Ticky Boxes

Thank you all very much for your comments on my last post, I appreciate them bunches. In the short term I know rationally that nothing is really that terribly dire, even if the part of my brain that would like there to be a firm and predictable long term is gurgling in self-doubt. I will spend a bit of time trying to come up with some next steps and I at least have lots of knitting to keep busy with. And I can use the rest of my time to work on a bit of writing. And blogging. And designing things. And training to run a half-marathon in September. Or, possibly trying to learn the choreography to Beyonce’s All the Single Ladies video. You know, whichever.


But since there is thankfully still knitting to be done, and human beings to interact with in the outside world, I met up yesterday with a few of the lovely ladies from Canadian Living, as I have been working on another project with them for an upcoming issue. One of the ladies in the group, Tina, has a system to keep track of instructions in knitting patterns whereby, if the pattern reads “Do this step 8 times”, or whatever it is, she then writes 8 little blank ticky-boxes on the pattern instructions sheet and ticks them off every time she does the step. It is so brilliant I am starting to think of other ways to apply this to my general existence.

It also reminded me of the fact that everyone, probably you included, has their own system to manage this sort of thing. After I designed Ivy I had a lot of people (still do occasionally) emailing me to ask me to explain the “at the same time” instruction: the instruction that indicates that, while you work the side shaping and then later the armhole shaping on one edge of the front piece, on the other edge of the piece you are working neckline shaping “at the same time.” It took me a while before I started to clue in that what some people were truly asking me was for me to tell them what system they were supposed to use to track this. After that I started suggesting things – check marks on the pattern page, stitch markers on the WIP itself. You could line up sets of jelly beans in different colours and eat them as you go, it really doesn’t matter. You can find your own system that works and still get the intended result.

So, I will now go off in search of my own life-organization version of ticky boxes. This should be interesting.

Happy knitting!


  1. Bad luck about the jobs – love the ticky boxes – have fun until the next thing comes along

  2. I just read Austen’s Can. Living blog post and then there was yours all overlapping and such… Makes me feel like Ottawa (where I am!) just got a little closer to Toronto…
    I’ll look forward to whatever it was you were testing – and if you need another tester… drop me a line!

  3. Must buy Jelly Beans. It’s truly the only way to keep track of my decreases. Brilliant!

  4. Glenna I love the ticky boxes and sometimes for the “at the same time” I have 2 sets of ticky boxes.

    I always make a copy of the pattern for writing on….then if its something I might want to make again or there is something about it I might want to use somewhere else, its good to have the information there.

    Sometimes I write things that I think of..like groceries on it, which would explain why I got milk but no breakfast cereal…the cereal bit was on my sock pattern. LOL

  5. I love the ticky boxes idea. I just make marks like ‘llll’ and then do a diagonal to make five. But the box idea is brilliant!

    Hang in there on the job front. Something good will come along. Just don’t forget to cast a wide net. 🙂

  6. Or, possibly trying to learn the choreography to Beyonce’s All the Single Ladies video. You know, whichever.

    I swear to god, we will successfully achieve this one day. *determined grin*

  7. Ticky boxes sounds better than my ticky lists…I do a little spreadsheet drawing on the pattern, with the columns being how many repeats of the pattern there is, and, because I’m completely blonde, the rows are…the rows! If I have two sleeves, and four repeats, each repeat being 16 rows, I have 8 columns and 16 rows. So I can see if I’m doing row ten of the third repeat on the second sleeve, and I can throw a fit over whether or not it’s the exact same length as the first one was at that stage. Not that I would obsess over something that’s not, er…even blocked yet.

  8. cseneque · ·

    I use tally marks like Annette, and often completely rewrite a pattern (or just the instructions for my size) in my own shorthand to carry around with me. Obsessive? What’s that?

  9. Well really my comment is just an echo of the others… great check-box idea from Tina, thanks for sharing… and what a cool experience that must be working with Canadian Living. So job wise….. the universe is working on it, I bet you will love where you are going.
    Have fun while you have a gift of time (that’s what I told myself last time I was in a job situation, not meaning to sound preachy here.)

  10. I use a notes page for each project and then use marks in groups of 5 to mark off each bit that needs to be worked a number of repeats or at the same time etc… liking the jelly bean system though!! :d

  11. How utterly simple, but brilliant idea! (light bulb moment) From now on…
    Thanks for sharing such a fantastic idea.

%d bloggers like this: