I'm currently working on a lace pattern that's about 48 stitches wide. There are four K sts at the beginning and end of every row, and I've put stitch markers to set these off. I've also put a marker every 10 sts along the design, because I was somehow losing track, what with the YOs, SKPs, PSSOs, K2TOGs, and all the rest of it.
Ever since I put in the markers, life has been much easier. I know that, at the end of each row, I have 48 sts. If I don't, I can just go back along that very row and find out which *section* of the row is incorrect, because each *section* should have 10 sts.
Let me see if I can make a symbolic representation of the rows and markers:
where - = stitch and o = marker.
Some knitters, particularly experienced ones, may resist using so many markers, but as a new knitter, I find their use invaluable.
DCM (hoping this post will help make the Christmas weekend less stressful for at least one other knitter)