Thursday, 27 February 2014

Pick Up Sts

Every so often a pattern will call for a large number of stitches to be picked up along an edge, usually to make a border of some kind.   I used to have issues with this because I'd be working my way along and get to the end of where I'd be supposed to be picking up stitches then realize I had way too many or too few.  In the rare case that I'd get close to the right number I wouldn't have picked them up evenly which meant the edge went on a bit of a bias.  In either case it was super-frusterating.

I eventually decided to give up on eye-balling this sort of thing (unless I only have to pick up a few stitches in which case it's not as much of a big deal if I have to rip it out to correct the problem), and came up with a plan that meant I spent more time knitting and less time pulling out my own hair.

How to pick up a ton of stitches evenly

In the little sweater I'm making the pattern requires 186 stitches picked up around the front and hood, which is enough that I only want to do this once.  I love knitting but this particular step always feels like an annoying chore, partly because I can't do anything else while I'm doing it because I'm counting stitches and partly because it's finicky.  So in order to save myself frustration I did a little math.

Step 1.  Measure the distance the stitches have to cover (in this case how far the front edge is from one side, around the hood, to the other side), which happens to be 31".

Step 2.  Divide the number of stitches to be picked up (186) by that distance (31) to get the number of stitches picked up per inch (6).

Step 3.  Decide how far you're willing to eyeball the stitches.  I can place stitches pretty evenly as long as it's over 2 or 3 inches, so I normally pick one of those number.  In this case I decided I'd pick up 18 stitches every 3 inches (because 6 stitches per inch times 3 inches is 18).

Step 4.  Get out your tape measure and place safety pins every 2 or 3 inches (whichever you picked in step 3) along your border.

Step 5.  Pick up your little groups of stitches (in my case 18 stitches between each set of safety pins.)  This made it way easier to eyeball and meant if I had to put down my knitting to come back to it I could figure out where I was pretty easily.

You may have noticed that I was picking up the stitches in groups of 3", but needed to cover 31".  I did 10 groups of 18 stitches that each covered 3" then had one set of 6 stitches covering the last inch to make up the difference.

Also, the fact that I'm doing the border means the very cute sweater is almost done, which is so much fun.

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