Knitting and crochet projects start with a basic row or chain. However, it can be confusing when it comes to counting rows on a knitting or crochet project.
Knitting projects begin with a starting row called the cast-on row. This is the specific number of stitches to start your project. For example, a shawl pattern may indicate casting on 45 stitches on the knitting needles. The knitter then creates and places 45 stitches on the knitting needles.
Then the instructions give specific instructions for working the first row of the pattern. It can be as simple as working the knit stitch across the row. Multiple rows are added in a specific pattern according to the information in the pattern instructions. As an example, let’s assume that the knitting pattern is laid out so that 6 rows are worked in stockinette stitch and then four rows in garter stitch. Some people keep track of each row by writing it on a piece of paper with a hash sign, marking the first row worked, or using some sort of row counting notion. The key is not to include the cast in the line as part of the pattern line count. Otherwise, the entire pattern will be shifted one row.
I found it easier to mark the first row of my knitting project. I use a piece of yarn or a bartack style stitch marker and place the yarn/stitch marker through a stitch along the first row of the project. I also use a stitch marker every 10 rows on my knitted socks. This way I can count the number of rows in groups of 10 and make sure the pair of socks is made with the same number of rows along the foot and calf sections of the socks.
Most crochet projects start with an initial row of chain stitches. As an example, a shawl pattern may indicate chaining 35 stitches. Then the first stitch of the next row is worked into each of the basic chain stitch rows. Again, the chain stitches do not count towards the number of crocheted rows, as indicated in the crochet pattern. The stitch that remains on the crochet hook after crocheting a specific stitch pattern is not included in the stitch count as it is actually part of the next stitch (or row) of the crochet project. For example, I use the Tunisian crochet technique to make my grandchildren’s afghans. To change the color for the next row I first work the double crochet like this: With color A I make the yarn over, put the crochet hook in the given stitch (from the previous row) and then pull a yarn over back through to the right side the series. Now I have three loops of color A on the crochet hook. Then I make a yarn over and pull it through two of those stitches with color A, then I make the next yarn over with color B and then pull it through the remaining two stitches on the crochet hook. This keeps the colors consistent with the color changes made for the next row.