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Have you ever had a stitch marker break?

I don't believe that I use any sort of ninja death grip when I knit. My hands don't get cramped and my gauge is fairly loose. Nonetheless, I have managed to break stitch markers while knitting.

For many years, I have happily used my Susan Bates stitch markers. They are readily available and cheap as can be. A small box of 20 will run you less than $2.00. It was not until I crushed a few, mid row, that I decided I needed to see what else was out there.

Now my collection of stitch marking paraphernalia looks like this:

In my knitting nook, I have a set of those dishes you put your soy sauce in when you eat sushi. In one dish, I keep standard safety pins, some with the loop at the bottom, some without. In another dish, I keep a variety of closed ring, circular stitch markers. In the third dish, I have split ring and locking stitch markers, and in the last, I have a beautiful set of hand made stitch markers my friend Amy gave me.

If I haven't bored you yet, read the rest of my post on stitch markers, after the bump.

I've pulled out one of each kind and laid them out.

If you've been knitting for any length of time, you probably have some or all of these types of stitch markers as well, and perhaps you have favorites among them. Like many aspects of my life, I've found myself rather particular about when and why I use each type of marker.

For the most part, any sort of split or openable markers, including safety pins, are relegated to tasks such as marking out four inches worth of rows and stitches to count gauge. I'll also use them for temporarily holding pieces together to check fit or to mark the front or back of a piece that appears the same on both sides. They are important stitch markers but don't get as much use as the closed rings.

Even amongst this group, I do have a favorite.
talkingpinsspitrings.jpg While safety pins are cheap and easy to find, the parts can catch on fabric. Even the quilter's pins, that lack the loop at the bottom, can snag on yarn. The split rings have their merits, they slip easily around the needle or through a stitch. They are relatively smooth and sturdy and come in several colors. However, their hold on the yarn tends to be tenuous and if I've bothered to indicate something with one of them, I prefer it to be my decision to remove them when I'm done, not the stitch marker's. I suspect they are more useful to people who use straight needles over size US #3, but I prefer circulars whose cords tend not to be wide enough to secure the marker in place.

lockingmarker.jpg That leaves the cute Clover lockable stitch markers. They have the security of a safety pin and they don't snag. Of the bunch, these get more use than any.

While there's no doubt these are great little tools, I do not care for any of these as replacements for the sealed ring variety of stitch marker. While I've used any and all of these for the purpose of marking points of interest along a row of stitches, each slows me down when used in that capacity. So unless the comments for today's post, suggest that I've bored you all to tears, my next post will wax not-so-poetically on my sealed ring stitch marker preference. Please, try to contain your excitement.

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Comments (25)

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Rachel F:

Today I went shopping for some stitch markers in a local yarn shop, fortunately for me he also sold curtain rings which I bought instead at 1p each. I hope this helps if you need a lot of stitch markers!

Locking clover markers are my fave as well. I have plenty of handmade markers that I will occasionally pull out but by and by, it the locking ones that I go to the most.

I love the locking clovers. Those and the special ones made for me by Jo (Something from Nothing) are all I use. I'm a bit minimalist in this regard. If only I were minimalist in some other areas of knitting!

At the moment, the only stitch marker I ever used was and is a home-made beaded ring that appeared to be at hand and was miraculously assorted to the yarn's colourway of my hour-glass sweater. I was considering increasing my use of those little helpers, so I am very pleased that you take the time to write a review of yours.

I'm a macguyver when it comes to stitch markers, little stray bits of contrast yarn are my usual, but a paperclip or ponytail thingy or a ring made from a small length of pipecleaner...
one cool thing that i picked up from kate watson ages ago, if you are doing, say, a 4 row pattern repeat, knot a longer piece of yarn, doubled, in 4 places, making a series of 4 loops. when you come to your marker, move up to the next loop. whenever you come to the last loop, it's time to cable (or whatever).

brilliantly low tech!

I can't wait to read the rest of this. I have used small rubber bands, Susan Bates, yarn and paper clips. I have not yet tried the "o-ring" type so I am curious as to your experiences with them.

I had a problem marking the beginning of the round on some socks done using size 0 needles - the usual ones left a mark. I switched to show poodle hair bands (,
left over from my poodlegrrl's show career. They are way thin and easy to break (and way too big for the needles), but they do the trick!

My favorite is a stray piece of yarn. I can always size it as needed, it doesn't cost, and its super easy to slip. Having said that, I did feel the need to purchase some "real" tools, and *just* got the Clovers on Sunday! With your write-up, I can't wait to try them out!

My personal favorite of late is my no-longer-needed belly ring. Fond memories, that ring.

i have some of those susan bates and the clover split rings. i think i'm probably the only person in the world to have used stitch markers in multiple projects and not broken or even lost one. i did bend one of the larger susan bates ones so its got a weak spot that'll probably crack but i like using those ones better than the clover ones which tend to stab my hands pretty hard... seriously, why did they leave that sharp of an end? i should try some of those soft stitch markers.

i think people actually enjoy talking about knitting equipment!


For 'in place' split markers, I too use colored coated paperclips. They hook nicely and stay on. I've also used locking earrings. I know some people use twist ties, but I have plenty of earrings & paperclips. :)

Not boring. I agree about the Clover Locking Markers -- they are my favorite of this type. They are kind of expensive but they are just soooo much better than the competition for this type of marker. The Susan Bates markers also break on me, but I find them the least annoying (in terms of ease of moving from 1 ndl to the next). I find those Clover Soft Stitch markers are too 'grabby' -- catch on the ndls and don't move as easy. I have some great beaded markers, but those you have to always flip back and forth... I've been thinking about using soldered silver jump rings (the ones that you can't twist to open, so they can't get caught on the yarn). They have a nice weight to them and slip easily. However, they are harder to find. Geez, I practically wrote a book here -- I guess I have strong opinions about stitch markers. See, not a boring topic at all.

Ha, ha... Love your stitchmarker comments!

I have used anything from o-rings to my kid's ponytail holders (really tiny elastics that look like little o-rings but break constantly). The ponytail holders have the drawback of becoming projectiles at any given moment, being elastic and all that. My husband has actually been accidentally hit in the head with them. (I swear it wasn't on purpose...much...)

I have some lockable ones which I have yet to use because the lock part slows me down. The earring-style ones are so gorgeous, but I'm such a klutz with real earrings, snagging everything, that I can't help but think I'd kill my knitting with beaded stitchmarkers. Good thing they don't fly across the room or I'd be in real trouble...


I didn't see you use the Wrights/Boye jumbo stitch markers. They're flexible and lock, and cheap too!

I used McDonald's drinking straws cut as thick or as thin as I want them. It's fairly easy to use them up to sz 8 needles, and I don't feel bad about losing them, which I do all the time. Also, if you just keep a piece of straw in with your scissors you can have tons of stitch markers whenever you need them.

I use those locking clover ones you like to mark the "front" of anything I need to know that for. I hook it into the 3nd or 3rd row, into a stitch in the middle. So then if i need to remember that i am purling or knitting or doing a "wrong side" row of a lace pattern then I know!

Funny, I was just organizing my stitch markers yesterday....I need some of those lockable ones.......emergency LYS visit..

Huh. And here I was thinking I was the only one to break the susan bates stitch markers. I had mine for a while, and then they all broke at the same time. Weird.

What do you think of jump rings (like the ring part of Amy's handmade markers) for smaller gauge knitting? Can't beat the price of 100 for $2...


I tend to use coloured paper clips. This is fine, but they start to strain at around the 4mm needle mark.

I want some of the Clover lockable stitch markers, but for some reason, I can't justify paying the price they want for them. It's weird, because heaven knows I don't have any trouble paying for other, more EXPENSIVE knitting gadgets. {sigh}

I also like the Clover lockables. They're so cute too - like little padlocks!

I'll use the quilters pins to mark the begining of the round on the first row, but ther's NOTHING like having pretty sparkly things haning from your knitting!

I'm making a variation of your dragon hoodie for the KO! check it out on my blog!

I've broken plenty of the Susan Bates ones too. I still haven't tried the Clover lockable ones.


This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on February 9, 2006 4:53 AM.

The previous post in this blog was Have you ever had a stitch marker break?.

The next post in this blog is The fascinating lives of stitch markers -- Part II.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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