stitch markers for knitting

one of the things i really like about knitting is that it’s not fussy. in its most distilled form, knitting is yarn, two sticks, and the manipulation of this yarn in two basic ways: a knit stitch, and a purl stitch.  yes, there are yarn-overs, cast-ons and offs, knitting two or more stitches together in different slanty directions, and so on.  you can complicate anything if you really want to (just ask nike and their yoga shoe…you don’t need shoes to do yoga no matter how many millions they pour into their marketing to convince you otherwise. you just need the earth below you and the air around you, but that’s a whole other tangent)…

but really, knitting is pulling yarn through loops, again and again and again. some might question the sanity of such a slow and precise process, but these same people probably haven’t felt the hug from a pair of handknit socks.

there are tools to make things easier though. stitch markers are one of those things that i like to use to mark pattern repeats in knitting. for example, a sweater i’m working on right now has a lace pattern that repeats every seven stitches. it’s only a few stitches, but when i’m knitting on the go and with little ones around, there are many distractions. placing a stitch marker is not essential, but it makes things easier for me because i don’t have to count stitches as i go. the repeats fall neatly into place. if i make a mistake somewhere in those seven stitches, i notice it before i reach the next marker. i like that. pulling yarn through loops in reverse to undo a mistake 12 rows back kind of disrupts the zen nature of knitting for me (ie. i really can’t be trusted with sharp pointy sticks after ripping back 2 hours worth of knitting). it makes me momentarily join those who think knitting is a colossal waste of time, comfy socks be damned.

and as with anything, there are different options for stitch markers. there are some really pretty, fancy beaded ones out there, but i find them a bit too fiddly. i’ve used pieces of scrap yarn before, tied in a loop and slipped in place. in a pinch, i’ve also used paperclips and safety pins. i’ve shared the plastic ones i use as well, seen here in the small box at the top:

knitting tools

and in action:

knitting stitch markers on circular needles

but i’ve found that they’re hard on the fingers because the edges are sharp. i think most knitters are tactile in nature, and the interruption of plastic between stretches of soft fibre can be a bit harsh.

i went to the local yarn shop to see what else was available, but they only had more of the plastic ones, and the craft store’s selection was dismal as well. i headed over to the jewelry findings section and found these…

jump rings for stitch markers

they’re called jump rings and they come in different sizes and finishes.  a package of 144 cost $5.

they do have a break in them, where the ends of the loop meet.

jump rings

but i haven’t had any issues with them snagging on the yarn, or opening as i pass them from one needle to another. i like them because they are smooth and easy on the fingers. and unlike scraps of yarn used as markers, i can feel them coming. it makes pulling that yarn through loops over and over in an orderly manner a little easier. leaving more time for other things. like yoga… sans shoes.


to read more about knitting, please take a peek here:

knitting needles 101

when circular needles misbehave

blocking part 1 & part 2

did you make that?

there are more :-)

i’m also on ravelry, do pop by if you are too.

as always, i welcome your experiences and thoughts in the comments below.

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10 Responses to stitch markers for knitting

  1. oh, what a really simple idea that almost makes it worth coming over here! i normally end up with bits of yarn that occasionally get knit in. i’ve just added them to my shopping list as even though i’m off for blood counts and good medicine this morning i plan to nip out between one and the other to the local fabric/yarn/everything shop. happy marking! ;D

  2. Angela says:

    Too funny! A friend of mine recently opened her own Etsy shop selling stitch markers that she makes. It’s like knitting bling! Her shop is here:

  3. Jess says:

    I learned how to make my own jump rings in a jewelry class I took in HS :)

  4. Eunice says:

    I really like that idea about using jump rings. I am currently working on two-needle socks. I plan to start knitting a cable sweater soon and those will be very helpful. Would you mind if I listed your blog on my blog:

  5. Dvora says:

    That is a good idea. I have used all kinds of interesting things as stitch markers over the years. Small braces rubber bands in bright colors have worked well too.

  6. my favorite are the small rubbery o-ring markers. & I like them in different colors to denote different actions to be taken in the knitting.
    I am not at all a fan of dangly beaded markers. they get tangled up my knitting.

    Loved reading your thoughts on markers.

  7. Lindsay Ann says:

    I’ve never been a fan of stitch markers. As a result, I knit a LOT of socks, because I know the pattern.

    It may be time to step out of my comfort zone, with the help of some jump rings….. (I can’t believe I never thought of those, my mother is a jeweller)!

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