Jenny left a comment on my last post about my Pippin sweater, asking what the yellow yarn on the sleeves was for.
It's a tip I picked up from the Yarn Harlot - using a length of waste yarn to keep track of your increases, decreases or rows. I absolutely love it - let me explain why...
I am useless with a traditional row counter. I love the idea of those clicky ones where you bash the top at the end of each row, but I'm hopeless at remembering whether I've bashed them or not! And if you can't remember whether you've clicked your row counter, then you are back to counting rows on your knitting - sometimes lots and lots of them.
I can count the rows in my knitting (I usually look on the purl bump side for stocking stitch) but I'd rather not have to count big numbers in one go, especially when I'm getting near the end.
So instead I use this cunning piece of waste yarn. You simply lie it across the knitting between the needles at the start of a round, or a few stitches into the row if you're working back and forth. If you are working increases or decreases every 6 rows for example, you can easily count your rows since the waste yarn, and when you've done your 6 rows, lie the waste yarn between the needles again so that it starts to weave back and forth like a running stitch. If you are working straight for 40 rows, you can pass it back and forth every 5 or 10 rows. In fact you can do it with any frequency you like - it's just a really easy marker to count from. Plus, if for some reason you do a row too many, you can simply pop the end of the waste yarn on a tapestry needle and sew it back through in the right place. It basically means that you only need to count back a small number of rows from the last time the waste yarn swapped sides. It's a bit like a stitch marker for rows.
I hope that's helpful Jenny!