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Clement Canyon Poncho Crochet-Along Week 2: Handy Tips for Keeping Count!


Let’s start at the beginning. If you are like me, you read the first instruction: “Chain 196” and decided maybe this was a horrible idea. Never fear, I have a few ideas to help with this initial stumbling block.

For those of you with Apple smart phones, there is a wonderful free fiber artists’ helper app called iStitchCounters. (Please share below if you have an alternative app for phones other than Apple!) I love this app because you open a project, open a new counter and start swiping. As I chained to 196, every time I finished 10 chains, I swiped right 10 times. You can choose any increment that suits you, I found that I could get through about 10 chains before one of my 4 family members interrupted me or my Netflix distracted me. Of course you can use any digital or manual counter you have, but I will explain why I went with this app this time around. Read on!

Once I had swiped right (swiping right increases the number) all the way up to 196, I then swiped left to decrease. As I single crocheted 195 times for my first row, after each 10, I swiped left 10 times and repeated until my number was 1. This totally worked! I had the exact right amount number of chains AND single crochets! I confess, usually when I finish a very long beginning chain/row combination I am short and I cheat by doing 2 single crochets in a chain towards the end until I have the correct number! Using this technique felt like a miracle because I ALWAYS have to start over my projects multiple times before I do it correctly!

If this feels like too much technology and swiping and interruption, I have another technique! I learned this from my aunt who is a fiber MASTER. As you chain to 196, do the best you can counting as you go, and then when you get to the end, instead of going back and counting each chain to 196, just add as many chains as you like for a little padding. Add 10 if you want! Add 20! It doesn’t matter. As you finish your 195th single crochet on your first row, you will see a little tail of extra chains. These are easily unlooped back to your starting chain. Just make sure that your initial slip knot isn’t too tight to unpick. Once you have unpicked the extra stitches to the point 195th single crochet in your first row, tighten up that tail and weave it in later.

Finally, there is my personal tried and true technique—just cheat and add a few more single crochets in the last remaining loop—it’s a poncho! No one will know!

Since we are crocheters here, I’m not sure if you have heard of “2nd sock syndrome!”, but I want to talk about that next.  I confess, I have yet to KNIT socks but of course I have crocheted a pair—so maybe you ARE familiar with this syndrome. You finish one beautiful side of a 2-identical-sides project and completely lose steam and never finish the 2nd side!  I fear this may happen to me with this poncho, so I have decided to work on both sides together the entire time.  I am going to finish my initial chain and color A section, and then put it down and start on the 2nd rectangle, repeating what I just finished.

I am doing this for a few reasons:

  1. Tension! I want my tension to be consistent with both sides, and I believe especially STARTING somewhat simultaneously will help the two sides be more consistent.
  2. I don’t want to have to relearn the pattern and process all over again when I get to the second rectangle. I think if I go back and forth from side to side, my brain will hurt less and my enjoyment will be increased.

The poncho I am making is using the yarn from “The Pantone” kit. We called it this because it is inspired by Pantone 2016’s colors of the year: Rose Quartz and Serenity.

I chose this because the colors bring me joy, I feel they compliment my complexion, and I love having a few on-trend pieces in my wardrobe.

How do you get through the millions-of-chains beginning of a project? What colors are you using for your poncho? Why did you choose them?  Let me know below in the comments or in our Ravelry group forum!

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  • Lisa

    I started my poncho with a double crochet foundation row. For counting the first row, I make sure I will not be distracted and count my way through the first one hundred, then the next 96 and add a couple. No one will know but me.

    For the following rows, I count multiples of ten at a time.

    I'm doing the Pantone poncho, too. I lean towards natural colors normally. Stepping out for color this time. I have a fair, freckled complexion. Shouldn't be too harsh.

    Love this pattern!

  • Christine Sleight

    No stitch counting app is available through the App Store on my IPad or IPhone. Where can I find it?

  • Mary Stevens

    I'm doing a variation of Pantone: (A) Denim, (B) Silver, (C) Charcoal, (D) Rose, (E) Black. I ordered extra A and B yarn because I'm a plus sized gal. I plan to do 2 extra rows in each of the first two sections for A and B. Also, I wanted it a bit longer in front and back so I started with 224 starting chains, 223 when row one is complete. I tested it through the start of the fan lace pattern and it appears that it will work.

  • carrie p.

    great tips. thanks.

  • Linlal

    Why would you swipe ten times on your phone every time you do a set of ten chains? That gives you two opportunities to make a mistake by either leaving out or adding a stitch or swipe. If you swipe once when you have counted 10 chains, you stop when you reach 19 swipes and do a set of six chains.
    I think it would be a lot easier to pop in a stitch holder every ten chains than to put down my work, pick up my phone, swipe and then go back to my work. You can have 19 stitch holders open and ready beside you - you could even make every fifth one a different colour. When you put the 19th and last one into the chain, you know you have six chains to go. If you leave the stitch holders in, you can easily check your second row on the way back. It's also easier to make sure that your chain isn't twisted if you keep the holders in for the second row.
    This app seems to be a solution looking for a problem.

  • Jeanie

    My yarn won't get here until tomorrow. It's the neutral pallet. I usually just wear black and a colorful accessory, or maybe not too colorful. Planning to start with 195 foundation sc. Like the idea of working on both sides together.

  • Janet

    From the Google Play store for Android "Stitch Counter" works the same as your iPhone app.

  • Kay Barth

    different tension is KILLING ME! I have made the first one through the fans and then went back and started the 2nd square. 1st time (on the 2nd square) was too long (too loose tension) and the 2nd time (while trying to count and babysit...bad combo) it is too short :( so I'll make another one tomorrow when I'm not babysitting...

  • Michelle Davis

    Knitting Buddy is available for Kindle Fire.. Nice app, links to ravelry, you tube, Facebook.....

  • Tamara Windham

    I am not a pattern reader, so Kristy your photos have helped me a ton. I'm a visual learner. I am also doing each stitch on each rectangle. I figured it would be easier for me that way than to relearn the stitch again for the second rectangle. I am just starting the fan pattern.