Team Blanket No. 2.3: The Pickup Joint

So it seems to me that the biggest issue that our merry band of knitters has bumped up against is picking up stitches. It’s just one of those things that I think everyone always wonders if they are doing right. It’s also one of those things that everyone has a technique or a resource that they are willing to share. I’ll go through all our posts and try to gather them all here.

What better way to start than the fabulous Kate Atherley.

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Sorry, can’t seem to copy my post from the original Team 2 thread but I ll try to give you most of it. After I pickup 18 stitches and place my marker, I use my index finger to cast on the additional 18 stitches. Maybe the twist I get when I knit them reduces my pickup gutters. When I get to the log cabin border I pickup thru the garter stitch valley. I have less trouble getting the right number and I like the look of it.


Great results👍 thx so much for sharing!!

I’m hoping that someday mine will look like that, too. I’m on my third square and seem to be getting the knack of it. But it doesn’t look as nice as yours, that’s for sure!!! Someday . . . the really wonderful thing is that each time I see improvement. I am a recovering perfectionist . . . so being happy with improvement is good for me.

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I read the Kate article but I don’t see an example of picking up garter stitches. That’s the hard part. The cast on bit is so much easier.

I’m picking up some stitches now from the original cast on edge so I thought I would take some photos. Pardon the iPhone photos but it’s all I’ve got right now.

This picture shows my first miter laying flat on a blocking board. The arrow is pointing to the stitch that you will pick up. It’s not easy when you’re looking at it straight on.

This photo (from the side) shows the stitch much more clearly. You can see that the stitch you are picking up looks like whip stitch and not like a regular garter bump. I’ve gone ahead and put a pin in each of the stitches you will be picking up. I always feel like there are not going to be enough of those little diagonals to pick up but it always works out.

@jangrimmer I will hopefully be up to the pick up for the log cabins later today and will take some pictures then.


Oooo, this is good info!! I look forward to seeing the pickups for the log cabin strip, especially where on the corners to pickup

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Advice please
Wondering how much imperfection I can/should tolerate in my first attempt at a mitered cross? The pickup & knit between miters 1 and 4 is short at the top☹ Should I frog it and try again? Block before doing the log cabin strip? Will it effect the look of the log cabin strip and look obviously wonky?try better next time??!!

OIYeah I just caught on that I had a garter stitch edge that I could pick up on without actually finishing the whole cross. So let’s have at it!

There are several different ways to pick up the garter edge.

The first, which I don’t recommend for this, is to slip your first stitches to create a chain edging and then simply pick up in the chain like it is a cast on edge. For the most part, I prefer the more rustic edge on garter stitch. Occasionally, the yarn will demand a more elegant edge but for regular every day work, keep it real! I also find picking up from a slipped stitch edge a little too loosey goosey for my taste.

So, let’s talk about the second way. This is the one that I do most often because it is the most natural way to do it. Your needle will help you along.

First, take your knitting firmly in hand. Pull gently on the edge to separate the ridges a bit and you will see a horizontal bar that naturally emerges. In the photo below, ignore the two end pins. They’re there to hold the knitting stretched out so you can see what I’m talking about. The four pins are there to show you the bars.

The only wonky part about this can be identifying the first stitch and the last stitch. I prefer to use the Kay trick of not binding off the last stitch and keeping it on a stitch holder. It makes it a lot easier to see what you’re doing. If you do this too, make sure you read this whole post because it comes into play later.

You will probably not believe that the first bar is there but it is. Because this is a miter, things have gotten closer and closer as you go to the end and it can be hard to distinguish between the last two ridges. But believe me, you’ve done a lot of things in life that are a lot harder than this! Trust yourself!

In the photo below, I’ve stuck a pin in the first bar that needs to be picked up.

The next thing you need to do is make sure you know what the last stitch looks like. It’s different. It’s the last diagonal stitch on from the cast on row. Here it is marked with a pin.

Here’s what it looks like when you’re done. Can you tell what’s wrong with this picture? Yup, I knew you could. There are 18 picked up stitches (the oatmeal color) plus one extra–the last green stitch that I left live. So you have 19 stitches where every bit of common sense you can muster tells you that you should only have 18. Wait until you see how simple this is. On your next row (WS) when you get to the end of the row, knit those last two stitches together.


Go ahead and play with this and find your own way. If you’re trying to pick up in the wrong spot it will be too tight. Wiggle your needle around between the ridges until it finds it’s way. If your pick up is loose, you may want to knit the first WS row through the back loop.

It’s not that many stitches and you really can’t hurt your knitting playing with the pick up. It’s not like you’re making nupps or bobbles or things that are going to really chafe your yarn.

You can do this!!!


I’m thinking the picking up will fix it, but I can’t see how large the difference is in real life. Garter stitch is pretty forgiving if only off by a stitch or so, but more than that may be tough.

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This will absolutely work itself out when you pick up the log cabin edge. Just give it a little wiggle. The horizontal row and it’s strength will dominate the vertical rows. It’s like magic!
Honestly, these are miters to proud of! The more you try new things, the more your hands will become comfortable with them. Trust yourself and trust your needles!


Thx much for your response sabograd;) It is off at the top by 1 stitch so I think I will be able to work with it when picking up for the log cabin strip👍

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Thanks Karen👍 I’ll trust your advice and go for it!! And your pics & description are sooo helpful😊 I am ready to pray and proceed!!

I had that kind of bump at the join of 3 and 4 but it’s disappearing with each row I knit on the border.

Thx much for ur input☺ I’m going forward!!

Update: on border 8. Not sure this photo is better but I’m a knitter. IMG_20180905_220753_108

Looks perfectly fine to me! :slight_smile:

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Hey you guys, I can guess that “frog it” means start over – but where did that term come from? And does it mean start over, or just quit.

And Karen, WOW, thanks for the explanation. I’m gonna knit another one and do it right.

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I don’t know where “frog” comes from but I take it to mean just rip it out and start over from some point. Whether that point is the whole project or back to a lifeline (if you put 1 in!!) Or as I’ve done before, back to where you know the knitting is right:)) As opposed to “tink” which means “knit” backwards which I can only do, correctly, for a few stitches!!


Looks good from here.