Question of the Moment: How do I track rows in a pattern?

I was in Maine over Memorial Day weekend for my cousin’s wedding. It was lovely and I’ll probably discuss more in a later entry.  Since I had a few moments to spare I wanted to get this out into the pipeline.

Ocassionaly I get knitting questions from readers or random passers-by and a few weeks (maybe more sorry) I received a lovely question from someone in response to my sad cry for topic help a few weeks back.

Before I go on to the question I need to state for various legal reasons…I am not an expert knitter (nor am I doctor in case it comes up). This September I will have been knitting for three years. I do admit to being obsessive over the topic, but I am not someone who should be saying anything as knitting law where cherubs play harps and I wear a halo as the knitting goddess I know I truly am deep down inside.

But I do love this question and thought that I would ask all my lovely readers (and you are lovely each and every one of you…except the person in the back, yes you) to participage in the comments with your answer! Oh it will be so much fun and my inner attention-wh0re diva will feel happy to get comments. We all win in the end.

So, the question: (summed up because I can) How do I track rows in a pattern?

My answer: When I first began knitting, I kept a pad of paper and pencil with me and every time I finished a row, I’d mark it down. This worked quite well but obviously there were flaws with the process. For one, I could lose the pad of paper and then where would I be? Probably crying in the dark on my bed screaming woe is me.

Now I use one of the nifty row counters. If I’m working on a circular piece I tie crochet thread round it and make a loop to go over the needle. Then I use that as a start of the row. That way, I see it every time. Straight needles it just goes on normally.  This works so long as I remember to track my rows. That is, finish a row and then remember to change that number EVERY TIME.

Fortunatly, I’ve sort of developed the ability to read my knitting. It’s far from perfect as I can’t always count rows right or I think the stitch is regular when it is actually k2tog, but it’s good enough for now to get by. If I question what the rowcounter says, I can take a look at my knitting and make sure I’m about where I think I should be. Again not fool proof, but it works for me.

So readers? How do you track your rows?

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5 thoughts on “Question of the Moment: How do I track rows in a pattern?

  1. Depends on the pattern. If it’s charted and sort of complicated, I use sticky notes and put them above the row I’m working on–that way I can read the row below and make sure I’m doing it right.

    I use a row counter, the rectangular red kind, for easier charts or other patterns where I need to know the row I’m on but it’s not so complex.

    The sticky note version has obvious drawbacks, so if I’m going to be carrying the project around with me, sometimes I’ll make an extra copy of the pattern and use the “mark the row through with a highlighter” method. Then, if I screw up and have to frog, I have a new, clean chart available to start over with.

  2. Hmmm. If it is not super-complicated, I just read my knitting. Sometimes I place a marker every x number of rows – this may be a set number apart, or it may be at every increase/decrease, or it may be at the start of each repeat. I guess that even then, I am reading my knitting in order to count the rows before adding a marker.

    Less often, I use a row counter and even less often I use keep a paper tally (I learned that from you once when I saw a piece of paper with some seriously crazy amount of tallys on it).

    I’d like to try one of those katcha counters.

    How about when working on multiple charts? I once did something using multiple charts (which did not repeat in unison). I used a marker for one chart and kept the other in my head. That was insane and not recommended.

  3. Oh, and I forgot to mention that I sometimes only keep track in my head, and other times I use my husband as a counter – as in, “whatever you do, don’t forget 5! If I ask you, remember that I told you 5!”.

  4. I use 2 main methods: 1. SUSAN BATES PEG-IT Knit-Crochet Row Counter – this works very nicely when you have a basic pattern and you need to keep track of rows, repeats, increases and decrease. OR 2. A pad of paper – I prefer this method when I have something much more complicated. For example I was working on a cable knit pattern and there were something like 3 or 4 repeated patterns. It was much easier to keep track of the row I was on for each pattern, what row I was on total, and when I had to decrease or increase on paper then anything else.

  5. I use a counter for simple knitting, and for complicated charts I stick the chart in a plastic sleeve, then use an index card — I put the card just under the row I am working, and slide it over as soon as I am finished. The plastic sleeve holds it in place.

    I’ve also found that I can jot notes on the index card to remind me when to increase/decrease, or what that strange symbol means.

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