I love stitch markers. I use them on pretty much every knitting project. I use them to mark edge stitches, increases, decreases, anywhere I have to remember to do something. When I’m knitting any kind of lace, I put a stitch marker after every single repeat, even if it’s only a few stitches. On the wrong side of the work (often just purling), I count the stitches in each repeat as I work my way across, so I can catch and correct errors (usually missed yarn-overs) before I’m two more rows down the pattern & wondering why I don’t have enough stitches to finish the row.
For my Lanesplitter Skirt, I cast on 130 stitches with a provisional cast-on, then worked on the bias. The total stitch count doesn’t change, but at the beginning of every row, you decrease one stitch, and at the end of every row, you increase one stitch. Now this may be the sort of thing that other knitters can remember without any trouble at all, but I know myself well enough to know that at some point, I’ll miss one of those increases or decreases. (Heck, I did that somewhere in my tiny gauge swatch!) So what to do? I could stop every few rows and count the number of stitches on my needle, but I really don’t want to have to count 130 stitches over and over again.
Or I could use stitch markers. I used four of them, which I first placed at 5 and 15 stitches in from either edge. After the first right side row, I had 4 stitches to the right side of the first marker and 6 stitches to the left side of the last marker. So at the end of each row, I know that the stitches in front of the first marker plus the stitches after the last marker must equal ten. When I run out of stitches at the start of the row, I move to the next marker, and replace the original marker ten stitches in. (Using the second marker also lets me easily orient one or the other markers if I happen to lose one.) This system has worked like a charm for me; my stitch count has stayed constant, and I haven’t needed to stop and count 130 stitches yet.
When I first started knitting, I just used the plastic stitch markers from my local craft store. I lost so many in the sofa that I swore I’d never use the nice, jewelry-like ones that I saw women in my local knitting group using. But then my friend Brenda (a talented jewelry designer) gave me a set of her pretty stitch markers, and I have to admit: I was hooked.
So I bought some jewelry wire and beads and a pair of pliers and I made a set of stitch markers myself.
They aren’t nearly as pretty or as beautifully crafted as Brenda’s, but I like them, and I can replace them as needed if my sofa gets hungry.
Plus… they make my Lanesplitter-in-progress look pretty, don’t they?