Double DOH!

I ripped farther than I needed to. No biggie. It gave me a chance to analyze what I was doing and get back into the mindset I need to work on this baby.

It also let me verify that I was using my stitch counters correctly. I mentioned these little “knitting abaci” that Caroline showed me how to make before, and they are my current favorite little trick for working in an Aran pattern.

Here’s a shot from an older post that shows the stitch counters that I’m talking about. They are the beaded leather thongs at the bottom of the piece.

Here’s how they work:

Each abacus has a knot in the middle, dividing it into two sections. Below the knot are four beads, above the knot are from one to four beads. The beads below the knot represent one row each. The beads above the knot are five rows each. So as you work your piece, you slide one bead per row towards the knot from below the knot. When you get to the fifth row, you slide all the “one” beads back down and slide a “five” bead down from above the knot. See how it works? Very easy.

These become particularly helpful when you’re doing an Aran pattern or something that has several sections with different numbers of rows per repeat. In my sweater, there are four panels of 4-row repeat patterns (two double moss stitch and two honeycomb) that I don’t need to count rows on because they’re so simple. Then there are two windswept cables that are mirrors of each other and a central Saxon braid. The windswept cables repeat over 8 rows and the braid repeats over 16.

To keep these straight, I made two counters and put them into my knitting in place of regular stitch counters. (I’ve got markers between each strip.) There is one before the first windswept cable with enough beads to count an eight-row repeat. The second one is right before the start of the braid and it has enough beads to count a sixteen-row repeat.

There you have it. I’m working on another trick right now to try and smooth out the honeycomb stitch, because that’s the slowest pattern in the sweater right now. It’s all 1X1 cabling and it takes for frigging ever. I’m glad there’s not much of it on the sleeves.

No Responses to “Double DOH!”

  1. Katxena Says:

    Thanks for the abacus description and pictures. What a neat device!

  2. Stacey Says:

    I love the abaci. There was a similar product in interweave knits. But it was made of loopy wire and beads. Being an abacus idiot, regular counters are challenge enough.

  3. David Says:


    Glad you’re enjoying it! I’m really enjoying it myself. It’s geeky and social all at the same time.

    Yes, I am using a cable needle for the honeycomb. Is there a better way?

  4. ABQ woman Says:

    Hey Dave –

    Just wanted to tell you I am *really* enjoying reading your blog… and finding out how many other knitting nuts there are out there besides you & me! 😉

    You don’t use a cable needle for the honeycomb stitch, do you?

    I’ll be thinking of you while working on my shawl tonight –

    Hugs, Marnie

  5. David Says:

    True, you have to manually move the beads, but only at the end of each row. It’s no more difficult that using one of those little circular stitch counters.

    You just got me thinking in a terribly perverse way.

    — get current row pattern for Aran sweater
    double_moss JOIN
    left_windswept ON ( double_moss.number = left_windswept.number )
    JOIN honeycomb on ( double_moss.number = honeycomb.number )
    JOIN saxon_braid on ( double_moss.number = saxon_braid.number )
    JOIN right_windswept on ( double_moss.number = right_windswept.number )
    double_moss.number = $CURRENT_ROW;

  6. Kaetchen Says:

    There’s one critical part of all this though–you have to make yourself stop every time to move the beads up and down. It’s interesting if you think about it–what this project is really all about is discipline. You had to make yourself get back in the mindset by frogging; the beads serve a similar purpose. It’s an entirely different kind of focus on your knitting.

    Or it could be that my database analysis hat is on this morning. That’s what happens when I stop writing SQL queries to read blogs!