Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Quick Tip Tuesday: Stitch Markers

As beginning knitters and crocheters, many people look at stitch markers as a foreign and scary object. In fact, they are a beginners (and experienced) best friends! They are easy to use (I promise), help you to keep your place, help you to remember when to do different stitches, and are pretty.

These are may favorites from my collection over the years. Adds a little humor to the knitting project! I also like them because they are the snag free sort with the rounded wire. (Do you know the movie?)

For knitters: We use closed stitch markers, for the most part. They go all the way around the needle so that they don't fall off. Lots of times patterns will tell you to "place marker" or use pm as an abbreviation. This is done a lot when you are knitting in the round or there is a specific action happening at the stitch marker location that the designer wants you to note. All place marker means is put the marker on your needle, as shown in this photo.

Then, when you come to the marker in your knitting the pattern will instruct you to "slip marker" or slm. You simply move it from one needle to the next as shown here. See? Not so scary. Now the good part, the stitch markers help you to remember what to do. For instance, for all of my hats, it tells you that you are moving on to the next round. In round knitting, you don't come to the end of a row to show you that you have completed all the stitches. The stitch marker helps you to know when you have completed them all. In some cases, like What a Slouch, it also tells you after so many rounds of a color that this is the location where you need to add in a new color. In the Ella Sack, there are three stitch markers used. One tells you where your new round begins and ends and the other two set off the section where you will work the cable chart.

Many times as beginners we will feel like we have to be told by the pattern designer whether or not to use stitch markers. I would recommend that if they say to use one you do, indeed, use it there. However, if you think that adding in stitch markers in other spots will help you remember to do an action, go for it! You can add in as many as you like! When I'm working shawls and there is a set number of stitches to repeat, I will put one after every repeat. Maybe this is overkill, but it helps me to count each section to make sure I didn't miss any yarn overs or decreases. I'd rather slip the markers than have to take out rows of lace.

For crocheters, all of the above applies to us, too. The one exception is that we use stitch markers that can open and close so that they latch IN or ONTO our work instead of sitting on the hook/needle. I will admit that there just aren't as many pretty marker options for us. But, my favorites tend to me the thick plastic ones anyway. The one point of note that I would make for crocheters (at least in my experience) is to move the dang thing up to the next stitch row right after you work it. I can't tell you how many times I got full of myself and thought I could just do a little bit before I paused and moved the marker up. Ummmmm....only to end up questioning if I got it right and then pulling the work out.

Tune in for Friday Favorites to get some links to great Etsy shops that sell wonderful stitch markers!

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