What Type of Stitch Marker Do I Need??

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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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too small
too small
right size
right size

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.

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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.

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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.

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There is no one perfect marker for use in every situation.
The best solution is to have lots to choose from!

4 thoughts on “What Type of Stitch Marker Do I Need??

  1. I have collected quite a few markers by now – but I have to admit that very often I am too lazy to get up to get them – and just use a bit of yarn instead! and even though I knit a lot – I’ve never yet managed to knit a marker into the fabric! but I do like the one with the boat – very fitting for someone living on an island:)

  2. They all look good. All I’ve ever used has been little bits of coloured yarn as markers. Call me slow but I didn’t even clue in about the beaded markers until a couple of years ago. Thanks for the informative blog about the different types and how they are used.

    On another note I was placing an order with Indigo and an ad for your new book popped up so I treated myself so that should be in the mail in the next couple of days although maybe I should be good and leave it for Christmas…nah!

  3. I have to admit, I’ve never given stitchmarkers that much thought. I have a few, but only use the same couple of ones. Every now and then I find it on the wrong side and I can wrap my yarn around it, perhaps I’m using the wrong type for the job in hand. Or, more likely, there is a flaw in my technique! Thanks for this post, I will mull it over 🙂

  4. Interesting – I’d never given that much thought to stitch markers, either, except to find them irritating, because I constantly manage to knit them into my work. I’ll make sure I go for open ones in future (or improve my knitting style, ahem)…

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