Monday, September 8, 2014

Knitting Confessions #4.

Like most things in the world, knitting has a set of rules and conventions. Sometimes, we knitters break them. This is my knitting confession.

Confession #4: I have a weakness for pretty stitch markers.

I mean... everyone does, right? How can anyone resist decorating their needles with these little gems? They're undoubtedly functional (and as a lace knitter who constantly seeks out new challenges, I should know) and I believe that their beauty is an intrinsic part of their function. The more striking and distinct they are, the easier it is to recognize exactly which stitch marker and therefore which portion of the pattern you've reached.

And yet whenever the topic of stitch markers comes up on the Ravelry forums, you always get those people who say "oh, I just tie scrap yarn in a loop" or "I just cut rings off of a plastic drinking straw". I've started getting the urge to say, "Oh honey, just take some of my extra stitch markers." Because loops of waste yarn and slices of drinking straws are fine as makeshift stitch markers - as are leverback earrings and rings, both of which I've used in a tight spot - but they're not a permanent solution. They're easy to lose or disregard or accidentally knit into the project. A dropped loop of scrap yarn looks just like trash. But I can't tell you how many times I've discovered a dropped stitch marker and immediately knew I needed to double-check my project. Or times that I've paused at the end of a row to admire all my beautiful little markers, and immediately noticed one was missing. It's probably saved me hours of miscounting and frustration. Using tools you care about - it really works!

Nice stitch markers don't have to be expensive, either. I started out with simple brass-colored jump rings from a fly-fishing supply store. Fifty of these cost me about $3 - less than half of the shipping cost! A few years later, when I was first introducing Amy to the wider world of knitting, she made a set of about twenty red-and-black stitch markers for me out of her old beading supplies. However, after I ordered my first set of grab-bag markers from Exchanging Fire, I became well and truly hooked. I've made her Scorpion Honey (brown and gold) and Destiny (green and white) sets my go-to markers for projects that require more than just one or two stitch markers.

I keep a constant eye out for new stitch markers to put on my Etsy wishlist. They make convenient, relatively inexpensive little treats to reward myself with or to serve as a pick-me-up when I'm down.

What kind of stitch markers do you own? Do you have favorites, or do you use them all equally?

Knitting Confessions

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  1. I cherish my pretty little stitch markers as well, I much prefer it to some scrap yarn. It does make a constant buying temptation though, especially on Etsy there are so many beautiful options that I really have to restrain myself.

  2. Oh dear. I just use scrap yarn. I have some dinky plastic markers from Knit Picks, but they are all stuck in other projects. I should treat myself to some nice stitch markers from Etsy. There are so many beautiful ones to choose from (I love the green to purple gradient ones you posted up there). Maybe for my birthday in November.

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  4. I have some fun sheep stitch markers, but I find the ones that dangle get in my way so I always end up using my bright plastic circle stitch markers instead.
    Love your especially the shells.

  5. Check out Wine Makers Sister on Etsy. I bought some amazing stitch markers from her and they're very well made.

  6. I'm mostly in the 'scrap yarn' and 'dinky plastic ones from Knit Picks' camp, but out of pure laziness. Sometimes the pretty ones are too heavy for my needles or dangle so much that they feel in the way.