In deference to the Epic that is my photo tutorial in this post, I will keep other commentary to a minimum by saying that today I knit my blanket square with a turquoise coloured Fortissima Mexiko yarn by Schoeller + Stahl.
Photo Tutorial : Picking up stitches
This photo tutorial will deal with picking up stitches in garter stitch – specifically the techniques I use for my meditation blanket project.
I’m using a thicker yarn and larger needles to make it easier to show you how I do this. I am using fewer stitches than in the pieces I’m making for the blanket. The technique is the same regardless of the number of stitches you are working with but this tutorial will be worked referring to the number of stitches I am using for the samples.
I will make a large square equivalent to 3 squares x 3 squares, using 2 squares, 2 trapezoids, 1 rectangle and 1 large triangle. In the diagram below you can see my layout plan. Each shape has a dot and an arrowed line. The dot represents the starting point, the arrow is the direction for casting on/picking up. You will cast on when the line doesn’t touch another shape. where the lines are shared between 2 shapes or more is where you will be picking up stitches. The plan and therefore this tutorial will cover how to pick up the stitches for each of the shapes I am using in my blanket.
We’re starting with a completed square. I have used 21sts to make a square with 10 stitches along each cast on edge and 1 in the corner. the cast on edge is placed to the left and down with the line of decreases going from lower left to upper right. we will be picking up stitches from the top edge.
Detail on the edge for picking up stitches.
Cast on the stitches you will need for the longest edge of the trapezoid (shape #2), in this case 22 stitches. Once I have those stitches on my needle, I can start picking up the remaining 10 stitches needed to make the trapezoid. I start with the stitch created by the slip knot used at the start of casting on the square then move along the edge from left to right. In each case, I insert the needle into the fabric of the square under 1 strand of yarn between 2 bumps.
Loop the yarn around your needle as if you are going to knit.
Then gently pull the stitch from the square over the yarn loop and off the needle.
The last stitch is picked up into part of the last stitch of the square. If you are following my pattern, you will know that the square is finished by working 3 stitches into 1. To pick up the last stitch for this edge, I put the needle into the stitch along the edge. This is *not* the one you can see when you look straight at the square. It is the stitch that you knitted into before passing your stitches over in the final decrease of the square. It is the bottom-most stitch of the trio. It will make no difference if you go into the one you can see on the top, but I prefer to separate the stitches that will be worked into this corner instead of having them crowded into the same space.
All stitches picked up.
Wrong side of the work after picking up.
Pieces 1 and 2
Working piece 3 (the second trapezoid) starts with the cast off stitch of piece 2, or rather with the stitch under the top stitch. After picking up this stitch, pick up the rest of the stitches you need as described above. You will need to pick up an extra stitch between pieces 1 and 2. This is where you use the centre stitch in the trio at the point of square 1.
Pick up the remaining stitches, working the last stitch into the cast on edge. To do this, locate the 2 strands of the last cast on stitch. Pick both of those up and work as you would for a normal stitch.
I now need to cast on 11 stitches before I begin working the trapezoid pattern.
The large triangle is next and is pretty straight forward. Pick up 1 stitch as already described along the angled edges of the trapezoids + 1 where they join to have 21 stitches.
This piece will pull in on itself. I could have picked up double the number of stitches which would make the next couple of pieces easier but I didn’t. I could have done the decreases in the middle instead of at the sides but I didn’t. The triangle will stretch when it is knitted into. It will stretch when you wash and block the final piece of fabric into shape and it will look just like all the other pieces.
So, the next 2 pieces have some tricksy picking up in that you will be picking up both between the bumps and the bumps themselves. also, for this first piece – a rectangle – you will have to pick up stitches from halfway down the side of the triangle.
To make the rectangle, cast on the 11 stitches you need for the side then, including the bump of the final stitch worked in the triangle, count 5 bumps down the edge. Our first picked up stitch is the length of yarn you would normally pick up. For the next stitch pick up, you will be picking up the yarn that is crossed over between the straight thread and the bump. In the photo you can see that my finger is directly behind this spot. If you pick up the bump itself, it will all still work out but won’t look quite as neat.
Pick up and work as you would for any other picked up stitch.
Continue to pick up stitches alternating with picking up the stitch between bumps and the bump stitch itself for a total of 21 stitches. Cast on the stitches for the other side of the rectangle so that you have 43 stitches.
You can see that it looks a bit more crowded than the other rows of picked up stitches.
But it works out.
for the final square, pick up 10sts along the remaining section of the triangle side you have already worked in the same way. Pick up one in the corner between the triangle and the rectangle (11 stitches on your needle). Your last 10 stitches are picked up along the first cast on edge of the rectangle. This is another stitch that is picked up by putting the needle under 2 strands of yarn on the cast on edge.
pick up a total of 10 along this cast on edge for a grand total of 21 stitches on your needle.
Knit the square as you did the first one. Congratulations, you have a complete large square!
Yeah, it’s a little wonky but if you pin it out you can see what it will look like if you block it.
So there you have it – how I pick up my stitches for the meditation blanket project. Let me know in the comments if you want this as a pdf.