Learn all about how to use crochet stitch markers in our easy guide!
Crochet stitch markers are amongst the most important tools in the kit of all crocheters whether they are beginners or experienced. They have so many different uses, such as marking the start of the row when you are crocheting in the round, showing you the right side of your project and making it easy for you to know when you have an increase or decrease coming up.
As they are such a vital part of any crocheters kit I want to share with you my guide to everything stitch markers, from the different types, how to use them and some tips for using them from experts in the crochet field.
I love this helpful guide to crochet stitch markers:
What Are Crochet Stitch Markers?
Crochet stitch markers are memory markers to show you something you need to remember with your crochet stitches. They help you get through your crochet patterns with your sanity intact as they take the thinking and counting out of crocheting your current work in progress. For every project you work on, whether it be big or small it is vitally important that you know the current count of stitches, pattern repeats and row count. Otherwise, the project won’t be the correct size and the pattern design will be different from the one the designer created.
Types of Crochet Stitch Markers
There are quite a few stitch marker designs available. Each one has its own look and depends on personal choice and sometimes on the pattern for which one you go with. They come in a variety of colors, which is also vitally important as your marker will have different uses within the project.
Locking Stitch Marker
One of the most common, and popular is the locking stitch marker. The design always reminds me of the little locks you would use to secure your shed door or gate. Locking stitch markers essentially have the same role as the gate lock – they secure your place.
The benefit of using them is that they don’t fall off after you place them. You can be sure that they will be in the same place when you put the project down, pack it away for travelling, etc.
Open Stitch Markers
Open stitch markers are great if you are going to be moving the marker often, for example when you are using the marker to show when you need to do an increase or decrease. Then it is quick and simple to move it when necessary and then move on.
Closed Stitch Markers
Closed stitch markers are usually circular in shape and are fantastic for marking the start of the row when crocheting in the round, or to make sure you maintain the count of your stitches. I find that these are more helpful in knitting than crochet.
There are also plenty of DIY options if you don’t want to purchase crochet stitch markers, or you are caught without your stitch markers while crocheting in your local coffee shop or while travelling. These include using safety pins, bobby pins, paper clips or my personal favourite, a piece of yarn.
But you could always go with something adorable like this:
How to Choose the Right Stitch Marker
There are many factors to think about when choosing the right stitch marker as there are different types of stitch markers. It depends on what you prefer working with, and what works best for you. The type of project and yarn you are working with will also be a factor in your choice.
They are made from two different material types – plastic and metal. Plastic markers aren’t quite as strong as metal ones and therefore can break. Metal markers are more durable and are good if you are using very thick yarn or have very tight stitches.
Size of Project
Another factor in choosing the right stitch marker is the size of your project. if you are working on a large crochet project, such as a sweater, blanket or cardigan then a large stitch marker would be best.
If you are working on a smaller project, such as a hat or pair of gloves then a smaller stitch marker would be best. If you are crocheting a sweater then having a large stitch marker will make it easier to find and keep an eye on.
If you are crocheting a hat then small will be the way to go. A large stitch marker on a hat will be more cumbersome than helpful as it will get in your way.
This also applies to the weight of yarn you are using as well as the crochet hook. For example, a bulky yarn and a large crochet hook might require a larger, more robust stitch marker, while a fine yarn and a small hook might be better suited to a smaller, more delicate marker.
Other Things to Consider
Something to keep in mind is if you are a knitter as well as a crocheter it might be good if you consider stitch markers that fit on knitting needles. This way you won’t have to have to separate sets of stitch markers. You will need small and large stitch markers to work with a variety of knitting needle sizes.
If you want to use stitch markers that are a little more unique than standard stitch markers you can find beautiful handmade stitch markers. Many are artisan made using decorative beads, while some feature adorable animals, flowers and yarn themed stitch markers. They make it easy to change color with each marker.
It’s always advisable to have a variety of colors as you may need different stitch markers in one project for different reasons. For example, you may need one for the start of the row, and another to mark an increase or decrease. Therefore you will need to change color.
It can also bring a sense of joy and happiness to the crocheting process to see your favorite colors or designs within your project.
You can make your stitch marker choice very personal and fun for you. Perhaps you would like colors that compliment your yarn choice. Maybe you want to keep track of your row count by adding bright yellow stitch markers every ten rows. Whatever works best for you.
These are so fun and look like gummy bears!
Basic Techniques for Using Stitch Markers
One of the best ways to utilise stitch makers is by marking the first and last stitch of the round. This is vital when crocheting in the round. I usually place the marker on the first stitch of the round.
As soon as I move it I know I am starting a new round. I prefer to place the marker through both the front and back stitches as it keeps everything secure. I also make sure that this marker is a different color. For example, it will be the only red marker on the project. Otherwise it becomes very confusing.
When crocheting a project that calls for continuous rounds, for example a hat or cowl it is also important to use a stitch marker at the start of each round. Often the pattern will say to repeat the pattern for a certain amount of rounds, say ten. If you have a marker at the start it is easy to jot down the number of rounds on a notebook or use a row counter to keep yourself right.
Stitch markers are also fantastic ways of noting when you need to crochet a specific stitch, such as adding bobbles, or the starting point for a particular design, such as adding a lacy element to your project. When I am crocheting a project like this I place the marker on the last stitch before the change. For example, if I am adding a bobble I place the stitch marker right before the stitch where the bobble will be. Then when I move the stitch marker I know I will be adding a bobble next.
This technique also works when the pattern calls for a color change or pattern changes. If I am working color changes within a crochet pattern I try to have the stitch marker match the color I am changing to if possible. For me, it makes it easier to see what colour changes I have coming up.
Advanced Techniques for Using Stitch Markers
Often a pattern will call for a short row, when you crochet to a certain point in a row and then turn your work and crochet back across a certain number of stitches. This is when having a stitch marker comes in very handy. I place the marker after the final stitch before turning so I know the next stitch will be after the turn.
If you are creating a complex stitch pattern or color chart, such as a graphgan then using stitch markers will be invaluable. You can use them to mark when to change colours. Depending on the design you may need quite a few markers, so make sure you have a wide variety of your favorites to hand.
A new discovery for me is the running stitch marker technique. This is when you take a separate yarn, preferably a different color and smaller weight of yarn, and wrap it around the hook at the start of each row and pull it through your work. You will end up with a dash design along the length of your project. It’s very helpful for amigurumi, and when you are done you can easily pull it through and remove it from your project.
Tips and Tricks for Using Crochet Stitch Markers
If you are caught out while working on your current WIP and don’t have a stitch marker with you or a different yarn you can use a safety pin. You can use safety pin stitch markers just as you do a regular stitch marker, but be careful not to get your yarn caught in the coil. You can also use small charms with large lobster clasps or even bobby pins in a pinch!
Keeping track of rounds and row numbers is simple to do, but picking a method that works for you can be trial and error. Some people like to have the rows or rounds written out in a notebook so that they can tick it off when they finish the row or round by moving the stitch marker. Other people like to write down the count as they go. Some crocheters use a row counter that they can move the little counter on with each new row or round, while others (myself included) prefer to use a row and round counter on their phone. I prefer this method so that I don’t forget to take the counter with me.
On every project, there is a right side and a wrong side to your project. The right side is the one that will be displayed. For example, if you are crocheting a sweater the right side will be the one shown on the outside. With some crochet designs, it can be a little bit difficult to pick out the right side from the wrong side. This is when your trusty stitch marker comes back into play. When you have a little bit of work done take one of your stitch markers and place it in the middle of your work on the right side. You will never have to figure out right from wrong again.
Crochet experts are very knowledgeable people who have fantastic advice for their fellow crocheters. A fantastic tip from The Crochet Project is to use your stitch marker when you want to make sure your work doesn’t unravel when you need to remove your hook. Just pop your stitch marker on the loop before taking the hook away to keep your stitches safe. KnitPro recommends using your stitch markers to highlight your errors. You don’t always have to unravel your work to correct an error. If you spot a mistake and it’s fixable place your marker there and come back to it later.
Bestselling Crochet Stitch Markers
- Great for marking the beginning and ending of pattern stitches, as well as where to increase or decrease the number of stitches
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Common Questions about Crochet Stitch Markers
Can I use knitting stitch markers in crochet?
Some stitch markers can be used for both knitting and crocheting. Knitters tend to use closed stitch markers (also called ring stitch markers) as the marker will be placed on the needles, whereas crocheters use stitch markers that they can open and place through the yarn before closing the marker. Ring markers should only be used for knitting as they will get stuck in your work when crocheting.
Do you put the stitch marker in the first or the last stitch?
If you are crocheting in the round place the stitch marker in the first stitch, regardless of the type of stitch markers used.
Are crochet markers necessary?
Crochet stitch markers are absolutely essential items for the tool kit of every crocheter.
How do you place a stitch marker?
If you are using a locking marker simply open the catch, place the marker underneath both loops of the stitch and close the marker.
Final Thoughts on How to Use Crochet Stitch Markers
I hope you’ve enjoyed this look into some of the beautiful stitch markers used in crochet. I always make sure to keep some in my project bags with my other crochet tools. All of my crafty friends will understand! It may be a small tool, but it’s a great way to mark things like the first stitch in a round, or placing them at the end of the row to mark the number of rows, or even in important locations like color changes!
Crochet stitch markers are essential for all crocheters, whether they be beginners or experienced. They will make sure you don’t lose your place as well as help guide you when you have increases, decreases, new stitches, etc.
The best way to learn about the benefits of crochet stitch markers is to use them regularly. Explore different stitch marker types and try different techniques to see what works best for you.