Harder-to-lose stitch markers

Moss agate stitch markersI made a set of knitting stitch markers about a year ago – the Knitting Stitch Markers tutorial is on Instructables.  I’ve used them a lot.  They are tiny, with beads of only 6mm (¼”), and they work very well on the fine double-pointed needles I use for socks.  The only problem is, they are so darn small that I keep losing them.  Being dark green doesn’t help either.

I originally made 6 plain markers and one bigger one, and now I have only 4 of the plain ones left.  So that’s two that are permanently lost, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been down on my hands and knees looking for escapees on the floor or down the back of the sofa.  These markers are small enough to slip into the gaps between the flagstones in one of the places where I knit regularly, and so light that they hardly make a noise when they land, even on a hard surface.  Mostly I find them, but it takes a while and it’s very annoying when I’m in the middle of a tricky bit of knitting and I have to break off to search for an errant marker.

I could make more of the same type, I have plenty of the tiny moss agate beads left.  But when I lost the most recent one, while casting off the second Fish Lips Kiss heeled sock, I decided enough was enough and I needed some larger, more obvious markers.

Which reminds me, the socks have been blocked and worn.  We even had a rare sunny day for finished-project-photo-taking.

FLK heeled socks, using Drops Fabel yarn

FLK heeled socks, using Drops Fabel yarn

FLK heel 2I like them very much, but then I’ve always been a sucker for mad colours.  (You can probably tell that from the purple jeans / orange socks combo.)

I promised a post blocking photo of the heel, and here it is.

Neat, huh?

But I digress.  Back to the stitch markers.  I had a rummage through my supplies and found a packet of 2” headpins and a few blue beads.  That’s all I needed.  The beads are, I think, hard plastic rather than glass, which means the markers aren’t too heavy.  They fit on anything up to a UK size 6 (5mm) needle.

Blue and green stitch markersMaking them was easy, even though I don’t have any round-nosed pliers.  (Memo to self: must buy a pair next time I see some.)  I just:

  • marked each headpin with a felt tip pen at the same point from the end, leaving a 2-3mm gap above  the beads.
  • put the beads on the headpin, then bent it at the mark to a 90° angle using pliers.  (Pad the jaws with a piece of fabric or leather if the jaws aren’t smooth, to avoid scratching the headpin.)
  • wrapped the free end of wire up and around a paintbrush handle that tapers up to a diameter of about 5mm, forming a smooth curve with my fingers.
  • using snipe nosed (narrow) pliers, wrapped the excess wire neatly around to fill the gap above the beads, tucking the end in tightly and squeezing it in with the pliers.

They definitely got better as I went along.  If I were making a set to give to a friend, I’d practise first.

Let’s hope these are too big to lose.  One of them has already been used as an end-of-round marker for the Arne & Carlos slippers I’m making for my dear husband.

Is it a bee?  No, it’s a deer

I’ve just alternated two colours for these slippers, apart from the top edge and the toe which are plain.  I simply couldn’t be bothered to follow a Sanquhar chart again, I needed something mindless to take to my knitting group.

Arne & Carlos slippers

Arne & Carlos slipppers, ready for felting

I wanted to Swiss darn a motif onto the vamp (do slippers have a vamp??) before felting and I chose a bee because my dear husband is a keen supporter of Friends of the Earth’s Bee Cause campaign.

Unfortunately, I hadn’t planned things properly and when I was half way up the first bee’s body (shall we call him Eric?) it became obvious that Eric’s head was going to be up near the tip of the toe and therefore not very visible when the slippers were being worn.  I converted Eric-the-half-a-bee into something that looks a bit like a deer’s head.  I dare say it will look even less like a deer’s head when it’s been felted, but there we are.

I’ve also knitted a separate insole for each slipper and slipstitched it in place before felting, to make the underside thicker and more resilient.  My dear husband wants to be able to tell the two slippers apart – I have no idea why, because they are identical – and I toyed with the idea of working an L and an R in intarsia in the heel area of each insole.  But that seemed like a lot of bother and in the end I just Swiss darned a red blob in one and a green blob in the other.  He used to sail so he knows his port from his starb’d.


About yorkshirecrafter

I live and work in West Yorkshire.  I've always enjoyed crafts of all types, from woodwork to lace-making.  I also enjoy anything mathematical, which makes knitting a favourite pastime, especially complicated designs.  I've been advising businesses and industry on environmental matters for 30 years and also have an interest in green living, especially where it saves me money. I live with my husband and our Maine Coon in a 100-year-old cottage that constantly needs something doing to it.  Fortunately, I enjoy DIY too.
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4 Responses to Harder-to-lose stitch markers

  1. chrisknits says:

    The best type of marker is one that has heft to it. The ones that are lightweight will only pop off and get lost easily. Something that dangles with presence is your best bet. Love the beads.

  2. Pingback: Experiments with PMC | YorkshireCrafter

  3. Pingback: Egg cosies and stitch markers | YorkshireCrafter

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