step 3. Repeat the procedure until you are through.

Although it depends on your decision on how to cast off knitting, You‘ll need to be careful as you pick up stitches as sometimes the decreases are on edge. 

      4. How to Pick Up and Knit Stitches on Even Edge

How to pick up stitches and knit them
Image Source: Plymouth Yarn Magazine

Some patterns require a different method to pick and knit stitches along the edge. You may be required to evenly pick a specific number of stitches while you leave others out.

To help you in picking up stitches properly and evenly, you can follow this method:

      • Start by measuring your fabric, then collect stitch markers. Depending on the length of your fabric, you will need more or fewer markers.
      • Divide your garment into four or more equal parts as you place the markers at equal intervals.
      • You can now divide the number of stitches you need to pick up and knit with the number of spaces you created on the garment. 

It will help you evenly distribute the stitches along the edge, besides saving your counting time. You will also learn how to sew on counted stitches to maintain a pattern.

      5. How to Pick Up and Knit Stitches Along Neck Edge

How to pick up stitches when knitting
Image Source: Interweave

Most neck edges have a combination of edges ranging from diagonal, vertical, and bound–off sections. The neckbands have a ratio or a specific number of stitches to be picked evenly along the hem. That’s why you need pro knowledge on how to cast on knitting before you start.

Below are steps on how to pick up neckband stitches

Step 1. Begin by marking the section that you will pick up stitch around the neck bound–off area.

Step 2. Pick up the best ratio depending on the type of your knitting. For stockinette, pick two is to three while garter stitch works well with one to two ratio.

Step 3.Trace the center part of your garment, thread the knitting needle with the existing or new yarn.

Step 4.Pick up stitches from the center of your neck as you move along the edge horizontally. This will create cardigan pattern continuity.

Step 5. Repeat in other rows until you go round the neck, then cast off the stitches

How to Pick up and Knit a Dropped Stockinette Stitch When Knitting

Dropped stitch climbing
Image Source: Sheep and Stitch

When knitting your project, sometimes a stitch can drop and unravel downward for a single or several rows. Knitting experts also deal with this challenge. But how do you correct it? You’ll not need to undo the whole project! 

Here is a guide on fixing a dropped knit stitch and how to join knitting in the round to restore your knitting pattern.

 All you need is a crochet hook and two knitting needles. Also, learn how to increase a stitch in knitting here.

Step 1.After realizing a dropped stitch, first secure the rest of the stitches from each side with your knitting needles.

Step 2. Place the fabric in the RS facing you. Take a crotchet, insert it from front to back on the last active stitch on the dropped ladder, and ensure the stitch is not twisted.

Step 3.Pull the strand through the loop on your crochet hook, and there you have a new stitch.

Step 4. Repeat the same steps as you go upward until you get the last stitch. Insert the new stitch to the needle on your left side and continue knitting your pattern. The dropped stitch will never be visible.

Type of Edge

The ratio of Pick up Stitches


3:4(stockinette) ,2:3(garter)



Even Edge

Evenly distributed

Curved edge

It depends on the curve

Neck edge

2:3 ,1:2

How to Pick up and Knit a Dropped Purl Stitch when Knitting

How to pick up a dropped purl stitch
Image Source: Spruce Crafts

Although a dropping stitch can be frustrating if you don’t know how to correct it, you will learn a new knitting skill. A dropped purl stitch is repaired the same way you pick up a dropped knit stitch but now on the reverse side.

As soon as you notice a dropping stitch, secure the rest of the stitches with your needles, pick it up fast and follow the below steps on how to start knitting it to avoid further unraveling.

Step 1.  With the WS (purl side) facing you, insert your crochet hook through the last loop from the back to the front side. If the dropped stitch is one row only, and you know how to finger knit, you can use your hands and the knitting needle, but a crochet will be the best if it’s below several rows.

Step 2. When fixing a dropped stitch, the yarn strands need to be on the FS. Thus you’ll insert the crochet hook from the backside to maintain the pattern and tidiness. Maintain an upright position of the crotchet and hook the first horizontal strand above the loop.

Step 3. Pull the yarn strand through the loop of the dropping stitch; you now have a new stitch! Don’t overstretch your yarn, as the dropped stitch will tighten and distort your pattern.

Step 4. Repeat the process of inserting strands above the new loops until you finish picking them up.

Step 5. After picking up the dropped stitch and removing the crotchet hook, insert the stitch to your left needle and continue knitting.

Ensure the stitch is not twisted to avoid visibility

How to Pick up and Knit a Dropped Garter Stitch when Knitting

Picking up a dropped stitch in garter stitch is a bit complicated compared to other types of stitches. But there is a simple technique you can use to solve this challenge, as shown in this video.

When you notice a run or a hole on your garter stitch fabric, first check from which side the stitch is dropping. This is because the garter stitch combines both ‘P’ and knit stitches, and you will have to alternate between them, bringing the yarn strands back and forth.

Below is how to pick a dropped garter stitch.

Step 1. Check whether your dropped stitch is located on the right side, ‘V,’ or on the ‘P’ side. This is necessary as you will know how to alternate them.

Step 2. From the front of your fabric, insert your crochet hook; and if your current stitch is a knit, the next one will be a purl stitch.

Step 3. Pull through the horizontal strand above the loop to create a new stitch. Ensure you don’t double pull the strand as it will distort the pattern

Step 4. Be careful and remove your crochet from the loop. Reinsert the crotchet from the backside and below the connecting yarn strand if the next stitch is a purl.

Step 5. Pull the strand through the loop to the front.

Step 6. Repeat the process for the other stitches until you level them with the others in the knitting needle.

This method also works if you have several dropped stitches on different sides of your fabric. But be careful not to rotate the loop when inserting the slipped stitch back to the knitting needle.

If you don’t notice and continue knitting, you won’t be able to correct it without undoing your fabric up to the point where you started the mistake.

Knitting Abbreviation 



Right side


Wrong side






Front side

Why Pick Up and Knit Stitches

There are different reasons why you, as a knitter, would like to pick up and knit stitches on your project. Below are the most common reasons for this challenging yet exciting skill;

      1. Need to Change Pattern Direction

When knitting a sweater, you start with a waistband which you can knit using the garter stitch. Then join the waistband and start picking the stitches to knit the body section. You will work the body stitches in a different pattern and direction.

      2. Need to Add Button Band

Ribbing buttonhole
Image Source: Knit Picks

When knitting the button band, consider the gender of the wearer as preferences differ. While the male prefers buttons on the right side, females prefer them on the left.

 You can work on the button band as you knit. But the best method on how to sew a button is to pick up stitches later on in the band, after determining the size of buttonholes and knowing the exact. 

      3. Need to Add Collar

Do you want your sweater to have an excellent neck shape? A collar will do that! After you finish knitting your sweater either in patches then sewing them together or as one piece, you will need to make the neck attractive to hide the bound-off edges.

Add a collar using your best stitches, depending on your previous body pattern. The collar will also reinforce the weight of the sweater along the neck.

      4. Add a Border

If you know how to knit a blanket, you understand how critical a border is. You may need to add a different border along the vertical edge of your fabric. Picking up stitches along the edge will help you create a seamless border for placing the woven labels for trademark and care labels for cleaning instructions.

      5. It’s a Needed Skill

Whether you are a knitter or not, picking up stitches is a skill you need to have, besides knowing how to weave in ends knitting for basic repairs of your knitted garments. You can read through and learn to sew and pick up stitches.


Picking up stitches for a starter can be challenging, but it gets better as you practice more. Even expert knitters experience dropping stitches for various reasons. With this guide, now you know how to pick stitches when knitting.

Learn how to knit and master the art of picking up stitches as you knit. Happy Knitting!