One reason crochet is wonderful is because of its portability, you can crochet “Whenever, Wherever”. Grab a crochet hook and yarn, and you can create crochet goodies. But, there are other tools in the crochet world that will make your crochet experience better. I introduced you to the first crochet accessory, stitch markers, while discussing the importance of counting while crocheting. However, in that post I did not do justice to the stitch marker, I told you its first name, but nothing else. This post, this is a proper first date with a stitch marker, by the end you will know its last name, where it works and its favorite movie.
I will start off by saying this, you are not required to use stitch markers, crochet is cool with that, keep living dangerously. I like to live a little dangerously. I will admit I don’t use stitch markers as often as I should, but I am getting better about using them more regularly. I know for a long time I didn’t use stitch markers because I simply forgot to bring them with me around town. Now, I have this tea box that I keep with my crochet stuff that makes it easy to bring stitch markers around town with me. Another reason that I didn’t use stitch markers is that I didn’t know great they are. And, stitch markers are awesome.
So, let’s talk about what a stitch marker is. It is anything that you use to mark a place in your crochet project. There are bulk manufactured stitch markers you can buy from yarn stores and there are handmade stitch markers that you can buy from physical and online craft marketplaces. Then there are the less conventional stitch markers, like paperclips, earrings, and scrap pieces of yarn. I have been in need of a stitch marker before and used a bread tie. Crochet doesn’t care how fancy you are. The most important thing about the stitch marker, is that you can easily remove whatever you decide to use as a stitch marker from your project. This means that you cannot use anything that is a complete circle. If you go to the yarn store and see circular stitch markers DO NOT buy these, they are for knitters. Now that you have a use for all of the bread ties that you have been hoarding in your kitchen drawers, we will review all the reasons why stitch markers are awesome.
Awesome at Helping You Count Stitches
Using stitch markers can help you count as you crochet.
Awesome at Calling Out Places in the Pattern
Some patterns will include instructions to “place a marker”. This may be because the area in the pattern will be difficult to see when you come back around to it, or the yarn the pattern requires does not have good stitch definition. But, if the pattern calls for a stitch marker, I would advise following the recommendation. The person who wrote the pattern is the person most familiar with that pattern, if they say to use a stitch marker, I trust them and I use one.
Awesome for Pattern Repeats
Some projects have patterns that repeat. Think about trying to remember the following pattern: 1, 12, 2, 12, 3, 12, 4, 12, 5, 12, 6, 12, 7, 12, 8, 12, 9, 12, 10, 12, 11, 12, 12, 12; and repeating it over and over again. Which 12 are you on? Which 12 in your pattern are you on if you have to repeat this pattern 15 times? If you mark the 1 at the beginning of the pattern and/or the 12 at the end of the pattern, it will be much easier to start your count over. Using the stitch marker means that you only have to count 24 stitches, and not up to 360 stitches, to know where you are at in your pattern repeat.
Awesome for Helping You Seeing Where You Were and Where You Are Going
One of the most common places to put a stitch marker is the beginning/end of a round. Think about laying bricks in a circle to create a tower. On the second or third row you might still remember which brick you laid down first, but by the 20th row will you remember which brick you laid first? A stitch marker makes it very easy to see where the beginning/ending of your round is. Using a stitch marker in this fashion is especially important if your pattern does not ask that you join the round with a slip stitch, i.e. if it does not ask you to create an ending to your circle. If the pattern wants you to crochet in a continuous row/round (not join) then the stitch marker will help you keep track of the number of stitches you have made/need to make. You can use a stitch marker while working in the round if your pattern calls for you to join, but I tend not to. I can clearly see the beginning of my rounds, but if you are having a hard time seeing the beginning of your round, or if you just prefer to not have to question where you are in your round, the stitch marker will highlight this for you and make your life easier.
Awesome for Keeping Count of Rows/Rounds
You can place stitch markers on each row of a flat project or each circle of a round project (row/round) or at a certain number rows/rounds to help you keep track of which row/round you are on in your project. There are other tools you can use to keep track of rows/rounds, but stitch markers are an easy and obvious way to do this.
Awesome for Attaching Pieces
Stitch markers can be used to call out the places in a project that need to be stitched together and can be used to hold pieces together while seaming. Using the stitch markers, you can count the number of stitches in your pattern, place stitch markers at the same intervals, ensure that your stitches line up evenly and your seams are perfect.
Awesome to Keep Your Project from Unraveling
I carry my crochet all around town, and the country and to other countries, my crochet goes everywhere with me. For many years, I would throw my crochet into a bag and when I would take it out to start working again I sometimes had lost a whole row/round of work, so frustrating. But, placing a stitch marker through the last loop that you made prevents the project from unraveling.
Stitch markers are awesome! But, there is one part of this date that we didn’t get to, what is a stitch markers favorite movie? Mary Poppins. Check back on Thursday for my next blog post and I will explain why!
What kind of stitch marker do you like to use? Do you have a unique way to use a stitch marker while crocheting? I would love to hear about your stitch marker stories.