There are several techniques out there for picking up stitches. To clear up any confusion on how we do it, we’ve made four videos showing our favorite methods: picking up stitches along a horizontal edge, along a vertical stockinette edge, along a vertical garter stitch edge, and also, purlwise.

Picking up stitches is as easy as knitting and purling. Once you get acquainted with the edge of your fabric, just pick up your needles and yarn and you’re ready to go!

Along a Horizontal Edge

This video shows you how to pick up stitches knitwise along a cast-on edge. The same technique will also work along a bind-off edge.

Insert your needle, from front to back, into the center of the stitch closest to the cast-on (or bind-off) edge; wrap the working yarn around the needle counter-clockwise as if to knit; use the tip of the needle to pull that yarn through to the front of the fabric. One stitch picked up!

Along a Vertical Edge: Stockinette Stitch

This video shows you how to pick up stitches knitwise along the vertical edge of a stockinette stitch swatch.

Insert your needle, from front to back, between the last and second-to-last columns of stitches; wrap the working yarn around the needle counter-clockwise as if to knit; use the tip of the needle to pull that yarn through to the front of the fabric.

TIP: When picking up stitches along a vertical edge, the new stitches will run perpendicular to the existing stitches. And since the stitch and row gauges are typically unequal, you will not pick up a stitch for each row along the vertical edge of the fabric. Often you’ll pick up 2 stitches for every 3 rows or 3 stitches for every 4 rows. Which depends on the gauge of the fabric .

Along a Vertical Edge: Garter Stitch

This video shows you how to pick up stitches knitwise along the vertical edge of a garter stitch swatch.

Insert your needle, from front to back, between the ridges of garter, between the last and second-to-last columns of stitches; wrap the working yarn around the needle counter-clockwise as if to knit; use the tip of the needle to pull that yarn through to the front of the fabric.

TIP: Due to the ratio of stitches per inch and rows per inch, when picking up along a garter edge, you’ll typically only need to pick up one stitch for each ridge (1 ridge =  2 rows).

Purlwise

This video shows you how to pick up stitches purlwise along a cast-on edge. While picking up purlwise isn’t as common, it does occasionally come in handy! The steps are very similar to picking up knitwise.

Insert your needle, from back to front, into the center of the stitch closest to the cast-on (or bind-off) edge; wrap the working yarn around the needle counter-clockwise as if to purl; use the tip of the needle to pull that yarn through to the back of the fabric.

Practice

Picking Up Stitches | Purl Soho

Our Optic Blanket is a great project for practicing picking up stitches. Each block is attached to its neighbors by picked up stitches. Easy, clever, and best of all, no sewing!