How To Pick Up Stitches Evenly Along An Edge

Have you ever struggled with the knitting pattern instruction to “pick-up and knit”? Then you’ll know how frustrating it can be to make sure that the stitches are evenly spaced and neat looking. Whether it’s button bands, neck bands, sleeves, or borders, here’s a walkthrough of how to pick up stitches effectively and efficiently.

Firstly, for this example, we’ve got a line of slipped stitches along the edge (selvedge stitches), and we’re going to pick up and knit (this is sometimes just called “pick up”) one new stitch in each of these selvedge stitches. Starting at one corner, or wherever your pattern suggests, put the right hand needle tip under the 2 strands of the selvedge stitch. If you don’t have slipped selvedge stitches like this, then insert your needle tip through two strands at the edge. Going under two strands will give you a neater and more stable edge than just going through one strand.

Secondly, wrap the working yarn around the right hand needle tip as if you were making a knit stitch (below left). Then, trying to keep your tension, pull that working yarn loop underneath the selvedge stitch, thereby creating a new stitch on the right hand needle (below right). Working along the selvedge stitches, repeat steps one and two, until you have the number of stitches required for your pattern.

Extra tip: If you don’t have selvedge stitches as in the example above, your pattern might say something like “pick up and knit 48 sts along the edge” You can use this extra tip to help you evenly space out the picked up stitches. This is especially helpful if your pattern doesn’t indicate the rate of picking up: i.e. it doesn’t state something like “pick up approximately 2 stitches for every 3 rows”.

Using lockable stitch markers, split the edge into even sections, by placing a marker to indicate the halfway point along the edge, and then mark a quarter and three-quarters of the way along. This means that your edge is split into four equal sections (you can do this further times as needed – eg into eight equal sections).

Next, take the number of picked up stitches stated in the pattern and divide that by four. This is the number of stitches that you’ll pick up in each marked out quarter. In this example, we’ve to pick up 48 stitches in total, which would mean 12 in each quarter.

Using this method means that as you’re picking up stitches in each quarter you can easily keep count and rip back one small section if you need more or less stitches.

You can also place a stitch marker onto the needle every time you complete a section. This will help make any ripping back and counting easier as you won’t need to count those marked sections on the needles: you’ll already know that there’s 12 stitches there!

Looking for further help with picking up stitches? I’ll be running my Picking Up Stitches Masterclass online very soon! Be the first to know when it launches by signing up to the waitlist here.

How To Knit With Two Strands of Yarn: 5 Top Tips

Want to knit a project with two yarns held double but unsure of how best to do this? Maybe you’ve tried this technique before and not been happy with the results? Or perhaps you’re new to this way of knitting? Here’s 5 top tips to help you perfect double-strand knitting patterns.

  1. Unless you’re knitting with two identical strands of yarn, don’t pre-wind your yarn together into a ball. The two yarns will stretch at different rates and you’ll end up with an extra loop of the stretchier yarn, which will increase the changes of the yarns getting in a tangle. As a knitter you’ll know that this is something to avoid, especially if one of your yarns is a strand of brushed mohair!
  2. As you’re knitting, pause every so often to double check that you don’t have any stitches where the two strands have split (see photo above). Unless your yarns are identical, then this should be easy to spot. To fix it – drop down that particular column of stitches, pick-up the dropped strand and work the stitch back up. The fewer rows you have to drop down, the better, so keep double checking.
  3. Choose your needles carefully! You might find that sharper knitting needles are more likely to split the two strands of yarn. Try a blunter pair of needles, or experiment with different styles of needle to find the best fit for your yarn.
  4. Don’t worry too much if your two balls of yarn start to twist together as you’re knitting with them. If they get too twisted, it’s best to stop and untwist them. As all knitters know – a yarn tangle is to be avoided at all costs! You might try placing each ball in a separate ziplock bag or small project bag to try and minimise this.
  5. Working out the gauge or tension when using yarns held double can be confusing, especially if you’re knitting a pattern that’s not specially written for this technique. A good rule of thumb is to half the meterage of your yarn. For example, if you hold 2 lace-weight yarns together, each measuring 800m per 100g, then that would be equivalent to a yarn of 400m per 100g (a 4ply/fingering-weight yarn). Likewise, if you hold 2 strands of 4ply/fingering-weight yarn together, each measuring 400m per 100g together, that would be similar to holding 1 strand of a heavy double-knit/worsted-weight yarn (around 200g per 100g). Of course, the best way to work it out is to knit a swatch to check your tension and also whether you like the look and feel of the knitted fabric. For more information about this, check out this blog post from Orcas Island Knitting.

Looking for patterns with yarn held double? Check out my Loanin Shawl pattern and kits over in my Folksy store.

What To Knit With Leftover Yarn

Hello! Episode 12 of my Knits & Cake For Breakfast series is now available on my YouTube channel, and will be uploaded there every Thursday.

Join me as I share what knitting designs I’ve been working on this week and show you what kind of cake I’m eating for my breakfast – it’s nearly the weekend, right? 

This week I’m sharing some of my shawl and cowl patterns that are perfect for knitting up with oddments of yarn and mini-skeins … find some more pattern suggestions in this week’s blog post.

Plus, a sneaky peek of some gorgeous new yarn kits and find out why this week’s ‘cake’ was half of what it should have been 😬

This is a replay of my IGTV Live video from Thursday 20th August. Find a transcript for this episode by following the link here:

Click below to find more of my content over on Instagram …

Nine Knitting Patterns Ideas for Leftover Yarn

Have you got lots of oddments of wool or scrap yarn? Are you unsure of what to use them for? Or perhaps you need some mini-skein pattern inspiration? Read on to discover 9 patterns especially designed for leftover yarn.

The Northeasterly Blanket

A modular blanket that can be knitted in double-knit scraps or oddments of 4ply/fingering-weight yarn. You can make your blanket as big or small as you like!

Safe At Home Blanket

An aran weight blanket, knitted in strips using some intarsia, and then sewn together, with a border added after.

The Slip, Slide, Splash Socks

This pattern is part of a collection of four gorgeous sock patterns designed for using up sock yarn scraps.

Socks In Progress

Another pattern for using up oddments of sock wool and created as a lockdown project. The pattern is available in Rachel’s Ravelry Store or you can follow along with her Instagram posts, where she gives the instructions across a series of posts.

Patience Cowl

A large looped cowl, using small scraps of 4ply/fingering weight, weighing as little as 5g!

Pic N Mix Cowl

A double-thickness colour-work cowl, worked in the round, using up all your oddments of 4ply/fingering-weight yarn.

Winter Lights Shawl

A 4ply/fingering-eight triangular shawl knitted in two halves, using either 10g each of six contrast colours or 20g each of three contrast colours.

Steggie Shawl

A striped asymmetric shawl that will use up every last bit of your leftover 4ply/fingering-weight yarn.

Zastruga Shawl

An asymmetric shawl using 20g each of five different colours in 4ply/fingering-weight yarn.

Want more ideas of what to make with leftover yarn? Have a read of my Mini-Skein Pattern Picks blog post.

Ideas For Changing Sleeve Shapes On Top Down Sweaters Hello! Episode 16 of my Knits & Cake For Breakfast series is …
How To Change The Shape Of A Knitted Sleeve In A Top-Down Sweater
Have you ever found the perfect sweater pattern only to discover that …
Tips For Lengthening & Shortening Sleeves Hello! Episode 15 of my Knits & Cake For Breakfast series is …
How To Lengthen or Shorten The Sleeves On A Top Down Knitted Sweater
Have you ever knitted a garment and the sleeves have turned out …

How Creative Do You Feel About Your Knitting?

Good morning! Episode 11 of my Knits & Cake For Breakfast series is now available on my YouTube channel, and will be uploaded there every Thursday morning.

Join me as I share what knitting designs I’ve been working on this week and show you what kind of cake I’m eating for my breakfast – it’s nearly the weekend, right?

In this episode I chat about how creative you feel as a knitter and ways to get more creative … beginning with using pops of colour in your projects (hint: check out this blog post here). Plus, what is a porridgie?!?! And some upcoming sweater design news!

The TED talks I mention are “A Deeper Understanding of Creativity” by Daniel Cape and “Creativity is a Craft and it Belongs to Everyone” by Gabriela Pereira. Click the links to watch them on YouTube.

This is a replay of my IGTV Live video from Thursday 13th August. Find a transcript for this episode by following the link here:

Click below to find more of my content over on Instagram …

Working Out How Much Leftover Yarn You Have

I reckon that I have so many oddments and scraps of wool leftover from knitting projects, that I could knit a whole sweater with them! Although before I start, and so that I don’t run out, I’d like to make sure that I have enough. Here’s a handy guide to help you work out how much leftover yarn you have, so you can make the most of it in your next scrappy project.

I’ve collected all these yellow leftovers for my scrappy sweater pattern – if you’d like to be the first to know when it’s ready, sign up to my mailing list by clicking the button below.

Firstly, you need to find out how many metres of your yarn there is in 100g (I’m going to work this out in metric measurements as it’s easier!). A good place to find this would be the ball band. If you don’t have the ball band then you could look it up on the yarn companies website, or do an online search. If you are able to use Ravelry without it causing health issues, then you could also look there.

Write this amount down. If your yarn comes in 50g balls then you’ll need to multiply this amount by 2 to find out the meterage for 100g, likewise if your yarn comes in 25g balls, you’ll need to multiply by 4 to calculate the meterage for 100 grams-worth.

A close up photo of the ball band on a ball of orange yarn.

For example, the band on the partial ball above is from a 25g ball of Jamieson & Smith’s 2 Ply Jumper Weight yarn, which has 115 m per ball:

25g = 115m

4 x 115m = 460m

Therefore 100g = 460m

Secondly, work out how many metres of yarn are in 1g by dividing the meterage of 100g (which in my example is 460m) by 100:

460m divided by 100 = 4.6m

Therefore 1g = 4.6m

Lastly, weigh how much yarn you have left (digital jewellery scales are ideal for this as they are very precise).

A ball of orange yarn sits on top of a set of digital weighing scales. The scales read 14.32g.

In my photographed example, I have 14.32g left and if I multiply that amount by 4.6m then I’ll know how many metres of yarn I have left from this ball:

14.32 x 4.6 = 65.87m

Therefore I have approximately 65m of this orange Jamieson & Smith’s yarn left and now I can start working out which knitting patterns I could use it in.

Now you know how much yarn you’ve got, next week’s blog post will have some fantastic ideas about what you could knit with your oddments and scraps! By following my blog (clicking on “follow” in the right hand corner), you’ll know exactly when my posts go live.

Seven Helpful Tips to Stay Motivated and On Track With Your Knitting

More than once, I’ve pulled an all-nighter to get a knitting project finished!

I love a deadline. I have to admit that sometimes it’s the only way I get things finished! What I don’t like is having to stay up half the night knitting, when I’ve vastly underestimated how long a project is going to take me – you’d think I would’ve learnt by now.

You might not often have a deadline for your knitting, but if you like to gift-knit, or wear a finished garment to a knitting event, or for me, finishing a design sample for a magazine, then you might have experienced that feeling of knitting-deadline-dread. This might lead you to procrastiknit -perhaps casting on a new project to avoid working on the deadline one?

Whatever your reason for needing some knitting motivation, my top seven tips will help you to stay focused, especially if you have a dauntingly big project to work on or a deadline to meet.

A lot of the ideas that I share with you below, require you to break down a larger task (the finished knitted item) into smaller chunks. If you complete one of these chunks every day or every other day, then you can work out how long the whole task will take to complete. Working backwards from the ‘deadline’ can be a good way to calculate out how many chunks you need to complete each day to finish the whole project, or how many days it might take to have a finished knitting project in your hands.

  • Repeats | Break your pattern down into chunks depending on the number of pattern repeats you need to work in order to have it finished. If you’re knitting sleeves, you could break down the knitting into a certain number of increases or decreases per chunk.
  • Counting Rows or Length | Break the pattern into chunks based on how many rows or centimetres/inches you need to work in order to be finished. This works particularly well with sleeves or bodies of garments, or big shawls.
  • Time | Time yourself knitting a few rows, or a pattern repeat. How many rows or repeats do you need to work to finish the project? From this number, you can work out roughly how long the whole project will take to finish, and how long you’ll need to spend knitting each day in order to complete your project.
  • Use Progress Markers | Use lockable stitch markers, to mark your progress by placing them in your knitting each time you start knitting a new chunk and/or when you finish. You could also use makers as a reward for your progress, perhaps you get to add a marker for every 5 cm of progress? Choosing which marker is next, or placing the markets into a pleasing pattern or order, could be part of the fun and motivation!
  • Amount Of Yarn | Another way to break your project into chunks is to weigh your yarn and knit a certain number of grams each day. If you’re knitting with mini-skeins or leftover yarn, you might decide that knitting-up half a mini-skein each day will help you stay on target for your deadline.
A notebook lies open on top of an armchair. On the page is a geometric shape that represents a knitted shawl. Most of the shape is coloured-in.
  • Make A Diagram | Draw a picture of your finished item (use the pattern’s schematic to help you), split it up into manageable chunks, and colour-in or tick off each section when you’ve finished it. Alternatively just colour-in the pattern’s schematic diagram!
  • Make A List | If drawing or colouring isn’t your thing, then make a list of each chunk and tick it off when it’s completed. You might also like to date the section so you can track your progress, which I find particularly motivating.

Remember to leave yourself time for any finishing, blocking/washing and drying – it’s very easy to underestimate how long this will take!

The diagram photographed above features an upcoming shawl design for a knitting magazine – if you’d like to be the first to know when it’s published and see some sneaky peek pics, then sign-up to my mailing list. Click the button below!