If you’re knitting something that starts with casting on a lot of stitches (bottom up sweaters and shawls, I’m looking at you), then you know that it can be a bit of a challenge at times.
If you’re anything like me, it’s hard to keep count of how many stitches you’ve already done. I always try to focus on the count, but 37 stitches in and I’m deep in thought about what I’m going to have for dinner and whether I can squeeze in a mini Netflix binge before bedtime. And if, by some miracle, I have managed to maintain my focus then somewhere around the 129th stitch my phone will inevitably start ringing, or Graeme wanders into the room to ask what’s for dinner, and I have to start the count all over again.
So this super simple tip has saved my sanity countless times.
The fix: how to keep track of your cast on stitches
Grab a stash of stitch markers (the skinnier the better so that they don’t warp your cast on), and as you’re casting on place a marker at regular intervals.
I like doing them every 20 stitches, but if I’m casting on a huge number then I’ll often go for 50 so that I don’t end up with too many markers on my needles. Choose whatever number works for you, just make sure it’s easy for you to keep track of and keep to the same number throughout.
All you have to do then is count each group instead of the individual stitches!
Your last group of stitches is likely to be a little short, so you will still have to count those individually. For example in the picture above I’ve cast on 132 stitches – 6 groups of 20, and then 12 stitches at the end.
As you work your first row or round, just slip the markers off as you come to them. Time and sanity saved.
Incidentally, the cast on above is an alternating cable cast on – my current cast on obsession! I’m usually all about the long tail cast on, but this is so much faster and just as neat and stretchy!