You, our readers, asked for it and we're happy to oblige! Designer and teacher Heather Lodinsky joins us for a new article on understanding the fundamentals of your knitting.
Knowing exactly where you are in a knitting project requires knowing where you have been. “Reading” your stitches by identifying a knit versus a purl stitch is helpful in showing you where you are in a stitch pattern. In the last article I wrote, I showed how to identify the stitches already worked to know where you are in your knitting.
Sometimes no matter how hard I try, I can easily lose track of which row I am working in a pattern. Life happens—the phone rings, we get talking or we just have to leave our knitting for some reason. Then I come back to my knitting and…what row was I working? There are various tools out there to help us keep track of our rows. Row counters exist that either attach to your needle, or need to be clicked and there are even “counting boards” where pegs are moved to show what row we are working. Even the simple “hash mark” on a piece of paper works well, but there is still that human element of just plain forgetting to mark the paper, move the peg or click the counter to the next number. As a knitting teacher, one of the most common questions I am asked is: “What row am I on?”
A skill as important as identifying your stitches is the ability to count your rows without a “counter”. The best way to count stitches is by first identifying a stitch and then being able to count stitches up and down, which will tell us how many rows we have done and what row we need to work next.
Counting Rows in Stockinette Stitch
Lets’s first look at stockinette stitch – which, when we are working a flat piece, is knitted on the right side of the fabric and purled on the wrong side. First, we have to be able to identify a “knit” stitch. Look closely at the right side of stockinette stitch and see that a knit stitch looks like a “V”. This is what we are looking for in order to help us count our rows.