Since very early on in my knitting career, I have been debating whether or not to buy stitch markers. I like to consider myself a bit of a thrifty knitter…surely I don’t need to fork out cash for little plastic rings…right?
Fancy stitch markers in the store always seem like frivolous luxuries you don’t really need until you’re in the middle of a project trying to keep count. It’s then that the utility of stitch markers becomes apparent. I have tried to be creative, using things like rubber bands, safety pins, scrap pieces of yarn tied into loops, and little plastic rings from some toy machine I got when I was little (you know…those tempting ones that stole all your toonies). Each of these came with its own problem, and it was becoming increasingly clear that stitch markers are an essential tool every serious knitter/crocheter should have. That is, until I finally found a household object that actually worked!
…paper clips! Colourful ones, in particular. Here’s why: Coloured paper clips have a plastic layer around them as opposed to regular paper clips. This makes them slide smoother through the stitches. They can also be bent to whatever shape you find easiest to slip on and off, and they can hang on loosely, or be looped through so there’s no way they are coming off! My preferred method is just to open the first prong a little to hook on to stitches and leave the rest as is. I have also found the different colours great for colour coding if you are using more than one on a project.
Turns out it wasn’t about being cheap and not wanting to pay for the real deal, it was just about finding the right tool. I don’t know why I didn’t think of them sooner. They’ve worked wonders for me, particularly since I started doing crochet in the round.
I still think fancy store-bought stitch markers are a luxury, however definitely not so frivolous. Some day I may treat myself and get some cute ones, but in the mean time, my dish of paper clips is working just fine!