Count on me! Stitch marker assist

It’s been quiet over here on PDXKnitterati, but that does’t mean there’s nothing happening! It’s been an absolute storm of knitting that I can’t show you. Life is like that sometimes.

Pretty yarn balls

I designed and finished a project that I can tell you about later this month. Woot!

I also designed 4 things for submission, and two of them were accepted. Double woot! But I really can’t show you those, either.

So what can I tell you? Stitch markers. They’re a life saver. Oh, sure, you know about putting them in your knitting to mark off pattern repeats. But do you use them for general counting? I do. Here are two ways.

Casting on: If you’re casting on a huge number of stitches, use stitch markers to mark off increments as you go. If you’re casting on 300 stitches, put a marker after every 20 that you cast on. Check your 20, place marker, continue. You won’t have to recount the whole thing when you’re done. (I actually mark every 50 if I’m using long tail cast on, because it’s so fast.) If you’re casting on something that has a pattern repeat, you can use that repeat number instead, and you’ll be all set for your knitting.

Working long rows: I’ve been knitting something that has about 300 stitches per row, with a simple 4 stitch repeat. It’s easy to zone out and go off track. If I wait until the end of the row to look for errors, it means a lot of tinking if I made an error at the beginning. (Ask me how I know.) So I’ve taken to working a bit, checking my work, putting in a stitch marker, working some more, checking again, putting in a stitch marker…you know the rest. Then I don’t have to re-check the whole row over and over again as I work that one row; I just check the work after the last stitch marker. I take the markers out on the next row.

I decided to start doing this when I found a mistake 8 rows later (the next patterning row), and had to rip out 8 rows of brioche. Ouch.

Lately, the plain round markers by Clover have been my favorite. Nothing dangling, just a little circle so I don’t have to fuss with flipping the marker out of the way.

Except for the beginning row marker, for which I like this barrel counter.

And those locking markers are great for noting a mistake so I can fix it later on the next row or two, without having to rip back the whole thing. Just drop down, fix, and ladder back up.

(Can you tell I’ve been multi-tasking? My knitting has gone off track a bit while my attention wandered. Good think I know how to fix things!)

Do you use stitch markers? What are your favorites?

14 responses to “Count on me! Stitch marker assist

  1. I buy O-Rings in bulk from Fire Mountain Gems & Beads and share/give away quite a few to my friends or as door prizes in crafting groups. They have a wide variety of sizes and colors (and some even glow in the dark!)

    • Cool! I have a few round markers that have kitty ears on them; they’re glow in the dark. And now that you mention it, I have some metal ones, too! I wonder where they are? They’re pretty big; I can wear the largest one as a pinky ring!

  2. I make my own stitch markers from waste yarn. Losing one is no big deal, they don’t go zinging off unexpectedly, and they don’t leave a gap in my knitting. Perfect!

    • I’ve used yarn rings before, when I was knitting on US16 needles and none of my markers would fit! But they don’t work for me for everyday knitting. I mostly don’t look at my work when I’m knitting; I’m reading on my iPad or Kindle! So I need something that doesn’t feel like yarn to tell me it’s time to do something different. Speed bumps!

  3. I do use stitch markers. A fancy one goes at the beginning of the row. Then the incremental ones are either Coco Knits rings or some little silver rings with a pattern on them.

    I do have fancy stitch markers that I use when I’m taking photographs, but they are a pain to use sometimes. Too dangly.

    • I need my barrel counter at the beginning of the row, but the end gets a pretty marker sometimes.

      I have some plain metal ones which are pretty, too. And a good marker for repeating lace patterns are the square or round ones with the bead at the seam; the bead helps keep the yarn overs from jumping over the marker. I try to use a bright one for when I’m coming to the end of the row; sometimes it’s hard to tell you’re close when there are 300 stitches crammed on the circular needle!

  4. I’m working on my first shawl. Do you have a tip for keeping the yarn over after the stitch marker? Mine seem to move behind it and it has thrown me off. Thankfully, I did do a lifeline! Thanks!

    • Yay for your first shawl!

      A good stitch marker for repeating lace patterns are the square or round ones with a bead at the seam; the bead helps keep the yarn overs from jumping over the marker. Or at least that’s been my experience so far! Also, the larger of the Clover rings pictured help keep the YO in place; I’ve had the YO jump over the smaller rings.

      Good luck with your project!

  5. I do use stitch markers a lot! I used them to mark off repeats a lot, . for lace or colorwork or things like that. Also in patterns where there is a bunch of garter or stockinette with bits of pattern (cabling or lace or something) here and there, I put markers before and after the pattern bits to remind me to pay attention to those bits. 🙂 I usually use jump rings from jewelry supply for repeats and then fancy stitch markers for beginning of round.

  6. As a “counter” and a hooker with over 50+ years experience, I still use stitch markers. Every savvy hooker knows of the secret purpose stitch markers serve in one’s work: they “mark” the specific turning-chain “stitch,” where the last row-stitch should be properly placed…if you wanna be a proper hooker. 😉 nice pictures

    • I’m guessing you use the removable stitch markers! I did a retreat last fall with Laurinda Reddig, crochet designer. We had some stitch marker swag, and it was all the removable kind, with really cute charms!

  7. Thanks so much for these tips, Michele! I use stitch markers to count when I’m casting on a lot of stitches, but I hadn’t thought of using them to mark the number of stitches in a pattern repeat. Brilliant!

    I have a few very fancy markers (they can double as fancy earrings) which are beaded and somewhat long. Yes, a pain to use regularly, but… they’re so pretty! So I use one per project to mark the beginning of the round.

    And… am I missing something? Someone said above that they used one marker for the beginning of a row and a different one for the end of the row. But aren’t they the same thing? “The end is the beginning, and the circle is complete.” Please elucidate!