Originally published in 2011 on my original website.
I know what you are thinking. I just told you to go big, now I’m telling you to go small. I promise I’m not trying to confuse you. I want you to go big with your yarn and hook, but I want you to go small with your project, or more specific — your project stitches.
One of the most important things to learn when crocheting is counting your stitches. Whether working in rows or rounds, you have to know how many stitches you are supposed to have to keep your project looking right. If you have problems keeping your scarf looking like a rectangle, or your washcloth looking like a square, its probably because you are adding or dropping stitches as you work.
The easy way to fix this is to count your stitches after every row/round. However, counting stitches can be pretty boring and time consuming. When teaching my 5 year old, I had to make it easy enough to keep her engaged, so this tip should work for you also.
Jacqui can easily count to 10, and its a small enough number that it isn’t a chore for her to do. So we made our chunky red scarf 10 stitches wide. Because of the chunky yarn, it is a respectable 5 inches wide with those 10 stitches per row. As we came to the end of each row, I had her count the stitches before we turned our work. Even though I can “eyeball” it and know if she missed a stitch, this gets her in the habit of correcting herself for future projects.
Jacqui’s scarf is a great beginner project. It is worked in single crochets only (you can substitute HDC, or DC if you would like for a different look or practice for those stitches).
If you would like to use it for your first project the pattern is simply:
Row 1: Turn, beginning in 2nd CH from hook, SC in each ST across. 10 STS
Row 2 – till you run out of yarn: Turn, CH 1. SC in each ST across. 10 STS
You can make it a little wider if you would like by adding some stitches to the foundation chain, but remember to make it a number you don’t mind having to count after each row. Learning to count stitches now will save you time later when working on bigger projects where “eyeballing” the shape won’t be an option.