I have an image in my mind of my mom sitting in the armchair in the living room with a baby blanket pattern laid out on the ottoman in front of her, highlighting each row as she completes them. She is meticulous about circling the instructions within the parentheses so that she is sure to knit the correct amount of stitches for the size that she is making. Maybe she even uses an index card to underline where she is while she is marking off tallies with whatever pen she found in the end table. Does this sound right, Mom?
She and I may be very different knitters in this respect. I used to print out my patterns and make all sorts of notations on them. I would fold the paper up and keep it in a pocket of my knitting bag. I certainly lost those patterns on more than one occasion or lost track when I couldn’t find a pencil or if a friend got carried away playing with my red plastic row counter. (Those little clicky plastic row counters have caused me far more grief than help. For some reason, anyone who hears the click of a completed row immediately begs for instructions on how it works and why I need it, always followed by a request to click the following row. And often the promise that “If you let me click it a few times, and I’ll reset it to where you were” followed by completely forgetting where I was. Please don’t touch my things. Ever. I hate you now. I really don’t understand the fascination.)
Needless to say, every knitter is different. The more I’ve found a way that I like to do things, the more I wonder what everyone else prefers. Let’s all share, shall we?
First of all, I’ve almost entirely stopped using printed patterns unless it’s from a book or magazine. The last time I used a book pattern, I photo copied it so I could make notes on it. But I LOVE PDF patterns. Love them. It’s so handy having everything in my inbox or in my Ravelry library. I don’t have to remember what volume of Knitscene (or was is Vogue Knitting?) the pattern was in. I like being able to access my patterns wherever I am.
That being said, I’ve turned to iBooks for all of my PDF pattern reading which means that all of my patterns are stored on my phone which is great because I always have my phone on me (heaven forbid I lose it like a tattered pattern). I don’t like whipping out a paper pattern and a pencil when I’m trying to casually knit and hang out. I don’t like having so much baggage when it comes to knitting.
Since the iPhone has become my knitting ereader, I guess it would be handy to have some other gadgets on there! I use Knit Counter Lite which is free. It’s a pretty handy tool especially because I don’t need anything fancy to keep track of this. You can input all kinds of information, though, and also limit the maximum and minimum number (I use that a lot when counting increases or if I’m just not paying close attention). It’s also great because now my pattern and my counter are in the same spot. (Side note: When it comes to socks, I like to do it the old fashioned way and use pen and paper so that I’m sure the second sock matches the first!) Using this app, I can keep track of multiple projects at once along with different pieces as illustrated below:
(It looks complicated but that’s the row increases of the Maxfield cardigan sleeves. The increases in size medium happen every 12th row 9 times. Breaking that down, it means keeping track of the stripe pattern rows in intervals of ten while also counting separately to every twelfth row when the increases take place so I count those at the same time. The last counter is increased only every twelfth row. Everyone still with me? I had a tough time keeping that all straight when it was done with pencil and paper but this system works for me.)
This seems like enough math for one post. But I want to hear what you do! How do you count rows? Have you seen this? (I don’t know how I feel about it.) Do you use any apps for your knitting?
Obviously when I was being all snarky and telling you “I know how knitting works”, I didn’t actually know. Meghan, who has an awesome quarterly out now, I can’t wait to get my hands on it, was nice enough to shoot me a message on Ravelry and share this amazing tip with me for doing intarsia in the round. And I’d love to share it with you. Even though now I’m embarassed and I’m starting to think this is something everyone might know about…
Well if you’re like me, listen up!
When knitting intarsia in the round, turn your work, purl and slip the stitches. Here’s a video that is a little more complicated but it explains the concept pretty well:
It’s so simple yet so brilliant and such a game-changer. I hope I’m not the only one that didn’t know this existed. Though, if I’d put my mind to it, maybe I would’ve figured it out myself. (Probably not.) I guess this is one of the things that keeps me loving this craft. Although I’ve been knitting for years and I like to consider myself a pretty advanced knitter, there is always something new to learn, some little surprise is out there to make life easier.
Thank you for actually explaining to me how knitting works, Meghan. You are free to judge me now.
I’m going to go re-knit those socks!