How to Pick Up Stitches – Knitting

One of the best things about hand-knitting is the ability to create an entire project seamlessly, but in order to avoid having to use seams to attach those delightful details like neck bands and button bands, the art of picking up stitches from vertical and horizontal edges needs to be mastered. Although picking up stitches can be a frustratingly slow process, it’s a surprisingly simple technique.

  • Yarn
  • Knitting needles
  • Your knitting project


To pick up stitches from a horizontal edge, insert your needle into the center of a stitch in the row below the cast-on edge where you’d like your new stitches to be.

Bring your yarn around as if to knit, and pull the new loop through while slipping your original knitting off over it to create a stitch. You should pick up approximately one stitch for every stitch in your original knitting to avoid rippling and bunching.

To pick up stitches from a vertical edge, insert your needle underneath the bar running in between the edge stitch column and the rest of your knitting.

Wrap your yarn around your needle as if to knit, and pull the new loop through while slipping the bar off over it to create a stitch. To keep things perfectly flat, you should pick up approximately two stitches for every three rows on your original knitting, or use your gauge to find the best ratio for your project.


Now learn how to pick up stitches from both a vertical and horizontal edge in this video!

Now that you’ve learned how to pick up stitches on both vertical and horizontal edges, you’re ready to add ribbing to a neckline or add a border to an obstinately curling stockinette scarf. You’ll find that this skill is one that you’ll use again and again on your knitting projects.

Why not practice picking up stitches by knitting a pair of convertible mittens?