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The Ups and Downs of Knitting: Counting Your Rows

September 23rd, 2013

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You, our readers, asked for it and we’re happy to oblige! Designer and teacher Heather Lodinsky joins us for a new article on understanding the fundamentals of your knitting.

Knowing exactly where you are in a knitting project requires knowing where you have been. “Reading” your stitches by identifying a knit versus a purl stitch is helpful in showing you where you are in a stitch pattern. In the last article I wrote, I showed how to identify the stitches already worked to know where you are in your knitting.

Sometimes no matter how hard I try, I can easily lose track of which row I am working in a pattern. Life happens—the phone rings, we get talking or we just have to leave our knitting for some reason.  Then I come back to my knitting and…what row was I working? There are various tools out there to help us keep track of our rows. Row counters exist that either attach to your needle, or need to be clicked and there are even “counting boards” where pegs are moved to show what row we are working. Even the simple “hash mark” on a piece of paper works well, but there is still  that human element of just plain forgetting to mark the paper, move the peg or click the counter to the next number. As a knitting teacher, one of the most common questions I am asked is: “What row am I on?”

A skill as important as identifying your stitches is the ability to count your rows without a “counter”. The best way to count stitches is by first identifying a stitch and then being able to count stitches up and down, which will tell us how many rows we have done and what row we need to work next.

Counting Rows in Stockinette Stitch

Stockinette Stitch | Counting Your Rows | Lion Brand Notebook

Click the image to enlarge.

Lets’s first look at stockinette stitch – which, when we are working a flat piece, is knitted on the right side  of the fabric and purled on the wrong side.  First, we have to be able to identify a “knit” stitch.  Look closely at the right side of stockinette stitch and see that a knit stitch looks like a “V”.   This is what we are looking for in order to help us count our rows.


Tranquil Tank Top Knit-Along – A Photo-Finish

May 30th, 2013

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KAL badgeWell, I have finished the Tranquil Tank Top and it is still Spring!  It has been great to see pictures of the finished tops that many of you have created during our Spring Knit Along.   If you have not finished, don’t worry – we will keep the posts of this KAL available long after this final post. (Click here to view previous posts.)

Finishing this top was a fairly quick job, with only 4 seams and sewing the bottom of the left front to the inside of the right front.  No sleeves to set in or stitches to pick up!

After I finished my front, I turned it over and used some detachable stitch markers to make sure those cast-on stitches for the left front would lay flat and even (I could also have used safety pins for this.)  Just as basting is necessary in machine-sewing a final seam, having your pieces in the correct spot with pins or markers assures that the finishing will progress evenly.

Tranquil Tank Top Knit-Along – A Photo Finish
(Click images to enlarge.) 


Tranquil Tank Top Knit-Along — Knitting on the Flip Side!

May 23rd, 2013

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Note: This is the fifth installment of our Spring 2013 Knit-Along. To view previous posts, click here.

KAL badgeLast week, I finished the left front of the Tranquil Tank Top and this week I have knitted the right side. I really like how this pattern immediately proceeds to the opposite side of the fronts. The right front is the side that is on the outside and is completely worked from stitches that are part of the ribbing. For the left side, I had to cast on stitches, and although these cast on stitches may appear a little loose or uneven, there are no worries as the cast on edge of the left front will be sewn down and hidden on the inside:

Post 4 Pix 1Post 4 Pix 2


Tranquil Tank Top Knit-Along — Knitting the Front is “Off the Charts”

May 16th, 2013

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Note: This is the fourth installment of our Spring 2013 Knit-Along. To view previous posts, click here.

KAL badgeThis week, I have been working on the front of the Tranquil Tank Top and after nine inches of ribbing at the bottom, I’m ready to tackle the lace and cable part of the top! Before I started the lace, I made sure my ribbing for the front was not only the same length as the back, but that the right side (RS) of my ribbing was the same as the RS of my back ribbing. I had two knit stitches on each side edge of the back ribbing, and I made sure I did the same for the front. Double checking this will allow me to sew side seams that will look seamless when finishing.

The left and right upper sides of the front are written in chart form instead of written instructions in this pattern. When I first glanced at the instructions, I was surprised to see six pages of charts! Then, when I looked a little closer, I saw that there are actually two charts for each of the three sizes. This will make for easier chart reading, rather than having all the sizes included on just one or two charts. I happened to print out all the pages of this pattern before I saw this, so I took out the four pages of charts that I will not need to make my size. That way there will be less chance of confusion as I start the charts. We need to start with the left front, so here is the left front chart of for the Large size: (Note that you can view charts for all sizes by clicking on the pattern link.)


Tranquil Tank Top Knit-Along — Ribbing and Knitting the Back

May 9th, 2013

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Note: This is the third installment of our Spring 2013 Knit-Along. To view previous posts, click here.

This week the weather where I live seems to be right on cue for our Spring Knit Along with sunny, warm days all this last week. Working with Cotton-Ease for this project has been perfect for these days where my windows are open and I can already be found knitting on my porch. This week I finished the back of the Tranquil Tank Top.


The back is the simpler half of this top with only ribbing and stockinette stitch (and a little shaping thrown in.) The lace will appear after we finish the bottom of the front. As I was knitting the back, I remembered a few things that will make sure this top will fit and look great. All of the sizes of this pattern call for the bottom ribbing to measure 9” before starting the stockinette stitch pattern for the upper part of the back.

When I thought I had knit the full 9” of ribbing, I remembered that measuring ribbing can be a little tricky as ribbing should be measured slightly stretched before I measure. What I thought was 9” was actually not even 8 ½” when I measured it slightly stretched. Working a longer piece of ribbing can create this effect, so it is always good to just slightly stretch your ribbing before measuring the length. Take a look at this picture below – I have just stretched the ribbing a little and it measures 9”.



My last row of my ribbing was a wrong side (WS) row, which started with 2 purls and ended with 2 purls. I want to make sure that the ribbings to both my back and my front will have 2 knits on each side of the right side (RS). (You can see this is in the first picture above.) Making sure the ribbings of the front and back are worked the same will make it much easier to sew up the sides for a very nice finish. The stockinette stitch started with a knit row on the RS, where there are 2 knit stitches on each edge of the ribbing. I will keep this in mind when I start the lace part of the front.

After binding off for the armholes, there are some decreases that I can see will be very important for the lace patterns on the front. The back is a good place to try these decreases – especially if you have never done an “ssk” before.