As I learned to knit in a rather organic fashion at the age of 5 (so over 50 years ago), my way of row counting when knitting cables or stranded/Fair Isle was always simply to compare my knitting to the chart to “see” what row I was on. If the pattern was one of, say, complicated cables, I’d put tally marks on an index card and hope I didn’t lose the index card.
That’s not to say there weren’t other ways to count rows in the “old days.” The picture to the right, for instance, shows a British-made 1936 row counter. (Pic source) It’s just that my Norwegian relatives truly knit the “old” way. In fact, I think the most modern knitting apparatus I saw used was circular needles, but even those were the old kind with a cabled wire between the needles. 🙂
There are lots of ways to count your knitting or crocheting rows without resorting to my index card & pencil method. Here are a few:
Many knitters and crocheters like the hand-held and pendant-style counters that look a bit like something a track coach would either carry in her pocket or wear around her neck. I didn’t like using them and particularly disliked hanging them around my neck.
I tried Clover’s little barrel that a knitter slides onto a needle. (It doesn’t work well for crocheting.) The barrel counters also have been around for years, as seen by the picture on the right – the 1950 “Ro Tally” by British company Millward. (pic source)
Then there are row counting bracelets. My first row counting bracelet was in the abacus style. I liked this counting method, but the clasp was virtually unworkable for me. Whenever I used it, I laid the bracelet near me and hoped to remember which end was up/down. Not too practical.
I also tried row counting bracelet made from memory wire that I bought on Etsy. I didn’t find it useful. First, all the counting beads and markers were the same size and color, which made it near impossible to use. Second, the bracelet was constantly moving around my wrist, making it difficult to find and move the marker. Further, several of the decorative and annoying jingly things (I prefer quiet jewelry) fell off during the first day of use. Lastly, it tended to catch in lace weight yarn.
Something I disliked about both these bracelets is they looked, well, rather schlocky. Unless it is something made by one of my grandchildren, I never wear costume (“funky”) jewelry.
I next gave row counting rings a try. Here’s The Knitters Helper. I’ve seen a lot of knitters and crocheters wearing them, but I don’t like knitting with this thing perched on my finger. Besides, fingers sweat under plastic bands! I sent one of these to the talented knit blogger Kiwi Yarns Knits, and I think her son had the right idea with it: He used it to count cicadas. (Ahh, a Christmas stocking gift idea!)
Then a few months ago I discovered the creations of the talented Kristan MacIntyre, a jewelry design student and knitter. So you can get a good sense of her row counting ring, I have copied and enlarged a picture that she included in an email to me. (Besides, my fingers looked, well, so wrinkly in the pics I took of the ring on my finger!) I am thrilled to have one of these rings on my finger as I write this post. Kristan’s row counter is wearable, “real” (silver), usable art that I can leave on my finger all day. I love it!
I’ve decided, however, when the next nosy person offers her/his unsolicited comments about my “unusual wedding band,” I think I will tell her/him Thor is an actuary. 🙂
How do you keep track of rows?