live knit once (unless you make a mistake and have to do it over and over…) , but if you do it right, once is enough .”
Recently I wrote an article about Stitch Markers for the Helpful Hints section of Abuelita’s Newsletter. I thought of the idea when my sister and I were talking about knitting lace – I love knitting lace. She was making the Churchmouse English Mesh Lace Scarf out of a Kid Silk and when she made a mistake it was difficult to rip it out. This is a great beginning lace pattern with short repeats, but lace can be tricky. In a previous entry, I blogged about ripping out my lace scarf to fix the mistakes. My errors that time were due to my lack of attention to the knitting and my talking with friends, and no I didn’t use stitch markers….
Stitch markers can help identify the of start of a round in circular knitting, indicate a garter stitch border of a shawl, mark the pattern repeats in lace, show when to increase and decrease, etc.
Frequently a pattern may indicate what to do with the marker. Two common terms used in patterns are pm (place marker) and sm (slip marker). Even if the pattern doesn’t indicate that a marker is needed, the markers can be used to show that something needs to be done. Shawls and scarves often have a garter edge of one or two stitches. A stitch marker placed at the edge of the border will help you remember to change to garter.
Lace patterns often repeat over an even number of stitches, for example, 12 stitches. Placing markers every 12 stitches will help you identify mistakes and allow you to determine where you are in a pattern. If you have looked at my Springtime Loop pattern, I marked in the chart where to put the markers.
Be careful to read the pattern thoroughly and understand the repeats. Sometime the marker must be removed and slipped a stitch or two at one of the rows. Designers don’t always indicate this and if something seems off, read the pattern and chart, and if you need more help stop by your local yarn shop for quick help or take a lesson. On the above chart the marker shifts on row 11.
In this post I have a few versions of markers but, no matter what they look like there are two basic types. One is a closed circle which is placed in between two stitches on a knitting needle. It is slipped as the knitting comes to it and the row is complete. These closed markers will not work for crocheting.
The second type of marker is a split ring or open marker. These may look like a circle with a small opening or a small safety pin. These can be used like a closed marker or can be used to mark a stitch, for example, to mark an increase or to mark the right side of the piece. Because they can be removed, these markers are also perfect for crochet when you need to mark a stitch.
Make sure your knitting or crocheting kit of notions has a few of each type of marker so you are well prepared. I love making stitch markers and below are some I have made with beading supplies (Ok, the picture is not great). I have to admit I really like the square ones as they stand out more from the knitting. Why did I start making stitch markers? Well, I really like them to be fun with sparkly beads….. and they disappear on me….. like the single sock that the washing machine eats, my house eats my stitch markers.