2 Easy and Best Ways to Count Rows in Knitting

From identifying stitches and counting rows to using different row counters, we cover the easiest ways you can keep track of the rows during knitting.
Jean Chaney
Jean Chaney
Research Writer
Jean is the brains behind her fashion label. She's a whiz with a needle and thread, and has been sewing since she was old enough to hold a pair of scissors. Jean has always read more
Reviewed By
Isabel Misner
Isabel Misner
Expert Consultant
A professional seamstress. Isabel has her own video blog where she shares her experience about all the aspects of sewing – from choosing suitable materials to step-by-step read more
Last updated: August 31, 2023
JustToSew is reader-supported. We may earn a commission through products purchased using links on this page. Learn more about our process here

Regular knitters know their work is not a simple one-time job. They can’t just start and finish in one sitting. Putting down your work means forgetting which row you were on. Sometimes you can lose track of the rows even during knitting. This is why it is important to learn how to count rows in knitting.

There are ways to count rows while knitting, some include external tools, while others simply require items you can easily find at home. We have compiled a detailed guide that teaches you how to count rows in knitting like a pro.

Identifying Stitches and Counting Rows

Reading your knitting is an essential skill. It’s what differentiates an amateur knitter from a great knitter! However, this requires knowledge of the types of stitches you are doing and how you can read your knitting to count the rows for different types of stitches.

Reading your knitting by identifying stitches and counting rows will help you avoid unraveling the whole process in case of mixes and mistakes, saving you a lot of time!

The Most Common Types of Stitches

In order to correctly count the rows during knitting, it is important to identify your stitches and distinguish between whether you knitted a stitch or purled it. You also need to be able to tell which lines you see make up a stitch. This can easily be done by identifying certain shapes.

Let’s see how to count stitches.

1st Way: V and U Shapes

  1. Forget about the stitches in your cast at the bottom of the row and the stitches on your needle. Start counting rows from above the cast up till the row right before your needle.
  2. Look for V shapes in what you have knitted so far. This is because every V represents a stitch in a row. So you can start by counting all the V’s in a straight line to count the number of rows in the knitted pattern.
  3. In a garter stitch, the easiest way to recognize stitches is to look for U shapes. This also works if you are counting from the purl side of the project. Every upside-down U represents a stitch in a single row. This can be counted from top to bottom to identify the number of rows knitted.

2nd Way: Using Row Counters

2 Easy and Best Ways to Count Rows in Knitting

If you are wondering hot to count knit rows that doesn’t involve manual counting and that is using row counters. A row or stitch counter is a tool that can be easily placed at the end of your needle or kept by your side while knitting.

  1. You can simply punch the button on the row counter to mark the number of rows you have knitted, without worrying about losing count and starting over. Some stitch counters are easy to use, especially with one hand, so you do not have to pause working to tally the count. If you are looking for a simple button press row counter, consider the Herrschners Susan Bates Digital Row Counter Accessory, which can be easily worn around your finger like a convenient ring!
  2. Another type of row counter is one that comes with a locking feature. You can lock numbers to avoid accidentally pressing the button and messing up the count. One of the best-reviewed row counters with a locking feature is Knitter’s Pride Rainbow Row Counter. This is a stainless-steel and hypoallergenic device that makes your knitting projects easy to track.
  3. Another easy way to do this is by using a smartphone device. You can simply download a knitting application and tap the screen to enter every single new row you complete. This will be an easier and cheaper way to keep count of rows while knitting, without having to make any new purchases.

Tips and Tricks

There are some easy tricks you can use to count rows in knitting, using items you can easily find at home.

  • One such trick is to keep a tally using a piece of paper and pencil. You can draw a tally and keep marking off as you proceed.
  • Another useful tip is to use the tip of the needle as a counter to identify stitches. You can use the needle as a pointing guide to count the rows using the number of stitches.
  • We have also noticed keeping the yarn untangled can make knitting and keeping track of rows considerably easier. You can try using yarn bowls to keep your yarn organized and make knitting easier than ever!

There are some amazing yarn bowls that you can buy to get started!

Common Mistakes

Common mistakes when counting rows in knitting include:

  • Losing count: it’s easy to lose track of the number of rows you’ve knitted, especially when you’re focused on the pattern. Try using a row counter or a notebook to keep track.
  • Inconsistent tension: it can affect the height of each row, making it difficult to accurately count. Make sure to maintain a consistent tension throughout your knitting.
  • Not counting every row: it’s important to count every row, including the right side and the wrong side rows. Skipping a row or counting only the right side rows can lead to inaccuracies.
  • Counting the wrong type of row: different patterns may have different types of rows, such as knit rows, purl rows, or a combination of both. Make sure to count the correct type of row for your pattern.
  • Not checking your work regularly: make sure you’re on track. This will allow you to catch mistakes early and make adjustments before they become bigger problems.

By avoiding these mistakes, you can ensure that your row count is accurate and your knitting project will turn out just as you envision it.


When counting rows do you count the cast on row?

The cast on stitch is not considered a row, however, it is simpler to keep track of all the rows in the completed fabric by counting downwards from the needle and excluding the loops on it.

What’s the best way to keep track of rows?

We think that using a paperclip in conjunction with a printed copy of the pattern is a superior way to monitor your progress in a knitting project, Position the paperclip on the side of the pattern and direct it to the row you are currently working on. As you finish each row, move the paperclip downward.

Final Thoughts

Knitting is a very therapeutic hobby, and a lot of people find it quite relaxing to knit in their free time. However, sometimes it can be quite frustrating when you lose attention and miss the count or pattern you were following.

Counting rows while knitting can keep you from losing track and stay focused. Now that you know how to count rows while knitting using two different techniques, there are some other things that you can try to make this task even easier.

Using good quality knitting needles can make knitting a breeze! Another excellent way to make knitting easier, especially for beginners, is to get a knitting book! You can easily find the best knitting books to learn about new and exciting hacks that make knitting even more fun!

We hope you found this article helpful!

Good luck!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *