Advice - counting sts and shoulders

What tips do you have on:

1. Counting the stitches? I decided on a prayer/healing shawl for my Mom using the Chevron Seed. I am finding my mind wondering, or the dog will bark etc...and I end up making a mistake somewhere in the row. Tips on counting the sts?

2. My shoulders and neck get sore. Any tips on how you position yourself?

ronhuber's picture

Some people put markers between each pattern repeat so you just have to go back to the previous marker and count forward to find your place. However, it is probably a good time to learn to read your knitting. Learn how to tell a purl from a knit and what a yarn over looks like. Every time you do a stitch look at it on the right hand needle and you will get used to reading your knitting. So, if you get distracted you can just look back and find your place.
You sound like a tense knitter. Learning something new increases the tension, of course. Try to relax your shoulders every so often. I often pull my chin into my chest with my head straight to relieve neck pain. Good luck.

Sit back when you are knitting, and try not to hunch over your work.

Asplund's picture

I always find the first few rows tricky: you can't see where you are but have to count to find out. I usually turn the pattern into a mantra (for want of a better word) that I repeat while knitting, unless it's too long. I also think what ronhuber mentions, markers between each repeat, could work. If it's a repeat pattern you won't need them very long. And you'll see how your fingers miraculously spot a mistake before you do, so to speak! Rather like typing, if you see what I mean.
I easily get sore shoulders too. It helps keeping my arms as low as possible: sometimes forearms resting on my legs, sometimes elbows on armrests (depending on what I'm knitting). Using a circular needle instead of ordinary ones helps too, I think, since it "spreads" the weight of the knitting.
Lycka till! (Good luck!) Asplund

Thank you for your advice and words. I DO recognize I hunch up my shoulders...and I best find better lighting in the evenings.

As always, I appreciate you all. is supposed to be relaxing!

murfpapa's picture

Just remembering the motif you're on and how where you're at fits into the whole pattern. Like, if it's a leaf, "THIS is where it makes the stem so it's ssk, HERE"S where the lacy part is between the leaves so it's k2tog, yo". After a while it's easy to see what you should be doing. Then it's just counting rows before the next change, like the armholes on a vest. With chevron, it's here's the bottom of the valley so k3tog, here's the crest so it's m3. Don't try to memorize the whole row because it'll befuddle your mind. I used to work in a cafeteria and new cashiers would be dumbfounded when they tried to memorize the prices of each item. Instead, I'd tell them to remember the usual price and a few exceptions, for example, vegetables were all 29¢ except, broccoli was 45¢, cauliflower was 35¢ and mashed potatoes were 20¢ (yeah, this was a LONG time ago, lol).
Stitch markers help too when you're first starting the piece. a while ago I was making a fisherman's knit sweater. I used stitch markers for like the first 10 rows after which the individual section "told" me what to do for the next stitch. ( No, you'll never see a pic of the finished work. Let's just say that I'm now in the habit of checking gauge frequently. The waist was fine but the shoulders came down to my elbows!)
As far as sore shoulders and arms, frequent breaks are first on the list. Don't just rest the arms but do something else with them to keep them from stiffening up. Run the vacuum, do the dishes or laundry, paint, rake, just wave them around. A hot bubble bath or soak. Anything to take a break from the repetitious movement.

Crafty Andy's picture

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I always use stitch markers for that reason, sometimes every five or so stitches depending on the size of the project. I always count because sometimes a scarf can become a Blanket!!

Thanks! Markers are going to be the way to go for me I think. If only I could get beyond saying the sts outloud!

With time I guess...til then:

Knit 1 Purl 5 (1, 2, 3, 4, 5) poor dog thinks I am nuts!

MMario's picture

yes, you get a lot less funny looks when you sub-vocalize. BTW- be glad it's a dog. Cats would not just think you were crazy they would Scorn you for it and make their opinion WELL known.

MMario - ambiguity is cultivated, it doesn't happen in a vacuum!

MMario - I'm not divorced from reality - we're having a trial separation