How to Perfect a Neckline when Picking up Stitches

How to Perfect a Neckline when Picking up Stitches

Posted on February 06 2019

How to Perfect a Neckline when Picking up Stitches

Have you ever picked up stitches around a neckline wishing that it could look better? Well this is where I found myself when designing my raglan sleeve sweater. I normally knit the collar and then continue from there to the short rows. For this raglan I've designed, it is knit back and forth casting on stitches at both ends of the needle before joining to knit in the round placing a marker to indicate the center front.

This has pros and cons as does starting with the collar first. The main reason I like this technique is that by knitting back and forth first, the width is created in the back of the neck making it higher than the front which is done instead of short rows. Now, I have nothing against short rows, I've found my favorite way to do them making them as invisible as they can be. However, no matter the technique there is still a slight interruption in stitches. (I really need to find a way to let go of this OCD I have with my knitting!!) Without the short rows, the neckline shaping is absolutely perfect and beautiful!

There is one downside. However I've come up with a solution!! The downside is that you are left with a fairly wonky looking neckline that will need stitches picked up in to knit the collar. It can be done if you are very careful and there are tons and tons of patterns that are knit this way. If you look at the neckline closely you can see there are some gaps and "steps" where stitches have been cast on. Sometimes even being very careful you can be left with some very slight holes. I must have knit the collar for this raglan 5 or 6 times before I was left happy!

Here's the wonky neckline that we are starting with:

How to Perfect a Neckline when Picking up Stitches

It's rolling a little making it difficult to see the little gaps from the cast on stitches. The main area of concern is the left and right sloped edges on the front. The crocheter in me has come out to help me solve my problem! I don't crochet very often anymore; mainly to crochet a chain for provisional cast on. You don't need to know how to crochet to do this little trick but you will need a crochet hook. Let's get started!!

How to Perfect a Neckline when Picking up Stitches

The stitches that we are working with are the ''V's" that are just below the selvedge edge. You can see my tapestry needle is inserted into the "V" right below the selvedge edge just for reference.

How to Perfect a Neckline when Picking up Stitches

Starting at the top left picture: Insert your crochet hook into the stitch and wrap the yarn over top of the hook.

Top right picture: Pull the strand through the stitch and you now have 2 loops on your hook.

Bottom left picture: Pull the first loop through the second loop, making a slip stitch. DO NOT yarn over first as that would be a single crochet and create too much bulk.

Bottom right picture: There is now only 1 loop on your hook. You are ready to insert your hook into the next stitch and repeat the instructions until you are back to the beginning of the round.

How to Perfect a Neckline when Picking up Stitches

Here is what the chain will look like. You can already see how this technique is going to make for a beautiful and tidy neckline as this is what the result is in the sloped edge of the neckline which is the worst part!

How to Perfect a Neckline when Picking up Stitches

When you have finished the chain and have that one loop on your crochet hook, there's no need to bind off, just replace the crochet hook with your needle. You will now insert your needle into the MIDDLE of the crochet chain; the horizontal "V" as shown in the top picture and pick up a stitch as you normally would. As you can see in the bottom half picture, it's creating a beautiful neckline that has no holes or gaps but instead creates a decorative edge!

This sweater hasn't been blocked yet but you can see already how great it looks! I love this technique and plan to use it again for future patterns!

How to Perfect a Neckline when Picking up Stitches

Do you think you would try this technique the next time your patterns calls for you to pick up stitches for the collar?

Andrea Yetman

Hi! My name is Andrea Yetman and I live in Newfoundland. I have a Husband, 3 children, 1 step child, a puppy and a really cool knitting room where I spend most of my time! I learned how to knit and crochet as a child and now I'm a 40 (gulp) year old knitting addict. If I'm not knitting or thinking about knitting, I'm thinking about how I can smuggle more yarn into the house without being seen. I hope you enjoy my blog posts and feel free to pop by anytime!


  • margie knits: April 20, 2019

    Thank you

  • Andrea: February 09, 2019

    Hi Kay!
    This pattern is not yet released but stay tuned to Biscotte Yarn’s social media’s and email so you will be among the first to know when it’s releaesd! Thank you!!

  • Kay Rothman: February 09, 2019

    That’s a beautiful collar. Would you be able to share the pattern for it?

  • Andrea : February 08, 2019

    Hi Hilda!
    For this particular pattern the opening for the neck is small so I did not decrease any. The crochet slip stitch has no give to it so I found that going in every stitch was necessary.
    Thank you!
    Andrea 😊

  • Marthe : February 08, 2019

    This is somthing you can apply to a lot of other edges that are uneven. thank you for showing it.

  • Donna Nickerson: February 08, 2019

    Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful idea.. I’m a self-tought knitter and am always looking for ways to expand my knowledge! Thanks again! Looking forward to trying!

  • Hilda: February 08, 2019

    Thank you for this technique. I always love ways to improve the finished look. As to Kath’s question, can you clarify that you did not decrease after you picked up every stitch with the crochet technique. Also, what a lovely little cable collar!

  • Anne: February 08, 2019

    That is the nicest way to pick up a neckline I have seen. Thank you for your wonderfully clear tutorial.

  • Diane: February 07, 2019

    Thank you for sharing this clever and creative tip. I love that you are in Newfoundland. I live in New Hampshire in the US and learned how to knit 65 years ago from my Newfoundland Nana.

  • Sherry Christiansen: February 07, 2019

    That is a really good way to go it. I will be making some sweaters soon and am saving this to refer back. Made a baby sweater recently. And it was as you said, ok but could have been better. Well now I know! Thank you so much!

  • K1teach2 : February 07, 2019

    How clever! And beautiful. Thank you.

  • Andrea: February 07, 2019

    Hi Kath
    I made my crochet slip stitch in every stitch around the neckline. Normally a pattern does say 3 out of 4, however the crochet slip stitch has no elasticity at all. If you skip stitches you may end up tightening the neckline too much and have trouble getting it over your head. As well the needle size for my ribbing was 3.25mm and my crochet hook was 4.5mm. Thanks for inquiring, I will add this info to the tutorial 😊

  • Justine Arrasate Lloyd: February 07, 2019

    Thank you! This is FABULOUS and I am going to do this as well. You have made your explanation very VERY easy to follow.

  • Celia: February 07, 2019

    What a great tip! I shall definitely use it when next I am picking up a neck edge. Thank you.

  • Celia: February 07, 2019

    What a great tip! I shall definitely use it when next I am picing up a neck edge. Thank you.

  • Tina: February 07, 2019

    Excellent idea! Thank you.

  • Kath: February 07, 2019

    Do you make a slip stitch for every stitch Around the collar?

    Most of the time, the pattern says to pick up 3 out of 4 stitches along the slope … do you do that AFTER the crochet hook part?

  • Karen: February 07, 2019

    Thank you so much for this wonderful tutorial. You have perfect timing too! I’ve been debating on a pattern because of the neckline, but I think I will go for it now.
    😊 Karen

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