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Nailing Stitch Count Changes in Knitting

by Jenna Eddy on August 08, 2023
We've all been there – diving into a knitting project and suddenly finding ourselves in a tangle of stitches. One thing that can trip up even the most enthusiastic beginner is playing around with stitch counts. Whether you're beefing up for shaping or slimming down for a sleek look, keeping those stitches even is like giving your project a professional makeover.
Picture this: you're knitting up a scarf, and you're thinking of adding some curves by increasing the stitch counts. But hold on! Uneven increases can make your scarf look like it's hit a bumpy road. So, how can we make sure our knitting stays smooth?
First off, remember, even the knitting pros had their share of "oops" moments when they started out. Start small, like with a cute coaster, to build your confidence and skills. And when it comes to keeping those stitch counts even, don't be shy about counting. Stitch markers are like your knitting BFFs – they'll help you stay on track. If things start going sideways, don't hesitate to pull back a few rows. It's like hitting the knitting reset button.
Okay so those decreases are on purpose - but as we all know, not all decreases are on purpose.  Welcome to the “OOPS! Why’d my stitch count change?!?!”
Now, here's a little knitting tale for you. Let’s not forget the classic move: accidentally adding an extra stitch. It's like your needle slipped an extra loop into the party. Suddenly, your stitch count has gone rogue, you’ve turned one stitch into two and you're left scratching your head. But don't worry, it's a rite of passage! Just watch out for those little gaps between stitches – they're sneaky culprits.
And speaking of sneaky, let's talk about accidentally losing stitches. You might be knitting along and suddenly realize you've dropped a stitch or two without even meaning to. It's like your stitches decided to play hide and seek! The key here is to be gentle and patient when picking those lost stitches back up, and you'll be back on track in no time. I always keep a crochet hook handy for times like these (yes, I can be notorious for dropping stitches and then yelling at my yarn. I know I’m not alone in that. LOL!). The problem of dropping stitches may lie in your needles.  I loooove shiny slick stainless steel needles with pointy tips … however my yarn has a tendency to go for a walk off the needles. Sometimes grippier needles (bamboo maybe?) are what we need if our yarn is super soft, slick, and slippery. Who am I kidding - I’m stainless steel all the way and dropped stitches be damned.  
So, getting the hang of stitch count changes in knitting takes, as I like to call them “The 3 P’s - PRACTICE, some PATIENCE, and a pinch of PRECISION”. As time goes on, you'll get a sixth sense for spotting blips before they turn into blunders (trust me, I’ve been there!) Keep those needles and yarn within arm's reach (don’t let the stitches fall off when you put the needles down, and if things get knotty, don't sweat it. Remember, each stitch you knit brings you closer to knitting greatness!
Happy Yarning! Jenna
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