How do you use a Pickup Tool?

by Amelia

Pickups!On a circular sock machine, a pickup tool is very hand for picking up a chain of dropped stitches. Once a stitch fails to knit, because the knitting is under tension, a run happens in the blink of an eye.

In hand knitting, if you leave your knitting mid-row and the unthinkable happens, usually only a few rows come undone, not too bad. The pick-up tool is still useful for latching up the knit stitches in a jiffy, without trying to re-use your knitting needles (or find another pair mid-project while ensconsed in your comfy chair as I am in this video!)

As you can see in the video, I insert the pickup tool through the front of the knit stitch, latch on to the yarn behind it for the next row up, and pull it through the knit stitch to create the next row's knit stitch. I repeat this up the dropped column until I reach the top, and then I place the last stitch on my knitting needle to continue knitting.

Pickups and bare sock machine needleThe pickup tool is a sock machine needle (shown in the center of the photo below) embedded in a sculpey handle that is cooked and then coated with a satin finish. My kids and I had a great time making this set for the Ring Your Bells club!

posted 26 December 2008 at


Anonymous said...

What I've always wondered about this and similar (latching) tools is, what's the advantage to using this as opposed to a crochet hook?

Amelia of Ask The Bellwether said...

@Pork with Bones -- thanks for asking!

The pickup tool's main advantages over a crochet hook are that it latches shut, so the yarn can't slip off the hook; and since the pickup tool's latch completely encloses the yarn in a closed loop (the latch is shut as it comes back through the knit stitch), you don't need to fiddle it through the knit stitch to prevent the hook from getting caught on it.

The sock machine needle used on this one is much finer than the rug hooking latch hook I have from past crafts ... hmmm, I should dig it out, that would work well with worsted weight yarns, I bet :-)

Liz said...

Isn't that the same tool for latch hooking? I used to do that in 5th grade :)

Amelia of Ask The Bellwether said...

It's similar, but alot smaller, than the latch hook I used in 5th grade. But the latch hook was pulling thick worsted-bulky yarn through a canvas, where this latch hook is more sized for sock yarns.