Frequently Asked Questions

Q:   Why do the numbers go from 1 to 36 instead of 1 to 99?

A:   The Sirka® counter is designed to count repeats, not rows, and most instructions in knitting patterns don't repeat 99 times. In fact, a majority (more than 50%) of repeats in our sources1 fell within the range of 1 to 24, and a supermajority (more than 80%) fell within the range of 1 to 36. We wanted to give knitters as much flexibility as possible, so we ran the numbers from 1 to 36. We didn't go higher because we didn't want the Sirka® counter to be as big as a dessert plate.

Q:   Speaking of the "1," where is it? Why are some of the numbers missing?

A:   When we were making our prototypes, we found that dials containing all of the numbers were harder to read, not easier. So we decided to think like watchmakers and include every third number.

Q:   In the Manual (found here), you recommend that we start at the "0" when we're counting the number of times we've completed something. Why is that?

A:   We like to start at zero when we're counting things that we're supposed to do. Take buttonholes, for example. If the pattern instructs us to work a total of six buttonholes, we simply place a hand on the "6" and move the corresponding crown to the "0." (The "0" is sharing space with the "36" at the top of the dial.) Why start at zero? Because we haven't worked any buttonholes yet! Every time we work a buttonhole, we advance the corresponding crown one click until it reaches the hand at "6." Six clicks, six buttonholes.

Q:   Each slot holds only one hand. What if I have two counts that end on the same number?

A:   You have several options. First, you could figure out how to change one of your counts. Grellow did this when she was knitting a cardigan, top down, and the instructions required her to decrease every 11 rows a total of 11 times. Uh oh! By the time she'd read this instruction, though, she'd already decreased once, which meant she had 10 decreases to go, not 11. So she stuck one hand on the "10" (for the number of decreases remaining) and another hand on the "11" (for the number of rows between and including the decreases). Problem solved! Your counter isn't in charge ... you are! Make it work for you.

   If for some reason you can't change one of your counts, you'll have to park one of the hands out of the way, like on the "36," or deny it a slot altogether. For example, use the yellow and gray crowns to advance your two counts, and use the yellow hand to remind yourself where both counts end—say, on the "12." Park the gray hand on the "36" or, if you know you'll forget that it's only parked there, just let the gray hand dangle. It won't go anywhere; it's screwed down.

Q:   What if I have a count that exceeds 36?

A:   Again, you have several options. First, you could figure out how to transform the count into a lower number. Grellow did this with her cardi when the instructions read, "continue until each sleeve has 58 stitches." (Grellow blogged about how to count stitches with the Sirka® counter here (under "Knitters Are Smart").) Every increase row added two stitches to each sleeve, so she just cut the number in half. She put the hand on the 29 (half of 58) to mark her ending place, then advanced the crown one click for every increase row. When she started increasing, there were 32 stitches on the sleeve, so she started the count at 16 (half of 32). She was, in effect, counting the increase rows, each of which added two stitches to the sleeve.

   Alternatively, you could just go around the counter twice. For example, if you've got a 48-row repeat (poor you!), you could put the hand on the "12." When your crown reaches the "36," just keep on going. When it reaches the "12" for the second time, you've reached the end of your count. We find that unless we're working a cable repeat, we don't even look at the numbers anymore; once we've got our yellow hand in place, for example, we just advance our yellow crown until it reaches the yellow hand. When they line up, we're done. If you use this method, you'll have to remember to go around the counter twice, of course, but perfection isn't possible in this life. (Unfortunately!)

Q:   Do I have to rotate the crowns in a clockwise direction?

A:   No. They're designed to rotate in both directions.

Q:   What if I want to wear the Sirka® counter around my neck? I can't read the numbers.

A:   You're in luck! We've just introduced the Sirka® counter LP (for "lapel watch"), which is designed to be worn around your neck.

Q:   Should I try to disassemble my Sirka® counter?

A:   No, please don't! Each Sirka® counter has tiny balls and springs inside, and if one of those balls or springs gets away, trust us—you'll never see it again. Without the balls and springs, the counter won't work properly. For warranty information, click here.

1Our sources were, admittedly, knitting patterns that we own, but that's a lot of patterns!

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