Stitch markers come in two basic styles. The closed stitch marker can only be used on the needle while the split-lock stitch marker can also be used within the fabric itself. They come in all shapes and sizes, from the utilitarian plastic to the beaded and dangly. It doesn’t really matter what materials they are, plastic or metal. You can even use a piece of yarn with a loop and knot. What does matter is the size. Using a stitch marker too small for your needle is not really an option. It just won’t fit. If it does, it will be so hard to move, it will wreck your knitting flow and possibly your needle. If it’s too big, it will flop around and try to jump your stitches.
Stitch markers are something you almost always have on hand. But do you know all you can do with them? Here are 6 uses for stitch markers.
1. Count your cast on stitches
When you have a lot of stitches to cast on, stopping to count them can be problematic. Place a stitch marker after every 25 or 50 stitches.
2. Mark the Right Side
When you are working on garter stitch or another reversible pattern, it's difficult to keep track of which side is the Right Side. Use a split-lock marker right into the Right Side of the fabric. Just a quick glance will tell you which is the Right Side.
3. Let a stitch marker help you measure
If you’re knitting a sweater, scarf or afghan, you’ll come to a point when you’re close to the length you need and eager to get there. If you’re anything like me, you’ll find yourself measuring every row or two just praying you’ve got the length you need. All that measuring takes up time. Place a maker in the fabric, noting how much longer you have to go. It’s a lot easier to estimate two or three inches. Also, it’s a lot faster to measure a few inches than the complete length of the project.
4. Mark Beginning of Round and pattern repeats
We can’t forget the main thing stitch markers are used for. When working in the round, use a stitch marker to tell you when you’ve gone the whole way around, often called beginning of round marker or BOR.
When you have many repeats of a stitch pattern, you can use stitch markers to divide the pattern repeats. That way, if you make a mistake, you’ll be able to find it with ease.
If you’re using these and a BOR, make sure the BOR is a different color from the rest.
5. Help to check gauge
In some cases, it can be difficult to count your stitches and establish your gauge. For example, your yarn may be dark or fuzzy; you may have a stitch pattern that makes counting one stitch at a time difficult. In these cases, you can measure out 4 inches in stitches and rows, using locking stitch markers to define the edges. You then have the opportunity to pick up the fabric, stretch out the stitches, put it under extra lighting or whatever else you need to do to count the stitches.
6. Count rows
Sometimes you may need to count your rows. Increasing for sleeves springs to mind. Use locking stitch markers to count your rows. Simply add a marker to the chain with each row you work.
Do you have another use for stitch markers? Which type is your favorite?