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

table of contents Ľ chapter 24 (of 29)

24: Front Bands & Necks on Cardigans & Jackets

There are two ways to pick up stitches to make a front band. One way is very easy, the other way becomes unnecessarily complicated, and this is the first method Iím going to describe to you. Your head will swim, mine does too. But take heart in knowing there is a better way!

Calculate the number of stitches needed to pick up along a front by measuring the distance from hem to neck. Then pick up the required number of stitches according to the yarn used, size of the needles and the amount of stitches needed for that length. The number will be slightly different if you measure the length before or after you iron the knitting, but neither will be too far off the mark. The stitches have to be picked up evenly if the band is to sit flat.

Once you know the number of stitches needed, then the fun starts with the placing of the stitches. The only way to work it out is to divide the length into sections, mark them with a bit of yarn or safety pins, and then divide the number of sections into the number of stitches. With a bit of luck, the number will be even, but if not, then those extra stitches have to be distributed evenly. And all this can still look wrong if some stitches are crowded in to achieve the right number. This usually happens because the stitch number hasnít been achieved at the end, so here we go, weíll just jam a few more stitches. Not a good move [pic 6].

6: Two more stitches had to be crammed in at the end as the count was wrong. The desperate attempt to get the right number shows up very badly. (We wonít mention that the pick up is crooked.)

I asked a friend, a competent knitter, to pick up forty-eight stitches along a front band. She did the pick up row for the photograph above. She used exactly the method just described, and ended up very cross and almost in tears. When I showed her the easy method, she was furious at her waste of time and temper.

This difficult method is all very heavy weather, and to do it correctly is rather like trying to pass a test. Fortunately, you really donít have to do all of this. Just read on!

I pick up stitches according to the usual stitch to row ratio for a right angle edge. Skipping every so many rows distributes the stitches evenly without having to think about it. Using the same size needles as used for the body of the garment, following the row of connecting threads between the first and second stitches from an edge, pick up three stitches for every four rows along the front edge from hem to neck. Isnít that easier [pic 7,8]?

7: (left) Using the same size needle, picking up three stitches to every four rows along the centre front edge allows the band to fit perfectly.
8: (right) The end of the band sits neatly in place.

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