How to Count Rows in Knitting

How to Count Rows in Knitting

Want to know the number of rows in your fabric? Relax! Counting knitting rows can be daunting when you don’t know how to go about it and you have a project with different patterns after a certain number of rows.

Here is an easy guide on how to count rows in knitting your project without a hustle.

How to Count Rows in Knitting Stockinette Stitch

How to count rows in knitting
Image Source: Lionbrand

Stockinette stitch is the most common stitch and has two sides depending on your knitting pattern. The stitches form a ‘V’ shape on the RS and ‘P’ on the WS; Each ’V’ represents a row. Always count the stitches vertically to get the correct number of rows.

Material Needed

    1. Fabric Marker
    2. Knitting Needle
    • Stockinette Right Side

Step 1. Hold your fabric RS facing you and straighten it to view the knit stitch, which looks like ‘V.’

Step 2. While holding your fabric, hook the fabric marker on the first ‘V’ stitch where you want to start counting your rows. Remember to use an easy-to-remove stitch marker to avoid damaging your fabric when removing it.

Step3. Start counting your rows using the tip of your knitting needle as you follow the ‘V’ shape in the column, including the one in the knitting needle.

Step 4. There you have it! If the ‘V’s are many, you can divide sections using a different color marker to avoid confusion.

Note: If you count rows from the beginning of your fabric, don’t count the cast on stitch. Start from the one above the cast on row as shown on this video.

    • Stockinette Reverse Side

Unlike the right side, the reverse or WS has purl shapes, making it complicated to count the number of rows. You can also note the WS if you know how to weave in ends knitting and note the side of the tail. However, for every two arcs, there is a purl which represents a row.

For easy counting, mark the arcs with a different color fabric marker or highlighter, and the purl will be visible. Follow these steps for easy and fast counting.

      • Hold your fabric with the WS facing you.
      • Identify the arcs that join to form a purl and mark using different colors
    • Start counting the purl in that column to the end.

How to Count Rows in Garter Stitch Knitting

Knitting how to count rows
Image Source: Crafty Jackalope

If you want to know how to start knitting, learn with garter stitch. It’s easy to understand and the simplest stitch in knitting, hence easy to know how to count knitting rows garter stitch for your fabric as shown in this video.

When knitting a garter stitch, every knit forms a ridge on both sides, and every ridge forms a row. It’s these ridges that we shall count to find the number of rows. There are two methods of counting rows in garter stitch, although it depends on your preference since you have to do some math to get your final answer.

    • Count the number of ridges on one side and multiply the answer by two to get the total rows in one column.
    • Count the number of ridges on the backside, then count on the front and add them together. You will know the number of rows you have knitted.

Here is a step by step guide on how to count rows in your project

Step 1 . Hold your fabric facing you on any side (since the sides are the same)

Step 2. Mark where you want to start counting your rows with a detachable marker (to avoid damaging your garment)

Step 3. Count every ridge/purl bump up the column to the row below the knitting needles.

Step 4. Use either of the above methods to sum up your number of rows. It’s that easy!

Note: The last stitch on the knitting needle is not counted because it has not completed a ridge, unlike in stockinette stitch, where it’s counted as complete ‘V.’

How to Count Rows in Knitting Rib 

The seed stitch knitting
Image Source: Newstitchaday

As shown in the above figure, seed stitch consists of Purl(P)and knit (V)stitches which alternate vertically and horizontally, forming a ‘’seed’’ shape.

To count the number of rows and stitches, you use the stockinette and garter stitches criteria to mark the V and the P, then add them together.

Note: You only count from one side since both sides look the same, making it a great pattern choice if you know how to knit a scarf.

How to Count Stitches in Knitting

How to count stitches in knitting
Image Source: Wikihow

Counting knitting stitches is different from counting rows because you count horizontal ‘V’s and Ps to get the total stitches.

You often encounter a stitching project that requires you to count a few stitches before a ‘P’ stitch then continue knitting.

The above diagram shows numbers 1-10 marked in red and touching the ‘V’ shape on the fabric. Every V shape is a stitch, and to count the number of stitches in your swatch, count the ‘V’s horizontally, ignoring the seams.

For Garter stitch, count the number of Purl bumps horizontally along one line only.

Knitting Abbreviation 



Wrong side


Right side






Work in Progress

Knitting Row Counting Tools and Techniques

Row counters help keep track of your knitted stitches and rows, even when you have paused your project for some time. Ideally, you mark the stitches/rows using a tool that will help you remember when you resume knitting.

There are different tools and techniques that knitters use to count rows when knitting. They vary with the size of your project and the pattern(s) you are using. Here are some of the most common tools and techniques;

    • For Simple Repeat Knitting Patterns

      1. Highlight Rows in Color Pattern

Some projects have a combination of patterns, thus requiring some wisdom and tactic to nail it. The simplest way is to copy your sample design and keep it close to your knitting table for more straightforward cross-checking.

Highlight rows in different patterns with different color shades for easier tallying.

      2. Tally Marks

Tallying using a pencil
Image Source: Craft Bliss

This is the most commonly used method to count rows when stitching. You can also use it if you don’t know how to cast on knitting to ensure you get the correct number of stitches. You can use a pen and paper next to your working area and record every row you knit, one up to four then cross the fifth one. The method is simple to use and understand, although it has some challenges when you forget to mark.

The best idea is to use the method together with lockable fabric/stitch markers. They will help you keep track of your rows without a hustle.

      3. Mobile Application

In this digital era, knitters keep track of their knitting rows using mobile apps. These apps make the work easier from knitting, knitting patterns, picking stitches, and now counting rows.

The row counters help when you have complicated patterns for your project, and you have to repeat knitting within the existing knit. 

Want to know how to knit a blanket with different patterns? Try using these amazing mobile apps!

      4. Use a Dice

Counting rows in knitting using dice
Image Source: Unsplash

A dice has six sides, and it’s easy to rotate it around after every row if you are knitting a small project. But if your project is more than six repeat rows, you will have to use two or more dices. Since the dice cannot record your knitted rows, ensure you use them together with a stitch marker; It will be easier for you to know where you stopped counting.

      5. Use Chain Counters

Knit row counter
Image Source: Marybird

Chain row counters are a combination of many stitch markers and can be used to mark stitches and count rows as you knit projects with few pattern repeats. Most of them have different colors and are numbered accordingly to show you the row you are stitching.

You hook the first ring on the seam where you want to start knitting, then insert a numbered ring using your knitting needles for every row as shown on this video.

If you know how to knit a hat, you can try different knitting patterns to see how the chain will work before proceeding to a more significant project.

    • More Tools to Count Rows in Complicated Knitting Patterns

      1. Clovers Kacha- Kacha Knitting Stitch Counter

Clover knit row counter
Image Source: Knit with Henni

As the name goes, this row counting device produces (a kacha) sound when you key in your row count. It has a locking mechanism that helps your count remain intact even if it falls. However, since it looks like a pendant, you can put a chain through it and hang it on your neck for easier pressing.

You can key in the row when starting or when finishing to maintain consistency.

      2. Knitter’s Pride Row Counter Ring

How to count knitting rows garter stitch
Image Source: Artisanthropy

This stainless steel counter comes in different sizes and is worn on the index finger or the thumb. For every row that you knit, push the coinciding number towards the center. This counter is numbered for easier row counting.

      3. On the Needle Row Counter

Convenient round knitter needle
Image Source: Wish

You are learning how to join knitting in the round? And want to keep a record of every stitch? Consider inserting this classic on the needle row counter to your working knitting needles. They are brilliant!  You can never miss a stitch/row count, backward or forward counting.

They’re easy to use and come in different sizes for any shape of knitting needles. You can buy them at the Super label store.

      4. DIY Row Counters

Every knitter has their way of doing things besides the usual and ordinary methods. You can use a different yarn color to mark your count. If you know how to finger knit, you can knit simple strands using different colors and use them every time you count a  row. Alternatively, you can look for more DIY tools for counting rows in knitting on Pinterest.

Row Counter

Knitter Experience







Knitters pride


On the needle row counter


Pro Tips for Counting Rows in Knitting

All said and done; you have to know the best tips for counting rows in knitting. This saves time and gives you the freedom to knit without worrying how far you have gone. Here they are:

    1. Use Row Counters

Knitting row counters are devices that can be rotated or pressed to count rows in a knitting project. They are able to keep and track the count of your knitted rows even when you have paused knitting to insert woven labels and care labels in your fabric.

Although they function the same way, they range from digital counters to manual counters, save for keying difference. As a beginner, include it in your list of shopping tools since it’s a great companion whether you are knitting a small or large project.

You can wear it on your fingers, hang it on the neck, place it on a table or even insert it in the knitting needles. All of them work well and don’t interfere with your knitting WIP.

      2. Insert Stitch Markers

Stitch markers are hooks (different colors ) used to mark where you stopped counting stitches in your project. They usually are used as per the pattern instructions, and failure to use them can create confusion later.

If you know how to read knitting patterns, count equal stitches and insert a stitch marker after the last count. You can count 10, 20, or more stitches, depending on your project size. Continue inserting different color stitch markers as you knit for easy tallying. Ensure you pick a slim marker to avoid creating unnecessary holes in your project.

      3. Start Counting from the Bottom

In stockinette stitching, the ‘V’s are arranged on top of each other, and thus counting them from the lowest side as you go up will help get an accurate figure. In garter stitch, the same case applies.

The ‘P’ are arranged the same way and below them is a smile shape. Counting from the bottom will ensure you identify the right purl shape. Also, ignore the stitches on the cast-on row but include those in the knitting needle.

      4. Understand your Basic Knitting Stitches

Understanding the basic stitches in knitting will help you know how to count stitches without slowing your knitting speed and when and how to cast off knitting. If you understand your basic stitch, it will also help you to know when and how to increase stitches in knitting.

Garter stitch is the simplest stitching pattern, but you have to understand that you need to multiply the purl stitches by two for effective row count. Similarly, in stockinette stitch, you should trace the ‘V’s from the RS.


Do you know how to change colors in knitting patterns? You will have to count rows and insert stitch markers to know where to start knitting with a different color.

Counting rows is a simple technique when you know how to do it with simplified tools. You can count as you knit or later. How many rows have you knit! Confirm with a row counter!