For instance, I have a little trick with crochet cotton that makes one of the world's cheapest and handiest row counters. As it dangles from my knitting, people look at it curiously and wonder. I tell them that it helps me count to ten, saving my eyes from counting 60 rows in black sock yarn after sunset!
With my string counter, I avoid carrying around a row counter or a notepad. And my socks, mittens, sleeves and sweater fronts can still match exactly.
When working cables, lace or pattern stitches, it becomes an extra check for recognizing when it's time to cross cables or know where I am in the pattern.
In the photo above, I can easily tell that I am knitting round 4 because the knitting needle is in the 4th loop.
The string marker is really simple to make:
- Take about a 30 inch (75-ish cm) length of light-coloured crochet cotton and fold it in half. Near the fold, tie an overhand knot leaving a space sized to fit easily on your knitting needles. This is loop/hole number one.
- Tie another nine knots making another nine spaces for a total of 10 spaces.
- Because my eyes and hands have been known to play childish tricks on me, I now have a trick which sometimes outwits them: I colour in every other loop with a "Sharpie" or permanent black magic marker. All of the even numbered spaces are now black.
And it's simple to use:
- Place loop #1 onto your knitting needle at the beginning of the round.
- Treat it almost like any stitch marker: when you come across it on round 2, just slip it over to your right needle, but into the 2nd loop (which is black).
- On round 3, slip it onto your right needle into the 3rd loop (which is white).
- Round 4 is the 4th loop (black) - you get the idea.
When I have finished 10 rounds, I write the number 10 on either a tag attached to my knitting or on my pattern. If there is no pen handy, no problem. When I think I'm done, it's far easier to count 60 rows when I know I'm dealing with multiples of 1o. If my counting is off by a little, I still know that it's 60 rounds - not 59 or 61.
I never place the yarn between two purl stitches because the working yarn will lay over the string and trap it there. Not a problem ...just fiddly. When working on straight needles, I hang the marker on the non-purl side.
Another favourite use comes while working decrease rounds on socks. If alternate rounds need decreases, then I decrease when I'm in a "white loop" (odd-numbered rounds). I knit even (no decreases) when I'm in a "black loop" (even-numbered rounds). If I put my knitting down for awhile, I simply look at the marker: if it's in a white loop, I decrease; if it's in a black loop, I don't. No need to carry around a pattern or a notepad - it's all attached to my knitting!
Give this string marker a try and you'll give your eyes and brain some rest. I'm sure you'll soon enjoy its advantages.