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A stitch marker is a small closeable object that can be attached to a stitch in a knitting or crocheting project. Used to mark a specific place in a project, stitch markers come in a variety of shapes and sizes, from small metal or plastic rings to more elaborate beaded or otherwise decorated attachments. They can also be made from household items, such as paper clips or safety pins.
Usually inexpensive and often sold in packs, stitch markers are generally small circular or oval-shaped pieces of plastic or metal which lock in place when closed. Unobtrusive, they are attached to a single stitch in a knitting or crocheting project in order to mark a place without disturbing the piece. These stitches may be marked to denote a change in pattern, a mistake, or the beginning of a circular row. A stitch marker may also be used to hold a stitch when one is dropped, or missed, so that the piece does not unravel. Some patterns may also suggest places to use stitch markers for easier reference later.
A stitch marker is particularly useful in crocheting when working circular patterns. Placing a stitch marker on the first stitch in a circular row makes it easy for the crafter to see when a row is completed and thus count the rows. Once one row is completed, the marker is moved to the beginning of the new row. In addition to circular patterns, stitch markers are used to mark intentional changes in patterns as well.
Though many are simple, crafters can obtain beautiful, decorative stitch markers. These usually have the same type of locking oval or circle as the simpler versions but also have decorative items hanging from them. Generally the size of dangling earring, decorative stitch markers are often metal, but can be plastic. Colored beads, trinkets shaped like animals, or geometric designs are all popular elements for these stitch markers. Decorative stitch markers are usually more expensive than the simpler varieties and are often sold singly or in small numbers.
Stitch markers can also be made out of household items. Paper clips, safety pins, or anything small that can be hooked through stitches can function as a stitch marker. Crafters should be aware of using items that do not lock securely, however, since there is a danger of them slipping out of the stitch during the knitting or crocheting process. It is also advisable to avoid using items that are prone to snag yarn.
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