Stitch markers could be of great benefit to crocheters, particularly beginners. And even pros can benefit from the use of crochet stitch markers for more complex projects.
Fortunately, they don’t cost much. But, before you race out or order them online, it helps to know what they are and how you use them properly.
What Are Stitch Markers?
Crochet stitch markers are either small metal rings, wooden fasteners, or plastic clips (even safety clips work as homemade stitch markers in a pinch) that a person uses to mark a certain location on crochet projects. They’re available in different styles, colors, and shapes. And someone may even use them in knitting for the same reasons as crocheting (which we’ll talk more about later on).
Because they’re small, they store easily. It’s convenient to place them in a small container with the rest of their crochet or knitting supplies and have them handy anytime it’s the right time to sit down and crochet.
A crocheter can easily purchase these clips at a local hobby or online from retailers like Etsy, Amazon, and DickBlick.com. They’re most often rings, but also come in shapes similar to miniature safety pins.
In a pinch, you can use literal safety pins instead of markers. An average-sized safety pin is larger than crochet markers, which may make them advantageous for some people to use. Other easily-found household options include using a jump ring (rings commonly used for jewelry making) or a piece of yarn.
With the yarn option, a person merely loops it around the stitch. However, when using this option, it’s important to use a different color than the rest of the project – otherwise, it could get confusing to differentiate between the two (which summarily defeats the purpose of using the markers in the first place).
Uses of Stitch Markers
In crochet and knitting, crochet markers can simplify the project in a number of ways.
Identifying a Decrease or Increase
In some cases, you may need to either increase or decrease the number of stitches in a row. When this needs to happen, you can use the markers to indicate the location where the change needs to occur.
You can use the markers as a way to count stitches, which is helpful when there needs to be a certain number. This is mainly beneficial in larger projects that require you to count a substantial number of stitches.
For instance, let’s say you’re creating a long chain. You may want to place a marker every 50 chains — so you don’t have to stop and count all over from the beginning later on if you should happen to lose count.
Securing the Last Stitch
Anyone who crochets knows it can be a time-consuming task – and sometimes you may need to put a project on hold in order to press play on real life for a while.
It’s great to know your marker will be there holding your place (and your row) until you can get back to what you really want to do; your project is in safe hands until it can be back in your hands.
When traveling, this is a safer way to put the project on pause. Using the pins prevents you from sitting on the crochet or knitting needles since the utensil doesn’t need to remain in the project; your markers can position them properly to secure your piece.
Completing a Complicated Project
Some of the more complex projects may require you to change stitches several times throughout the entire piece. For instance, maybe you want to change to a lemon peel, alpine, primrose, or diamond stitch. The markers can act as a reminder of when it’s time to switch stitches.
Marking a Row
When knitting or crocheting, you can use the markers to mark a row. This technique is most useful whenever you’re working in the round.
You can use the markers to indicate when there will be a color change; it’s like having a helpful pal remind you when it’s time to change colors.
Mark the Right and Wrong Sides
A project can look similar on the wrong and right sides. It doesn’t help that many types of fabric are reversible. However, when you’re working on shaping or a pattern, there is a right side. The marker can help to designate which side is which.
Identify Placement of Unique Elements
In a project that has buttons holes, buttons, or other special features, you can use the pins to identify the locations. You can use the pins to identify both the starting and stopping points of the button holes, for example.
When planning button placement, the project needs the same number of pins as buttons. Then it’s easier to experiment a bit with placement until it’s even.
Pinning for Joining
Crochet markers are neat devices for crocheting and knitting because of their versatility. Not only can you use them to identify specific areas of the piece and to count, but they also can work like pins.
You can join two pieces together with them until they formally unite the two pieces. You can use the markers when crocheting when stitching the two pieces together as well.
Use the Marker to Highlight Mistakes
Every time you make a mistake – which does happen even to the best knitters and crocheters – mark it with a pin. Instead of fretting and undoing all the project up until that point, you can come back to where the mistake is and try to correct it.
In some cases, though, you may not be able to fix the mistake, and it will require you to undo the project up until that marked point and redo it. Practice makes perfect.
Utilize the Markers for Multicolored or Fluff Yard
Some yarn is difficult to work with, such as multicolored and fluff. You can use the markets to keep track of the stitches and keep them straight.
Use for Separating Pattern and Border
When you’re adding a border to a pattern, the pins can help to separate the pattern and border.
Tips for Using Crochet Stitch Markers
A few tips can help you better utilize this useful crocheting tool.
Store the Markers Properly
Firstly, store these markers properly to ensure they last. While it seems odd to say that these need special care, you risk ruining them if they aren’t stored open.
When stored closed, the plastic or soft metal will bend and remain that way. The pin then won’t be able to open all the way. By storing them open, they retain their shape and remain easy to use.
Have Them Open and Ready to Go
When you decide to start using crochet markers, it’s important to have them handy when you need them. Therefore, it’s helpful to have the pin already open and ready to use before reaching the point in the project where the markers are necessary.
Locking stitch markers open and close, allowing you to remove them as needed. When using the round ring, they don’t always open. The pin then remains in the project unless you undo the stitching up until that point.
How to Use Crochet Stitch Markers
No matter why you are using stitch markers, the process is the same. Most varieties look like the red ones in the image posted above. They work like safety pins. To use them, squeeze both sides of the pin together. The one side will then pop open. At this point, it’s ready to pin for the project.
Next, insert the pointed side of the marker to the desired stitch. You must thread the stitch marker entirely through the stitch. If not the stitch won’t stay in place, and you risk losing some of the progress already made.
Finally, you need to squeeze the pointed side of the marker inward until it locks in place. The pin will now hold your place or hold the piece together to prevent unraveling. It’s possible to use the pin as a placeholder and come back to the project when desired. On the other hand, you may refer to that marker if the individual is using the pin to mark a certain spot.
Once the marker is no longer necessary, the pin is simple to remove. You will want to remove it because it will get in the way if not. To open it, push the side that opens inward. Gently pull the pin out of the piece, so as to not undo any stitches.
Stitching It Together
No matter how many tutorials you may watch or read, some aspects of crocheting, such as attaching two pieces, knowing the stitch count, designating areas for details, etc., are easier with the use of crochet stitch markers.
They’re inexpensive and will last as long as you take care of them properly. Wonderfully, they’re of great use to both beginners and pros, and everyone in between.