Basic Glove - Picking Up Thumb Stitches

Step 3Step 3I knitted this series of samples in a lighter colored yarn to make it easier to demonstrate how the provisional stitches are picked up for the thumb. In the dark blue mohair gloves, although the waste yarn could be easily seen, it was difficult to see and photograph the loops that were picked up, so I ended up picking up the stitches from the inside (purl side) of the glove. These images show how you would pick up the thumb stitches on the stockinette side of the glove. Read more ... for stepwise, illustrated instructions.
Click on any thumbnail to view a larger image.

Picking Up Provisional Thumb Stitches

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  1. 9 provisional (placeholder) stitches have been knitted with a red waste yarn. These stitches were returned to the left hand needle and are about to be knitted with the yellow yarn.
  2. Several additional rows of stocking stitch have been completed beyond the waste yarn.
  3. Two DPNs are threaded through loops in the rows directly above and below the waste yarn. Then the waste yarn is removed to expose the thumb opening (simulated).
  4. The waste yarn has been completely removed. The DPNs were threaded through the front loop of each knit stitch in the manner indicated by the arrows. Click on the thumbnail to view a larger image, see the arrows and read the text.
  5. The 5th image shows the reverse side view of the thumb provisional stitches. If you have trouble picking up the stitches from the stockinette side, you can pick them up from the purl side. This was the method employed for the dark blue gloves because the "waves" of the purl stitches were easier to discern than the "V" sides of the knit stitches.
  6. The last image shows loops picked up on two DPNs on the purl side. The needle pointing upwards shows how a loop would be picked up. In practice, on the purl side I pick up the stitches one at a time and unravel them, whereas on the stockinette side, I pick them all up before unravelling the waste yarn. Picking up stitches from the stockinette side is faster, providing the loops are readily visible. If they aren't readily visible on the stocking stitch side, you could end up twisting stitches or missing some.

Starting the Thumb Round








  1. A crochet hook can be used to pick up the two stitches on each side of the thumb opening, once the waste yarn has been removed.
  2. After the second stitch has been picked up, the stitches are transferred to a dpn and the 9 stitches above the opening are knitted. Then 2 stitches on the right side of the thumb opening are picked up and the 9 stitches picked up from the lower side of the opening are knitted. The stitches are evenly distributed across 3 dpns and the thumb is knitted.

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