The key to knitting attractive horizontal picked-up bands is to find the right number of stitches to pick up along the front edge of your sweater. Too many and you have a droopy band that stretches the sweater front; too few and the band draws up the sweater at the center front. Sweater patterns tell you how many stitches to pick up along a cardigan edge in one of two ways: They give you a pick-up rhythm, something like, "Pick up 3 out of every 4 stitches," or they give you a total number of stitches to pick up.
When you pick up stitches along a vertical edge and knit the band from there, you're working at a right angle to your knitted piece — stitches to rows. One inch of rows on the vertical edge has to match 1 inch of stitches on the band you're knitting. Most of the time, this means picking up a few stitches and then skipping 1 stitch at regular intervals — a pick-up rhythm.
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