Learning the Stitch Count in a Pattern

One cable stitch

You have found a nice stitch design and you want to make a tension square before adding the design to your project.

Let’s say the stitch you are about to work on is the cable stitch, and you were prompted that the stitch requires multiple of 3 stitches + 2 + 1 for the base chain.

Ok. Great! But have you ever asked what those extra stitches are for? Stitch counts matters especially when you are about to embark and pride yourself to design your own crochet project. It is important that each stitch design married together with the other stitches you wanted to incorporate in.

Let’s go ahead and let’s find out the stitch count behind the cable stitch. First of all let’s make just 1 cable stitch which requires 3 stitches. And then we are going to add 2 more stitches for some reason, and another one for the base chain. To start with, it will only means I will need to chain 6 altogether to make one single.

Let’s start with the chain 1 for the base chain.
So we chain 6. To start the first row, for this sample I will need to make a row of single crochet stitches. To start, I would need to skip at least 1 chain from the hook to perform my first single crochet. And that’s it! That is the “chain 1 for the base chain”. It will not count as a stitch as all (for this example). It means we are going to have 5 working stitches through out the pattern. Let’s say that this base chain is actually our turning chain to start the next row. Though this is not always the case, it will depend on the pattern itself.

Chain stitch

So, I’ll carry on making 2 rows of single crochet stitches. As you can see, you can only see 5 stitches on the top row. Great! We are on the right track.

Now, let’s get on with the + 2.
We understand that the cable stitch only requires 3 stitches to complete a stitch. Where does the other 2 stitches fit in? When you are working in a row, you would want your left and right edges to be somehow all straight as you grow your rows. That’s it! That’s the reason for it.

stitch count

So for this very simple pattern, I would start with one single crochet (that’s 1 stitch), proceed with the cable stitch (that’s 3 stitches), and end the row with another single crochet (that’s 1 stitch). This will give me 5 stitches. The base chain will always be there because you’ll need it to start the next row.

cable stitch

The next question is, are they always needed?
The + 2, yes, if you are going to work on project row wise, meaning not in the round. No, if you are working in a round. That is why it is separated from the stitch count. The base chain will always be there as you will need it as a turning chain.

I hope this mini blog helped you understand stitch counts.


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