5 Tips for Picking Up Stitches for Ribbing

Ask Me Monday with Vickie Howell, LIVE on Facebook at 12PMCT

Picking Up Stitches for Ribbing

This week on Ask Me Monday I show how to pick up and knit stitches for ribbing, alongside a piece for a button band, collar, edging, and more! Watch the episode, read the tutorial below, and be sure to tag @vickiehowell #askmemonday with your ribbing adventures!

This episode of Ask Me Monday is sponsored by Knitter’s PrideKnitPro

See more KP products during “Vic’s Tips” segments of The Knit Show!

Products shown in this video: Mindful Collection Gratitude Set


5 Tips for Picking Up Stitches for Ribbing

    • Circular Motion. Success in picking up ribbing, especially for collars, button bands or vests like the one I’m wearing in the video, relies, in part, on choosing the right supplies. I highly recommend using a long, circular needle so that the cord can both hold the weight of your stitches, but also offer a malleability that allows you to see approximately, how your stitches will lay. If you’ve got an interchangeable set on hand, even better, because you can swap out cord lengths as necessary.
    • Gauge it! Since a knit stitch is shaped like a “V”, stitch gauge (how many stitches per inch) is rarely the same as row gauge (how many rows per inch.) Because of this, you can’t use the rows as a guide for how many stitches to pick up for ribbing, alongside the piece. It’s important to first do a little calculating so that you don’t pick up too many stitches (which will cause your ribbing to ruffle),  or too few (which will cause the piece to pucker). Don’t worry, it’s not difficult. Here’s what you need to do.*These instructions assume that you’re picking up stitches along the side of a piece, that was knit top-to-bottom.

      First, measure the length of the piece, or portion of the piece, that you’d like to add rib. The swatch I used for this demonstration is 7.Next, check your stitch gauge in the same ribbing and needle size that you plan to use (I know, I know, swatching, bleck, but it’s important!). The stitch gauge for the 1 x 1 twisted rib that I’m using, and on the smaller-sized needle that I want to use (I’m sizing down from the swatch from a US 9/5.5 mm to a US 8/5 mm) is 4.75 stitches per inch.Last, multiply the piece length by the stitch gauge. The resulting number is how many stitches you’ll need to pick up alongside your piece! For me, that looks like 7 x 4.75  = 33.25. For 1×1 rib, we need an even number of stitches, so I’ll round down. I need to pick up 32 stitches for ribbing.
    • Choose Sides.  Generally, you want to pick up and knit stitches on the right side of your piece. That means that the first row of ribbing that you’re working will be knit on the wrong side. The exception to that choice would be if you’d like there to be an exposed seam alongside the public-facing, inner edge of your ribbing. 
    • On the Mark(er). Do yourself a favor and don’t try to eyeball how to pick up stitches alongside a piece evenly. Instead, use removable stitch markers to act as your guides. Pick an increment of space, say 2″, and place a marker. Since I know that for my swatch I need to pick up 32 sts total, I’ll divide that number by the number of spaces between markers. That number will be how many stitches per marked section I need to pick up. Even Steven!

    • One Loop or Two?  When you’re ready to start picking up stitches, you’ll now need to decide whether you want to pick up the loops under both loops of the stitch, or just one loop. Choosing both loops is the option that offers the strongest seam. It can, however, depending on the weight of the yarn and size of the needle you’re using, cause holes. The larger the gauge/weight of yarn, the more likely that is to happen. If you find this is the case for you, then try picking up loops in only the front loop of the stitch.

Ok, there you have it! Best of luck with your ribbing. I believe in you!


Put Your Skills to Work: Make the Vestibule Vest

Vestibule Knit Vest Kit by Vickie Howell