Types of Stitch Markers for Knitting

The Pros and Cons of Various Stitch Markers in Hand and Machine Knitting

Hi there!

Whether you are a machine knitter or a hand knitter, you will most likely need to identify and mark a place in your knitting at some point for some reason. If you haven't been doing this, then you will soon see the benefits.

Stitch markers can either be bought or hand made. They are handy little tools or methods to mark a specific place in your knitting as you knit along. They come as fixed rings, small locking tools, or, as in my case, scraps of waste yarn from my yarn end scraps bucket!



In a knitting pattern you might come across the following abbreviations:

  • Pm = place marker - marking a certain row or stitch.
  • Sm = slip marker - where to slip the marker over to the other needle in the row, often in conjunction with another instruction.
  • Mk = you will find this in my knitting patterns to instruct you on where to place your marker.

Ring stitch markers

ring stitch markers for knitters

These are fixed rings of varying shapes, sizes and materials. They are mainly used by hand knitters to slip onto their needles to mark various points in their knitting.
ring stitch markers for knitting


  • Interesting and fun variety of colours, shapes and novelty rings that you can buy from your local craft store or online.
  • They come in a range of sizes to suit your needle size.
  • Useful for marking the beginning of a round when knitting in the round on circular needles. When you come to the end of a round you just slip the marker onto the other needle and begin the next round.
  • Used to mark various stitches along a row.


  • They need to be a size bigger than your needles to slip over them. If you use a range of needle sizes you will need a range of stitch markers.
  • Once in a row of hand knitting, they can't be removed until that point is reached again in the row.
  • They have no real use for the machine knitter.
  • When at the end of a row or round, they can fall off. If you don't notice, then you've lost your place!
  • Easily lost as they are so small. Not safe with small children around your work.

Locking stitch markers

locking stitch markers for knitting

locking stitch markers for knitting

Similar to little safety pins with a small locking mechanism. They can either be slipped over your needle or hooked onto a stitch. Also useful for marking the ends of your knitting on a machine. Or indeed, a place in the row if needed.

They come in all sorts of interesting shapes, materials and styles...often very amusing and cute :)


  • They can be repositioned easily if needs be.
  • They can be used at end of rows or anywhere within the row. Great for hand or machine knitters.
  • Useful for marking the wrong side and right sides of your knitting, for instance, with garter stitch, which looks the same from both sides.
  • Can be used to mark beginning of shaping, eg. armholes, shoulders, or at intervals throughout a straight knit to aid as sewing up marker points.
  • Used to keep count of your rows or stitches.
  • Marking pattern changes or repeats.
  • If you drop a stitch you can pick it up with the locking stitch marker to hold in place while you decide on your plan of action! This prevents the stitches unravelling any further.


  • Easily lost as they are so small. Not safe with small children around your work.
  • You have to keep buying them!

My winner! - Home made markers

 stitch markers for knittingstitch markers for knitting

stitch markers for knittingstitch markers for knitting

Whether I am hand or machine knitting, I always keep scrap yarn nearby, along with a sewing needle or latch tool.  Approximately 15cms of scrap yarn makes an ideal marker...and it's already been paid for!


  • It doesn't matter if you lose one, you have a never ending supply! 
  • They are free. And you can never have too many.
  • You can use them anywhere in your knitting for any type of marker.
  • You can colour co-ordinate to denote different aspects of your knitting that you are marking. For instance, mark every 10 rows in a side seam to help with the sewing up process. And use a different colour to mark the armhole opening in the same side seam.
  • Just throw them away when used, or use again!
  • They are safe around children.


  • None :)

 So my winner is the home made marker this time. I'm sure lots of knitters have the same method. But whether you choose to go for the simple, or jazz up your knitting experience with some fancy markers, which aren't all that expensive after all, you can't deny, they are pretty useful little tools!

Happy knitting!

Marianne x




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  • Marianne on

    Translation of the above comment :) …..I’ve been using the scraps of yarn for ages – I tie them together at the end because the open ones have sometimes disappeared. I threaded these loops on a stitch gatherer (is that what it’s called?).

  • empisal on

    …..ich verwende schon ewig die Wollreste – ich knote sie am Ende zusammen, weil mir die offenen schon manchmal verschwunden sind. Diese Schlaufen habe ich auf einem Maschenraffer (heisst das so ? ) aufgefädelt.

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