Using Link Row Counters for keeping track of knitting patterns


Published On: 03-07-2012 08:29am

Comments: 1 - Hits: 1413

The row counters we make are simple and easy to use, but a lot of people have never seen them before so I thought I should throw together a tutorial post. 
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You use them like an ordinary stitch marker at the beginning of the round or row, but instead of just slipping from one needle to another you move down a link. I like adjusting the length to whatever the pattern requires and moving from the plain end towards the bead.

In this example we're increasing every third row.

First you shorten the counter to be three links long. Remember that you'll need the bead end! I've forgotten, and then not known whether I was coming or going down the chain.

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I'm at the beginning of the increase round here, so I put the stitch marker after the first stitch of the round (increases are happening on the second stitch). I often like it a few more stitches in from the round break (minimizing the interference from cables/needles and the ladder potental from the needle transition). But it's simplest if it comes right before the first pattern detail you're tracking.

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Now we've placed the row counter, so we make the increases. (If you're curious, that's LR-inc as per Cat Bordhi, sometimes called the lifted increase. I'm experimenting with which component to twist to close up gaps. I will eventually report back with results.)
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Knit merrily around. You can use row counters before each increase but I find that too jangly. I prefer to use the row counter only at the beginnin of the round, in place of the first stitch marker. Then I just check back as necessary to see what pattern row I'm on. Same with two-at-a-time socks, just in the beginning of the round on the first sock.

If you use stitch markers to mark increases in socks, place it before the left-leaning increase and after the right-leaning increase to minimize stitch marker juggling. Since sock increases are generally well-behaved edge increases I don't bother. It is handy for the gusset, though.

So we've finished the increase round. Next are two plain rounds and we've got the row counter already placed. Knit the first stitch and slip the row counter, by slipping the needle into the next link.
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And knit on like normal.

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The next plain round slips into the bead end. 

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So at the end of this round, we'll be back at the top image and primed for the increase round.


I like tracking cable patterns, particularly on the straight bits where you're trying to see if that is the fourth or fifth row since the last crossing, as well as increases/decrease rounds. The best thing about these row counters is that they stay in your knitting, so if you put down a project for a month or year, you don't have to look up project notes or keep checking row counts, because your marker is there in the fabric telling you what row you're on.

Obviously you can make them longer and if you ever want extra links thrown in an order, just let me know. But I find longer than 6 and I start to get annoyed by the dangle, so I'll count by fives or use other obvious clues in the knitting to track rows.

I'm working on some ideas for length-checkers but it will be a while before I get those tested. Ditto with crochet markers. I like crocheting but I hate counting, and I'm not proficient enough to read the stitches as well as in knitting. I'll keep you posted on progress on that front.

If you have any questions or comments, feel free! I'm always interesting in people's knitting quirks and preferences.

Reader's Comments

By Guest on 01/30/2013 @ 09:02pm

Thank you! I recently got the Lacis Knitting Chain Row Counter but I was confused about how it worked because it never said anything about knitting in the round. Thanks for clearing that up for me.

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