The Yarnologue

Tip: Resuming a Hibernating Project

Last week I wrote about getting back on track with my Miss Kitty top after a six month hiatus.


Miss Kitty top from the Louisa Harding Jesse book. Back in the saddle!

Our Facebook Fan Donna commented:

Great story but how did you remember were you left off? I would have to start over again!!!

The short answer is “My trusty row counter!”


Stitch markers and row counters keep you on track.

There is a resting point in this pattern between the body and the yoke.

You add the sleeve caps by knitting across them and the body front & back in the proper order. At that point, the rounds start counting from 1 again. It was a simple matter of seeing what number my row counter was on and I was back on track.

Now, I will admit there was also some luck involved. If I had stopped before I added the sleeves, or in a later part of the yoke repeats, things could have gotten dicey if I hadn’t left myself a note.

To help you avoid tears in the future, here are some tips to make it easier to resume a knit or crochet project that has been on hiatus.

Plan Ahead

Sometimes an emergency or injury with cause us to put our knitting and crocheting aside. But, usually, it’s a matter of we’re a little bored and found something new to work on. Or our projects are put on hold because of a planned event, like moving or a vacation.

If you know a project will soon go into time-out, save future tears by planning ahead to when you’ll resume it.

Find a good resting point in the pattern, like I did with my Miss Kitty top. If you can stop at an easily identifiable place in the pattern, it will be easier to resume working.


Gillespie Shawl from the Louisa Harding Harmony book.

For my recently completed Gillespie Shawl, which I’d put aside for about one month, I made sure to stop after I completed a full leaf. Then I noted in the pattern where I stopped. Between my note, and being able to count leaves, it was easy to pick up where I left off.

Make Notes

While photocopying a pattern and giving it to your friend is illegal (and uncool, because it takes money away from the designer. They have bills to pay, too), making a copy for yourself is considered “fair use.”

There are many reasons you’ll want to make yourself a copy. They are lighter to carry around. You don’t have to worry about misplacing the original. And you can scribble all over them with abandon!

Start by circling the size you’re making. Then move on to noting any modifications you make, tick off rows or repeats with lines in the margins. Basically, anything you need, knowing the original is safe.

Finally, if you’re going to put the project down, highlight the row on which you stopped. Use an actual highlighter marker, circle it, or stick a Post-It Note on the pattern. But keep in mind Post-it Notes might fall off if you fold the pattern or otherwise abuse it.

It’s important to leave yourself a clear and complete note. Right now the project is fresh in your mind. Several months from now it will only be a dim memory.

Use Your Tools

I started by mentioning that my row counter was key in being able to get back on track.

I own several row counters because I tend to leave them in projects. Also, they are quick and easy purchases if I’m visiting a new yarn store and want to be supportive!


One of my many row counters on my Tucked Pullover using Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool.

Another hand gadget to have is a magnetic board.


Milanese Lace Cowl in progress. Free pattern on our website.

You can use the magnets to mark your place in the pattern, but still make an additional note to be safe in case the magnets shift. Of course, this isn’t a long-term hibernation option since you’ll probably want to use the board for your new project.

Finally, if you have a smartphone, there are many apps to help keep track of your knitting and crocheting projects.

For my iPhone, I like the Knit Counter app from Cordless Dog.photoThey have a free version you can test out, too. I liked it enough to get the paid version.

You can create row counters that are linked up and change with one click. If you click the “info” button, you can make notes about the project. Very handy if you’re going to be putting the project aside!

I had created an elaborate set of counters for my Gillespie Shawl, and it came in handy when I returned to the project. (I deleted it making room for the last OS upgrade.)

As you can see, with a little planning and forethought, you can ensure that putting a knitting or crocheting project on hiatus doesn’t have to lead to disaster down the road. As long as you leave clear notes for your future self, a finished object can still be achieved.

What tips do you have to ensure a stalled project is easy to resume? Have any of these tricks saved you stress?


  1. I use see thru sticky notes. I attach them to my pattern under the row I want to do next. You can wright on them and even erase so they can be used over several times. They are also repositional so can be moved as you progress. I make notes on them and know exactly what to do next

  2. I make extensive notes on my Ravelry project page as I chug through a project. I add them when I put it down so I know where I left off. I also knit from PDFs quite a bit, so I often highlight where I left off and leave a “sticky” with the row I am on and other pertinent notes.

  3. Ravelry notes! I knew there was something I was forgetting. 🙂

  4. I have been using a fantastic program for over 2 years now called Knit Companion. Not only does it remember exactly where I left off – to the stitch should I want to get that detailed – but it single-handedly taught me to knit from charts. Now I find myself charting patterns if they don’t come with a chart already. It is great. And I just finished a pair of socks I’d put down 18 months ago and knew exactly where I had left off!

  5. Susan Ferguson

    March 29, 2014 at 9:45 pm

    I have a KnitCro Count app on my nook that I can use to keep up with rows of patterns, total rows knitted and make notes…handy.

  6. Susan Ferguson

    March 29, 2014 at 9:46 pm

    Oh, I also keep current patterns on my nook under My Files in case I lose track of the paper pattern. I can’t make notes on those, but at least I have the pattern…..

  7. Keeping back up copies of your patterns is smart.
    When I travel I sometimes download the PDF to my iPhone. It’s small for regular reading, but it’s good to have in a pinch!

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