Saturday, 28 September 2013

Behind the Scenes: Row Counter Bracelets for Knitters

I probably came across row counter bracelets (or abacus bracelets, as they are also known) only about a year ago. Up until then I thought you could only count rows with the twisty or clicky counters lots of knitting shops offered, and I had never actually seen a row counter bracelet in person. All of a sudden, this craze for bracelets exploded in one of the Ravelry groups I am in and I wondered how they work.

At first it looked as though they'd be really complicated to use, mainly because they looked fiddly. Once I started making my own, though, I was surprised by how convenient they are! I can move the beads around with one hand and needn't worry about losing the bracelet either. I really like that!
I made a bracelet for my friend Ella and she said: "The row counter bracelet's colours are beautiful and it fits perfectly - not too tight and not too loose. Simply perfect. It works really well as a bracelet and is much better than some others that hang too loosely and fall off." 

So how do they work? Well, the bracelets I make allow you to count to 109 rows. Here are the instructions I used at Abso-knitting-lutely:

Basically, it's like using an abacus. One wire carries 10 large beads while the other carries 9 small ones. The large beads are used to count in tens while the small beads are ones. As you get ready to start your first row, push one of the small beads through the elastic beaded ring. This shows you that you are knitting row 1. When you start the second row, push another small bead through the elastic ring. You now have 2 beads past the ring, which equals two rows in your knitting. Continue in this manner until you have knitted 9 rows and all small beads have been used.

When you are ready to begin row 10, push all the small beads back through the ring and instead push through one of the larger beads. The large beads mark 10, 20, 30, 40 ... 100 rows. When you are about to begin row 11, bring a small bead forward through the ring once again. So you now have a large bead (10) and a small bead (1), making it a total of 11 rows. 

Continue in this manner and enjoy your bracelet!

Honestly, it's easier than it sounds. I have been using my bracelet to knit a pair of socks for Christmas and haven't had any issues at all. Apart from being a very practical tool, these row counter bracelets also look great simply worn as jewellery, I find, so it's a win all around.

Have you tried row counter bracelets? What do you think?

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