July 8th, 2013

Stitchmarker Madness – Keeping your Lace on Track

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J. learned the lesson of stitch markers the hard way. Here, he shares with us how he fell in love with lace, and the stitch markers that kept him knitting.

My girlfriend, Katy, likes to say I started knitting lace because I didn’t know any better. I had been knitting for a few months; cowls, hats, scarves, a pair of baby socks, mostly stockinette, seed stitch and a few passes at colorwork. I’m a true process knitter and I have yet to knit anything for myself. But somewhere there’s a scarf  “for me” that’s not even halfway done. I took a peek at one of the Haapsalu books at WEBS and was so intrigued with lace that I had a dream I made a shawl for a friend. The next morning I woke up and searched for my first lace project.

I chose the Mariposa Shawl by Marisa Hernandez. I bought a cone of 2/14 Alpaca Silk, a set of circular needles, and then went home. I knew nothing about knitting lace so most of the stitches were foreign to me; and lace tab cast on seemed like such a strange thing. After many trials, I got myself through the first few rows. I had moved from pattern reading to chart reading and then I got to Row 23. Time to really check my work because the next chart was about to begin and I wanted to be sure that things lined up. One side was beautiful while the other was certainly not a mirror of that at all. I hadn’t used lifelines or stitch markers – I was totally heartbroken.

I scoured the internet and learned the error of my ways. I walked into WEBS knowing that I wanted stitch markers, but somehow I clearly missed just how they work. Leslie Ann very patiently explained how to use them. It honestly was about fifteen minutes of my saying “What happens to them in the next row?” and her replying, “They’ll be there, right where you need them. Trust me.” It wasn’t until the walk home that it all clicked. I started the project over, placed markers and fell back in love with lace.

That project has long been off the needles and I’m working on yet another lace pattern. I was a little cavalier and started with only edge and center markers. I promised myself that I’d add markers after the second chart – most of the charts for this project are relatively short. When it came time to add my markers, Katy held up her current project and there they were. I thought I was sunk. Then the Clover Triangle Stitch Markers came in at WEBS. I love these stitch markers!

Why triangles? They’re easier to put your needle through when you’re slipping them between repeats. The triangle shape creates an opening that you can always find which can be quite a relief when your pattern has all of those fiddly lace stitches. The bright colors are also highly visible in any work. My first set of stitch markers, that are currently residing in Katy’s project, are black (the Bryspun Sock and Lace Rings). While they are dear to me because they are the set that got me through my first lace project, the visibility of the Clover Triangles is definitely a benefit. There are those that will say, “I can make my own stitch markers,” and they are correct, but nothing equals a tool that is designed so well for its purpose. A great tool that makes your work that much easier is well worth the money.

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Grace

Customer Service Liaison at WEBS - America's Yarn Store
I started working at WEBS in September 2010. I learned how to knit 5 years ago and have been crocheting since childhood. When I'm not knitting, I love to be outside with my Black Lab, Ellie.
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  • Jessica Nettles

    This is a revelation. I know all about stitch markers and use them religiously (I also learned the hard way), but did not understand the usefulness of the triangle markers. I may have to invest in some. Thank you.

  • Carrie

    What yarn is in this picture? It’s lovely!

  • http://www.peaceableliberal.blogspot.com/ Peaceable Liberal

    I really like the stitch markers that are removable. I have a Boye set that can be popped open and moved. They’re not fancy, but as someone who has accidentally knit a stitch marker into my knitting and had to cut it out, removable is best for me!

  • Jacqueline Smith

    I use the triangle markers, but keep some of the removable ones around also. I learned the hard way to use them on my first lace project as well last year. With all the increases and repeats I would have been lost without them. Can’t tell you how many time I took apart my first lace project until I finally discovered the use of markers. I wanted to just give up, but the point of the project was to learn more about reading patterns and charts and advancing my skill level.

  • Kali Blaze

    I just go to the dollar store and buy tiny rubber bands. Way cheaper than any I’ve found from any craft store or site, and who cares if you have to cut one out when you get 500 for $1!