Return to MDK

Help with top down sweater

Hello, I just ripped out my sweater again as I lost count of decreases and increases for v neck, sleeves and front and back. What is the best way to keep track with the rows and sections vary on quantity of increases or decreases. Markers? Written? I think I am at gauge but the length of the neck to underarm measure seems off. Do I follow pattern or just knit to length of neck to underarm that seems right? Thank you.

1 Like

So you will get MANY different opinions here, but I am a true believer in the value of stitch markers and counting rows. When I have differing rates of increase or decrease I also write it down to keep track, but I learn best when I write things.

As to the length of neck to underarm, I would follow your swatch measurements rather than just the pattern, because if your row gauge is off it won’t fit well.

Good luck.


Thank you. I did write it down. I think now I need different stitch markers as I have ones that move. I made a new graph so I will go forward. Jill

1 Like

It can be frustrating until you find what works best for you! I like to have a paper copy of the pattern and make a mark for each inc or dec made AND place a little brass safety pin (or removable stitch marker) on the stitch. One of my friends likes to use Excel to write the pattern out row by row before starting. Another just locks herself in the bathroom for the complicated parts.

When my row gauge doesn’t match the pattern, I will usually knit to what will fit. But think it through first, you want to be sure you won’t throw some other element of the design out of line by doing so.

Thank you. I am going to use the paper and marker method but different markers as I think I moved the lip style markers when knitting. Hiding in the closet may work too.

1 Like

First, always remember that patterns are written with the assumption of some standard body size and shape, so your own guage and your own preferences should always override the pattern as originally written. Compare the garment in progress to an existing garment for a sanity check.

Second, everyone needs more than one kind of stitch marking device. Solid rings or triangles are great for stitch repeat sections or warnings to change to another stitch for the next section. Locking (opening) markers are good for raglan or other shaping signals, or for marking the place you need to measure from to count rows or such. They can be relocated as you come to different points of your pattern, without having to shift the stitches on your needle first.

Third, bobby pins, safety pins and those odd little pin-like clips from dry-cleaned garments all open, are unique from your plastic knitting markers, and can be parked anywhere needed in your knitting. A small safety pin or bobby pin can also be attached to a plastic marker to add a special distinction when your markers are all the same color.

As long as you get to right number of stitches by the end of a string of decrease or increase rows for armhole shaping, the fact that one row isn’t mirrored exactly on the other armhole will be unnoticeable. Breathe, enjoy, and finish that sweater so you can begin again with new knowledge!

1 Like

I am a firm believer in using a clicker-style counter to count rows, like the Clover kacha-kacha and mini-kacha (i can wear that one on a cord around my neck). I print out a clean copy of the pattern and after reading all the way through, I start writing down what the rows are where things are going to happen. For example, if I have to increase every 8 rows 5 times for my size, and the increases start on row 11, at that instruction I’ll pencil in “11, 19, 27, 35, 43” and tick the numbers as I get to them as counted on my clicker. If, say, I also have to do somethng ELSE on one of those rows I’ll circle the number as a cue to check the instruction. Even if the pattern moves to “knit even for 10 inches” I’ll still count each row so I can make sure I do the same counts on each sleeve or anywhere things need to match. Sometimes I have to start the count over for each section but as long as I keep track and match the count to an instruction I come out okay.


I load the pattern into Knit Companion the app for iPad. It allows you to add the electronic or pdf version of the pattern and mark it up on the screen with different colors, highlighters etc. If I have to do a row 24 times, I literally can add a hash mark for each row or use the counters on the right hand side of the program. The program also will highlight each row a different color and even each stitch or repeat in the row.

1 Like

I’m enjoying using Knit Companion for exactly the same purposes. It takes the paid version and there is a learning curve, but once you set up a pattern, there are lots of good ways to keep up with what you have to do when and how often.

1 Like

Oh, and I still put markers on the object as I knit because seeing what have done helps, especially for sleeve decreases/increases depending on whether I’m knitting cuff up or shoulder down.