Saturday, January 22, 2011

Making It Count

Let's take a look at some directions:
k2, m1, k till last 2 sts, m1, k2 (increase round)
repeat increase round every 8 rows 3 more times

I used to read instructions like that and write notes to myself about which row number would have the increase action. If the first set of increases happened on row 25, then I'd jot down that they get repeated on rows 33, 41, and 49, and I'd use my row counter to keep track of which row number I was working. There's nothing intuitive about those numbers, though, so I'd have to keep referencing my notes in order to remember which rows to anticipate.

I now use the counter in a different way. For a situation like this, the tens place represents how many increase rows have been done, and the ones place represents how many rows it has been since the last increase. When I'm on the first increase row, I reset the counter to "1-0." With subsequent rows, the ones place gets increased till I get to "1-7"

Since we're increasing every 8 rows in this example, the next row will be an increase row, and the counter gets set to "2-0". I knit on till I get to "2-7," and then "3-0" comes next. Skipping forward, we get to "3-7", and then finally "4-0." That means 4 increases have been completed, so I'm done with that section of the pattern.

How do you use your counter?

*ETA: I had to go back and edit because I mixed up my increases and decreases. Doh! Thanks for catching that, Sue :-)


  1. Oddly enough, I never use counters because I figure it's too much trouble to remember to do anything with them!

    For keeping track of increases or decreases, I just place a marker on each row where I made an increase/decrease. The distance between the markers makes it easy to eyeball when it's time for another increase/decrease. The number of markers tells me how many I've done.

  2. I use the old 'fencepost' method of counting system, jotted in the margins of the pattern.

    It differs from the four verticals and one cross for every five rows. If the decrease row is every 6 rows, I do five verticals and the cross marks the decrease row. I can see how many 'sets' of decreases I've done by the number of fences I've drawn.

    But sometimes I just count the rows of knitting above the last decrease.

    I can't ever find my row counter, it's always somewhere in the myriad of project bags I have in the wardrobe. It's always a novelty plaything for the kids when I'm using it too, which is annoying.

  3. Perhaps it's late at night, but wouldn't "k1, k2tog...ssk, k1" be a decrease rather than an increase?
    Just saying....

  4. Funny, I use my counter the same way! But if there is anything more complicated I draw a table on a piece of paper, with the number of columns corresponding to a "set" of rows, and the number of rows corresponding to the number of "sets" that need to be done. Then I know to increase/ decrease on the first box of each row, and fill in one box for each row. Not very high-tech, but it's hard to mess up!

  5. That's really brilliant. I'm stealing this idea!

  6. Oh that's great, never thought of that. I usually use a sticky note and hash marks - you know 4 veritcal lines, then cross them off makes 5. This is a great idea!