Tuesday, 8 April 2014

PSA: Picking Up Stitches.

They're out to get you.

They aren't. They are apparently though, out to make your life as difficult as possible... I've reached the neck on my slouchy cardi and and I thought I might try to follow the pattern for once in my life. Nah. They're telling me to pick up 24 stitches here, five stitches here, slip the however-many held stitches here. Nah. Too much like hard work.

The rules are (unless otherwise stated e.g. an independent designer who has some say in how the pattern is presented and has a reason for this not to be the case):

  • Pick up a stitch per stitch over a cast off/cast on edge.
  • Pick up 3 stitches for every 4 along a row end (i.e. a stitch in every row for three rows, then miss one). 

Sometimes people say four stitches for every five rows running along a row edge and as long as they're not blindly following patterns then I'm all for it. I still think my way is best...

If you follow these rules you'll never be more than a few stitches out of the count that they want by the end (unless you've changed the length or something) and on the next row you can decrease or increase evenly across it. Yeah?

Got it off my chest, back to work.

Eleanor. xxx


  1. What about slopes though? With pythagoras in mind you should pick up more stitches on a sloped edge as it is longer per row...

    1. Slopes are still row edges though (on the whole - I'm thinking that you're thinking like a 'v' neck, yes?) so it'll still be three to every four. Pythagoras doesn't come into this because we aren't doing maths we're just plainly looking at what's in front of us and doing what we know we should - does that make sense?

      I think Pythagoras might come into it if we were doing designing maths - like, how long is my sloped edge going to end up if I know my cardigan is this width and this length? And then, of course, if you know the rules and you know your lengths/widths and your gauge you can work out how many stitches you should be picking up and I believe that's how knit designers do it but I'm telling everybody to ignore them when we're just happily making sweaters for ourselves. Yeah?

    2. Yes, I know - I still find that picking up 3 out of 4 on a v- neck tends to have a slight 'gather' effect - but I'll maybe try the 4 out of 5 for that next time. I have a real issue here because for some reason a left hand decrease slope always comes out different from a right hand decrease slope for me - one is tighter than the other (Can't remember which way round) , so I can't calculate by measuring - I rely on the band to equalise the two slopes :(
      I know - I am a poor knitter even after 55 years of doing it :(

    3. It definitely doesn't sound like you're a poor knitter!

      Have you tried doing a different left-leaning decrease? Lots of people find that the left leaning decrease is a different tension to the right leaning one but you can't really change a k2tog because it's pretty perfect in its simplicity.... If you're doing a k2togtbl then how about a s1k1psso, or perhaps an ssk or the improved ssk (where you slip one knitwise and slip one purlwise)? It's all worth a go.

      Have you seen knittinghelp.com? She's got a brilliant photo of loads of different decreases:

  2. As a recent returner to knitting I was pleased and reassured to read this. I have recently finished a sweater and had problems picking up round the neck, particularly at the front. After two attempts, I did what looked and felt right to me- and - success! I was also only 2 stitches different from the pattern. I think we sometimes need a bit of confidence & self-belief when 'following' patterns. Thanks Eleanor. Keep up the good work! Chris French

    1. Exactly! Confidence and self-belief - lessons for life. :)