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The Fastest Way to Count Stitches And Rows In Knitting

Blog » Basic Knitting Techniques » The Fastest Way to Count Stitches And Rows In Knitting

The Fastest Way to Count Stitches And Rows In Knitting

Liat Gat - Founder

September 29, 2010

Counting stitches and rows in knitting is key to knowing where you are, what you've done, and how to get back on track if you get lost, which happens to the best of us. Here I show you the easiest and most efficient way to keep track in knitting.
child with a giant abacus
Counting your stitches fast is elementary!

Think learning to count is just for kids?

Not if you want to knit faster.

Many tricks that help you speed up your progress on a project don’t have to do with changing how you knit at all.

We all (hopefully) follow patterns and track our progress by counting stitches and rows.

One of the quickest fixes to a slow-moving project is learning a few ways to count faster.


Count Stitches By Fives For Fast Knitting

In my classes, I am amazed by how long knitters, even experts, take to count their stitches.

Changing how you count takes practice, but this video contains a scientific secret that will give you the motivation and encouragement to try this new way.

Counting By Fives
Counting By Fives

Counting by fives is absolutely the fastest way to count stitches in knitting.

Count Rows In Knitting By Using A Marker (Correctly)

Keeping track of how many rows you’ve knitted is vital for most knitting projects, yet many knitters wait until they think they’ve gone far enough to do anything about it.

Here’s a very simple trick that will make sure you never have to guess or think too hard when counting your rows.

This way, you’ll be absolutely sure how far you’ve gone, without any extra effort.

KNITFreedom - The Easiest Way To Count Rows In Knitting
KNITFreedom - The Easiest Way To Count Rows In Knitting

Placing a marker AROUND a stitch in “row 1” will help you count later.

Voila! I challenge you to start practicing these new ways of counting on your current knitting project – comment here and let me know what you think.

If you like this video tutorial on how to count stitches and rows in knitting, let me know by leaving a comment!

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42 thoughts on “The Fastest Way to Count Stitches And Rows In Knitting”

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  1. Thanks. I’m an experienced knitter but have always been a little fuzzy about counting rows. You made it perfectly clear!

    1. Elias - KnitFreedom Customer Happiness

      Hi Liz,

      I’m going to be passing your question along to Liat, but I want to let you know that she is currently on maternity leave (she is expecting her baby very soon) and will be taking up to 1-2 weeks to answer.

      Thanks so much for your patience and understanding!


    2. Samantha Stevens-Clay

      What it’s doing is…if you put it on row one and then after 9 more rows you put another one on then you know you have ten rows and so on.

  2. I have been counting by 3’s and multiplying, but by 5’s is certainly doable and much faster. As for rows, using a marker like that is a great idea. Thanks for that help.

    1. Elias - KnitFreedom Customer Happiness

      Hi Naomi,

      I’m going to be passing your comment along to Liat, but I want to let you know that she is currently on maternity leave (she is expecting her baby very soon) and will be taking up to 1-2 weeks to answer.

      Thanks so much for your patience and understanding!


  3. Tho I am going blind, I cannot give up my interest (academic, now) in knitting. I appreciate your tips so much. You are filling a great need.
    And I think I must be preparing for my next life, in which I will of course be a Champeen Knitter.
    Thanks, Liat


  4. I’ll have to try the 5@ a time counting, I did use your suggestion on counting the rows it really helps.
    I really enjoy being a lifetime member, anytime I need to do something I don’t know how to do or need a refresher, you’re my gal.
    Thanks so much.

    1. Hi Virginia,

      What an amazing comment to receive! Thank you so much! It’s because of students like you that we exist, so thank you so much for supporting us with your lifetime membership.

      Keep in touch!


  5. When row counting is needed, I use a vertical lifeline. This involves laying a lightweight yarn between two stitches on a row and continuing on in pattern for a set number of rows, say 6. When I get to that same position on the 6th row, I flip the end of the marker yarn to the front or the back (as the case may be) between the two corresponding stitches. Repeat again 6 rows later, leaving a ladder of marker yarn “stitches” running vertically that are quicker (for me) to count than individual rows all at once.

  6. I recently started counting by fives and it has been a game changer. I didn’t know I was doing it right. LOL I always find I forget what 10s number I am on when I count by 2. 5, 10 15 is so much easier.
    I love that row counting technique though.

  7. By trial and error I came to the counting 5 stitches at a time. Too bad I didn’t see this video before all the error! I appreciate the video on counting rows, as I seem to get crosseyed counting the v’s. Putting the marker around a stitch is such a great idea. I could use this in so many ways, as I always drop off my markers and cannot figure out how I keep doing it – it’s kind of a magic trick I can’t figure out.

    1. Haha your analogy made me laugh! Yes, putting the marker around the stitch keeps it from doing any “magic” and getting away from you. I’m so glad this video is going to help you. Reading your work with confidence makes you such a free knitter. :D

    2. i am amazed at the amount of knowledge, you offer us knitters, with high quality camera work and easy to follow instructions all for FREE. you are a true gift

      1. You are welcome! I actually would like to know if you have any suggestions for when you have like like 400 stitches on your needles that you need to count to make sure you have the right number of stitches when doing lace. I tried counting like 100 stitches and putting a marker, but with lace the stitches are always moving around (yo’s, k2tog, etc.). Thanks!

  8. I have a question. I am knitting a poncho (50030) by Lion Brand. Do two rows of Seed Stitch count as I row? It says to start the first color with 10 rows, so is that really 20 rows of seed stitch knitting?

    The pattern is not really clear on how to count them.

  9. I am a beginner Knitter and the pattern I have is a Wing Vest by Helen Koshak

    Cast on 81 sts roll 1 Knit
    roll 2 Purl
    roll 3 Knit
    roll 4 Purl
    Question ,,,,, roll 5 Knit 78 sts, place marker, Turn, you are now on the purl side, slip the next stitch purlwise, purl to end of row. It seems like the last 3 stitches are just there… I am still trying to read patterns…thank you for your help.. Sue Quinn Wichita Falls, Texas

  10. I am wondering if there is a verbal or written tutorial for counting rows and stitches? I am a blind knitter and love new tricks. I got the bind off dealing with the last stich by what you wrote so would be interested in more written easy descriptions.

    1. Lovette, I am so glad you commented! I’m really glad to know that you were able to follow the written instructions for neatening the last stitch. The good news is that I am going to be redoing my whole website, and eventually including written instructions like this for each video that I have, which is about 200 videos! I’ll also be including written instructions for all the paid videos that come in the classes, so you should, within maybe the next year, be able to follow along with and learn every technique I teach.

      Big hugs and hats off to you for knitting blind – you are my hero!

    1. It’s the same way! Just pull the knitting so that the rows spread out and you can see the top of each stitch. It’s actually easier on seed stitch because every purl bump in a column is 2 rows.

  11. I’ve always had difficulting counting rows, my eyes get crossed, I lose the v row I’m counting. Using a marker will solve all of that. I use a clicker to count rows going forward, but if I have to back up a few rows to fix a mistake (I knit lace most of the time), it’s really hard to keep track of which row I went back to. Backing up on the clicker is a hassle. Thanks so much for all your videos, they really help. I’m self taught so I don’t know about some techniques until I have to figure out how to do them in the middle of a project.

    1. Karen, that’s how I learned, too! Using a marker will help you so much. I actually just made a video about taking out mistakes in lace knitting – I’ll try to publish it as soon as possible!

  12. I've always counted my stitches in groups of three, which has worked well for me, but faster sounds better, so I'll give the 5's a try!

    I have always had a struggle counting rows, and can't begin to count how many times I've forgotten to click my row-counter gadget at the end of a completed row. I am really anxious to implement your row counting method.

    Your tricks are such commen-sense ideas, I really don't understand why I never thought to do them! ;-) I appreciate you sharing all your cleverness with those of us who are NOT so clever! ;-Þ

  13. Hi Olga,
    Thanks for your comment! I love the idea of marking your cardigans with row-groups of 10 for easy counting. That's a great tip for readers.

    As far as counting the stitches on the needle – they are a knitted row because I have already knitted them. I think no matter how you count, as long as you are consistent it will come out correctly.

    Thanks again for contributing!

  14. Hi! I've found your blog through Ravelry. You have very useful tips!
    Thank you for the 5s tip. I count in 3-3-4, 10s, basically. Work for me, but I might try 5s too.
    As for counting rows, I use a stitch markers of 2 types: one small and several bigger ones. I don't mark first row, after I knit 5, I put a small SM around a stitch, just like you do (but after I knit the row, not during, like this it's not in the way when I knit next stitch). Then after I knit another 5 rows, I put a big SM, which marks 10. After next 5 I move the small SM, knit another 5 and put another big one. Like this you can quickly see how many 10s you've done already, very useful for long stockinette cardigans!
    I'm not sure if I understand why you count the stitches on the needle as a knitted row though. They're yet to become V's, it's a "row to be". So in your example I'd say that you've already knit 25 rows and are about to knit row 26.
    Thank you again, and count me in your followers!
    Greetings from Belgium, Olga

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