So Much Knitting, So Little Time
It All Started with a Bag, and Wondering ...

Counting, and Buttonholes

You'd never know it to look at me, but counting never used to bother me. Got 357 stitches? No problem, I'll just count 'em for ya, and in a zipppppp I was off, counting, and it was always correct.

Now, not so much. Counting to three is usually pretty ok, counting to ten marginally so, counting to bigger numbers than that, I get antsy because I never know if its right. I just don't know. If I count it three times and get the same number, used to be, I would say it was right ... but now, I could count it wrong three times in a row, and I have done just that, when I counted stitches in the grey vest and set the neck over by about five stitches. Ooops. 

Rather than cry miserably and say "I'm a failure, I used to be able to COUNT for God's sake (I have done that, too), I have devised ways of getting my counting right even when it is not, and I'm putting it here because maybe there are some folks out there who would find it helpful. Have you had a stroke, and can't count? You're not alone. Do you have waaaaay to many stitches to cast on, and the thought of counting those little stitches not once, but two or three or more times makes you run screaming from the project? Then come sit here by me.

I had to cast on 185 stitches for my baby kimono, and I needed to get it right. I thought, I don't want to cast them all on here and spend a whole day counting them over and over to make sure they are right, and I am not asking my husband to count them for me. So I decided to use markers. 


I put a marker on the needle after 10 stitches; after 18 markers, I had 180 stitches, and I just added on five more stitches.


Works for me. Anyone can use this. Instead of casting on stitches and then laboriously counting to make sure you got the right number, just place a marker every 10 or 20 stitches, and count the markers. 

My baby kimono has two little buttonholes, and the pattern recommended Barbara Walker's one-row buttonhole. I did that once, and it seemed a little fiddly for me, and I went back to my two-row buttonhole and kept on going. But this time, I thought, what the hell, I'll give it another try.


The instuctions I followed are here. They are also in Barbara Walker's wonderful knitting book, A Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns. There is a video tutorial here, too. It makes a nice, reinforced little buttonhole in one row. It looks a little funny, and  I think that's why I didn't like it before. After having done lots of buttonholes that start out looking perfect and then sag out of shape, I think it's time to change. I wish I had used them in my Little Girls Cardigan! Next time :)



We up here discovered that marvellous buttonhole when I bought the 2nd Treasury in l979 (I think)at the spinning gathering in Norwich, NY. Haven't used any other since then. Book is, sadly, beginning to disintegrate, I use it LOTS. Glad you perservered.

Arline Collins

Aging will also cause this. I have used this method with markers for quite some time and it sure works for me.

Beth Collins

There ya go! I knew you were smart :)


I saved the buttonhole instructions for future use. Thank you! Never ran into this one before. I, too, have used markers for counting. Saves much aggravation and time. Still learning from you Beth....

Beth Collins

Thanks Jean!


I use the stitch marker trick too. For some reason when I have over 50 stitches, I can never seem to count correctly. I sometimes have ladies in my knitting group count for me too.

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