I tend not to be one for using specialized row counters with my knitting – it’s true that they help other people, and I’m glad of that, but they generally don’t fit in the flow of things for me.
If there’s a stitch pattern, I read my knitting to see where I am and count repetitions of the stitch pattern to know how many rows along I am. If there’s a lot of stockinette and I need to keep track of how many rows, I’ll put in coilless safety pins, locking stitch markers, or a yarn scrap every tenth row.
That said, sometimes I’ll be doing something in stockinette where I need to do something unusual every fourth or sixth row, and I’ll be so in the flow of knitting that I lose track of where I am.
I learned this trick around 2000 on the Knitter’s Review Forums, maybe from Fran? (I’m pretty sure it was Fran.) I can’t go back and check, because those Forums are no more, for very good reasons. But I thought I’d share the trick here.
Take a length of scrap yarn, long enough to make as many loops as you need to keep track of rows. Fold it in half, and tie loops in it until you have enough. You can use overhand knots:
Or tie it around a needle larger than the one for your project and then slide it off:
Once you’ve made your row marker, place it on your needle as if it were a stitch marker. I usually start with the end without tails – this is row one of the sequence I’m repeating.
The next time I come to it, I slip the marker through the next loop, do anything that needs to be done on the second row, and go on.
The third time I come to it, I slip the marker through the third loop, and so on. Once I come to the end of the marker, the next row will have me slipping the first loop again and starting the sequence over.
- Don’t knit the marker. If you have trouble noticing it when you come to it, put a regular stitch marker next to it.
- You can have two or more of these row markers of different lengths to help keep track of different things.
- If you lose one – eh, it’s no big deal.
- If you need to (it’s a bit fiddly), you can use two or more of them to help count total rows worked. If you need to count to 99 rows or fewer, make two of these with ten loops each; I recommend using two colors. One of these is your ones place counter, and the other is your tens place. The loops count from 0-9. Put them on the needle on your cast-on row, with the needle through both zero loops. On the first row, slip the ones place marker through loop 1 and leave the tens place on loop 0. On the second row, the ones place should have loop 2, and the tens place with loop 0, and so on until the tenth row, when the ones place will rotate back to 0, and the tens place will move on to loop 1.
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