Tip of the Week: Mattress stitch gives you a neat finish
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Tip of the week: The rule of 3/4 and picking up stitches

28 picking up stitches
One part of finishing that seems to ambush a lot of people is picking up stitches. 

There are two issues here. Firstly, picking up the right number of stitches evenly. Even if you place markers at the halfway and quarterway points it doesn't seem to work. Sometimes this is because your row tension is slightly different from the one the pattern. In this case, picking up the number of stitches listed in the pattern may not fit the space.

The rule of 3/4 can help here - especially on stocking stitch based patterns. To get an even edging, pick up and knit three stitches for every four row ends. This makes sense because stitch tension on stocking stitch is usually three-quarters the number for row tension, for example 21 stitches and 28 rows to 10cm is common for DK yarns. Plus by sticking to the rule missing every fourth row end you avoid bunching or uneven gapping between your picked up stitches.

A second bonus picking up stitches tip - put your needle under both parts of the edge stitch. In other words, your needle tip goes into the work in the same area as where you find your ladders for mattress stitch.

This gives a firm foundation to your picked up stitches. I often see people only using the outer loop pf the edge stitch which can stretch too much making your edging look sloppy.

Below you can see the firm foundation for the edging using both loops gives.

Guess what? You can practice on a swatch.