What is a Stitch Marker?
What is a stitch marker? How are they used for when knitting or crocheting? This is an excellent question that can confuse a new knitter or crocheter. Many patterns call for the use of stitch markers and a trip to your local yarn store or craft shop will show you a wide array of options. There are a number of different types of stitch markers available to you. As well, they can be used in a variety of different ways.
What is a stitch marker?
Quite simply, a stitch marker is an item used to mark a stitch or place in your knitting or crochet. Stitch markers can be hand made, store bought or I have even used scraps of yarn or a hair elastic in a pinch. They can be a solid ring, removable, locking, hanging, snug or any other number of varieties.
Why is a stitch marker used?
Marking a certain number of stitches
Stitch markers are used to signify a place in your knitting or crochet. They can be used to mark a certain amount of stitches; this is an excellent “knitting hack” if you are working long counts of stitches.
If you are working a row of 100 stitches, for example, you can easily place a stitch marker every 2o stitches. This way you can easily keep count and recognize any errors in stitch count quickly and more easily.
Mark the beginning of a round
Stitch markers can also be used to mark the beginning of a round when knitting or crocheting in a circular method.
When knitting or crocheting in the round, it can be difficult to tell where a new round begins. Adding a stitch marker at this point allows you to easily identify this point in your project.
Marking a place of importance
Another use of stitch markers is to signify a place to create a particular stitch or instruction. For example, you can place a stitch marker immediately before an increase or decrease to provide yourself a visual cue to complete that part of the pattern.
How is a stitch marker identified in a pattern?
PM is the abbreviation for “place marker”. You would knit or crochet up to this point in the pattern, add the stitch marker and then continue in the established pattern.
Sometimes you may also see the abbreviation SM. This stands for “slip marker”. Knit or crochet to the point in the pattern where SM is written, physically move the stitch marker from one needle to the other and continue in the established pattern.
What types of stitch markers are available?
From the millions of stitch markers available on the market, they basically boil down into two different types: solid and removable.
A solid stitch marker is a solid ring that fits directly onto the knitting needle to mark a designated place.
A removable stitch marker is a hook or locking ring that can be used either directly on a knitting needle or can be used within knitted or crocheted fabric to indicate a specific place.
What does a solid stitch marker look like?
To explain better, here are three types of solid stitch markers:
The Clover Soft Stitch Ring Markers are flexible nylon rings that come in two sizes.
The small markers will fit on knitting needles from a range of US 0 – 5 (2.0 – 3.75 mm) and the large markers will fit on knitting needles from a range of US 5 – 11 (3.75 – 8.0 mm).
They are effective, do what they are designed to do and are cheap enough that you won’t feel bad if you lose them at the bottom of your knitting bag.
Then there are more fancy varieties of solid stitch markers, such as the ones made right here by Crimson Orchid; Droplet Stitch Markers.
There are six sizes available to meet a wide range of knitting needle sizes, from Mini to Extra Large.
They are hand-made out of silver wire, crystals, gemstones or glass and fit snuggly onto your needles.
Another version of solid stitch markers are ones that dangle down. They can be made of a solid ring or even a loop from laminated wire or plastic.
The concept is the same as the stitch markers above, except that they are usually decorative and hang down onto your work. One example are these Fiddlehead Stitch Markers.
Solid stitch markers slide directly onto your knitting needles.
One common misconception I’ve encountered, especially among non-knitters and non-crocheters are that they are knit or crocheted into the fabric itself. However, this is false and the stitch marker moves from needle to needle throughout the process.
What does a removable stitch marker look like?
To explain better, here are two types of removable stitch markers:
Clover Split Ring Markers are similar to the solid ones above, however are split and allow the marker to be removable or to hook into the yarn.
These are adaptable for both knitting and crochet applications. They can be used for all of the same reasons in both crafts.
With the ability to slip into a stitch, this style of stitch marker is used often in crochet for marking stitches of importance or the beginning of a round.
Another difference between removable stitch markers and solid ones is that removable markers do not usually come in a variety of needle sizes. Because they often don’t follow along on the knitting needles, it does not matter how large or small they are.
Some manufacturers may offer a small and large hook to work better on fine or bulky weight yarns.
Another version of removable stitch markers is made with a locking mechanism or hook. For example, Caliopes Fibre make these delightful markers. They can easily be hooked through the yarn to mark the beginning of a round or another important place in your pattern.
What does Crimson Orchid Designs offer for Stitch Marker options?
Here at Crimson Orchid Designs, we have provided a wide array of options. We hand-make three stitch marker varieties, offering customizable features within each.
Droplet Stitch Markers and Stitch Marker Drops
These are essentially the same product; being made to fit snuggly on a wide range of knitting needle sizes.
Droplet Stitch Markers are made in small sizes featuring beautiful glass, crystal, Swarovski or gemstone beads. They are sold in a set of 10, come on a matching holder and are available in two small sizes:
- Mini – 3.25 mm / US3
- Small – 4 mm / US6
Stitch Marker Drops are the same as above but made with larger beads in larger sizes. They are still hand-crafted, fitting snuggly on your needles and are snag-free. Drops are sold in sets of 8, come on a matching holder and are available in four sizes:
- Medium – 6 mm / US8
- Medium/Large – 8 mm / US10
- Large – 10 mm / US15
- Extra-Large – 11.5 mm / US16
Traditional Stitch Markers
All of our traditional stitch markers are customizable with four options. You can choose from two ring sizes to be used for knitting projects. You can also choose, if you prefer, from two hook sizes. This allows the markers to be removable and can be used for knitting or crochet. The small hook is perfect for more delicate, lighter weight yarns. The large hook is great for worsted to bulky weight yarns.
All of our stitch markers are hand-crafted with high-quality glass, crystal, Swarovski or gemstone beads. They come in a set of 5 (unless otherwise noted in the description) and are available with the following options:
- Small rings – 4 mm / US6
- Large rings – 6 mm / US10
- Small hooks
- Large hooks
Stitch markers are an invaluable tool in a crafter’s project bag. There are so many options available, allowing you to customize according to your personality and knitting or crochet style. Whether solid or removable, stitch markers are useful, handy and can save you time and frustration in your fibre projects.