Picking up stitches for a knit border.

December 4, 2007 at 8:52 am Leave a comment

Dear SweaterBabe,

I knit quite a lot of baby cardigans and I have a problem with picking up stitches for the border – if I use a small needle the border knits up tight and if I use the same needles as the main cardigan the border knits up very loose and flaired. What is the correct way to pick up stitches for a front border? Thank you in advance.

— Eloy

Dear Eloy,

I suspect that the issue you are having with picking up stitches for your border is also about the placement and distribution of the stitches you are picking up.

What I mean is, I think you may be picking up too few stitches along the edge (when you are getting the tight result) or too many along the edge (when you are seeing it too loose and flaired). 

First, I would decide which needle size to use based on how you like the border itself to look (nevermind how it attaches to the main piece, think of the border as its own knit fabric).  Is the smaller needle size giving you a nicer looking finished border and the same size needle giving you stitches that are just too loose and therefore a border that is too flimsy and looks sloppy?  If so, I would stick with the smaller needle size.

If you decide on the smaller needle size, I would then pick up MORE stitches along the border than you did the last time.  It seems like you may need a few more along the border edge to compensate for any tightness that might be due to you have a tighter tension or gauge than what the pattern is written for. 

Try adding some stitches and see what happens.  (Sorry, without seeing it, I can’t tell you how many more stitches to pick up for your example).  If it’s not quite right, try it again. I have often done and undone borders for just this reason.  Especially if the border curves in any way (for the bottom corners of a cardigan or for neck shaping), the right number of picked up stitches and how they are distributed can make a big difference between a nice looking border and a not so nice looking one.

Good luck and I hope I’ve answered your question!

Best,

SweaterBabe

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Entry filed under: Ask SweaterBabe, Knitting Questions and How to.

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