Keeping Track of Repeats

I have seen knitters use all kinds of different methods to keep track of pattern rows and repeats. Row counters, spreadsheets, a handwritten list of every row with a check mark beside it when that row is complete. I never liked any of these methods. What happens when you forget to click your row counter? Or lose your speadsheet? Or have to rip back and erase your check marks? No, I’ve found the best way to keep track of repeats in my knitting is in my knitting itself. A few years ago I discovered bulb safety pins, (shown above) which have become my favorite tools for this purpose, but before that I used coil-less safety pins or locking stitch markers.

The method is simple; whenever you perform the repeated action, (increase, decrease, cable, etc.) place a pin in a stitch on that row. In the photo above I inserted a pin into every decrease row. That way all I had to do was the count the rows from the last pin to determine when to make the next decrease. I left all the pins in place so I could easily tell how many decreases I had already made by counting the pins.


You can do the same thing with cable patterns. Here I placed pins in the first cable row of the pattern.

The cable row is repeated every eighth row, so when there are seven rows above the pins it is time to work the cable row again.

After the cable row is completed the pins are moved up to the current row.

In a pattern like the Bristol Raglan, where the raglan shaping and cable patterns are worked at the same time but at different rates, you can use pins to keep track of both sets of repeats at the same time. Just use two pins; one for the increases and another for the cables. With the pins right in your knitting you’ll know exactly when and where to perform the repeated action.

I hope you find this tip helpful, and thank you for knitting!