Stitch Markers

I find I am absolutely dependent on stitch markers when I do the Fair Isle pattern knitting. I mark out each pattern repeat by both width and depth. This keeps me on track and I don't muck up as often.

I have tried multiple different types of markers, from dangling things that I could wear as earrings to gadgets I found in the local hardware shop. Nothing was really satisfactory and I was about to give up when I found these. I've been using them for a while and they are very functional, do not get in the way, don't drag on the needles and don't distort the knitting.

These are a hard plastic and I use these the most frequently. I purchase them from Mel Clark, who co-authored the knitting book with Tracey Uhlmann:

These are the same sizes, come in different colours and are flexible but don't drag on the needles:

When I complete a pattern repeat, I like to mark it. In this way I can keep track of how many pattern repeats I've done which can be important when planning reductions for necks and armholes. I use these tiny latex rings. I knit them into the fabric and then cut them out after blocking.

I thought I'd share these knitting tools which are working well for me.


TomH's picture

I use the same pink and blue stitch markers from Clover. They work great. I also use some (similar) ones I got at the local Pearl Art Supply store. I use a lot of stitch markers, as I'm sure many of you do, too. I have 54 stitch markers placed in the piece of lace I'm knitting currently.

Britisher's picture

Yeah, I like the Clover markers that work like safety pins. Got them in two different sizes for DK/Aran and chunky size projects. Not only can you add them between stitches anywhere on your needles or cables, but they can also be attached to hold a slipped stitch that needs to be picked-up on the following row. Got some rather cute mother of pearl jobs that look like earrings too which I like to use to mark the decreases on a raglan sweater on circular needles.

murfpapa's picture

I've seen similar things in Joann's and Michaels. There are some too that are coiled hard plastic. These can be fiddled off without cutting. They are like a tightly wound spring, only 2 coils wide. I've also used a plastic soda straw cut into rings, a piece of contrasting yarn tied in a loop, hoop earrings (the ones with a thin wire clasp), metal washers and rubber O-rings from the hardware store. Only thing I haven't used I think is duct tape, lol. I'm a great fan of finding alternative uses for things. Still, for 100 of these, not too bad a price, and if you can simply remove them on a later row, they'd be reusable. Are these too flexible to reuse if you cut them?

Tallguy's picture

Being resourceful (some say 'frugal'), I like to use what I have handy. The best markers for me are contrasting smooth yarns loops. I cut about 8 inches and fold it over. You can tie an overhand knot near the fold, if you like. This I slip over the needle where I need it and it doesn't get in the way.

I also like to weave the yarn tail in and out of my knitting. By this, I mean that I will slip the marker with yarn in front or yarn in back, depending on what I am doing. If doing lace, there is usually a plain round-- here I slip with yarn in back (keep on knitting). When doing the pattern round, I slip with yarn in front to tell me that this is a special round, and I need to be doing something, i.e. lace patterns. I can pick up my knitting at any place, and know instantly whether I am on a plain row or a pattern row, simply by seeing whether I slipped in front or in back. (You can work out your own code) It also helps me to count rows, because the yarn tail will come to the surface every second row. You can do this every 4 rows, or end of pattern repeat, or whatever you need. The yarn tail just pulls through your work, and doesn't have to get left behind. I have a collection of black, white, red, green, yellow and bright orange threads as markers. If knitting in the round, one colour is chosen for the beginning of rounds, while another colour is used the rest of the way around.

I will also thread in a contrast yarn in front and behind several stitches at the end of a pattern row (or whatever else I need to mark). This is easily pulled out when I am done with it.

The other thing I've used are the soda straws, which I cut into thin circles. You can find them in every colour and size, so I never am at a loss for markers. I suppose you can even cut them if need be!

I've seen those spiral markers, and have gotten a coiled piece of plastic to cut up into markers, but haven't done that yet. I've never really found I have a need for them. But I have it ready if I ever do!!

I use a lot of markers in my knitting as well. They sure do help to avoid mistakes... since I never rip anything back! I use them after every pattern repeat, and when I come to the marker, I should also be at the end of the pattern. If not, I go back and check those few last stitches since the last marker (usually no more than 20 stitches) and correct where I went wrong. That way I never have to rip because I made a mistake. My knitting may look rather strange with all these coloured threads mixed in, and really perplexes non-knitters (I don't bother to explain). And also remember to use lifelines... you'll be glad you did!

kylewilliam's picture

I use plumbing parts - (tiny brass rings that I got from a manufacturer's rep) - either that or tiny baby's silver rings I bought in the jewelry district - they're small enough but a little larger than I'd like when I'm working on smaller yarn and needles... I think that there are lots of different things you can use - my fav things are these two, but I still use other dangly stitch markers from time to time - including the ones that I made with wheat pennies in honor of my dad who passed away Feb 2007.... I guess it all depends on which project I am working on and what mood I'm in....



MMario's picture

I just use paper clips and safety pins.

MMario - I'm not divorced from reality - we're having a trial separation

I too love stitch markers especially with Fair Isle & cable. To save on markers I sometimes use them every other repeat. It still gives me a heads-up on errors before I get too far from the mistake. I've never thought of marking vertical repeats. That's really a brilliant idea!

I cannot really comment on markers. But I appreciate the southseas site posting. I enjoyed the blog and bookmarked some patterns I like. So thanks!