How do I use stitch markers?

Hi everyone. I am new to knitting. I completed a simple k2 p2 scarf and I am working on a blanket and a ponch (for my daughter).

I wanted to make some mittens for her but I am confused by the use of stitch markers for the thumbs. I don’t know what they are or how to use them. Any and all help is sincerley appreciated.


A Guy Who Knits

Hi ZenMage!

Stitch markers are extremely easy and helpful. Since you’re not sure what they are, you most likely don’t own any, so the first thing you need to do is go to where you buy your yarn and they should have some. Once you have them, you place one on your needle immediately after the pattern’s instructions regarding where they are to be placed, i.e., if your pattern says to place a marker after knitting 8 stitches, then you slip a marker on the needle after completing that many stitches. If the pattern indicates there will be more than one place to insert stitch markers, I suggest you make sure you have different colors or charms (some stitch markers come with charms hanging on them) to help denote which is the first marker, etc.

I hope that makes sense. Happy knitting!

Thanks for the quick reply. Do the markers stay on the needle or do they end up in the pattern?

The markers always stay on the needles. They’re kind of like a knitter’s bookmark. You just slip the marker from one needle to the next between stitches – you don’t knit into the marker itself.

I use them most often when working in the round, to keep track of where the pattern starts or if I’m casting on a bunch of stitches and don’t want to have to count each stitch over and over again.

I’ve got a bunch of stitch markers, but don’t really like using them all that much. I usually use a bit of contrasting yarn and that works just as well. I’ve also used twist ties and a thin piece of a drinking straw in a pinch.

The markers stay on the needle…it is, essentially, just a little circle that slips onto the needle. Once you see them, you’ll understand. Each time you come to a marker, you do whatever is needed to be done there according to your pattern, and the marker gets slipped from the left needle (where it will be when you get back to it) to the right needle. Be careful…I’ve dropped those little buggers more times than I care to mention attempting to move then from one side to the other, and then have to look for them before continuing, so I don’t lose the place where the marker is to be!

I also use markers when there are several repeats of a pattern. for instance, I am knitting baby blankets that are 200 sts across, I will place a marker after each pattern repeat. that way if I mess up, it is easier to find the repeat where the mistake is.

You don’t need to buy markers, if you tie a piece of wool into a little loop to go on the needle it will work as well, and won’t POP off, plus you don’t have to worry if you lose/drop one. Some people prefer cheap tiny hairties from the two-dollar-shop. Or old hoop earrings.
The point is to have a loop on the needle to mark your place.
There are some markers that go on the knitting and are removed at the end (again, you can use anyhthng that will be able to come off the knitting later).
But for mittens, almost certainly these markers stay on the needles.
Have fun, mittens rock and any colourwork in them is fun, fast to learn, and looks great! (one day…)


I know people who have used bits of drinking straws for stitch markers as well. But if you use the little plastic coiled ones, don’t leave them in your car on a warm day - they’ll uncoil and fall off. (Not like I’ve done that or anything…)

I went to my LYS and they showed me what to do and how it looks with them on. Now that I know what they are for, it turns out I don’t need them for this project. The pattern asked for:

K2, marker, k30, marker, k2
k2, sl marker, p30, sl marker, k2
Repeat for 6 rows then increase 1 st after marker 1 and before marker 2 every 6 rows, 5 times.

Since the marker would be only 2 knits from either end, I think I can do that by eye.

Thanks again for all the help. I love this site. :cheering:

Hi! I just learned how to do a cable stitch and now I’m trying to do a braided cable stitch. I have stitch markers, but didn’t know how to use them…I thought they would caught in the pattern. But thanks to what I read here, I get it now! Thanks!