I have just opened my new Northern Lace Too shop on Etsy, full of stitch markers and other goodies. So here is a handy guide to the different types of stitch marker!
There are three main types of stitch marker, and each type can have different sizes of ring for different sizes of needle.
There is no one perfect type – each have their advantages and disadvantages. A knitter needs plenty of each type for different projects.
1. Those with an ‘open’ ring.
These are the most common, the easiest to make and therefore the cheapest. The ring that goes over the needle is ‘open’ – it is not soldered together. The main advantage of this type is that if you manage to put your yarn through the ring as well as the next stitch, you can open the ring and remove the marker without spoiling your work. The main disadvantage is that the ring is not perfectly smooth so thin yarns can ‘snag’ or catch on it.
2. Those with a closed ring.
In these, the ring is soldered shut. This means that yarn cannot snag on it, but it also means that if you inadvertently knit the marker into your work you have to break it or your yarn to get it out!
3. ‘Snag Free’ markers.
These are made with flexible wire or tiger tail and the ends are held together with the beads. Like closed ring markers they are less likely to ‘snag’ on your yarn, but they can easily be knitted in and have to be broken to remove them. As the wire is very thin, it is very easy to knit these markers in with your yarn.
Size of Ring
All of the three types of marker come with different sizes rings.
In general, you want a ring which is quite bit bigger than the needles you are using but you do not want it too thick for the yarn. Very thin rings will tend to get lost if use with thick yarns, and thick rings may stretch the stitches of fine yarns.
Size of Beads/Charms
Again these come in different sizes and weights. For thick yarns good-sized, chunky charms or beads is a good idea. For fine yarns, go for a lighter weight marker, and that usually means charms rather than beads. One bead, or a couple of seed (small) beads is fine, but more than that will feel too heavy on the needle.
Type of Beads or Charms
If you are working lace in any thickness of yarn, you want fairly smooth beads or charms, and they need to be bigger than the holes in the lace.
If you are working in stocking stitch or textured patterns, then many more shapes work!
You want the weight (the charm or beads) to lie flat against your knitting. Depending on the type of ring, this may mean one or more small rings are used between the ring and the weight. The weight needs to be able to dangle, not to be stiff.
End of the Round
When working in the round, it is always an idea to use a bigger and noticeable marker to mark the change in round. A coloured one is often a good idea, or something which will be obvious as you work.
There is no one perfect marker for use in every situation.
The best solution is to have lots to choose from!