We learn to count as young children and often take great delight at successfully counting, well, everything. Why is it that when we add yarn and needles to the equation we discover counting isn’t as straightforward as we thought? I know I’ve often uttered the trite refrain “be quiet I’m counting”! This post is not about the many tools and gadgets available to help us record the fruits of our labor, but a gathering of tips to help count the proper number of knitted stitches from cast-on to bind-off and the stitches and rows in between.
While how I count varies based on what I need to enumerate, there are a few things that remain the same. I prefer to count in a well lit and calm environment, and if it’s noisy I put on headphones to muffle extra noise. I like to lay my piece down over fabric in a contrasting colour. I count stitches in groups of two. Often if the total number of stitches is over 50, I like to place my favourite coil-less pins to mark successfully counted chunks. These chunks are determined by what makes sense for my total, often every 20 or 25 stitches and 10 or 25 rows (rounds).
Following is a small collection of links I’ve gathered that show some tips for successful counting. There are definitely many more!
- Sarah at about.com shows how to use stitch counters to count cast on stitches.
- Miriam offers three great tips for long cast-ons.
Rows and Rounds
- Ysolda shows how she keeps track of rows with scrap yarn.
- Lion Brand offers several great tips in their article, The Ups and Downs of Knitting: Counting Your Rows
- The amazing Tech Knitter explains clearly how to count rows.
- Kate Atherley shows her super simple way to count where you are in a cable Counting Rows in Cables.
Picking up stitches
- Theresa writing at Knitty offers techniques for picking up stitches along a straight edge.
- and also for picking up stitches along a curved edge.
- Liat Gat has an amazing online bind-off course and clearly illustrates How to count how many stitches you’ve bound off.
- Patty Lyons talks about bind-offs in part two of her course Knitting Bag of Tricks (full review forthcoming).
Do you have a favourite tip for counting knitting? I’d love to learn it, please share in the comments below.
Tanya Seaman says
All great tips! I love a two-color cast-on — it makes for a very nice edge definition.
I like to be able to glance at my knitting and know where I am in a pattern, and I often overshoot if I don’t place markers. On a new pattern of mine I have a sequence that repeats three times on the WS before the next set of repeats. So I mark each WS repeat as I do it, and when I’m ready to move to the next sequence I’ve got three markers. Marking keeps me paying attention.