Counting rows

When you knit stripes, you count rows (or if you're knitting in the round, you count rounds). Why? Because it's an easy way to keep track of the stripe's width. For example, knowing that a stripe spans 7 rows and counting as you go is easier and more accurate than getting out the tape measure. Here's the thing you need to know about counting rows, especially if you're using only two colors: Odd and even rows affect where the yarn ends up — whether it's right there where you want it or at the opposite end of your knitting. Fortunately, there are a few easy fixes out of this dilemma:

I Work on a circular needle. It doesn't matter where the yarn ends up. If it's not on the end where you need it, simply slide your knitting to the other needle and — voila! — problem solved. Just pick up the yarn and carry on.

I Cut the yarn, leaving the ends to weave in later, and begin anew at the next row. Weaving in ends isn't hard, but it's a bit tedious, especially if you have many loose ends. Head to the section, "Dealing with old colors and loose ends," for instructions.

I Use three or more colors. If you use three or more colors, you can organize odd- and even-row stripes so that the yarn for the next stripe will be in the right place. If you use this strategy, you have to start some colors on wrong-side rows and carry the yarn colors up both the left and right edges of your work. (Flip to the section, "Carrying the yarn up the side as you go," to find out how to do so.) Changing colors on both sides instead of just one is a good idea anyway if you're using lots of colors because it keeps the side edges from being too bulky.

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