I’ve been starting too many new knitting projects lately including a growing lace piece. Lace is an Achilles’ heel of sorts for me so I need all the safety rails I can get. I’ve been colouring in my charts with the ssk and ssp stitches in bright red to distinguish them from the k2tog and p2tog. Big neat expanses of purl row stripes in green colouring pencil are a lovely peaceful breather when you’ve got your eyes twisted in their sockets and pdf printouts flying off the sofa every four stitches because you can’t remember which symbol is the p2tog and which the ssk. Next: out come the stitch markers.
I’ve been using some lovely stitch markers my mother gave me for christmas one year. I think they came from Loop in Islington but since moving to the midlands I am experiencing a dearth of overpriced Local Yarn Shops. The plastic split ring markers, mine are made by Pony I think, are just too fat so that they push your stitches away from the needles and make a horrible baggy line on the shaping rows – in 4ply its just not even possible to get round them. I went all over the place looking for something like the Loop markers but found nothing. So I walked into Beading Crafty, the bead shop on Kenilworth high street and presented the shop attendant with my stitch marker and said “I want to make one of these”.
She was amazing and found me some tools and a range of different findings – she even ran upstairs to ask her colleague for her opinion.
If you want to make some of these you will need the following:
- round nose jewellery pliers
- jewellery cutters
- some head pins
- some eye pins
- some beads! – about 1 centimetre in diameter
- filigree bead heads
- anything with a wire loop on the end – miraculous medals optional!
The split ring style stitch marker is made by bending one of the eye pins round the ‘fat’ end of the round nose pliers to form a hoop with the small ‘eye’ ring at one end. You then use the ‘thin’ end of the round nose pliers to make a small ring that mirrors the ‘eye’ ring. With my eye pins I found that I didn’t need the whole length of the pin to make a good sized marker (especially if you’re using the markers for DK or 4ply knitting) so I trimmed the pins by about 0.5 – 1 cms with the jewellery cutters.
Once you’ve got this basic structure you can put pretty much anything on that ring and squeeze the loop back closed with the round nose pliers – it would be easier to do this with some flat faced gripping pliers but I am cheap!
Next: Thread one of your beads onto a head pin (add a pretty filigree bead head if you wish!) and push the excess to one side at right angles – this makes it easier to form a ring right up close to the bead. Trim the head pin leaving enough wire to form a ring at the top of the bead – it’s better to leave too much until you’ve done this a few times or you’ll go through a few head pins! You can always cut more wire off.
Now you can hook your bead onto the small ring on the end of your stitch marker and push it back closed.
Finally, neaten everything up by pushing and pulling and tweaking with your fingers and the round nose pliers until you’re happy with the shape – and remember how beautiful a cracked and dripping homemade iced cake looks compared to an immaculate shop bought cup cake!
The saints and virgins on these markers all came from my Dad who brings them back for me and my sisters when he goes on his travels. They usually end up as tags for zips on purses and bags. Last year he gave us each a bag full of MIRACULOUS Medals. Those of us working on lace projects certainly have recours a vous!
Now… on with the lace project…
Pray for us…