Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Row Counting Rendezvous

As many of you may know, I have an Esty store called Dawning Dreams Etsy Shop. I sell knitting, spinning, & crochet yarn and accessories. Many of the items you see are the final products of several endeavors to make a great product. You should see the pile of dead stitch markers I have in a jar that didn't make the cut.

Recently, I decided to take on the task of creating a row counter. There are several types available online, and I felt it was my duty not to copy another design, but to create a unique type from scratch.

There's a beautiful sock row counter made in metal rings and beads. It's visually appealing and sells. Unfortunately, I don't like that it's tiny. I have trouble sliding the rubber o-ring around. Making a bigger version would look funny to me. It would be more like a necklace than a counter.

There's another popular type that is a bracelet. Once again, very eye appealing and a great seller. To me though, there are too many parts. I wanted something easier to create. I like simplicity.

I started searching then over the web for different types of Abacus counting systems that aren't necessarily related to knitting. So were fantastically ornate, so simple and not practical.

I finally ended on a design like this.. .

They are different than all those I've seen with beads that slide back and forth, and therein lies the problem. The string used must be sturdy enough to last though multiple slides without breaking. I made three versions of the counter: one with crochet thread, one with fishing line, and one with jewelry wire.

Next was the fun part, I took all three and played with them. I slid the beads around, swung it in circles, and gave it to the kids. For a couple of hours everyday I played with them.

After beating them up sufficiently I checked them over to see how well they stood up to the abuse. The wire one was very stiff and pushed the beads crookedly. (Like the top sample.) Also, the wire broke relatively easy and frayed. Not good.

The Fishing line worked out better. It was fine with the abuse, but the beads didn't slide easily, and as you can see in the photo, the beads didn't lie straight.

The crochet thread was the best in my opinion. It hanged nicely and felt good in my hands. There was some wear on the string, but it didn't break. It did stretch a little, but not so much as to compromise the workings of the mechanism.

So, in the end, I choose number three, and need to start making them.

Next time you look around my store, think about all the things that you don't see me doing to make sure you get a good product. It's not always about finding the cheapest stuff, but the best constructed. I love what I do, and I hope you all love it too.


mamakin said...

Oh, this is great. And it'd a golf counter,ususlly made so you can clip it to something. I have a friend who made it with roubd elastic & that worked well for me, and as a joke one day,when,as they say, the golf gods were mad at me ( I was actually talking to another member of our 4some, and wasn't focused AT ALL (knitting always comes first lol) and shot a 7 0n a par 3!!!! The next week she showed up with stroke counters for each of us...theirs went up to 10. Mine went up to 30 !! as a joke. She even put a different colored bead on every 5th bead. I was soooo happy cuz i saw it as a counter, and the colored beads made it easy to count quickly. I asked her to make me another one,shorter. that I could attach the other to. So after 30 rows,I'd slide the multi beads over one & start again. It was the best! It may give you other ideas, like color for stitch counting and black for row counting-who knows.
Good luck with this-I'll bet you could sell them to all the ravelers-maybe put a couple in the boxes to get the word out.

mamakin said...

sorry for the typos-I'm on my back after a procedure yesterday & Im not all there. I'm sure u got-it's a golf counter to count strokes on a hole. Reset at next hole.
And it was made with round (sturdy) elastic. Ah one fingered typing on my back, what a klutz haha