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December 06, 2004

Shut Up I'm Counting

pins help countNona, why do you have a bunch of pins hanging off your knitting?  Well my friend, without those pins I would have replied to your inquiring question with, "Shut up I'm counting".  Because of the pins, I can be much more polite and calmly reply that safety pins are a wonderful way to mark reference points, to count rows, and to track increases or decreases. 

Catherine Lowe makes heavy use of the safety pin in her patterns.   For example, Catherine staunchly believes that all lengths should be measured in rows instead of inches.  What measures 12 inches today may measure 12.5 inches tomorrow, while a row is a row any day of the week.  I'm currently working on the back of my pullover and am happily plodding along in good-ole stockinet stitch for 105 rows.  Even though nona loves numbers, she gets annoyed if she has to count too much.  You see, it's hard to count and talk at the same time and nona loves to talk.  To help minimize the counting -- and thus maximize the talking -- Catherine has you place a safety pin every 10 rows.  It's much easier to count safety pins by tens then rows by ones.

Maggie Righetti in Knitting In Plain English is also a big fan of the saftey pin.  Here is her suggestion for using saftey pins to track increases or decreases:

There had to be a better way found to keep track of increases and decreases.  . . .  And I found the easy way.  . . .  purchase packets of very tiny safety pins, coilless ones when possible.  These little safety pins are made into a chain at the beginning of a sequence of increases or decreases and fastened into the work.  If the directions say, "Increase 1 stitch on each side every 6th row 10 times," we make a chain of eighteen safety pins.  ...

...  remove one safety pin from the chain each time [you] make an increase or decrease and insert it into the increased or decreased stitch.  [You] can then very easily see where [you] made the last increase or decrease, when [you] made it, and how many more [you] have to make.  A methodically lazy way of saving time, effor, and energy!

Let me tell you, this tip has been of endless use to me.  I love this book of Maggie's -- it is full of good humor and wonderful tips and techniques.  Knitting In Plain English was written in the mid 1980s and was probably the Stitch 'N Bitch of its time. 

December 6, 2004 in Project - Catherine Lowe Kit, Tips and Techniques | Permalink


Hi Nona,
I attempted to ask this question on your "Ask Nona", but I fear it did not arrive at your end of the universe. Where can I buy Catherine Lowe kits? I have subscribed to the "Ravell'd Sleeve" seminar-by-mail. The booklets mention kits, but there is no info on what the kits consist of, or where I can purchase them.
Reveal your source, please.
Judith, freezing in Ontario, Canada.

Posted by: judith | Feb 12, 2005 3:01:32 PM

Thanks for the safety pin tip for counting increases and decreases. I'm always losing count when I try to talk, watch t.v. or do anything else while I knit. Enjoy reading your blog!

Posted by: Lisa | Feb 5, 2006 10:43:33 AM

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