Counting rows in knitting is a necessary evil that we must all face if we want to move beyond garter-stitch scarves. But counting rows in knitting doesn't have to interrupt the flow of your needles.
Here's why counting rows in knitting is so important, plus a few tools you can use to make the process less painful.
Photo via Bluprint member Heidi Bears
Why counting rows is important
Think about all the distractions that come your way in the middle of a knitting project. Perhaps you're the kind of knitter who likes to knit in public while chatting. Or maybe you watch television while knitting and often find your mind wandering away from the pattern. No knitter can be completely void of distractions, and that's why counting rows is so important.
As a beginner, you may not find counting rows for patterns incredibly difficult. But it's a good idea to get in the habit of counting rows now because as you advance, counting rows becomes more and more important.
Keeping track of your rows
Pencil and paper
No need to go and purchase fancy tools to keep track of your rows. In fact, there's nothing wrong with keeping track of your rows using pencil and paper — especially when you're knitting on the go and forget to bring your row counter. You can also open up a document on your smartphone or computer and use that to keep track. If I'm knitting in a coffee shop , I even use napkins and a pen to keep track.
Counting with a row counter tool
Basic row counter: Beginner knitters will probably do just fine with a simple row counter like the one pictured above that slides right on to your needles. Bluprint member Heidi Bears took a plain blue row counter and customized it to clip on and off her circular needles. These row counters are inexpensive and perfect if you just need something simple. To change the number on the row counter, simple rotate the wheel on the side with your fingers.
Counting with a click: Some knitters like to move quickly from one row to the next and don't want to take time to rotate a wheel. For those knitters, there are row counters that change with just the click of a button. These counters, commonly referred to as kacha-kacha counters, allow you to give the counter a satisfying little push of a button before moving on. Clover even makes a mini kacha-kacha counter that attaches to a necklace. It's a perfect tip for knitting in public , since it doesn't take up precious table space.
Row counting apps: For knitters who always carry their smartphones by their sides, consider downloading a knitting row counter app. I spotted a nice list of row-counting apps over on The Zen of Making that includes apps for both Android and iPhone users — plus most of them are free to download.
The great thing about using a row-counting app is that it's with you no matter where you go. Some of the more advanced features of the apps will also come in handy when you've moved on to more complicated patterns that require you to keep up with several different row counts at the same time!
Counting without a row counter tool
Forget to count your rows with a row counter? Don't worry! There are ways to count your rows even if you haven't been keeping track with a row counter. Learn the secrets of row counting in Bluprint's new class Save Our Stiches: Fixing Knitting Mistakes with Ann Budd. Ann can show you how to count rows in garter stitch, cables, and more to keep you from having to backtrack and rip out your precious stitches! You'll also learn valuable tips like lifelines, fixing mis-crossed cables, and repairing dropped stitches.