Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Pick-Up Game

I'm doing this Huckleberry Ascot scarf (scroll down). It says to pick up and knit 115 stitches along each edge and make bobbles and such. Normally, I don't care for bobbles (this fun scarf is the first time I ever saw them and they will forever make me think of nipples) but on this scarf they don't look so... bobbly.

Anyway, a long time ago I was told this great trick for making "pick up X number of stitches" easier. You take the edge (or neckline or whatever) and find the center point. For the purpose of this tip, we'll say it's the straight edge of a scarf. In this case, you'll take the two end points and put them together so the edge is folded in half. Place marker.

Then take the right end point and fold in half so it touches the first marker. Mark the new halfway point.

Keep folding marked spots in half to place new markers.

At some point, you'll decide you have enough half-points evenly spaced along the edge in need of new stitches.
Then you get your trusty calculator and figure this way: # of stitches needed to be picked up [divided by] number of spaces btw markers. That last distinction is very important. You want the number of spaces between the markers, not the actual number of markers. (Ask me how I know.)

In the case of the scarf I'm working on, the equation comes out to 115 sts [divided by] 8 spaces. It comes out to 14.38 stitches per space. I don't know how to pick up .38 of a stitch, so every few spaces I'd throw in one of the 3 extra stitches needed to come out to 115 sts.

I love this tip. I think it's so much easier to figure out 14 (or 15) stitches at a time then trying to eyeball 115 sts!

The other tip for picking up is this:
If the yarn I'm working with is too... well, too anything (dark, tight, slippery, whatever) and I'm having trouble picking up any stitches, I look around carefully to see that there's no Knitting Police stalking me, then I use a crochet hook! (gasp) I use the hook to bring the yarn through, put the loop on the knitting needle and repeat as needed. Sooo much easier!

I'm all about the easy, Ruth!


Chris said...

That is a good tip - thanks!

I still can't condone bobbles.

kmkat said...

Thanks for the tip about the markers -- I'll definitely use that.

(Don't tell the KPolice but I have been known to use a crochet hook on some projects, too.)

Yarnhog said...

I also use the divide and conquer method for picking up stitches. Another tip (if you don't know it already): when you're picking up stitches along the side of a knitted piece (like around an armhole), pick up only three stitches for every four stitches on the finished piece. The reason for this is that knitted stitches are wider than they are tall. If you pick up one horizontal stitch for each vertical stitch, you'll end up with a sleeve that is way too wide for the opening. This way, you also don't need to count how many stitches you're picking up.

Nancy G said...

"I look around carefully to see that there's no Knitting Police stalking me, then I use a crochet hook! (gasp)"

Ah, hell, I don't even check for the Knitting Police. I say, do whatever works for you!