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In the immortal words of the Indigo Girls, the hardest to learn is the least complicated.

I speak to you from the lowly, lonely place where a person has just ripped back eight hours of garter stitch because she had one stitch more on the right side of the center stitch of her triangular shawl than she had on the left side, and she couldn’t see where the stitch was missing. Needless to say it was driving her crazy, sitting there at the girls’ basketball game last Saturday. Perhaps she was mad. In that state of mind she was in, rip she must, and rip she did.

Then she had to figure out how to make sure this never, ever, wever happened again.

This shawl is is deceptively simple. Increases at the outside edge and at the center spine. How hard could that be?

You have a fleeting thought of using markers, but since the rows are growing from the center and from both ends at the same time, you can’t quite figure out where to put the markers, so you just say to yourself: What? Like I’m going to miss an increase?

I know you are thinking it was rash to rip for such a small, invisible, nonstructural mistake. But the deed is done, so let’s move on.

In the MDK Shop
Ready to tuck into your favorite project bag, this little box includes 54 markers—three kinds in three metal finishes. Precious indeed!

How I Am Keeping Track Now

It’s very simple.

First, I counted the stitches on each side of the center stitch. I put a marker at each end of 140 stitches, on each side, leaving 4 stitches outside the markers on either side of the center stitch, and 5 stitches outside the marker at each end.

Those 140 stitches stay the same, trapped there between the markers. The increases happen at the center and the ends, on the other side of the markers—where I can count them, and there are manageable, observable numbers of stitches to count.

The center stitches. There should always be the same number of stitches on either side of Stitch Zero. When I get so many that it’s a lot to count, I can move a chunk of stitches to the other side of the markers.


Ditto for the stitches on the ends. Each side will have the same number of stitches on the outside of the marker at the completion of each row. When they get cumbersome to count quickly, move a chunk to the inside of the markers. (Equal chunks on each side.)

Can I get a Bless My Heart?


  • Testing 123

  • Bless Your Heart (said in a very southern voice). By the way, this “bless your heart” means poor thing/I’m sorry that happened to you.

    • Thank you for translating for her. #itsasouthernthing

  • Brilliant!

  • Bless your heart! The same solution dawned on me, after a rip-back. Too soon old, too late smart, as the saying goes. Happy New Year!

  • Knowing you contact the newspaper for typos I laughingly had to point out your typo “wever” in your sentence about never, ever, never happening again. Love what I’ve seen of your blog so far. Many interesting tips. I will tell my knitting buddies.

  • If you don’t have the funky stich markers (& you really do need them) then use small peices of ribbon tied around the needle, with enough loop to be able to insert the other needle of course. I have used the slim ribbon you find in the shoulders of bought garments that help you keep things on the hangers – works a treat……………..lovely

  • About t make this very same shawl, bless your heart for the reminder!

  • totally bless your heart!

  • I always make the most mistakes on the easiest projects!

  • Bless your heart ❤️

  • Bless your heart. Clever.

  • Bless your heart!

  • Thanks for having the mental fortitude to figure out how to use markers in this situation.i lobe your solution.

  • So funny – I’m British and a Texan friend just introduced me to the term ‘bless your heart ” – and it’s meaning! – yesterday. So I won’t “bless your heart” – just thank you for explaining your brilliant – and so simple it should have been obvious but wasn’t – technique

  • Genius simplified. Brilliant

  • Bless you heart

  • I forgot my stitch markers at a knit-along at my LYS a while back… someone made a slip knot in the end of an extra ball of yarn and Voila! Instant stitch marker, for free!

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