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Clara
queen bee

USA
4406 Posts

Posted - 09/15/2010 :  6:02:03 PM  Show Profile  Visit Clara's Homepage Send Clara a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I confess that my mind tends to shut off when I reach a point in a pattern - usually in sleeves - when I'm told to decrease X number of times for X rows, then decrease Y times for Y rows, and on and on it goes.

I've tried tearing slits in paper, I've tried post-its, I've tried paper clips, I've tried moving M&Ms from one arm of the chair to another (really bad, bad idea - somehow the M&Ms always, um, go missing). So I thought this would be a good week to talk about keeping track of rows, with a look at several tools that allegedly make it easier. They run from free to $40.

I'd also love, love, love to hear YOUR favorite ways to keep track of your rows. The sky's the limit. Do you keep a tally on the pattern itself? Have you tried my M&M technique? Or are you so smart that you don't even need to keep count? I'd love to know your tips.

Clara
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Martheme
Sustaining Member

USA
1565 Posts

Posted - 09/15/2010 :  6:16:11 PM  Show Profile  Visit Martheme's Homepage  Send Martheme a Yahoo! Message Send Martheme a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Hmm, I probably won't be much help. I always work my decrease/increase just a stitch or 2 in from the edging and then just go back and count up how many rows I've done when ever I loose track. . . .

I agree the m&m idea is a bad one, here they would grow little legs and disappear rather quickly!

Blog: http://www.afewsheepshyofafarm.com/
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minh
Permanent Resident and Destasher Extraordinnaire

USA
3469 Posts

Posted - 09/15/2010 :  6:38:32 PM  Show Profile  Visit minh's Homepage Send minh a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I have three ways of counting:

- most of the time, I use pen and pencil (just a post-it on the pattern). I haven't found a better system when the counting is rather complicated (something like "increase x stitches every y rows and AT THE SAME TIME increase x stitches every n rows").

- I also have two pretty row counters that are bracelets:
http://www.crimsonorchiddesigns.com/proddetail.php?prod=rcbb028
They work like an abacus: beads come in two colors (one for single digits, one for tens) and there's a stable bead to separate beads you used from those you didn't.

- A great tip that I got during Lucy Neatby's class is to use a running length of yarn as a stitch marker or row counter. You "flip" it to the front or the back of the work whenever you decrease or increase. Use one on each side of your work so that you can count decreases/increases on both sides.

I'm off to look at that Caran D'Ache pen more closely, it would make a great companion to that Mont blanc pen that lives in my knitting bag ;)

http://minkyknits.blogspot.com
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MaryjoO
New Pal

4 Posts

Posted - 09/15/2010 :  6:42:22 PM  Show Profile Send MaryjoO a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I have to say that I've tried a lot of the gadgets, including one from Knit Picks where you "punch" the numbers, so it doesn't need a lot of "stopping" to do it. Unfortunately, the gadget broke quickly, and I never got any response from Amazon/Knit picks about getting a new one. But I really didn't pursue it more than one email to each, sigh.

I digress. I've found the hard way the only way I can actually keep track of my pattern/counting rows is to print out a copy of the pattern and use a pencil to keep track of things. I've just found some of that "highlighter" tape that is becoming popular, so I'll see if I like that.

My favorite pencil? Faber-Castell 2001 Grip. And there is a great Faber-Castell dust free eraser, too ...

Loved your fountain pen link :)
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LJ
Permanent Resident

USA
1940 Posts

Posted - 09/15/2010 :  7:01:12 PM  Show Profile  Visit LJ's Homepage Send LJ a Private Message  Reply with Quote
For sleeves I have to have paper, pen, and a green kacha kacha counter. I write the row number and what is being done on that row. If I forget an increase/decrease that is suppose to be on row 4 and I put it on row 5 then I do the same on the second sleeve. (commence laughing now)

My favorite row counter is the Green Kacha Kacha I think by Clover. I have several and I don't leave home without one!

Linda in Va

My Blog: http://wallisknits.blogspot.com
My Patterns:
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knisit
New Pal

Canada
10 Posts

Posted - 09/15/2010 :  7:42:13 PM  Show Profile  Visit knisit's Homepage Send knisit a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Lately I've been using the Vogue Knitting iphone app that allows you to have many different row counters on the go at the same time for the same project. Very useful and easy to use.
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sprboston
New Pal

USA
7 Posts

Posted - 09/15/2010 :  7:50:10 PM  Show Profile  Visit sprboston's Homepage  Send sprboston a Yahoo! Message Send sprboston a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I'm definitely a paper and pencil kinda guy.

Sean
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Shalee
Permanent Resident

USA
2049 Posts

Posted - 09/15/2010 :  8:05:48 PM  Show Profile  Visit Shalee's Homepage Send Shalee a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I make an Excel sheet numbering the row numbers down the side,column 1. Columns #2a and #2b are where I mark decreases/increases, "a" is for left side and "b" is for right side. Column #3 is for the total amount of + or - number of stitches added or deleted in that row. Column #4 is the stitch count column, with a running total of stitches tht should be on the needle at the end of the row, which is easy to do with Excel. I note the decrease/increase rows in advance and just check each row off as it is done. If there is a pattern repeat I use my magnet to follow the pattern repeat and my counter/knitters abacus for the total rows worked. If it is a particularly boring pattern I will use one of Clover's plastic safety pins to mark each decrease, as it is done, so I can visually spot a missed increase/decrease. The prep time isn't that bad and is better than frogging!

Sharon in NW PA
I always wanted my own library but I didn't realize it would be all knitting books!
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Phenager@charter.net


Posts

Posted - 09/15/2010 :  11:17:45 PM  Show Profile Send Phenager@charter.net a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I often use tally marks with pencil and paper on the edge of a copy of my pattern, or on a file folder, if I'm taking notes or making something up as I go along ;-) But lately, on my last project, I've been using the iPhone app "knitcounter lite". The lite version only lets you keep track of one project, but it's pretty cool - I'm using it now to help me remember raglan decreases, which are happening four out of every 5 rows.
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FluffyKnitterDeb
New Pal

USA
23 Posts

Posted - 09/15/2010 :  11:54:46 PM  Show Profile  Visit FluffyKnitterDeb's Homepage Send FluffyKnitterDeb a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I learned to use a Peg-It over 30 years ago when I learned to knit at 8. I still had my original one when I returned to knitting in 2002 after a 10+ year hiatus. I have since replaced my original about 3 times because the numbers wore off.

It was a sad day for me to learn earlier this year that this wonderful and much beloved little gem is no longer being made by Susan Bates

Yes, I have tried many other methods (and use the counter on my Knit Kit when I'm knitting out and about) but as they say, you never forget your first love, hehe.

I have coated the numbers of my current in use Peg-It with clear nail polish and I have 2 unopened "spares". I figure if I treat them with the reverence they deserve I should be ok until I can no longer hold a needle (or remember my name, whichever comes first!)

Here's a pic for those interested, forgive me if I tear up a little.....

Debi


http://www.artfire.com/modules.php?name=Shop&op=listing&product_id=1195293
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kat@urbanfantasy.org
New Pal

1 Posts

Posted - 09/16/2010 :  12:24:36 AM  Show Profile Send kat@urbanfantasy.org a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Here's what works for me for keeping track of increase/decrease rows. I use coil-less safety pins (although any removable marker would also work). I pull out however many decrease rows I need to do. On each decrease row, I place a pin (I will usually attach un-used pins to the first marking one) in the first decrease. I can usually just count rows between decrease rows. When I run out of safety pins, I should be done decreasing. If I'm doing a complex set of decreases (e. g. decrease every 4th row X times, then every other row Y times) I will separate my safety pins for each group (X pins, then Y pins) I use the same technique for increase rows. Once I'm done a grouping of increases or decreases, I tend to remove the safety pins and re-use them.
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cahuch@aol.com


Posts

Posted - 09/16/2010 :  12:36:38 AM  Show Profile Send cahuch@aol.com a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I just use math, a stitch counter and a piece of paper. I have a pattern for a sweater and for the sleeve it says for the size that I am making increase one stitch at the beginning and end of the RS and then every 6th row for 5 more times and then every 4th row 4 times. So you have the first row which is your first of six rows and 5 more times which would be 32 rows at the last row and then 16 more rows for the 4 increases every 4th row totaling 47 rows. The increases would be on the following rows: 1, 7, 13, 19, 25, 31 (this is your sixth increase of every 6 rows), then 35, 39, 43 and 47 (this is your 4th row of every 4 rows). Click your counter for each row of the pattern with a paper nearby listing the rows where you will be increasing or decreasing if this is the case.
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norsknitter
New Pal

7 Posts

Posted - 09/16/2010 :  02:16:22 AM  Show Profile Send norsknitter a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I use a marevelous little thing that I found at Patternworks about four years ago. They are called Maine Rings on the packet, but I never know what to call them and they are no longer in the catalogue. You have to call.

They are small latex rings that you can knit into a row and then later cut out. They go right over the stitch and they don't change the gauge. I use them for increases and decreases and I long ago threw out those little pieces of paper.

I use differenet colors for different sets of decreases: red for decrease 4 stitches twice and green for decrease two stitches three times.

And the marvelous thing is, you can leave them in when you are doing the first sleeve or frontspiece and then you can, if you need to, measure the second sleeve or frontspiece against the highly visable marker.

I also put one smack dab in the middle of a piece if I know I'm going to have to knit 10 centimeters past the cast off. It's easier to measure in the middle than at the edge.

I love these things. I use them all the time. I buy them five and six packs at a time and I'm terrified they will stop making them.

They are hands down the niftiest knitting tool I've found in ages and I've been knitting for over 40 years.

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Mikey1224
New Pal

USA
7 Posts

Posted - 09/16/2010 :  02:54:47 AM  Show Profile Send Mikey1224 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I'm like knisit, but I don't have an iPhone so I just use a tally counter app.
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Hettie
New Pal

USA
1 Posts

Posted - 09/16/2010 :  04:01:14 AM  Show Profile Send Hettie a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I use a Susan Bates row counter (but leave it off the needle) and make notes. But I'm going to try some of the other suggestions ! Especially M and M's.

TB
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sockjoan
Warming Up

Australia
61 Posts

Posted - 09/16/2010 :  04:02:20 AM  Show Profile Send sockjoan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I have a couple of standard counters - one of those you put on the needle (or, if you're me, dangle from the needle with a piece of yarn), and one of those you press a button on, plus one of those peg kits which are altogether too cumbersome. But my favourites are home-made abacus-style counters, made with plastic beads and narrow ribbon. I have one with a units string and a tens string, and then I made custom counters for things like thumb gussets (every 3rd bead is a different colour) and cable patterns. The cable ones can become quite complex, as you may do one style of cable every 4th row, one very 6th, and one every 8th row, or whatever. I find these extremely useful.
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cstmcrea
New Pal

USA
4 Posts

Posted - 09/16/2010 :  04:37:54 AM  Show Profile Send cstmcrea a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I use spread sheets especially for those pesky inc/dec things that read like I'm building a rocket!

Mitzi B
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Lanea
Permanent Resident

USA
5194 Posts

Posted - 09/16/2010 :  05:06:12 AM  Show Profile  Visit Lanea's Homepage Send Lanea a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I love all of the innovative ways folks have come up with!

I have one of the larger red kacha kachas, and I also have a counting app on my phone. More often than not, I keep notes on a piece of paper. Suddenly, I feel the need to buy a beautiful pen for that task, for some reason.

See proof of insanity: http://crazylanea.com/
Read my audiobook reviews: http://booksforears.com/
Buy handmade sock knitting bags: http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=5031570
Join the KR Webring: http://www.crazylanea.com/fiberarts/2006/07/the_knitters_re.html
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ColleenKnits@mac.com
New Pal

1 Posts

Posted - 09/16/2010 :  05:09:17 AM  Show Profile Send ColleenKnits@mac.com a Private Message  Reply with Quote
There's an app for that! I have two apps on my iPod touch and iPad that have multiple counter options which can be easily set up. Just touch the screen when you finish a row and they even makes a nice "click". And they were both free. Free is good.
Colleen in Wisconsin
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Emaruottolo
Gabber Extraordinaire

USA
472 Posts

Posted - 09/16/2010 :  05:15:17 AM  Show Profile Send Emaruottolo a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I either use the row counter that slides onto the needle. If in circular I put a piece of yarn through and let it dangle. I haven't seen the ones that are made to dangle. I also use the Kacha counter. That is good when I am working on a project at home.

"Happiness is not the destination, but the road traveled."
Elisa
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anderknit
Permanent Resident

USA
2605 Posts

Posted - 09/16/2010 :  05:41:27 AM  Show Profile Send anderknit a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Row counters just don't work for me - I always forget to click them. But I do have two things that do work.

First, from our dear Fran - she showed us how to make a row marker out of scrap yarn, and it works every time. If I can, I'll find her post and link to it.

Second, if the pattern is really complicated, I resort to writing out each row's directions (or each group of rows' directions). Since I have to look at the directions for each row anyway, I use good old pencil and hatchmarks.

All this because even though I've been knitting for a gazillion years, I sometimes still have trouble counting rows. (Does the loop on the needle count or not? Does the row with the last decrease count or not? I'll never keep those straight!)

"Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, 'I will try again tomorrow.' "
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