Monday, September 22, 2014

Guest Post: Row-Counting by the Numbers: The How

While I am on the road for my Book Tour this week, I have asked Carissa Reid, my good friend (contract crocheter, proofreader, end weaver, and sometimes copy writer) to write a couple of guest blog posts for me. I had noticed Carissa's unique solution to keeping track of row repeats in patterns, and asked her to share it with my readers. Enjoy this two-part guest post, today "The How" and tomorrow "The Tools"!
Row-Counting by the Numbers: The How
By Carissa Reid

When I was first beginning to use crochet patterns, I encountered a problem that I’m sure others have faced: How to keep track of row repeats. It was easy enough to check off the rows as I progressed through the pattern, but when I hit a section that read “Rows 5-25: repeat rows 2-3,” I was at a loss. Unless they were very short rows, chances were I’d have to set the work aside at some point to pick up later, and who wants to spend the first ten minutes of precious crochet time counting rows to figure out where to pick up again?

I thought a row counter would solve the problem, but that only told me the current row, not which of the repeats I needed to begin. I might be on row 20, but was that a repeat of row 2 or row 3? Repeats of only two rows aren’t too difficult to figure with basic math, but there are times when I’m repeating three, four, even up to six rows and my basic math became word problems. If Carissa repeats six rows for 32 rows, and she ends on row 24, which row repeat would she begin to start row 25?

And what happened if the row counter accidently reset or was lost? I have curious children with quick hands. I needed a method that would factor in multiple repeats, remain with the pattern, and couldn’t be reset or stolen by little fingers.

My answer is simple, direct, and only needs a pencil. When I see a repeat in the pattern, I write the row numbers in the margin of the pattern. I like to keep it close to the row instructions, so I don’t have to flip pages or keep track of more pages than necessary. I only need the numbers and a small space beside each, so it doesn’t take much room and the margin serves well. If the repeats include multiple rows, then I divide those numbers in sections for however many rows repeat. So I might have:

in the margin for a single-row repeat. Or I might have:
5    6    7
8    9    10
11    12    13
in the margins for a three-row repeat. The numbers mark the current row on the pattern, and the placement notes the row repeated, so in the second example, if the pattern reads, “Rows 5-13: repeat rows 2-4,” then the number 5 would be the fifth row of the pattern and would repeat row 2.  As I complete the row, I put a check-mark beside the number and move to the next column and the next repeat, following the row numerically and knowing which repeat I’m on by the column the number is in.

It’s simple and it’s effective and all I needed was a pencil. But more on supplies next post.
Carissa Reid is a writer, crocheter, blogger and has recently started her own proofreading business, offering proofreading services to writers and bloggers. She blogs at Information on her proofreading services can be found at


  1. Hi Laurinda & Carissa,
    This is exactly how I will tackle repeats too. Sometimes I will list the rows at the end of the pattern where there is more room and I will organise them into columns so that all the rows with the same pattern stitch will be in the same column which I can then mark at the top RS or WS or the "Master Row Number" which will be the first row in the pattern that has the instruction for the other rows in the column.
    Do you mind if I link to this article from my blog? My most recent blog post discussed pattern repeats and your article would be a useful reference for my readers. Please let me know if this is not okay.
    Thanks for a useful article and all the best with your book tour.

  2. Jodie,

    How nice to meet another margin-marker! I would be thrilled for you to link to the article, and I'm fairly confident that Laurinda would be, too. Thank you so much!