Different types of stitch markers for knitting and crochet

As an Amazon Associate and member of LoveCrafts affiliate program, I earn commissions from qualifying purchases at no additional cost to you.

This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn commissions from qualifying purchases at no additional cost to you.

Stitch markers are a frequently used tool for both knitters and crocheters.

They help with remembering increases and decreases, changing stitch patterns and to keep count of rows and stitches.

What is stitch markers?

Stitch markers are a small but mighty tool used by both knitters and crocheters. There are two main types of stitch markers; closed and open. More about that in a minute!

How to use stitch markers in knitting

The most common way to use markers in knitting is for remembering something important. Stitch markers are like post-its for stitching!

You place one whenever you need to take action, like increase/decrease, change color or start a new pattern repeat.

Knitters most commonly use closed stitch markers as the marker is placed on the knitting needle between two stitches. You knit to the marker and slip it over to the other needle and continue knitting. Or, if you don’t need it anymore, just take it off.

Remember you always have to slip the marker or remove it, when using a closed marker. If you accidentally knit it into your project it will be stuck, and you will have to break the marker or unravel your knitting.

Reading tip:
––> 9 ways to use stitch markers this post focus on using markers in knitting, but many of the tips apply to crochet too!

How to use stitch markers in crochet

Crocheters use stitch markers to mark out the beginning of new rows when crocheting in the round. And like knitters for remembering when to increase/decrease or change colors.

In crochet, you only have one live stitch at the time, so you can’t place markers between stitches like in knitting. Instead, crocheters use open stitch markers that can be attached to any stitch and easily removed.

Different types of stitch markers

As mentioned earlier there are two main types of stitch markers, open and closed ones. As the names imply the closed ones can’t open and the open ones can.

There are a few kinds of stitch markers in both categories.

Types of closed markers aka ring or o-ring markers

Closed stitch markers are also known as ring markers or o-ring markers. All the names describe this kind of marker well.

The most common closed marker is a ring, it can be made of plastic, rubber, metal or anything really! But there are also closed markers made of wire as those in the middle below, these are great for larger needle sizes.

When you click on any link from Don’t Be Such a Square to Amazon, I receive a commission on the sale. It doesn’t cost you anything extra and helps support the site.

Bright colors and charms

Bright colors are common for plastic and rubber markers, to make the ring easier to see against your yarn. The metal ones are almost always embellished with beads or cute charms.

The ring fits nicely on your knitting needles and slips well on your needles.

There are also closed markers in other shapes like triangles, squares, and other simple shapes.

Open markers aka split rings, locking markers or removable markers

Open stitch markers can be split into three types of stitch markers:

  • Lock or clasp markers: Opens with a lobster claw clasp, like the ones common on necklaces and bracelets.
  • Clip markers: Opens like a safety pin.
  • Split-ring stitch markers: Markers with split rings opens as a paper clip.

When you click on any link from Don’t Be Such a Square to Amazon, I receive a commission on the sale. It doesn’t cost you anything extra and helps support the site.

All of these markers can be opened and closed. They are commonly used for crochet as it’s possible to attach them to any stitch and remove them when they aren’t needed anymore.

Open markers are useful for knitters too. They are perfect for counting rows, tracking progress, and catching dropped stitches!

You can also use them like the closed ones and put them on your needle. A perk is that if you happen to knit them into your project you can just open and remove them.

On the other hand, they could open up and fall of your needle and their size and shape can make them less appropriate for placing on the needle.

Reading tip:
––> 9 ways of using stitch markers in knitting (some works for crochet too!) do you know them all?!

What to think of when shopping for these types of stitch markers

  • Choose stitch markers that fit our needs. If you’re a crocheter be certain to buy open markers as the closed markers can’t be used for crochet. I may be obvious, but it’s easy to be caught by cuteness overload and forget these things 🙂
  • Make sure the markers are smooth and won’t snag your yarn. This is extra important for knitters as the marker is going to sit between your stitches and you want the marker to work for you, not against you.
  • Some closed metal stitch markers can be a bit uneven or have a little gap where the ends of the ring meet. If this is the case there’s a risk of the marker snagging your yarn.

Reading tip:
––> I’ve browsed Amazon in search of the cutest stitch markers available. Click here to see all the cuteness I found!

Knitting abbreviations for stitch markers

What does SM, SLM, slip marker, mean in a knitting pattern?

SM and SLM are both short for the term “slip marker”.

When your knitting pattern tells you to slip marker the marker shall keep its place between the same two stitches. All you have to do is move it (slip it ) from one needle to the other.

What does PM, place marker, mean in a knitting pattern?

PM is short for “place marker”.

When your knitting pattern says place marker you should do just that. Place a marker on your needle and let it sit there while knitting along.

For example, if the pattern says “knit 10, PM, knit to end of row”. You k 10 stitches, put a marker on your needle and then knit the rest.

Further down your pattern will tell you what you are supposed to do when you come to that marker.

What is the difference between slip marker and place marker?

The difference is that you first place the marker, where the pattern tells you to do so.

When you come to that marker next time, you do what the pattern tells you, and then slip that marker. That means that you transfer it from the left needle over to the right needle.

Click the image to open the post with the download link. (Don’t print the image, it’s too small and will be blurry!)

Hey, don’t miss this awesome freebie!

Do you know all the knitting abbreviations out there? I know I don’t…

In this post, you will find 88 knitting abbreviations explained.

+ a free cheat sheet with all the 88 abbreviations for you to print and use!