How To Count Rows In Knitting

How to Count Rows in Knitting (With Video Tutorial)

Are you a knitting enthusiast struggling to keep track of your rows? You’re not alone. In our guide today, we’ll simplify the process and teach you effective methods to count rows in various types of stitches like Stockinette, Garter, Ribbing, and Seed stitch.

Knowing how to count rows is important to ensure your finished knitting pattern looks great. But don’t worry, with a little practice, it will become second nature!

Let’s unravel this knotty problem together!

Main Highlights

  • Understanding how to identify the stitches in different knitting stitch patterns is essential for accurate row counting.
  • There are various tools available, such as stitch counters and knitting apps, that can make counting rows easier and more efficient.
  • Different types of knitting stitches require specific counting methods, such as using “V” shapes for stockinette stitch or marking every tenth row in ribbing.

In this article:

Basics of Counting Rows in Knitting

In the basics of counting rows in knitting, you will learn how to identify the stitches in rows and use tools to count them effectively.

Identifying the Stitches in Rows

Grasping the basics of identifying stitches in rows is an essential skill for successful knitting. Each stitch type has a unique appearance, with knit stitches showcasing V-shapes and purl stitches displaying upside-down U shapes, or “frowns.” A single V shape or frown represents one row of knitting.

For first-timers, it’s important to note that the cast-on row and live stitches on your needle don’t count when tallying your rows. In more complex patterns like cable knitting, look for ladders above holes between cables – they’ll be your guide to counting accurately.

If you’re struggling visually, use the tip of a knitting needle or yarn needle to point at each stitch as you count; it simplifies the process considerably according to Knitting Specialist Jen Webber from The Quarter Stitch in New Orleans.

Using Tools to Count Rows

In the art of knitting, having the right tools can simplify the process of counting rows. Here are some practical and handy options available to you:

  1. Stitch counters: These devices, available in manual or digital versions, are excellent for keeping track of your rows. Just click or press a button each time you finish a row.
  2. Knitting Apps: Downloadable applications such as BeeCount Knitting Counter, Knitting and Crochet Buddy, and Knitting Row Counter offer automated solutions for counting stitches.
  3. Pen and Paper: A traditional yet effective way to count is by marking on paper after finishing every row.
  4. Stitch markers: Particularly useful for larger projects, these markers can be placed after every tenth row allowing you to count in groups of tens.
  5. Counting Boards: Another low-tech method, these boards help visually track progress.
  6. DIY tools: From abacus bracelets to tally counters, these methods combine creativity with functionality in the quest to accurately keep track of knitting rows.

Detailed Guide to Count Rows in Various Stitch Types

To count rows in knitting, it is important to first identify the type of stitch pattern that is being used. Is it a garter stitch, stockinette stitch, ribbing, seed stitch? This will determine how you will count the rows. Once you identify the stitch, you will find that counting rows is a simple process.

Stockinette Stitch

The Stockinette Stitch, known for its classic ‘V’ shapes, is essential to master in the knitting world. This stitch pattern stands out on a smooth fabric surface providing a distinct texture and appearance that adds interest to any knitted piece.

If you’re a beginner knitter, it is also important to learn how to count rows in Stockinette stitch. Why? This is one of the knitting stitches that used in many patterns, so you will find yourself using it over and over. This basic stitch is created by knitting and purling stitches, results in a smooth and even fabric. To ensure your project is coming out the right size, it’s important to be able to count both the knit and purl rows.

What is stockinette stitch in knitting

For accurate counting of rows in stockinette stitch, focus not on the loops on your needle but instead on those V-shapes below it. Each ‘V’ you spot equates to one knit row. By running your finger or the tip of your knitting needle under each ridge while counting aloud can simplify this process and ensure an accurate count every time.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to count rows in Stockinette stitch:

  1. To start, take a look at your work and identify the side that is currently facing you. This will be the side that you count as the right side of the fabric (or RS). On the RS, every row will begin with a knit stitch and end with a purl stitch. So, to count rows on the RS, count each knit stitch as one row.
  2. Once you have counted the number of rows in your knitting, it is also important to keep track of the rows properly. This will help you follow the pattern instructions accurately. Furthermore, this will also allow you to see your progress and gauge how much more work needs doing.

Garter Stitch

The garter stitch is one of the simplest and most common stitch patterns in knitting. It involves knitting every row, creating a fabric with ridges or horizontal lines. When counting rows in garter stitch, it’s important to remember that each ridge consists of two rows.

What is Garter stitch in knitting

So, if you see three ridges, you have actually knitted six rows. This pattern is great for beginner knitters as it produces a reversible fabric with good drape and can be used for a variety of projects like scarves, blankets, and dishcloths.

The number of rows you have completed will be even if your tail is on the same side as your working yarn.

  1. The first step, is to check that you needle’s point should be to the right.
  2. Do not include the cast-on row (which is the yarn you have on your knitting needle), when counting the garter stitch ridges.
  3. Remember one thing there are two rows for each ridge.
  4. If you have counted 12 ridges, it means you have knitted almost 24 rows.

So, if your tail is on the side that is opposite from your working yarn, it means you have completed an odd number of rows. In this case:

  1. Your needle’s point should be to the right.
  2. Do not include the cast-on row when calculating the garter stitch ridges.
  3. There are two rows for each ridge. You have to knit 24 rows if you count 12 ridges.
  4. The last row is the one that is on the needle. The number of rows must be odd.

To keep track of your row count in garter stitch, using tools like stitch counters or marking every tenth row with a stitch marker can be helpful.


Ribbing is a common stitch pattern used in knitting to create stretchy and flexible edges on garments such as cuffs, hems, and necklines. It is typically made by alternating knit stitches and purl stitches in the same row or across multiple rows.

When counting rows in ribbing, it’s important to remember that each pair of knit and purl stitches should be treated as one row. For example, if you have 10 pairs of knit and purl stitches in your ribbing pattern, you would count this as 10 rows.

To keep track of your progress, you can use tools like stitch counters or markers placed after every tenth row. These simple techniques will help ensure accurate row counting while working on ribbed knitting projects.

Seed Stitch

Seed stitch is a popular knitting pattern that adds texture and visual interest to your projects. To count rows in seed stitch, you need to understand the unique characteristics of this stitch.

Seed stitch consists of alternating knit and purl stitches within the same row, creating a bumpy texture reminiscent of scattered seeds. When counting rows in seed stitch, it’s important to remember that each “V” shape represents one row.

By visually identifying these V shapes or using tools like a knitting needle or yarn needle to point at each stitch, you can accurately count your rows and keep track of your progress.

Counting Rows as You Go Vs Counting After Completion

Counting rows in knitting can be done in two different ways – as you go or after completing your project. Counting rows as you go allows for real-time tracking of your progress and helps ensure accuracy throughout the knitting process.

This method involves keeping track of each row immediately after completing it, either by using a row counter or marking the completed row with stitch markers.

On the other hand, counting rows after completion is another common approach. This method involves waiting until your project is finished before going back and counting all the rows from start to finish.

Although this approach may require more time at the end, it can be helpful when working on more complex patterns or larger projects where it’s easier to count all the rows at once.

Whether you choose to count rows as you go or after completion depends on personal preference and the nature of your project. Both methods have their advantages, but ultimately it’s important to find a system that works best for you.

By accurately counting your knitting rows, you’ll have better control over your progress and ensure consistency in your finished product.

Practical Tips for Effective Row Counting

– Use row counters and stitch markers to keep track of your progress.

– Marking rows with stitch markers can help you easily identify where you left off and prevent confusion while counting rows.

– Utilize knitting apps or counters like BeeCount Knitting Counter, Knitting and Crochet Buddy, or Knitting Row Counter for a more digital approach to tracking your rows.

– If you prefer a more traditional method, consider using tally marks with pen and paper.

– Take advantage of knitting techniques that create visual indicators, such as “V” shapes for knit stitches or horizontal ridges in certain stitch patterns. These can make it easier to count your rows accurately.

Using row counters

Row counters are a handy tool that can greatly simplify the process of counting rows in knitting. These small devices can be attached to your knitting needles or placed on your wrist like a bracelet, making it easy to keep track of your progress.

Row counters typically have a dial or buttons that you can click or turn with each completed row, allowing you to quickly and accurately count how many rows you’ve completed. This eliminates the need to visually identify and count stitches, saving you time and reducing the chances of making mistakes.

Many knitting apps also offer built-in row counters for convenient digital tracking. By using a row counter, you can ensure accurate row counting without any hassle or confusion.

Marking rows with stitch markers

To make counting rows in knitting easier, it is recommended to mark every tenth row using stitch markers. This simple technique allows you to track your progress more efficiently and reduces the risk of losing count.

By placing a stitch marker after every tenth row, you can easily identify groups of ten rows at a glance, saving you time and frustration. Whether you’re working on a large project or just want to keep better track of your knitting, marking rows with stitch markers is a practical tip that can greatly enhance your row counting experience.

Video Tutorial

Often, the easiest way to learn new knitting techniques, is to actually watch a demonstration of what is being explained! This is true for all knitters, but especially beginners. Which is why we have created this short, but easy to follow video tutorial which explains how to count rows of knitting.

In this video we go over not only how to count rows, but also how to count stitches.

The first place you always want to start when counting your stitches, is right after you cast-on. To count your stitches on the cast-on edge, is to count how many loops you have on your needles; count one after the order.

In the video, you can also see how we have used a stitch marker. We have used it to keep track of how many stitches we have. You can use a stitch marker every 5, 10, 20 or even 50 stitches. See what fits your project and needs best, and go from there. There is definitely no shame in using stitch markers!

If you ever need to count your stitches while you’re in the middle of a project, simply stop and count how many loops you have on your knitting needle.

In the video we also show you how to count your rows in stockinette and garter stitch.

Again here for stockinette stitch rows, every ‘V’ counts as a row. This is the simplest way to count your rows. The top ‘V’ show the first row, and then the following ‘V’ is the next row, and so on. Do not count live stitches, as rows, which are the ‘loops’ on your knitting needle.

In garter stitch, each double set of loops (also referred to as garter ridge) counts as one row. So here we can see a first and a second row.

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Common Challenges and Solutions in Counting Rows

Navigating through the intricacies of counting rows in knitting can pose a few challenges. Here are common problems and their solutions:

1. Difficulty in identifying stitches: This is a common problem for beginners. You can solve this by looking for V shapes, which are knit stitches, and upside-down U shapes which represent garter stitches.

2. Miscount of rows: This can occur when you’re not sure where to start or stop your count. Always start the count on the row above the cast-on edge and stop before you reach the knitting needle.

3. Struggling with large projects: For bigger knitting projects, it can be difficult to keep track of count. Use of stitch counters or stitch markers can aid in easier counting and tracking of rows.

4. Use of knitting machines: For those using knitting machines, adjusting to count rows can be a challenge. Most machines come with stitch adjusters, so it is advisable to refer to the manual to locate them within your machine.

5. Inconsistent stitch size: This could lead to erroneous count. One solution is to maintain consistent tension while knitting to ensure even stitch sizes.

6. Time consumption: Counting rows can be time-consuming. Expert knitters like Jen Webber suggest marking each tenth row with a different color stitch marker for a quicker count.

Each challenge faced while counting rows in knitting has a solution. By understanding these common issues and how to solve them, you can enhance your knitting skills and create beautiful, mistake-free projects.

Before you go…

Counting rows in knitting is an essential skill for every knitter. Whether you’re a beginner or an expert, accurately tracking your progress can ensure consistent stitch patterns and flawless finishes.

By understanding the basics of identifying stitches and utilizing tools like row counters and markers, you’ll be able to confidently count rows throughout your knitting journey. So grab your needles, keep those Vs and frowns in sight, and enjoy the satisfaction of creating beautiful projects one row at a time!

If you have any questions or comments, do leave them below.

Until next time, happy knitting!


1. Why is it important to count rows in knitting?

Counting rows in knitting is important for keeping track of your progress and ensuring that your project turns out the way you want it to. It helps you maintain consistent sizing, pattern repetition, and overall symmetry.

2. How do I count rows in knitting?

To count rows in knitting, place a stitch marker at the end of each row or use a row counter tool. Start counting from the first complete row below the needle and count each ridge or bump as one row.

3. What should I do if I lose track of my row count?

If you lose track of your row count while knitting, carefully examine your work and identify a distinctive stitch pattern that marks a particular row. Then, start counting from there to get back on track.

4. Can I use different methods to count rows in knitting?

Yes, there are various methods to help you count rows in knitting depending on personal preference and project complexity. Some knitters like using pencil-and-paper tally systems while others prefer digital counters or apps designed specifically for this purpose. Experiment with different methods until you find one that works best for you.

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