How To Pick Up And Knit On A Cast On Edge Tutorial

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Picking up and knitting is a way of creating new stitches on the edges of your existing work which is useful for adding necklines, button bands, or sleeves. In this tutorial, I focus on picking up and knitting stitches for a cast-on edge.

When you are ready to pick up and knit stitches you can do it in a way that they are virtually invisible and blend in with the original fabric. To pick up the stitches on the bound-off edge you want to insert your knitting needle into the center of the stitch.

If you work under the loops of the cast-on then the first stitches you make will be a bit off. They could also be looser. This method is one way to do it–there’s always more than one way in knitting! But next time you need to do this on a finished edge try picking up in the next stitch down which makes an almost seamless join.

Shoulder knitted off cast on edge.
Here is a shoulder piece on the left needle.

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The pick up and knit in the above picture is under the two loops right at the cast on edge. While it still looks great, you can see a definite seam. Let’s look at the picture below.

Right shoulder with stockinette knit from cast on edge.
On this one the pick up and knit is in the v of the stitch below the cast on edge. See how smooth the transition is?

Knitting patterns will tell you where to pick up stitches (on the neck edge, bind-off edge, etc.), the specific number of stitches to pick up, and the ratio at which to pick them up. You will pick up stitch for stitch on horizontal edges like a cast-on.

When you pick up stitches on a vertical edge, like for an armhole you may need to skip a stitch for every 3 you pick up, so at a rate of 3:4. This ratio is typical when picking up along rows of stockinette where the stitch is taller than it is wide. To pick up the correct number of stitches there are different rates as it’s based on the stitch gauge versus the row gauge.

For vertical edges specifically, it helps if you add a selvedge stitch. Working the first and last stitches in garter stitch makes it easier to find the edge stitch where you will pick up. To do this you would work all your stockinette rows as:

Row 1. (RS) K all.

Row 2. (WS) K1, p to one st left, K last st.

Rep Rows 1-2.

This creates a one stitch garter edge border that makes it easier to identify when to insert your needle when picking up on those vertical edges (or the edge of rows).

Handy tip: Use a hook!

You know I love a crochet hook cast-on, you can also pick up stitches using a hook. It makes it very easy to snag the working yarn and pull it through.

Video Tutorial

Watch how to do it in this short and easy video tutorial.

Shoulder in stockinette knit from cast on edge.

How To Pick Up + Knit On A Cast On Edge

Yield: 1
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Active Time: 10 minutes
Additional Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Difficulty: Easy
Estimated Cost: $1

Learn how to pick and knit stitches along a cast on edge in this step by step tutorial.


  • Your knitting project knit in stockinette stitch.


  • Knitting needles and new yarn to join.


  1. First get set up by turning your work so you're on the right side and the cast-on edge is at the top, and your live stitches are at the bottom.
  2. Work from the right to the left. Here I have marked the two places I will start picking up stitches with stitch markers. I'm a continental knitter so I hold the yarn with my left hand. I'll use the right-hand needle to pick up.
  3. Find the little v of the first stitch, this is where you will insert your right needle. Don't work into the stitch right at the cast-on edge, but the one below it.
  4. Have your new ball of yarn ready to add on as you pick and knit here.
  5. Insert the tip of the needle into the center of the first knit stitch.Needle inserted through first stitch on cast on edge.
  6. Leaving a long tail to weave in later, wrap yarn over the needle as if to knit.
  7. Pull a loop through the stitch. You have cast on and knit one stitch.One stitch picked up and knit on cast on edge.
  8. Now move to the second stitch and repeat until you have the desired number of stitches.4 stitches on needle at cast on edge after picking up.
  9. Since we have picked up and knit at the same time, on the following row you are ready to purl.

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