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"How the Sirka® Counter Was Born"

When we decide to start a new knitting project,1 we can't think about anything else until we cast on. Okay, so we're obsessive. We're compulsive, too, so we read the pattern first. But the last thing we want to do at the beginning of a project is to translate the pattern into "row language" so we can use our row counter.

You know what we're talking about, right? The pattern reads, "Decrease every 6(6,7,8) rows 2(3,4,5) more times"?at which point your row counter looks at you and says, "Eh?" You could use your row counter to count the rows between decreases and just remember how many decreases you've done. Or, if you're like us, you could forget. Repeatedly. So what do we do? We create spreadsheets. We make handwritten notes in Sanskrit on the back of the envelope from the gas company, then forget where we put it.

If necessity is the mother of invention, then what about impatience? Surely she had something to do with it!

One day, feeling more than a little impatient, we thought, Wouldn't it be great to have a gadget that counted more than one number? The instruction above?"Decrease every 6(6,7,8) rows 2(3,4,5) more times"?has two numbers to count, and then what happens when you get to the buttonholes, the instruction for which begins with the four worst words in knitting,

"AT THE SAME TIME"?Old Patent Drawing

We wanted a counter that could multitask. We wanted it to count more than one thing, AT THE SAME TIME, and we wanted it to tell us when to stop because we always forget that, too. We didn't want our counter to be ridiculously complicated, of course, but we did want it to be attractive. Beauty is knitting, knitting beauty. That is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know!

When we'd made a list of things we wanted our counter to be, we asked ourselves, how hard can it be? Never ask that question.

After spending months on design, we made about a hundred prototypes, then gave piles of money to a couple of manufacturers here in Omaha, Nebraska, who gave us, in return, cardboard boxes stuffed with thousands of plastic parts. Exhausted but euphoric, we assembled those parts ourselves, with balls and springs and screws and, of course, love.

And that's how the Sirka® counter was born! Happy knitting!

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