Sunday, April 10, 2011

A beautiful method of picking up stitches for a second fabric layer

Here is a beautiful method of picking up stitches on the inside of a stockinette fabric, so as to create a second, inner layer of fabric for facings or the like.

Step 1: run a column of reverse stockinette (ie: purls) where you want to start the new fabric.  You can either create this column of purls as-you-go, or insert it afterwards (possibly easier) by dropping a column and hooking it back up. When you flip the fabric over, this has created a single column of KNIT stitches on the reverse stockinette face of the fabric.

Step 1: on the reverse stockinette face of the fabric, you will have 
created a single column of knit stitches (darker green in illustration)

Step 2: insert a small crochet hook SIDEWAYS into each stitch of this column and draw through a loop

Step 2: Using a crochet hook, draw loops through the column of
knits as shown  

Step 3:  Deposit each loop as it is made onto a knitting needle (circular or double pointed). You will now have a line of stitches picked up on the inside of the garment which magically seem to grow right out of the row of knits.  You will not believe how completely and utterly invisible the pick up is--invisible from both sides of the fabric. (I've drawn it in pink here so you can see it, but when this is worked in the same color as the stockinette fabric, it disappears.)

Step 3: Each loop is deposited on a circular needle or dpn
as it is created.  Although the picked up stitches are shown
in a contrasting color for illustration purposes, if the same
 color is used, the pick-up line is perfectly invisible from
either side of the fabric.

Once your stitches are picked up, you simply knit away.

In the wool: the fabric to the right (at right angles to the line of knits)
was picked up through the line of knits and created as described in this post

This trick can be used for many purposes, but a really wonderful use is to make a little knit facing for a zipper.  The zipper tape lies inside, between the two layers of fabric, for a very tailored look.

A note on gauge--
Obviously, this method involves picking up one stitch for each row. Yet, this might make the fabric sag and gap, as row gauge is smaller than stitch gauge in knitting (more rows/in than sts/in).  This is solved by using a smaller needle and knitting tighter, to bring the st gauge of the facing in line with the row gauge of the garment.  If your yarn is too heavy for this trick, such that the resulting fabric would be too stiff, use a thinner yarn in matching color.

Addendum: Have a look at this post, where this sort of facing is used to face a steek. There are some very clear photos of what the inside of the facing--picked up by the "beautiful method"-- looks like.  This also shows the gauge-reduction trick in action, so even if you are not interested in steeks, the photos at the steek post could shed light on this facing trick.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Simply brilliant. Thank you! I will definitely try this.

April 10, 2011 at 3:16 PM  
Blogger fuzzyjay said...

This looks really cool. I can't wait to try it. Thanks!

April 10, 2011 at 4:24 PM  
Blogger Cambria said...

This is simple, and brilliant. I'm looking forward to a chance to try it out :)

April 10, 2011 at 4:33 PM  
OpenID natalief said...

What is you don't want your facing stitches to be at right-angles to the right-side stitches?

April 10, 2011 at 4:37 PM  
OpenID natalief said...


April 10, 2011 at 4:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would love to see a photo of the right side of the fabric. I presume the column of purl stitches is visible in the stockinette?

April 10, 2011 at 5:15 PM  
Blogger In Stitches said...

The technique looks seamless & beautiful, but I think I'm having a failure of imagination. What happens next? I've got a row of live stitches parallel to the edge of my fabric. How do I fasten these off? If I just BO, aren't they just hanging out? Does anyone have an example in a finished garment so I can picture why I'd use this?

April 10, 2011 at 5:21 PM  
Anonymous Italian Dish Knits said...

Very nice! I'm bookmarking this. Thanks.

April 10, 2011 at 5:56 PM  
Blogger Rose Fox said...

Oh, I love this! I might use it to make a backing panel for a scarf that has the dreaded stockinette curl.

April 10, 2011 at 6:29 PM  
Blogger Suzanne said...

I'm thinking of knitting in new ways with your tech help. Thank you.

April 10, 2011 at 9:09 PM  
Blogger TECHknitter said...

Hi Natalief--In this particular method, the stitches are at right angles. However, maybe one day I will do a post on other methods.

Hi Anon--on the other side of the fabric, you see nothing other than the column of purls. It is amazingly invisible, so invisible that the photo I took looked stupid--just a plain line of purls (it's hard to photograph something which doesn't show).

Hi In Stitches--you could do pretty much anything you wanted, for example, you could bind off the inner fabric and trap a zipper between the two fabrics, OR you could draw the live loops from the inner fabric through the outer fabric, and then bind off--this would give you an attached strip of lining, such as at a cardigan edge (and this lined edge does not roll!)

April 10, 2011 at 9:28 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

THANK YOU! Invisible solutions to problems - your tips are brilliant as always.

April 11, 2011 at 5:21 AM  
Blogger Carolina said...

I like the idea of making a facing to cover the zipper tape!

April 11, 2011 at 8:35 AM  
Blogger Martha Joy said...

You are confusing me with that last photo and description. Isn't it to the right?

"In the wool: the fabric to the left (at right angles to the line of knits)
was picked up through the line of knits and created as described in this post"

And even after reading your answer to In Stitches, I can't see what to use this for. Or rather, what do I do with the fabric I'll be making after I pick up the stitches? Maybe ruffles, to take advantage of the row gauge being looser.

It's a very nice method, and I guess that the purl column doesn't show much because the knit sttiches always want to pull closer and stay together.

My mind goes spinning as I write, so bear with me as I try to put the image into words. If I knitted, say, a pair of wristwarmes, I could use a similar method to pick up stitches horizontally and make contrasting bands of colours across the back of the hand. First purl a row across the knit side and then use the lower loop of the purls to attach my new stitches, and the higher loops to bind off into. Or something.

Or maybe this is useful for sleeves and such? Except that I wouldn't pick up stitches on the inside of a fabric, and I'm not such a big fan of reverse stockinette as the right side of a sweater.

Rambling greetings from Norway :)

April 11, 2011 at 9:33 AM  
Blogger Cheryl S. said...

Great tip!

(But am I blind, or should the caption under the photo read "the fabric to the RIGHT" and not "the fabric to the LEFT"?)

April 11, 2011 at 9:43 AM  
Blogger Maryna said...

Indeed a beautiful method... Thanks for sharing it.

April 11, 2011 at 10:13 AM  
Blogger TECHknitter said...

Hi Martha Joy and Cheryl--to the right of course--I have corrected the caption. (The line of knits is to the left of the fabric, so I got going two ways at once...thanks for catching the error.)

As far as uses for this trick--it is mainly for linings and facings and hems and the like--wherever a doubled area of knitted fabric is needed.

April 11, 2011 at 11:13 AM  
Blogger C said...

What a great trick! I need to try this!

April 11, 2011 at 2:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When are you going to put out a book with all these great tips??

April 11, 2011 at 3:38 PM  
OpenID sassysean said...

I was hoping someone else said it first....My minds eye can't see the zipper trapped between the two layers.

Does the zipper have to be sewn to one of the sides first?

April 13, 2011 at 11:17 AM  
Blogger TECHknitter said...

Hi Sassysean--you can trap the zipper any way you like--you could pin it in, then run a line of sewing using a sewing machine. You could use the new TECHknitting/knitpicker/zipper trick--either attach the zipper to one layer first, or work the loops through the bottom layer, zipper tape and top layer all at once, any way you can think of would probably work....

April 13, 2011 at 7:34 PM  
Blogger troy and christina said...

Thank you for this method; it looks great!

As to the number of stitches, I find it easier to decrease/increase in the first row of knitting than to adjust the number that I pick up or the needle size used. (Example: you use this technique and pick up 30 stitches b/c there are 30 rows, but you only need 24 stitches to make a flat facing. On the first row, decrease 6 stitches evenly and then continue with only 24 sts. It looks neat on the pickup line and you won't have to substitute yarn weights or needle sizes.) My 2 cents.

Thanks again.

April 17, 2011 at 7:30 PM  
Blogger TECHknitter said...

Hi Christina--YES!! you are right!! Thanks for writing. Your comment is spot-on. The only thing I would add is to use a very thin needle for that first pick up row of too-many stitches, switching to the more correct needle size on the decrease row.

April 18, 2011 at 10:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is the most useful knitting blog I have yet to come across, will be a faithful follower from here on in!
All the questions I had but didn't know who to ask!
Thank you!

April 20, 2011 at 8:51 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Oh, this looks terrific.

April 21, 2011 at 6:02 AM  
Blogger Annie said...

How HAVE I NOT found you before NOW???? I've found my Go-To Knit-guru!

April 21, 2011 at 8:12 AM  
Blogger im1hansonpunk said...

Hmm,this could be used as a design element, say a wallet. Knit back and flap (so to speak) and then knit front using ur method. Or maybe inner pockets or pockets on a scarf. Sorry, my mind is rambling on as it relentlessly designs while I type. :-D

April 29, 2011 at 4:45 PM  
Blogger Deepa said...

I'm glad I found your blog - it is giving me new ideas to chew on. Thanks!

Can you pls share how you create the graphics for your stitch illustrations? The pictures are very cool!

May 5, 2011 at 7:28 PM  
Blogger Gepard said...

Perfect! Read this then a week later picked back up a hoodie from my UFO pile to work on, reading about zipper attachment and frowning when I remembered this, attaching to edge of cable panel and knitting lining/zipper/getting rid of curl. Sooo excited! Thanks.

May 6, 2011 at 10:15 AM  
Blogger TECHknitter said...

Hi Deepa--the TECHknitting blog illustrations are created using Adobe Illustrator--a vector drawing program.

May 6, 2011 at 12:00 PM  
Blogger futuregirl said...

Wonderful information clearly presented. A+! :) Thank you. I'm excited about finding a way to use this ... somehow.

June 9, 2011 at 4:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You just might be the smartest person in the world... Love this!

September 13, 2011 at 5:37 PM  
Anonymous pippa said...

Just a suggestion - after you have picked up all the stitches, for the second row, knit into the back of each stitch and adjust the number of stitches to the number you actually need - so much easier than trying to do the math and get the right number of stitches as you pick them up. - pippa

February 7, 2014 at 8:56 AM  
Blogger TECHknitter said...

Hi Pippa--yes, you can adjust with k2togs on row 2 or 3, or use a smaller needle and go 1:1 down the row. Best, TK

February 7, 2014 at 4:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So in theory, one *could* use this method on the public side if they were picking up for a side-opening pocket, couldn't they? The pickup could also be decorative if one wanted.
Your thoughts?

September 1, 2014 at 2:10 PM  
Blogger TECHknitter said...

Hi Anon--sorry to be so late in answering. The answer is "oh you BET you could do this on the public side." It's just that there is so much stuff I can cram into a post... One day, maybe, I'll do a post about this. In the meanwhile, if someone tries it on a project, maybe link to their Ravelry page?

November 22, 2015 at 1:04 PM  

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