» » » Demystifying Picking Up Stitches in Your Knitting

Demystifying Picking Up Stitches in Your Knitting

Joining Yarn Along and KCCO this week  to share my knitting.

Picking up stitches for sleeves and necklines can be daunting and met with hours of frustration. With a few helpful hints, and a little planning, the task is not so intimidating. Basically, you need to first, calculate the number of stitches needed to be picked up, and then space them evenly around your opening as you work.

I am ready to knit the sleeves on my husband’s gansey sweater. Using Beth Brown-Rensil’s book, Knitting Ganseys, and her formulas, I calculated the number of stitches to pick up for each armhole. She lays out three methods of calculating the required stitches for each sleeve. The most simplest method, multiplies the circumference of the armhole, measured in inches, by the stitch gauge.

circumference of armhole x stitch gauge = total number of stitches to pick up

In my case, the circumference of the armhole measured 18 inches with a stitch gauge of 5. I did have a gusset knit at the underarm, but I did not include those stitches in my circumference because they will be decreased and eliminated as I knit the sleeve.

18 inches  x 5 stitches/inch = 90 stitches to be picked up

Knitting a Gansey
Picking Up Stitches

Vogue Knitting has a nice article called “Picking Up Stitches”  with illustrations which show you how to pick up stitches on a horizontal edge and a vertical edge. They also have helpful hints on how to mark your edge so that you space your stitches evenly to prevent puckering or stretching. I also found this video on You Tube which quickly explains how you find and pick up the stitches with your needle as you work.


For more tutorials on knitting gansey sweaters, you may enjoy reading the following:

Hints for Knitting Gansey Shoulder Joins

Knitting a Gansey


4 Responses

  1. Mary Piontek

    Love the advice! Always daunting when one comes to that part of a pattern 🙂

  2. Mary Piontek

    May I ask what yarn are you using for this sweater? It looks really lovely!

    • Kim Goodling

      This is some of our farm yarn. It is a blend of 25% mohair and 75% Romney. I love the combination-it has a soft halo effect and lots of body. I do have another batch of this yarn coming soon from the mill if you are interested in it. The color will be a little different, but the ratio of mohair to Romney will be the same.

  3. Mary Piontek

    Sounds very fun to knit with. That is one of the yarn share options correct? The Romney skein is slowly winding its way to Indiana — we’ve been having lousy weather so mail is rather