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How to Become an "Expert Knitter"   *Buy this book on CD for offline reading!

table of contents » chapter 20 (of 29)

20: Picking Up Stitches for Sleeves

Sometimes you will need to pick up stitches along the edge of rows. You may be adding sleeves or bands, or it may be part of a shaping area on a garment. If you are working in stocking stitch and the needles used for the added section are the same size as you have been using for the garment so far, then you will be dealing with placing stitches into a number of rows. The rows are shorter than the stitches, so you will need to evenly reduce the number of stitches you fit onto the rows. Any added fabric will not sit flat if there is too much width. If you are trying to make an increased or ruffled effect more width is essential, but won’t be suitable if you are adding a sleeve.

To prevent puckering or stretching, use the rule that three stitches are equal in width to four rows in height. It is not always exactly the correct ratio, but in all the hundreds, or maybe thousands of garments I have been responsible for, I have never found that I needed to change the ratio when knitting in stocking stitch with one needle size.

With right side facing, pick up stitches between the first and second stitches from the edge. Miss every fourth row to diminish the number of stitches evenly and then any added knitting will sit and fit perfectly in place [pic 1,2,3].

1: (left) One stitch to every row. Bunchy result.
2: (right) Three stitches to every four rows. Sits perfectly.

3: Pick up missing every fourth row.

If you are working a sleeve with a finer yarn and thinner needles than the rest of the garment, pick up one stitch to every row [pic 4].

4: Using a finer yarn and finer needle, pick up one stitch to every row on an edge.

You may want add a sleeve using a thicker yarn on larger needles. This will be trial and error, but will usually sit flat if you pick up one stitch to every two rows [pic 5].

5: With larger needles and a thicker yarn, pick up one stitch to every second row.

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