How do you keep from losing your place?

I don’t know if this is only a problem for beginners, but I get intimidated looking at a pattern that has several different stitch techniques in a single round because I am afraid I will lose my place, sort of like when you are counting up to a large number and stumble just for a moment and then have to start over from the beginning because you are worried you will have miscounted if you take a guess.

I am about to start the Zigzag lace pattern on my cowl and there are 28 rounds of 168 sts with various SSK and YO and other things, things I have never even tried before! However, I am not worried about the technique, only losing track of where I am in a round.

I can knit with the TV on usually when it is a simple pattern, but I have to concentrate on this to make sure I don’t skip a step. I have a pen and paper beside me, I have been marking my completed rounds to keep my place, but now I think I am going to do that for the stitches in every round.

So, how do you do it? Do you have a notepad to keep a tally on, or is it just second nature at this point?

Hi there! There are several ways to keep track of your knitting. Lots of people use stitch markers, which you can buy (anything from simple plastic clips to ornate jeweled versions), or make (some people just use a small piece of different-colored yarn, or you can cut soda straws into little round pieces, for example). So, say, if there is a pattern repeat every 10 to 20 stitches, you can place a marker to help remind you. You can count to yourself or make tally marks on paper.
In time, you will also be able to “read” the knitting, differentiating how a purl stitch looks different than a knit stitch, same thing with yarn overs and SSKs. Then you can visually tell where you are.

You are right that it helps to focus on your work rather than watching TV or talking with someone while you knit.

I can’t say if it becomes second nature, because I have only been knitting for a year myself, and can still wind up losing track. In that case I “tink” back until I figure out where I am. HTH! I’m sure you will figure out a good way of doing it!

I second everything Jinx said. You might also think about inserting a lifeline just in case you need to rip out a row or two. It may also help to use sticky notes on either a lace chart or the pattern text. Good luck with the cowl!

I second and third what Jinx and Salmonmac said. Stitch markers and lifelines are sanity savers!

Generally speaking, when working a pattern, I will knit the entire pattern repeat, that way I always start on row 1. However, if it’s just a type of stitch. I will work to the end of the row.

Yes to all of the above. I’ll add just one. When using stitch markers, always make sure that the one you use to mark the end of a round is a different color or type than the rest so you don’t confuse it with the others that are within the round.

I like using lots of stitch markers when I’m working really long rows or rounds. If I’m working 120 stitches, I’ll sometimes mark every 25–then, if I lose count:wall: , I only have to start counting after the last marker

Have to wholeheartedly agree with all of our answers! [B]Lifelines and Stitch Markers![/B] I’ve even used different sets of colors across long rows, then marked those colors on my pattern using colored pens. Anything to keep myself oriented.

I’m working on the Kathy Kelly Cabled Capelet now. Oy vey. Top down, starting with 54 neckline stitches, increasing to 500 by row 93 and binding off.

No chart provided. Line by line by line written directions, each row different. So I’m using post-it sticky notes to mask the rows above and below the current working row to prevent my old eyes from jumping to another row!

Now I’ll tell ya another secret I use on these kinds of rows: at the end of each RS ‘working’ busy row, and [B]before[/B] turning the work around to knit the WS, [B]I count[/B] my stitches between each stitch marker, just to be sure no increases have been forgotten!

Does this take extra time? [B]It certainly does![/B] But if I discover a boo-boo on that row, I can tink back to that boo-boo and fix it [B]now[/B] instead of many rows later.

On the capelet I’m knitting now, the stitches between each stitch marker have increased to 35 (from the original 6)… the rows have become more complicated… so after I pass each stitch marker, I stop and count stitches. Just to be sure all my stitches are there.

I hate losing track or losing count. But by taking careful precautions, going slow & accurate, using tools like stitch markers, lifelines, post-it notes, colored pens & highlighters…all these things help me stay on track.

That capelet is looking very nice! I don’t envy you working without a chart, oy vey doesn’t begin to convey.

All the ideas above are great, beginner or not, keeping track of where you are can be challenging.

One pattern I’ve worked from has something like 54 rows. With this one I’ve used a magnetic board to hold my pattern, a couple of magnets to hold paper which blocks from my view any of the rows below the one that I currently work on.

I do all of the above, PLUS

–different [B]sizes[/B], as well as [B]colors[/B], of stitch markers. Maybe the borders in one kind of marker, repeats in another?

–make [B]my own chart[/B] from the written instructions. (I did this on New Year’s Eve, when there appeared to be a contradiction in the written instrux.)

–I’m another who marks regular intervals on long runs of the same stitch. I’m up to 270 or so stitches on each row of a growing triangular shawl; there’s [B]a marker every 25 stitches[/B] for me, too, like sgtpam.

–I keep [B]row count on a tally sheet[/B]. At the end of each row on a counted (vs. measured) piece, before I turn the work, I make a tally mark with pencil (I try never to have pen near my yarn) so that I’ll know which row I’m on when I come back to the piece after the inevitable interruption(s) of life. The tally sheet is usually paper-clipped to the pattern.

If I’m knitting from a chart, especially lace, I put a bunch of sticky notes on the chart itself to mark where I am in the pattern. In other words, there is a line of stickies all the way across the page above the line I am currently working on. In addition, in lace there are usually a bunch of yo and k2tog in a row. I will count them to see how many I have to do instead of trying to look at them one at a time.

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I use different ways depending on what I need. To keep track of what row I’m on in my pattern I often use removable highlighter tape. I just move it down as I change rows and replace when necessary.

Sometimes I use a hash marks to keep track of a certain number of rows. Like if a pattern says to knit 6 rows I make marks ///

On the knitting itself I use markers to separate pattern repeats. I also use linked markers to keep track of rows in between something like cables.

I do the old paper and pencil routine. Print out the pattern. Cross off each row number or the whole line as you complete it. If it’s a complicated pattern, do it one section at a time crossing off the segment as you go. I make it a rule never to put my work down unless I have completed a row so I know which row to begin with the next time. Once in a while, inconsiderate people will try to talk to me as I’m working through a difficult part. I will read the directions off or continue counting out loud in a very loud voice so they can hear me. It’s my way of saying, Shut up and don’t distract me, Stupid.

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Hi sleepingcetra, try making one of these out of cardboard :slight_smile:

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Hello- I don’t know one knitter, experienced or otherwise who can watch TV and do a pattern! Especially one like yours, it takes concentration. The replies below are perfect. Don’t watch TV while making a pattern like this, not even for experienced knitters. I hand write down the basics of the pattern, then I use a highlighter and a little tab that sticks beside which row I am on. Also, when you get more experienced the pattern “rhythm” becomes more easily remembered, thus causing you less grief in patterns. Someone below posted an image of a piece of cardboard with a window cut out that highlights which part you are on. Genius!

If you find yourself making mistakes constantly on this pattern, it must MAY be too complex for a beginner, no matter how appealing the pattern is, I personally would stick to a simpler one myself.

I use loom bands :slight_smile:

When I start a new project, I fire up Word and I type a sheet with the written instructions and include with it the repeats, ex: a 1 2 3 4 5, etc. for as many rows as there are to the pattern. I then just duplicate the repeat sequence down the page(s), print and put a circle around the row I have just completed. I was lost until I learned this method. Stitch markers are also a life saver.

Also, typing out the pattern (if you use written instructions) while time consuming, also helps to familiarize you with the pattern.

However, I have learned there is no substitute for understanding what the pattern looks like after it is knit. If, say on a given row you are supposed to knit 3tog, and there is a nupp in the middle of the 3 stitches there should always be a nupp in the middle of the k3tog on that row repeat. If you get to it and the nupp isn’t in the middle, oops, an error somewhere! If you watch for things like this throughout it can help you catch and fix errors before they become a lost cause.

If I could sit and knit the day away, I would happily do so! Alas, it is not to be (yet!), but someday!

Happy knitting all!

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I use an app called Knit Companion, you can upload from Ravelry or Dropbox and it has loads of little widgets for helping you remember your row/stitch/chart key. Brilliant.

I have the app and never used it. I sometimes use the highlighter tape for marking rows, too. You can write on it as well.

that’s what i do-, fat old lady in PJs (are you ME?? I am in my PJs and am old and very unthin at the moment). I find using apps and digital stuff too cumbersome actually. I also do the counting loudly when someone speaks to me during a counting session. So funny- we are too alike.

I also stick my needles into the project where I left off.