Do You Count The Row On The Needle When Knitting?

Have you encountered a knitting pattern than instructs you to knit a certain number of rows? Were you unsure if you should start counting from the row on your needle or the next row? We've researched the specifics of how to count rows while knitting.

When you are knitting rows, you do count the row on the needle. The stitches hanging on your needle will be added to the piece and need to be counted as a row.

There may be times when knitting that you lose count and need to know how to count how many rows you've already completed. This post will also teach you some tips and tricks for keeping count, identifying rows, and useful tools for knitting row counts. Keep reading for all the details!

Photo of a woman's hands knitting, Do You Count The Row On The Needle When Knitting?

How to Count Rows When Knitting

Knitting patterns will often tell you to knit a certain number of rows. You'll need a method to assist you in keeping count. Fortunately, there are some very innovative tools and techniques to help you keep count. It's fun to try out the different methods. See which works best for you. Keeping a row counter with each of your projects ensures you'll never lose count.

Close up on woman's hands knitting

Tally Marks

The first method is good old fashioned tally marks. Grab a piece of paper or a notebook and make a mark at the end of each row.

Tallying using a pencil

It's not fancy, but this method doesn't require any unique gadgets. However, it can be a little time consuming to stop and start knitting each time you need to make a tally.

Chain Row Counters

Chain row counters are a handy tool for counting rows. These accessories are pretty as well as functional. These tools are a series of connected rings that are moved with each row. This YouTube video explains how to use a chain row counter.

Click here to see this chain row counter on Amazon. 

Mechanical Row Counters

Mechanical row counters are a fantastic way to keep track of very high numbers of rows. These simple devices require you to press a clicker, which advances the number with each row.

Click here to see this mechanical row counter on Amazon.

Row Counter Rings

A row counter ring is a small gadget that is also a cool fashion accessory. These work by advancing the slide to the next number.

Click here to see this row counter ring on Amazon.

On the Needle Row Counter

The on the needle row counter is a classic knitting tool. This counter slides onto your knitting needle, and you turn the dial to the next number at the end of each row. Large diameter needles may not work well with this counter as it may be too small to fit on the needle.

Click here to see the needles row counter on Amazon.

Phone Apps

For the knitter who is also a techie, there are phone apps designed to count rows and repeats. Many of these will track multiple projects, which is a plus and most people generally have their phones handy. Do be mindful of the drain on your battery by continually clicking the counter on a phone app.

My Row Counter is one app available for both Android and iPhone.

Knit Companion is another highly rated app for knitters that helps track projects, stitch, and row counts.

What to Do If You Lose Count

Now you know the gadgets that make counting easy, but what happens if you lose count? Maybe you've picked up an unfinished project, and you can't remember where you left off?

The first thing to consider is the type of knitting. Is the project stockinette or garter stitch? Each of these is counted a little differently.


Stockinette knitting stitch is created with two knitting stitches. The knit stitch and the purl stitch. Rows of knit stitches alternate with rows of purl stitches.

In stockinette stitch, each stitch will look like a "V." This makes counting rows a little easier. Count each "V" as a row. This YouTube video explains how to count rows in stockinette stitch. As you will see, the cast on row is not counted, but the row on the needle is.

Garter Stitch

The garter stitch is counted a little differently. It is created by knitting every row. In garter stitch, instead of counting rows, you will count a "ridge." In garter stitch, every two rows of knitting make a garter ridge.

This YouTube video will show you how to count rows in garter stitch.


Do you count cast on as a row?

The cast on row is not counted in knitting. Start counting from the row immediately following the cast on.

What is right side and wrong side in knitting?

In stockinette stitch, the right side is the side with the "V's." The wrong side will appear bumpy. Things are a little more tricky in garter stitch, ribbing, or patterns where the front and back look the same. In these cases, you'll choose a side to call the "right side" and mark this side with a stitch marker to remind you which is the front.

Click here to see these stitch markers on Amazon.

How do you count garter rows in knitting?

In garter stitch, every two rows will make a ridge. Since the stitches are compressed, it's easier to count the ridges. Remember, don't count the cast on row. Once you've calculated the ridges multiply by two to get the number of rows in the piece.

What does "rowing out" mean in knitting?

Rowing out is a common issue in stockinette stitch. This happens when the tension of your knitting is not consistent. The purl stitches will come out a little larger and cause the piece to look uneven or even striped between the rows. The easiest way to fix this is by adjusting your tension. Try pulling your yarn a little tighter when doing the purl stitches since those are the looser stitches, or you can try wrapping the yarn extra times around your finger. Another trick is to use a knitting needle one size smaller on the purl stitches.

As you can see, there is a lot to know about row counting while knitting. The cast on row does not count, but the row on the needles does. Using a row counter will help you keep track of your rows as you knit, but with the tips above, you can easily find your place if you lose count.

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