The Secret to Counting Large Numbers of Stitches

<Congrats to Kristen for winning the giveaway. Kristen, I have sent you a message via Ravelry for your address…>

After infinite failed attempts trying to count large numbers of stitches…invariably foiled by a husband that urgently needs to know where his car keys are Right This Second (on stitch 353 of 355, no less), a toddler that has to go potty Right This Second, a phone ringing while said toddler is sleeping (I swore I turned that ringer off!), or simply my own wandering brain (grocery lists, bills to pay, places to someday visit when Husaband finally agrees to get on an air plane), or, of course, slipped fingers…

I have figured out The Secret.

It is quite simple, really. I don’t know why it took me so very many years to work out A System. There are only two steps. 

1. Don’t drink and count. Water is okay. Vodka is not. Especially if you are a light weight like me and feel the stresses of life lift off your shoulders three sips into a mild mojito. 

First count. Then make a cocktail. Seriously. This alone works wonders. 

2. Place a stitch marker every 50 stitches. Not the cute stitch markers that we all want to but off Etsy in droves…little lambs on loops, etc. 

None of that. 

Use the ugly cheap stitch markers that clasp. Or if you have cute stitch markers that clasp, fine. Just make sure they clasp. 

Count every 50 stitches (although you could adjust to count every 20, 30, what have you…depending on your total stitch count and mental acumen for the day…let’s be honest…some days are worse than others). Then clasp a marker around your needle. Count another 50 and repeat. (I don’t do this while knitting the row, although you could if you wanted to get tricky.)

This way, when your significant other suddenly needs to find the remote control because the game is about to start…and it is apparently too much to ask that this significant other (a) find the remote him/herself or (b) wait five minutes for you to finish, all hope is not last. Instead of starting from the beginning, at most you have to recount from the last marker or 50 stitches (better than 359 stitches). 

Or, if, heaven forbid, you reach the end and do not the have the correct number of stitches (I HATE IT WHEN THIS HAPPENS!), you can recount each segment and narrow in on the error. 

When you are satisfied the remote has been located and you have the correct number of stitches, you can unclasp the stitch markers from your needle and carry on.

You’re welcome.

Also, I always count in twos. But you probably already knew that.


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  • Reply Talya June 11, 2015 at 3:50 am

    I try to count in fives. It seems to go much faster…

  • Reply Hannah June 11, 2015 at 8:40 pm

    Good advice Andrea and very humorous 🙂 my brain always seems to go fuzzy when I have to count stitches over 100…

  • Reply jrenken88 June 12, 2015 at 7:50 pm

    I count every 50 too, otherwise it just makes you lose your mind and count lol!

  • Reply karen June 14, 2015 at 3:56 pm

    same here, every fifty! and I recount to make sure 🙂

  • Reply Little Church Knits June 17, 2015 at 11:43 am

    I’m a new follower…but I think I shall enjoy this blog very, very much indeed 😉 We clearly have the same husband.

  • Reply Ten Knitting Lessons I Learned This Year (The Hard Way, Of Course) - This Knitted Life December 20, 2015 at 11:32 am

    […] to be true. This year alone I have learned new skills and techniques: grafting, sock knitting, the secret to counting large numbers of stitches, and how to be mindful of my gauge, among other important […]

  • Reply Gaby February 17, 2016 at 3:46 pm

    I’ve re-taken knitting after several years. I’m having a hard time right now with my knitting project. I’ve been counting in twos, but somehow lose count. Geat advice!

  • Reply Nicoent June 27, 2016 at 5:43 am

    I’ve been using this trick for years, it’s saved me many times because I like to make infinity scarves in the round…..long ones! I’m working on one that’s over 550 stitches right now.
    The only difference for me is that I don’t clip the marker over the needle. I slip it below the needle between the stitches, over the “chain” part. I leave the clips on while joining in the round because it helps to visually see if the cast on is twisted or not and gives it some weight to stay untwisted. I usually place a marker every 25 stitches.

  • Reply Pauline July 3, 2016 at 6:10 am

    counting in fives, is much faster…

  • Reply Patricia McDermott September 9, 2016 at 5:03 am

    Wonderful blog. Love all I have read.

  • Reply Mihaela September 20, 2016 at 5:21 am

    I count every 10 and put a stitch marker, lol. I guess I’ll get better at counting in a few more years of knitting ;D

  • Reply Emily January 4, 2017 at 1:16 am

    I count in 3s

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