Thursday, May 8, 2008

crochet stitch marking trick

crochet stitch marker

i hate stitch markers. there, i said it. sure, it's nice not losing your place in crochet (or knitting, but i'm basically a crocheter). but they're so annoying! (*whine*...) they get caught in your working yarn, it slows you down having to remove and replace them, ... i just don't like using them.

but on my last project, i came up with something that really works, won't fall off, and takes almost zero effort to place or remove. it's so simple that i'm sure lots of other people have come up with it before, but i've never read about it anywhere, so i thought i'd share.

basically, take a short length (4-6 inches, whatever) of contrasting scrap yarn. when you get to the place you want to mark, just drape it across the previous row of stitches before you make the next stitch. the contrasting yarn will be caught under the stitch, and that's your mark. but here's the cool part: when you get to the next row/round, no need to pull it out and reinsert it, just flip one end of the contrasting yarn, say, from the front to the back. on the next row/round, flip it back to the front. the result is what looks like a little vertical row of running embroidery stitches. when you're done, just pull and it comes right out.

and here's a bonus: let's say you're in a part of your pattern where you need to count a bunch of rows or rounds. (when it's the same for a big set of rows, i tend to lose track -- and again, too lazy to do something as crazy as use a pencil and jot down a count on some scratch paper.) you can use your marking yarn to count rows (or rounds) -- just pull it out before the section you want to count and replace it at the first row. you can then count the "stitches" created by the contrasting yarn as you proceed; that is, each stitch or space created by the contrasting yarn is one row. now you're marking your rounds (or rows :) and your stitch count at the same time. and there's no little plastic doodad snagging your yarn.

and i should say, i'm sure there are stitch markers out there that actually work well. but i like this, because it's free, and i always have a little scrap of yarn on hand without having to dig around in my bag. give it a try and see what you think. (and as always, if anything is unclear, feel free to ask and i'll try to clarify...)

41 comments:

Elizabeth said...

This is awesome!!!! I'm a newer reader and a crocheter and I've never seen this. I like the not counting rows part.

SisterDG said...

You are a genius! This is a brilliant idea - I'm really bad about forgetting my stitch marker exists. This would be a lot harder to miss. And I love how it helps with row-counting. Thank you so much for sharing this!

lori said...

I just saw this on the Craftzine blog and I love it! I have never gotten the hang of using stitch markers in crochet, but I think your idea will really work for me! thanks!

Laura said...

Love this idea -- thank you!

Miki said...

Brilliant!! The last project I did I was fussing with those plastic markers and this would have been so much easier. Thanks for sharing this because you just saved this newbie crocheter lots of future counting!

Miranda said...

That's absolutely awesome. I'm more used to knitting than crocheting, and I've never gotten the hang of using stitch markers in crochet. Thanks!!!

Karen A. Chartier said...

sometimes, the simplest idea is the best! This is one of those 'why didn't I think of that?'...Brilliant! What a great way to keep a row count! Thanks for sharing!

kristena marie said...

This is so smart! Thanks for sharing.

Annie said...

Oh, why didn't I think of that! Simple & brilliant like all good inventions - not that it'd be easy to go into manufacture & market! There ought to be a way for you to make money on such a nifty idea, but lawd knows how when we all have yarn up to our knees anyway.
Thanks so much for sharing your genius!

alfanhui14 said...

it just works!!! thank you very much for sharing :)

Lisa said...

Such a great idea! I resisted getting stitch markers for a long time and finally relented when I was doing a big project. I don't like them and now I don't have to use them! Thanks for sharing!

pinkpresent said...

hey..are you the same person that invented matches?

Elena said...

This is GENIUS!! Thank you for sharing! You've changed my crocheting life!

Andrew said...

FABULOUS! I love this! I hate using stitch markers on my amigurumi, but it's necessary. you're brilliant!

Kristy said...

thanks, everyone, for all the positive comments. i suspected there were others out there who might like this trick... oh, and andrew, i came up with it while working on amigurumi -- as you say, there's just no avoiding stitch marking in that case.

jen said...

brilliant! you and i (and quite a few others!) hate stitch markers. i am so glad you shared this. you've made my life easier. thank you!

Stephanie said...

You are my hero! Thank you for sharing :)

Cariann said...

What a great idea... I am making hacky sacks for our VBS kids this year and need to count/keep track of the beginning of the rows. This will be perfect

Rean Day said...

Thank you Thank you Thank you!!! While watching the hockey game last night (go Pittsburgh) I was able to crochet Woody the Owl. I love amiguriumi but HATE stichmarkers. Especially when you start closing things up, it gets annoying moving markers. I kept telling my DH "This woman is a genius" to which he grunted "must...watch...hockey...no...time...for...talking." So I thought I would tell you directly.

You are a GENIUS!

Thanks for sharing.

Rean Day

bretay said...

Hi,I have used this before.It's great as I can't keep up with markers.If I know the length I am going to make,I will cut the yarn that length or maybe a tad longer and work it up as I go,rotating it back and forth on opposite sides.

emma said...

that' a great idea!! And as to counting of rows ,it really works as i also lose count of rows. Lovely!
emma

Jax said...

now, I'm always using a scrap of different coloured yarn, but I never thought of leaving it there so I could count rows with it as well. Thanks for that tip.

Bayou Jac said...

This is awesome!
I'm so glad I found your site.

Thanks for sharing!

seleneyue said...

I've used the tail end of my crochet similarly, but I pulled it out each time. Your way is a lot easier, and I like the idea that it lets you count rows too.

deebeeveedubber said...

Fab idea, just ordered some stitch markers (especially for crochet) doh! this will work so much better, am just going to start a project and will try it now

Thank you very much!!

Betty Atkins Dominguez said...

I don't like stitch markers either.

Debbie said...

Bloody brilliant!

2yechouts said...

Thanks! This is a wonderful idea! I was searching online for how to mark my stitches/rounds. I love this idea and am going to try it now!

chicca2007 said...

you're a genius!
I'm a beginner at crocheting and I don't have any stitch marker and I need something to use as a home-made stitch marker... I'm trying this trick right now!
Thanks

chicca2007 said...

you're a genius!!!
I'm trying this trick right now!

Living by the Pen said...

This is so simple, but so helpful!

Kim White-Jenkins said...

Cool - I've just picking up crochet again (well, over the last 12 months) and am trying to make fingerless gloves. Exact counting is required, and markers are recommended. I'm excited to try your simple idea. Thanks!

Roxanne said...

BRILLIANT!! I am working on a project right now that requires both stitch markers AND working in rounds, so I can use this technique for both. I had googled "stitch markers" to find a better alternative the the one I was using when I found your technique. You are a genius! I can't wait to try it out!

Penrose Designs said...

Brilliant! I went on line to find out how you use stitch markers and I found this. Thank you so much for sharing!
Teresa
www.mariescrochetcorner.etsy.com

LaRa said...

Thank you! Great idea!
Greetings from Costa Rica!

Rosi said...

Wonderful! Thank you so much for sharing :)

kate said...

I am so excited! I just started crocheting and haven't figured out how to use a stitch marker. Last night I randomly started doing it this way. I was certain I was doing something wrong, so went out and bought a little pack of markers and just googled how to use them and found your post. Hooray! I am validated by a real crocheter.
Thanks! I'll be returning those markers and getting my 3 bucks back. :)

Laurelbee said...

I add to the other remarks. This is so simple and amazing. I think it will also work in machine knitting. I will try it anyway. Thanks xxx

Elle Gee said...

I've been using this method for a while and it really is the best way I've found to keep track of stitches and rows! If I'm working in the round, most of the time I'll make the tail just a tad bit longer so I can use that as my stitch marker. This can create some confusion.. I'll try using a contrasting color next time!

ArtNomadix said...

I have never used stitch marker dodads, but was just checking out where to get some to assist me in some spiral crochet, thinking they would help keep the 3 other yarn loops open..... Never having used them, whilst being a tapestry crocheter for a long time, I didn't realise they could get in the way ! So thank you, for putting me off bothering to locate some to buy.
I have always just used a scrap of yarn, when I needed, which hasn't been often, as I use colour and patterns in my freeform tapestry crochet, and generally just work by feel, (increase& decrease etc.)

Geneva Thomas said...

Great idea. I've just started trying to make an amigurumi and don't have stitch markers, nor have I ever used them so I'm trying your idea. Its working well so far. Thanks!