I have so many stitch markers in my toolbox, that it’s unlikely I could use them all in a lifetime. My favourite ones are purely functional; solid metal rings. Yet, I always seem to be drawn to the latest jewelry-like “designer” markers. Regardless of how many you have or the style, they are important accessories to have in your toolbox.
Stitch markers come in closed or solid rings, and split-ring styles, which are made in a variety of materials and different sizes to slide over knitting needles. Decorative styles include the use of metals such as sterling silver and beads to mimic jewelry pieces.
All ring styles slip from needle to needle as you knit, and the split-rings serve an additional purpose; they can be inserted through finished knit stitches.
Stitch markers are used to keep track of pattern repeats; simply place the rings between groups of stitches on the needle. They can be used to keep track of increases and decreases, but I don’t use markers for this purpose. I keep track of shaping by recording the increase or decrease rows on paper combined with a row counter. A marker is essential to specify the beginning and ends of rounds when knitting with circular needles. When working with double pointed needles, I use a split marker or a safety pin inserted into the fabric to mark the beginning of rounds.
Be careful when using decorative markers with rough edges, wire joins or beads, because they can snag the knit fabric. If you are the rare knitter without this basic tool, a contrasting thread or yarn, or even a safety pin can be used as a marker.
The abbreviation “PM” for “place marker” is the terminology used in pattern instructions.
Every season knitting accessory manufacturers seem to come out with new decorative stitch markers to entice the knitter. But even if you choose a purely functional marker or opt for the fancy one, it will make your knitting life much easier.