How to Use Stitch Markers

Home/CrochetingHow to Use Stitch Markers

How to Use Stitch Markers

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Stitch markers are essential tools to crocheters and knitters alike. They can be used to mark a certain number of stitches, the beginning of a round, where to make a particular stitch, and more. Patterns often call for stitch markers with the abbreviations “pm” (place marker) and “sm” (slip marker). It’s important to note that there are essentially two categories of stitch markers: closed and open (also known as split-ring).

As the name implies, closed stitch markers feature one solid loop. They come in a wide variety of styles, including simple plastic rings and more complex charms. Here are a few examples:

Closed Stitch Markers

While knitting, the stitch marker sits on the needle between active stitches. To start using a closed marker, simply knit to where you want the marker, then place it on your right needle. Continue to knit as normal. Keep in mind that the marker can only be adjusted when you reach it in the row. When you reach the marker, simply slip it from the left needle to the right (as you would slip a stitch) to keep the marker in the same position.

Closed Stitch Marker while Knitting

Closed stitch markers do not work with most crocheting techniques. This is because crocheting closes stitches instead of leaving them live. Thus, if you used a closed stitch marker, it would be crocheted into your work. The only ways to remove the marker would be to rip out your stitches or cut your work (yikes!).

Open or split-ring markers are incredibly versatile. Because they aren’t closed, they can be added, removed, or adjusted at any time, regardless of which stitch you’re on. They come in a variety of different styles, including rings with a small gap, locking, or lever-backed.

Open Stitch Markers

When knitting, these markers can be used on the needle (as with closed markers) or attached to particular stitches.

Open Stitch Marker while Knitting

Because they can be removed at any time, open stitch markers are perfect for attaching to crochet stitches.

Open Stitch Marker while Crocheting

Those are the basics to selecting and using stitch markers! If you find yourself in a pinch and don’t have a stitch marker handy, try using a tie of yarn (for closed stitch markers) or a paperclip (for open stitch markers).

Related links:

Share this post


  • Of course, you can always snip through the closed plastic markers to use for crochet.  Since I only had closed ones from knitting, that’s what I did for working on the mesh raglan pullover.  The red ones pictured have a smoother edge which looks like they might be slightly easier to use, however I won’t be rushing out to buy any!

  • And in a pinch I use paper clips.  They actually work quite well.

  • I use bobby pins as stitch markers.  Sometimes I use them to mark where I begin crocheting today… mark my progress.  I sometimes use them when I begin using the 2nd skein on a new pattern (to help me guage how long the afhan will be).  I usually put a bobby pin thru my last stitch–to keep it from accidently being pulled out.

    • i love your idea about bobby pins – i don’t pin my hair up like I use to so i have a whole bunch of the tight ones as well as the looser type bobby pins – i crochet mostly and the idea of bobby pins is a wonderful idea – they are easier to slip on and off – Safety pins always take time to unclasp and re-clasp –

      your ideas of marking the stitches to hold them is also a great idea –

      The Lion Brand Notebooks and free patterns is the best web-page i subscribe to –  

      thanks for the great tips
      sue grob

  • Stitch markers are a good thing to watch for at thrift shops and yard sales.  They are $6 at my local LYS!  They are easy to lose too so it’s good to pick up extras when possible.

  • Never knew about the little plastic safty pins. My sister sent me some. they really come in handy.

  • I often use a strand of contrasting yarn looped over the needle between stitches.

  • I love the plastic markers that look like safety pins. They can be used for both knitting and crocheting and come in different sizes and colours.

  • I have used several types of stitch markers and I like the little brass safety pins the best.

  • This was very helpful. I’ve had a small pack of the closed plastic markers from a starter kit for awhile now and never knew exactly how they were useful. Thank you for posting and showing pictures.

  • In a pinch you could cut up a plastic straw to use as markers.  They’re not glamorous but they’re the right price.

  • […] Brand Yarn has a great post with some practical tips and information for using stitch markers in knitting and crochet projects. It's a great resource for […]

  • This is a great resource for beginners! I know I was incredibly confused by the idea of stitch markers when I first starting using them, and last year it took 4 members of my book club to explain them to a marker newbie.

    I also like to use paperclips, but when I’m working on a project that uses bigger needles, I like to use those tiny silicone hair elastics.

  • I have noticed the new trend in charms, to mark your stem glass when you are at a party.  I found some at a yard sale, so the price was right.  They look nice hanging from my lamp, and they don’t get lost or broken as easily.  I have also seen tutorials on line, for making your own.  They are becoming quite fancy and fun.

  • Thanks for the article, but it didn’t really live up to its name HOW to use stitch markers. I would love to have a more detailed article on USE of these. 

  • […] Brand Yarn has a great post with some practical tips and information for using stitch markers in knitting and crochet projects. It’s a great resource for […]

  • yamaha r6…

    […]How to Use Stitch Markers | Lion Brand Notebook[…]…

  • […] #adtop { display:block;background:#; } #split {}#single {}#splitalign {margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;}#singlealign {margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;}#splittitlebox {text-align: center;}#singletitlebox {text-align: center;}.linkboxtext {line-height: 1.4em;}.linkboxcontainer {padding: 7px 7px 7px 7px;background-color:#eeeeee;border-color:#000000;border-width:0px; border-style:solid;}.linkboxdisplay {padding: 7px 7px 7px 7px;}.linkboxdisplay td {text-align: center;}.linkboxdisplay a:link {text-decoration: none;}.linkboxdisplay a:hover {text-decoration: underline;} function opensingledropdown() { document.getElementById('singletablelinks').style.display = ''; document.getElementById('singlemouse').style.display = 'none'; } function closesingledropdown() { document.getElementById('singletablelinks').style.display = 'none'; document.getElementById('singlemouse').style.display = ''; } We Have Winners!Stitch Ended Double Holder MediumHow to Knit A WookieWIP Wednesday – Jingle Bell RockAfter the Chart.Cambree NotesTERMINI DELLA MAGLIA INGLESI E FRANCESI TRADOTTI IN ITALIANOCablestitch Knit Bulky Holder61 2 InchesHow to Use Stitch Markers […]

  • silicone watches…

    […]How to Use Stitch Markers | Lion Brand Notebook[…]…

  • silicone watch…

    […]How to Use Stitch Markers | Lion Brand Notebook[…]…

  • billiard table dimensions…

    […]How to Use Stitch Markers | Lion Brand Notebook[…]…

  • gprs…

    […]How to Use Stitch Markers | Lion Brand Notebook[…]…

  • I have used twisty ties in a pinch.  But they get a bit too twisted after some use.

  • I have used the colored rings that go around the neck of toothbrush replacements for electric toothbrushes. They don’t work with larger hooks or needles, so the bobby pins sounds like a good alternative.

  • I’ve used earrings before… know, the loop ones called sleepers. They worked really well because they are hinged and the two semi-circles lock together.

  • I hate markers all across a row. The thought of having 10 or 15 markers on a row of a shawl would seem like more trouble than ease. I will occasionally use one to mark the center stitch of a mirror pattern but other than that, I read my knitting.

  • Leave A Comment

    You must be <a href="">logged in</a> to post a comment.