Have you ever looked at a friend's knitting or crochet, and wondered what the heck those decorative things hanging from inbetween stitches are? Conversely, have you ever wondered if there was some way to place something on your needle during a row to remind you to do something important?
The answer to both of these questions is Stitch Markers!
Stitch markers, in their simplest form, are rings that you can slip onto your needles or your work to signify that something needs to happen in that spot of the row. This makes them a knitter and crochet's best friend - I consider stitch markers to be a vital part of the my crafting tool box!
They are also super easy to use when knitting – when you get to the point on your needle where your stitch marker is, you simply slip it from your left needle to your right needle. That way it maintains its correct position on your row where you need it to be. Easy peasy!
For crochet - when you get to your beginning of round marker, simply take it out of the stitch and replace it once you've made the first stitch of the next round.
Let's take a look at the types of stitch markers there are:
Rings are just as the name says - simple round rings which sit in-between stitches, and move easily from one needle to another.
Looking like a more rounded version of a safety pin, these stitch markers are incredibly useful because they can be secured to an actual stitch - very handy if you need to distinguish the right side of your work from your wrong side! They are also easy to shift around your work - you simply undo them, and then replace them into a different position as required.
They can also be used to secure dropped stitches until you have time to fix them.
Split ring (not pictured)
Split ring markers are similar to locking ones, but with the added ease of not needing to be undone before you move the stitch marker from one spot to another. This type is very popular with crocheters, who need to move the stitch marker up a row each time a round is completed.
Usually in ring or locking form, these pretty stitch markers are decorated with beads, motifs or acrylic shapes. These are so much fun - like jewellery for your project!
Knowing when to use a stitch marker
The next question is - when does one use a stitch marker? Oftentimes the pattern will give you instructions on when to place a marker in your work, using the following acronyms:
PM: Place Marker - place the marker after the last stitch worked as per the pattern instructions.
SM: Slip Marker - move the marker from one needle to the other
BOR: Beginning of Round - place the marker at the beginning of the row when working in the round, so you know when a row (or round) is completed.
You can also place markers as guidelines within your work, for example dividing stitch repeats when working in lace or cable patterns. This often helps you catch mistakes before you get too far along, too - if you are working a 12 stitch repeat and realise that you have made a boo boo, you only have to count back one repeat, rather than the entire row!
Stitch markers can also be used to:
- mark increase or decrease points in your work
- mark border sections
- distinguish between the right and wrong side of your work
- indicate where short rows are to be worked
So make friends with your stitch markers! Though they may be small, they are a wonderful tool to keep your projects progressing smoothly, and can often make your work look extra cute, too!
Here at Maker Maker we stock a great range of stitch markers - treat yourself to some today!