How to Perfect a Neckline when Picking up Stitches

How to Perfect a Neckline when Picking up Stitches

February 06, 2019

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?

**The pattern for this beautiful pull is The Little Cables Raglan


Karen said:

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

Kath said:

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?

Tina said:

Excellent idea! Thank you.

Celia said:

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

Celia said:

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

Justine Arrasate Lloyd said:

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

Andrea said:

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 😊

K1teach2 said:

How clever! And beautiful. Thank you.

Sherry Christiansen said:

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!

Diane said:

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.

Anne said:

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

Hilda said:

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!

Donna Nickerson said:

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!

Marthe said:

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

Andrea said:

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 😊

Kay Rothman said:

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

Andrea said:

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!!

margie knits said:

Thank you

Katie said:

Would it be possible to slip the crochet chain stitches to a circular needle as you go?

Beryl J Drake said:

Hello Andrea,
It is a great idea and I will be using it. You have given us knitters very clear instructions on how to achieve it. Many thanks, Beryl

Francine said:

Hi Andrea:
I love this neckline.. I was thinking to use it on my Land & Sea. Is this pattern available yet? Thanks! Great instructions too.

Naoko said:

Thank you for sharing such a useful technique. Is the result similar to picking up the stitches by crochet cast on

Beth Theis said:

Thanks so much for thinking up this technique and for sharing it. It really is a refinement and I’m grateful to add it to my techniques.

Bobbi said:

This way of picking up stitches looks fabulous. I think I might try it on a sweater for the button bands. Of course I’d only pick up every third stitch. Worth a try.

Stephanie said:

This is a great way to pick up the stitches!
Would this work for the Pure Comfort Cardigan you designed? To pick up the stitches easier while knitting the fishermen rib?
Greetings Stephanie

Bobbi said:

I am someone who has waaaay to many projects in stages of finishing. I have made a very nice long bodied hooded sweater and now I need to put the button band on it over 350 stitched up and around. I am gonna dive into doing that this rainy day. I can never “see” the stitches well on st st up the sweater no matter how I knit it. Wish me luck. I’ll let you know how it goes. Fingers crossed.

Diane Frigault said:

Est-ce que c’est possible d’avoir la version en français

Marie Paquin said:

I love you way of perfecting the neckline. The front right slope edge of my neckline is much higher then the left one; using your technic,can I make the two side slope edges even by inserting my crochet hook in stitches lower (like 3 or 4 st) in the right slope edge ?

Yvonne Edward said:

I am blown away with this technique it is brilliant. I always had trouble picking up the neck edge stitches so very grateful thanks

Nancy C Wardrope said:

I love this pattern and would like to have it. Any idea when it will be released?

Annie said:

You’re a genius. I’m a great advocate of combining crochet with knitting, particularly where finishing is concerned. This method of yours for making such a tidy neckline is perfect and will be my method of choice in future. Thank you very much.

Tracy Sansom said:

That is so simple, and so brilliant. Thank you, thank you – this will totally improve the look of my finished sweaters. I’m halfway through knitting one now, and looking forward to trying this.

Mary Aitken said:

You make it look easy and it is beautifully neat and tidy. Thankyou for this just hope I can remember it when I finish the Jersey I am working on now.again thankyou

Gui Trigo said:

Great and well succeeded idea!
I’d like to know if you picked up so many stitches as “v” you had, please
Thanks for sharing

Carol said:

I will definitely be using this technique. I’ve never been happy with how my neckline pickups look. I have another sweater just finished that will redo the neckline using this method. The sweater in your demonstration is next in the queue. Thank you.

Laura said:

I just had the same idea and google led me to you. You are successful with it and so will I. It’s nice to have a little confirmation first.

Sally said:

Could this method also be used for sleeves?? Doing the crochet edge on both sides. I have never been able to get a neat joining when seeing in sleeves. This methods is genius!

Elma Loeppky said:

This was a helpful. Was much easier to attach the hood crocheting first.
Thanks for the tip.

Imperato Susan said:

Thank you! So helpful!!!

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