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How To Pick Up and Knit Stitches Two Ways

Liat Gat - Founder

January 14, 2011

Picking up stitches is called for anytime you want to start knitting from an edge that has no live stitches. That's right, you can create stitches on either a finished or a raw edge with the "pick up and knit" technique. Here's how.

Sock patterns and mitten patterns both call for you to pick up stitches.

Top-down socks have a heel flap which usually has a slipped-stitch edge that you need to pick up into, whereas mitten thumbs have a raw edge.

Here’s how to handle both situations.

KNITFreedom - Pick Up And Knit - How To Pick Up And Knit Stitches On 2 Edges
KNITFreedom - Pick Up And Knit - How To Pick Up And Knit Stitches On 2 Edges

By the way, patterns call this technique “pick up and knit” and they abbreviate it “pu and k” or “p/u and k.”

Related Tutorials:

If you liked this tutorial on how to pick up and knit stitches, post in the comments!

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15 thoughts on “How To Pick Up and Knit Stitches Two Ways”

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  1. Hey again Liat!
    I just watched your pickup and knit video, and maybe if I watch it 100 more times I will get the skill down! Like I said in my previous reply my problem is being able to use my knitting needle to pick up and knit a stitch because I cannot seem to master the part about pulling the yarn through to create a stitch.
    I will be trying again though very soon because that Azurea sock pattern calls for PU & K stitch to create the gusset, and IF I manage to do it correctly I will have a total of 103 stitches from both sides and the instep on each sock. I am at that point on 1 sock, and the other one I screwed up badly and accidentally pulled my needle out of my live stitches, and if I cannot get them all back on the needles correctly, I will have to rip it out back to the last lifeline I ran. I have trouble getting sock yarn back on the needle if I have accidentally dropped a stitch or 3. Do you have any videos for fixing this kind of problem with fingering/sock yarn specifically? I have no problem fixing dropped stitches with any other weight of yarn. Fingering gets me everytime!!

    1. Hi Linda,

      I’ve had a few requests from students for videos fixing mistakes using fingering-weight yarn. I don’t have anything at the moment, but I will add it to my list.

      Remember, you don’t have to get the stitches back on “correctly.” Just get them back on, even if you have laddering and they have been pulled out a few rounds. Get them back on the needle (you can also use a smaller needle if you have one) in any orientation, then knit around and fix each dropped stitch or if there are any stitches that are incorrectly mounted, knit them through the back loops to fix the orientation.

      Does that help?


  2. I loved the video on how to pick up stitches from the knitted row, so clear. However. Why did you skip what looked like the first stitch on the edge and start in the second stitch? wouldn’t that leave a dreaded hole in the heel or thumb?

  3. I would love, love, love to see a tutorial on picking up stitches along a diagonal edge,ie. a buttonband along the a vneck cardigan front. Picking up a straight line of stitches is, well, straight forward, but diagonal lines are less clear cut. Come on, you know you’d be great :-)

    1. Ha ha, thanks for the suggestion! Flattery will get you everything. :)

      But I would encourage you to strike out on your own on this one. Mark the line as best you can using stitch markers, and then go along in a diagonal, picking up as you go. That’s what I’d do!

      I hope this helps!

  4. Virginia Harrison

    Thank you for this video! I wish I could have seen it a LONG time ago! I would not have so dreaded picking up stitches! I’ve watched others and read tutorials, but NOTHING else has made the process so crystal clear as your video! So NOW, what is so hard about picking up stitches??

    Thank you very much, Liat!

  5. Excellent. Clear, concise, professionally done. LOVE IT! Ordered the toe up sock e-video book. Hopefully, I might be successful this time. If the sock videos demonstrate like this, I am very hopeful. Thank you!

    1. Hi Deb!

      Thank you so much for your sweet compliments. :) I’m so glad that you decided to purchase the toe-up sock video e-book! I hope that you are successful with the extra help. :) Don’t forget that you can always go to the KNITFreedom forum on Ravelry if you run into any problems. :)

  6. Eleanor Dinwiddie

    Someone in a Ravelry group I am in just asked how to do that on a Kal we are doing. I immediately, linked her to your page here. Thanks for the videos

  7. I would have loved to find a video of this quality back when I was first learning this technique. I like that you use really thick yarn and larger needles in your demonstrations. It makes it so much easier to see what you’re doing. When I think of all the tears of frustration I’d have been spared if you and your teaching videos had been available to me when I was first learning to knit! Bravo to you for the job you are doing!

  8. Nicely explained. I will be bookmarking this video for reference. I would also like to link it in a collection of sock knitting techniques on Ravelry if you don’t mind.

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