We are closing in on this beautiful sweater creation! Our next step is to knit the button bands and to do that we have to pick up the stitches that will create the bands.
Here's our sweater! I'm so excited if you can't tell. The picking up happens first on the right front which is the side that goes on the righthand side of your body.
The pattern instructions give us a number to pick up but since a lot of us added length in the body of the sweater we'll need to add stitches to that number because we have a longer edge now. There are two formulas to keep in mind while picking up.
- Pick up approximately 3 stitches for every 4 rows of knitting. Knit stitches are wider than they are tall so this ratio balances that difference so we avoid puckering or stretching.
- Pick up a multiple of 4 + 3. This might sound odd but it makes sense. The button band row is like this: P3, (k2, p2) to end. That means we want to have a wide 3-stitch section at the neck-edge of the button band to give us a place to pick up the neck ribbing. My size said to pick up 59 stitches which is (4 x 14) + 3 = 59. I had added about 1.5" to my sweater so as a result I picked up 67 stitches here. (4 x 16) + 3 = 67.
Now, I can hear you all saying, "Heather, this is a lot to remember and what if I don't the right number?!" Well, I'm here to tell you that it's easy and you will get the right number. Just start at the bottom edge and pick up three, skip one, pick up three, skip one... all the way up the edge.
Here's that that looks like. I've exaggerated the gaps here a bit but this is what you're aiming for. It doesn't make holes because everything fills in.
Make sure to pick up in the same place on every row. That will create a nice uniform edge on the front of your sweater. If you don't like where a stitch happened, rip back and pick it up again! This goes quickly and it's one of the most visually important parts of the garment so be sure you're satisfied with it.
When I picked up this edge I just went for it. I did the pick up 3 for every 4 and counted when I got to the top. I ended at 66 stitches which happened to only be 1 stitch away from a multiple-of-4+3. I ripped back about 10 stitches and eased that one extra stitch into place to end with 67.
If you have ANY questions about this formula or how many stitches you might need to add for your sweater than PLEASE email me. We will figure it out!
After we're happy with that first pick up edge then we can work the ribbing rows. It's just 5 rows and it goes fast.
That's it! Now repeat for the left side of the sweater with the RS showing, begin at the neck edge and work your way to the hem. We leave all of these stitches on holders until after we complete the neck edge.
Check in, ask questions, keep knitting!
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