Learn to Crochet: Picking Up Stitches Evenly to Begin a Border

Learn to Crochet: Picking Up Stitches Evenly to Begin a Border (photo credit to Kittisak Raksachart through 123RF)

Ever have one of those patterns where it says to pick up stitches evenly across? When a pattern indicates that you will pick up stitches evenly, it means that they must be evenly distributed across the space. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re going to pick up a stitch at the edge of each row.

Most stitches are wider than they are tall. If you tried to pick up stitches in every single edge of the row, your fabric wouldn’t lie flat. It would be ruffly.

Have you started picking up stitches only to discover that you’re short stitches or you have too many? Take the mystery out of it!

If you have a pattern that says to distribute a certain number of stitches evenly across then divide it into small sections to make it easier.

Let’s demonstrate.

Your pattern says to pick up 200 stitches (or to crochet evenly across for a total of 200 stitches).

Divide the piece into sections. Fold it in half and you have the center. Mark the center with a stitch marker or a scrap of yarn. You now have two sections.

Fold each section in half and place markers at the center of each. You now have four sections. Fold these sections in half and place markers. You would now have 8 sections.

Now, divide the original number by the 8 sections. 200 divided by 8. That’s 25 stitches.

Begin placement of your stitches, making 25 stitches in each section. Trying to put 25 stitches in each section is far easier than trying to put 200 all the way across.

If your number doesn’t divide as equally, you’ll have to put one more or one less stitch into some of the sections. But, this is easy.

If you needed 204 stitches evenly across, for instance, you would put 25 stitches in 4 sections and 26 stitches in the other 4 sections, perhaps splitting them up for 26, 25, 26, 25, 26, 25, 26, 25.

If your pattern says to simply pick up stitches evenly and gives you no number, it is helpful to do a gauge swatch to determine how many stitches per inch you are supposed to have. Then, measure across the space where you want to place the stitches. Determine how many stitches *should* be in that space, then use the above steps to finish.

Typically, I start off with one single crochet in the side of each single crochet or two single crochets in the side of each double crochet. If it gets ruffly, I know that I’m going to need fewer stitches and I may need something like single crochet in the side of four single crochet and every fourth row is skipped.

Working in the side of half double crochet rows is a little more tricky. I may put two single crochet for three rows and then one single crochet for the next.

What you really need to understand is that it’s really not an exact science. If you’re making your own trim, you can space out the stitches any way you like and you can even make it ruffly if you want!

When you’re dealing with a more complex stitch pattern around the edge, though, designers have done all the guess work for you by giving you an exact number.

You just have to get that number distributed evenly across.