Row Counter Bracelet

Karen’s post on i-cord gave me an idea for a row counter bracelet. This one is a double i-cord band that separates into two lengths of single i-cord, each with large beads that can be slid from one end to another, abacus style. There’s a divider that keeps the beads from sliding away from where they belong.

The idea is simple. The 9 beads on one length of i-cord each represent one row. The 10 beads on the other length of i-cord each represent 10 rows. Slide one bead from one side of the divider to the other each time you finish a row. When you get to Row 10, slide the 9 beads to the opposite side of the divider, and bring one of the other beads across.

While groovy in its own way, the bracelet isn’t the most stylish accessory on the planet, but it is practical and easy to carry around with your latest knitting project.

Materials

• 19 pony beads (9 of one shape, texture, or color and 10 of another). Pony beads are the pea or garbanzo sized beads with large holes, often used in children’s crafts. You can pick up some plastic pony beads at places like Wal-Mart and Michael’s, or you can order wood or glass pony beads from places like Shipwreck Beads.
• Small amount of yarn (DK or thinner). I used the Dk weight yarn leftover from a pair of socks. When I finished the bracelet, I still had enough to make plenty more. Worsted weight yarn is too thick to fit through the beads. Sport and fingering weight yarn work better. I worked from both ends of the yarn, so if you can’t find the other end, cut a length that is a couple of yards/meters long.
• 3.0 mm needles. Any needle that is 3.5 mm or thinner should work. I used a circular needle, but 2 DPN’s would have been just as well.
• Twist tie. This is the short length of wire you use to close plastic bags. They’re great for stringing beads and for sliding beads from the working yarn to the length of i-cord.
• Tapestry needle (for sewing and weaving in ends).

Bracelet

This really is a lot easier to make than it sounds. The goal is to make the bracelet a little smaller than you would like because the yarn stretches.

String 9 beads onto working yarn, and slide them away for now.

Cast on 6 sts.

Row 1: K3, P3.

Row 2: K3, bring working yarn to front of work, sl3.

Rep Row 2 until bracelet is 2 inches (5 cm) long.

String 10 beads to another end of yarn and slide them away for now.

Thread this second end of yarn through the 6 stitches on the needle so that the tail end is closest to the tip of the needle and the ball end is farthest. The result is 3 knit stitches followed by a working yarn, then 3 purl stitches followed by a second working yarn. You’re ready to work two separate pieces of i-cord.

Row 3: With first working yarn in back, k3; with second working yarn in front, p3.

Rep Row 3 until the separate i-cords are about 3.5 inches (9 cm) long.

Slide the twist tie through the 3 stitches of one i-cord. Fold the twist tie in half. Hold the working yarn next to the twist tie, and slide the beads down the working yarn and onto the i-cord. Slip the stitches back onto the needle, remove the twist tie, and do the same for the second i-cord.

Break the yarn of the i-cord that is farthest from the tip of the needle. Thread it through all 6 stitches, and continue with instructions, using the remaining working yarn.

Row 4: K3, bring working yarn to front of work, sl3.

Rep Row 4 2 inches (5 cm) more.

Bind off.

Sew Cast-on and bind-off edges together, and weave in all ends.

Divider

You can make the divider in a number of ways. I’ve tried all of these methods, and they all work, so it’s really a matter of which one you like best. The hardest part for all is securing the divider so that the beads can be pushed through intentionally, but not slide through on their own.

The method I’m using now is the first one listed. When I find someone with a camera, I’ll post a picture.

• Find a decorative button with a post in the back. Thread a 6-inch (15 cm) length of very narrow ribbon, yarn, or string through the post. Position the button between the two single i-cords. Wrap one end of the ribbon around one of the i-cords and thread it through the post; wrap the other end of the ribbon around the other i-cord and thread it through the post. Adjust the ribbon so that beads can be pushed through the loops. Then holding both tails together, tie an overhand knot with both ends to secure, trimming excess.
• Take a short-length of narrow elastic. Wrap it around one piece of single i-cord, then the other in a figure-8. Sew it in place, making sure the figure-8 loops are big enough to push the beads through, but not so big the beads can slide through on their own. If you don’t have any elastic, but you have some Fixation, Esprit, or another highly elastic yarn, you can make an i-cord loop that does the same thing.
• Make a rectangle that is roughly 2 inches (5 cm) long and 5 inch (1.2 cm) wide. Wrap it around both single i-cord strands. Then sew the two ends of the divider together (with seam in back),, sewing front and back of the divider together forming a waist between the single i-cords so that beads can be pushed through the divider.
• Make a length of i-cord that is 9 inches (22 cm) long. Fold the i-cord in half. Slip it under the bracelet. Pull ends through loop as when you make fringe. Then tie ends into a bow. Work loosely to give yourself enough room for pushing beads through.•

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