Stitch markers – many will say that they are an essential tool for knitters. In this article, we will discuss what they are and some of the many ways you can use them in your knitting projects.
What Are Stitch Markers?
A stitch marker is a device knitters use to help them keep track of stitch counts and pattern placements in their knitting. In fact, they come in different materials, sizes and types.
Furthermore, a stitch maker can be used in several ways. One common use is to place it on the needle between active stitches to mark a specific place in your knitting project.
Another common use is to place a stitch marker to mark a position on the finished fabric.
Finally, they can be used to aid in finishing or counting rows or rounds.
What Are the Stitch Marker Types?
There are only two basic types of stitch markers:
- Ring Stitch Markers
- Locking Stitch Markers
However, each of these two types come in a wide variety of styles as well as different sizes, colors and materials.
Let’s take a closer look at these two different types of stitch markers.
Ring Stitch Markers Explained
There are a wide range of ring stitch markers available on the market. However, ring stitch markers can only be divided into 2 different groups:
As the name indicates, round stitch markers are simply enclosed rings that can be slipped onto a knitting needle.
However, having said that, they can also come in a variety of different geometric shapes, such as for instance in a triangle shape. You will also find some that look a bit like a keyring as they come in a tight spiral.
In addition, you will find that ring stitch markers can come in a wide variety of colors and sizes. Furthermore, they can be made from a range of different materials such as metal, plastic, and wood.
Open ring stitch markers are often also referred to as split-ring markers. These markers are not really open but more like semi-closed.
Locking Stitch Markers Explained
The most common locking stitch markers look like safety pins but without the coils that can catch the yarn. Just like safety pins, they can be locked and opened as you need them.
Other marker types that can lock may have, for instance, a lobster clasp.
Actually, locking stitch markers are probably the most versatile and functional of the stitch markers types.
How Should You Use a Stitch Marker?
There are many ways to use stitch markers, making them invaluable for knitters. Markers are most commonly kept on the knitting needle. However, you can also attach them to the knitting itself.
As the markers come in different sizes, try and pick the size that is most appropriate for your project. For instance, use small markers on thin needles and larger ones on thick needles.
Here are 5 some common uses for stitch markers:
- When knitting in the round
- When knitting flat
- To mark pattern changes
- To rescue dropped stitches
- When counting rows
Use #1: Using Markers When Knitting in the Round
A ring stitch marker is great for marking the end of a round when knitting in the round. In circular knitting it is not usually obvious where the round begins and ends, so a stitch marker comes in handy to mark this spot.
When you first join in the round, slip a marker onto your knitting needle. Whenever you reach the stitch marker you will know you have completed one round. Simply slip the stitch marker from one needle to the other each time you pass by this point in your project.
If you are using more than one stitch marker in your knitting project, make sure that the one that marks the beginning of the round is a different color or shape than the others. This will ensure that you have clearly marked the beginning of the round.
Use #2: Using Markers When Knitting Flat
When knitting flat, many like to add edge stitches to their knitting. Markers are great for separating the edge stitches from the rest of your pattern.
In addition, you can use markers to mark the right side (RS) and the wrong side (WS). Likewise, you can use them to mark increases and decreases.
Use #3: Using Markers to Mark Pattern Changes
Stitch markers are great for marking any changes in your pattern. For instance, when knitting lace, you may want to mark every pattern repeat to make sure you stay on track.
Furthermore, markers can be used to mark increases and decreases in your knitting project.
Use #4: Using Markers to Rescue Dropped Stitches
Markers are great for dealing with drop stitches. As soon as you notice a dropped stitch, just grab a locking stitch marker, and lock it onto the loop of the dropped stitch. This will prevent the stitch from unravelling further.
You have now bought yourself some time to properly assess the problem and decide how to fix it. Are you going to rip or frog back to it? Are you going to leave it till later and just weave the drop stitch back in?
Use #5: Using Markers to Count Rows
Do you have a knitting pattern that calls for a certain number of row repeats? Place a marker after each repeat. Then, all you have to do is to count the markers instead of each and every row.
Knitting Abbreviations Used for Stitch Markers
In patterns you will often find knitting abbreviations like PM, RM and SM. These all relate to the use of stitch markers.
Knitting Abbreviation PM Explained
This is a knitting abbreviation that you often find in patterns. It simply means that you will need to place a marker in your knitting project.
You will typically use a ring stitch marker. Place the stitch marker on the needle, between stitches, at the point specified in the knitting pattern.
Knitting Abbreviation RM Explained
This knitting abbreviation just means remove marker from your knitting project.
Knitting Abbreviation SM Explained
SM is another knitting abbreviation you often find in patterns. It simply means slip marker. That is, you have to move the stitch marker from the left knitting needle to the right needle.
However, many knitting patterns will not be very explicit and will not tell you do so whenever you get to a marker. So, unless otherwise stated, just slip the maker when you come to it on the needle.
What Are the Best Stitch Markers?
When choosing which stitch markers to use, you will firstly need to consider what you want the marker to do.
Secondly, you will need to consider the thickness of your knitting needles and yarn.
Finally, do you want your markers to be purely functional or do you want to add a bit of color and fun to your knitting project?
Here is a selection of some of my favorite markers:
Quick Locking Stitch Markers Set
These colorful and smooth stitch markers are just a joy to use. They lock real easily and include a convenient clear carrying case.
Flexible Stitch Markers
These flexible markers come in multiple sizes and colors. They’re great for marking the beginning of a round as well as pattern repeats. Pick these if you prefer flexibility when you’re slipping your markers with their needles.
Split Ring Stitch Markers
Whether you are marking stitches or rows, increases or decreases, These markers are very easy and fun to use. Plus, it comes with a handy clear pouch.
Metallic Stitch Marker Variety Pack & Tin
This set comes with elegant tin storage. The metallic style and lovely colors of the markers make this set a delight to use when knitting.
Enamel Stitch Markers – Pastel Yarn Hank
Keep track of everything! from the beginning of rows, to drop stitches, even mistakes! these sweet-looking colored markers will be there to help ensure that your project is a success.
Stitch Marker Bracelet SM
This one I like the most. This set includes a cute and handy bracelet to hold your markers while you knit. You’ll never lose the little buggers again!
How to Make Your Own Stitch Markers
If you find yourself in a pinch and you do not have any stitch markers to hand, do not despair.
Paperclips make a great substitute for open markers. A tie of scrap yarn can work really well as a replacement for a closed marker.
If you are feeling really creative, why not try and make your own markers? You can find a great tutorial for DIY markers here: Make Your Own Markers.