Keeping your place when knitting lace?

When working a lace pattern (or any complex pattern), if you have to put your work down for a while, how do you keep track of which row you’re on? This is my first lace project, an 8-row pattern repeat, and I haven’t learned to recognize which row I’m on yet. I’ve tried writing it down on a piece of paper, but there must be a better way. Does anyone have a trick that might help?

I put a stitch marker after every pattern repeat. I use a chart keeper from KnitPicks, so after every row, I just move the magnet up a row on the chart. It works well for written out directions, too, but not as efficient in my mind.

You can also use post-it notes above the row you’re working on to keep track.

Good old pencil and paper work, too, just to jot down what row you’ve been doing when you put it down in case whatever method you’re using to keep track gets moved.

Post it note

I also try to create a grid (either by hand or in MS Excel) so I can check off each row as I go along. Old post-it’s don’t always stick so it’s good to always have one extra if you’re traveling. I had a post it fall off once so I don’t want that to happen again.

Then after every few rows I do a lifeline, and make a note of what row the lifeline is so you don’t rip back and have any idea what you’re ripping back to.

I’ve also heard people put them on flashcards and keep them in a ziplock. That way when you’re done with a row you just put the old card in the back of the deck, and that way they can’t get messed up.

My idea is like minkoo’s. I write out each row of the pattern repeat on an index card. 8 row repeat, 8 cards. Then I put holes in the upper left hand corner and put a metal ring through them so it is like the cards you might have to present a speech. Then I flip the page after each row. If a page is up, it’s the row I’m on, but you need to be careful that the pages don’t get messed with (by people or pets)or mixed up if you are moving your project. You could put a clip on them or something so they can’t get changed in transit.

Great ideas all! Thanks you guys. I’m going to try the index cards AND the post-it notes.

I threaded a cord through a very simple plastic row counter and put it around my neck. Then after every row I turn it up one number, corresponding with the pattern row numbers. After a break or an interruption I only have to look at the counter to see which pattern row I’m on.

I hate my row counter… it changes every time you brush against it giving the wrong count later, but I made some row-counting bracelets I like a lot better. You might like to cross out each row after you have done it, or put a pencil mark beside it, and when you have done all 8, rub out the little pencil marks and start again, or put the sheet in a plastic sleeve and wipe pen marks off it, etc…

Here’s what I’ve come up with based on some of these great suggestions. I didn’t have any index cards in the house, so I printed the pattern on my printer, covered the page with clear contact paper, and cut the individual row instructions apart. The ring in the corner keeps them in order. After each row I just flip the page, and if I want to take my knitting somewhere I use the paper clip to keep them from shifting. This works great! Thank you all so much.