Techniques in Depth: How to Count

January 28, 2019

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  • I have always been confused about counting the cast on row. Thank you for clearing that up.

  • Really helpful article – I understood counting rows in stockinette, but the subtleties of the purl side counting and that of garter were more elusive. I really appreciate the level of detail in your discussions and it fills in gaps in my knitting knowledge that sometimes i didn’t know were there. I would love to see a discussion of this sort on increases and decreases and the pros and cons of working them.

    • I would love to see this technique discussed too! I have Ms. Atherley’s Knitter’s Dictionary and I noticed a discrepancy (typo?) in M1R. She states to “work that strand through the back loop.”
      Everything I’ve seen about this increase says to work it as a regular knit stitch, i.e., through the front loop. I was hoping she could straighten me out on the correct way to do M1R

      • Hello! Yes, I’m utterly and horrendously embarrassed about that typo in the book. I had posted about it in my Ravelry group, but news has clearly not travelled far enough. It should be work through the FRONT loop.

        • Thank you so much Kate for clearing that up for me!!! However…it’s one day late for my current wip, LOL!! I’m knitting my 2nd ever mittens and last night I knit the thumb gusset following your technique (if Kate does a M1R this way, there must be a good reason) Leaves a nice little hole every 3 rnds 🙂 Now I’ll have to knit the second mitten the same way to have matching anomalies. Lmao

  • Great article and something new to learn – long tail cast on purl wise. Who knew!!thank you!!

  • Oh my. Long tail cast on purlwise.
    But I still hate to count rows. Row counter does help sometimes

  • Thank you so much! I am now unbaffled!

  • I LOVED this! I am continually arguing with myself about controversy #1. Yes, with me! Thank you! (Now I’m arguing about changing it to “me,” poetic license won. Mostly.) Also, I never knew about long tail CO purlwise… will definitely google that one (cause it would save me a row of knitting, well technically of purling – not that I mind doing either since I enjoy doing this knitting thing, but it’s another internal discussion, or at least used to be, but by now I have my rule. Mostly.

  • What is that cool measuring tool you are using? It looks like it makes isolating the rows and columns very easy.

    • June, it’s an Akerworks swatch gauge and I LOVE mine (recently acquired right here in the MDK shop!!)

  • So helpful. But right now, I have to count in a twisty cable pattern. Seems to be kind of a crap shoot as to whether I get this right. Any tips? thanks!!

    • Can you count ribbing or background stitches?

      • You shouldn’t ever have need to count stitches in a cable pattern, since you know how many stitches are in each repeat of the cable, so you just count the in-between/background stitches.
        When you need to count rows, count in an area that is ribbing, stockinette or reverse stockinette.

        And, if you are knitting in the round, here’s a neat trick for keeping track of how many rounds you’ve knit:

        • ooo –thats a thought. thank you!

  • I’m glad to have the definitive word on whether to count the stitches on the needle. Had this debate several times. With myself.

    • Yes, that was my only question about counting.

  • Thanks so much for this article. I’ve always wondering when to start counting and if the stitches on the needle were part of the count. This article clears up all of my questions.

  • I use the very high tech ‘pen and paper’. I make a string of boxes according to how many rows I need. Finish a row – fill in a box. Has worked well for 40 years.

    • JEN- I myself use this high tech method. I am glad to know that there are others out there!

      I confess that for things like baby sweaters, I also use the clasdic” does this look long enough, the baby is due on next Tuesday” method for the straight parts!

  • This is exactly the kind of knit knerdery that I love. Thanks, Kate!

  • Lots of great info in here. Thanks Kate! The tool in the photo for isolating a row of stitches looks like it would be very useful. I’ve never seen it before. Sometimes I have trouble counting the V’s because they start to blur. I have found it helpful to focus on the right leg of the V and count those. I have also been known to take a photo with my phone and enlarge it so that the V’s are clearly visible.

  • Bookmarked this one! Thanks, Kate 🙂

  • Thank you so much for this wealth of information! Wonderfully clear and well presented. Great photos!

  • Re: Actually counting stitches on the needle

    I can’t remember where I read this tip, but instead of counting every stitch, you go by 2s then 3s (which add up to 5s), so “2, 5, 2, 10, 2, 15, 2, 20…” It’s fast!

  • I’ve been attempting to learn how to knit recently and this post is so helpful!