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I’m not the usual knitter.  I rarely knit sitting in a chair or on the couch.  Most of my knitting is done either while walking or while commuting.  In both these cases I need my knitting supplies to be portable.  I’m also usually also doing something else, like talking or even reading.  Thus I’m nearly always distracted at random intervals.

So I love to knit things that I call ‘mindless’.  That means that I’m relatively easily able to do the pattern without having to constantly keep an eye on a chart or instructions.  I knit socks using a recipe, not line by line instructions.  I knit lace where once going the pattern tells me what comes next.  With lace usually I just need to know what the repeat is and I can just do that all across a row.

But just because I want to be able to simply knit and knit and knit doesn’t mean that I don’t have to pay at least some attention to how long my piece is getting.  With socks for example I need to make them match.  So I have to do the same things in the same places on each of the pair.  Many people do this by taking notes and  having the notes with their project.  But my projects must be able to go on the move with me, walking dogs or whatever, so I can’t easily keep a notebook by me.

Instead I use a combination of things.  First I keep my counting on my project and second I use Ravelry for my notes.  I’ve tried any number of methods of keeping track of rows, from some lovely tools by Hide and Sheep to simple coil-less safety pins from Schoolhouse Press.  For larger projects the counters by Hide and Sheep are marvelous, but for socks I prefer the pins.

I enjoy knitting socks.  They are a great take along project.  While I have knit socks using many techniques over time I have come to prefer knitting toe up, on 2 circular needles using the Fish Lips Kiss Heel.  Many people like knitting socks 2AAT (Two at a time), so both socks of a pair on the same pair of 2 circular needles, but that technique I find very slow and cumbersome.  However, I do want to finish both socks of a pair at about the same time.  I enjoy the excitement of a new project, but hate to finish a sock and then have to start the mate!  The initial excitement of a new yarn, a new project, is gone, and even worse, I have to figure out all the decision points, where to put the heel, how many increases how often for the toe, when to start the cuff ribbing, and then do it all over.

Instead what I like to do is start the toe of the first sock, knit several rounds, then start the toe of the mate.  From that point on I alternate back and forth every so often.  I stop at or before every point of change, finishing the toe, starting the heel, where calf shaping starts, etc, and get the mate to the same point before doing the change and moving on.

Mermaid Sock Hop

When I’m done doing the toe increases and get a few rounds above I’ll put a coil-less safety pin in the last increase, and then count rounds from that point up.  I’ll insert another one after 10 rounds, then 20 rounds, then 30 rounds.  After a while I’ll take some out and just know that the remaining ones are 20 rounds apart, or 50, or 100, depending on the size of the project.

Mermaid Sock Hop

The photo above shows my initial marker with a lettered stitch marker in the safety pin to let me keep track of which sock is which.  Notice the distance from that first pin to the next one is farther than the ones after.  I have reused the one I had in the 10th round and used it to mark the 60th round.  As I go farther I will remove the marker for the 30th round and reuse it, eventually leaving me with markers every 20 rounds.

After I start above the heel I’ll move the starter marker to the completion of the heel turn and use that to count on up the leg.

Mermaid Sock Hop

Mermaid Sock Hop

So that’s how I like to mark my rounds/rows in travel projects.  It works well, is light weight, simple and easy to use.  Every so often I’ll edit the project page in Ravelry to keep track of how many rounds/rows to some point of interest, both so I can do the same thing with the mate and so I’ll know what I did if I use the same or similar yarn again.

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