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How to: pick up stitches (shaped edge)

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How to: pick up stitches (shaped edge)

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Picking up stitches along a shaped edge is a technique used to add a new unifying piece of knitting, possibly in a different pattern or yarn, and with the stitches in a different orientation to the main piece.

Use this method along a selvedge where you need a stronger seam, as the penultimate stitch is likely to be less stretchy or loose than the edge stitch.


To pick up stitches, you need an empty knitting needle of the correct size and your new yarn – do look at the other techniques to make sure you use the best one for the job and you begin in the right place. As you are working from just inside the edge, this method leaves a slight ridge on the wrong side that looks like a seam. For a diagonal or shaped edge, start at one corner with the right side facing you and an empty needle in your right hand to work along to the left, picking up stitches with the needle. Begin at the top row and insert the needle tip into the centre of the the second stitch in from the row end. With the yarn held at the back, wrap the yarn anticlockwise around the tip and pull through a loop through to the front to pick up your first stitch, leaving a 10-15cm tail for weaving in. This loop will be a little loose until secured on the next row. Next, insert the needle into the centre of the next stitch below and pick up another loop in the same way. Repeat this action along the edge to finish with the right number of stitches on your needle as directed by your pattern. This may involve picking up two stitches for every three row ends, as knitted stitches are wider than they are tall, so work evenly along the edge. Move the stitches along the needle as you pick up and create a new set of stitches. Count the number of loops to make sure you have the correct number, then you are ready to continue with your pattern working in rows or rounds as directed. Be sure to tighten up the very first picked up stitch on the next row, and weave in ends securely.


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