What is a row counter

I am new to knitting and this site, I have one scarf under my belt!! I want to make this purse http://www.yarniverse.com/page.htm?PG=FreePatterns
it calls for a row counter. What is this and is this something I should be adding to my sewing box? Do I really need this?

Also the scarf I made had 1 cable down the middle. I had my grandmother who lives far away get me started while she was here visiting. She showed me how to use the stitch holder to make a cable. Is this the best method or do I need to learn how to use a cable needle?
Thanks in advance!!


A row counter is a little gadget that help you keep track of how many rows you have knit. I have a couple of this kindthat slide onto the needles. Once you complete a row you turn the little dial. They are several types, but they all do the same thing… help you keep count! Not “necessary”, but very handy to have.

Or, they may be referring to this type of tool to help you figure out how many stitches you have per inch, which is very important when trying to measure gauge.

No, you do not need a cable needle to make cables. Any small object that can hold the stitches for you will work (cable needle, stitch holder, double pointed needle). It’s whatever works best for you. You can even make cables without using a cable needle/stitch holder! (Check out the video about halfway down on this page!)

They want you to use a row counter so you’ll get the cables done on the right rows, but you don’t need one. I just use a pencil and paper to mark down the rows.

I use a short DPN for a cable needle, but you can use anything you want or nothing if you learn how to cable w/o a needle.

Row counters help you to keep track of the number of rows that you have knit. You don’t [B][I]have[/I][/B] to have one, but they are quite useful if you don’t want to have to remember how many rows you’ve knit. I love mine because I can set down my knitting and come back to it later, and know exactly where I left off in the pattern.

As to the cable needle, it’s all a matter of personal preference. If you were okay with using the stitch holder, then use it, but a cable needle would be useful when making larger cables.

Cute purse!

A row counter keeps track of the rows you complete so you know where you are in a pattern. They all are dependent on you remembering to use them. They make some that you manually click after each row, some are electronic and you push a button. Some are barrels that go over your needles and you advance the wheel to the next number when you’re done with the row. Some people use a paper and pencil, either making hash marks or writing out however many rows (1, 2, 3, etc.) and cross them off as completed. There’s also beaded bracelets and some similar to stitch markers, that you move along with each row, changing the loop you’re in to correspond to the row.

Basically, any method works, it’s what work for YOU that’s important.

As for cable needles, you can use official cable needles, a spare DPN, a chopstick, a pencil, a stitch holder - anything that will hold your stitches for that brief time. If it’s a small cable, some people just knit them right off their left needle out of regular order, as that is essentially what a cable is. Again, it’s whatever works for you.

I’ve owned a row counter for years…never use it. I’m a big fan of pencil, paper.

If cables are small, I prefer to make them w/o cable ndl…it’s faster.

You need to find what works for you.



I’m going to the store tomorrow I’ll see about picking up a row counter and cable needle to add to my growing knitting and crochet box. Hopefully I’ll get the purse made and move on to a shrug without any problems (fingerscrossed)

[FONT=Comic Sans MS][SIZE=3][COLOR=darkorchid]http://martianmischief.blogspot.com/2006/04/i-make-my-own-row-counters_28.html Here’s a free row counter, always available and hard to loose while using it. It’s my favorite, although I’ve graduated to split rings in a chain, custom made for each project. The red one is the end or goal. I start with the top one and each row I go down one ring until I get to the red one. Then start over.[/COLOR][/SIZE][/FONT]