How To Pick Up Stitches In Knitting


In this post, we will look at how to pick up stitches in knitting.

I often get emails from readers who are knitting one of my baby bootie patterns and they want to know how they can pick up and knit stitches for the foot part of the pattern.

This post will show you how to do this, through step by step photographs and a video tutorial.

yarn on knitting needles

How To Pick Up Stitches In Knitting

If you don’t know how to pick up stitches, this post will help you to do that.

In many projects you are often asked to pick up stitches, to add pockets, neckbands or in one of my patterns the foot section of a baby bootie.

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In some patterns, it will say to ‘pick up and knit’ however many stitches and can be abbreviated to PUK.

The process of picking up stitches is like this;

  • Make sure you read the pattern to see how many stitches you need to pick up.
  • See where you need to pick up the stitches so that you can evenly space them out in the space that you have.
  • Push your needle under both parts of the V of the stitch on the edge of the work.

Just make sure that you are picking up stitches straight across the work and don’t pick them up from different rows.

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Knitting tutorial - how to pick up and knit stitches

How To Pick Up Stitches Along An Edge

If you are picking up stitches along an edge of knitting, you will be required to pick up stitches from a side edge.

This is known as the selvedge of your knitting.

Once you pick up a stitch along the edge of the work, you will have to knit it, so it looks like a normal stitch.

This can be done by using one needle, or you can pick up the stitch with one needle and knit into it with the other.

In the photographs and in the video tutorial, you will see how to do this using one needle with the easy baby booties.

baby booties knit on two needles

How To Pick Up Stitches

  1. Step 1

    With the RS facing, insert your RH needle into one of the edge stitches of your work, under both strands from front to to pick up stitches

  2. Step 2

    Wrap the yarn around the top of the needle and pull the yarn through to the RS.picking up stitches in knitting

  3. Step 3

    Pull the yarn through towards you, so that you have a stitch on your needle.wrap the new yarn around the needle

  4. Step 4

    Repeat this step, knitting into every stitch as your pattern directs and you have picked up the correct number of stitches that you need.knitting tutorials

  5. Step 5

    If you are making the baby booties, you pick up a number of stitches along the side (for example – 7 stitches) then knit across the top section of stitches, next, picking up and knitting a further 7 stitches and finally knitting across the remaining bootie pattern tutorial

  6. Step 6

    Then when you have all of the stitches on your needle – you will be ready to continue knitting the foot section of the baby bootie tutorial

Video Tutorial

There is a video tutorial to help you.

You can view this over on my YouTube channel here.

A few tips for picking up stitches

I hope that this post has helped you to learn how to pick up stitches and here are a few things to remember when you are picking up any stitches;

  • Evenly spaced stitches will give you a smoother edge. Count the stitches and compare them to how many you need to pick up from the pattern instructions. This will allow you to see how you will space them out.
  • If you space them unevenly or they don’t look right in any way, just pull them out and start again.
  • If you have a large project like a blanket or shawl, you will need to use a long circular needle to accommodate all of the stitches.
  • Picking up stitches in your knitting to create a border or to shape is different than picking up a dropped stitch in your knitting. This requires a different technique, where you can fix a dropped stitch by using a crochet hook.

If you want to learn more about the knitting basics, please visit this post – Knitting Lessons.

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  1. Thank You Louise, for your Knitting Tutorial How To Pick Up And Knit Stitches. The technique has been a hurdle for me and now I understand how to do it.

  2. Great video. I was stuck in my pattern and now I see what it wants me to do. It appears that you are reversing your stitches on your last needle before knitting them. I’m a little confused with that.. Will I need to do that to with garter stitch?

    1. Hello Darlene, yes, when you pick them up – same as if you have frogged stitches (pulled them out) you may have to make sure they are the right way on your needles before you start knitting again. Thanks for watching the video, I hope it was helpful to you 🙂