Probably the silliest question ever to be asked

And I feel like a loon having to ask it, but I cannot go any longer without knowing the answer.

What is a stitch marker and why do you use them?

I have been knitting for a few weeks now, simple projects which have not (at least I believe!) required them. But that doesn’t stop the curiousity nor the possibility of a need to know in coming projects.

Thanks to anyone who takes pity and answers this question.

Not a silly question if you need to know.
A stitch marker is used to mark your place in knitting. When I think of a stitch marker, I think of the small circle that goes around my needle between my stitches on circs or DPNs. Those are usually used to mark important places, like the beginning or middle of a round. I’m using one right now in my Harry Potter scarf, to make sure I consistently join new colours at the same place. You would probably use one making a hat as well, to make sure your decreases are evenly spaced. It’s possible to use a loosely tied thread or piece of different coloured yarn for this purpose.
I have done one pattern that wanted me to mark stitches and leave the markers behind instead of letting them travel up the knitting as they usually would. I needed to place markers on the back and gusset of the stuffed pig I made so that I knew exactly where to sew the pieces together to avoid her having a lopsided behind. Most stitch markers are the first kind, I think.

I have a very strong belief that the only dumb questions are the ones that remain unasked… that being said, I will GLADLY answer your very relevant question! :smiley:

Stitch markers have many uses in your work. If you are working in the round, they will remind you where the round begins and ends. If you are working a complicated stitch repeat, you can use markers to indicate where they begin, etc. If you are doing a sweater in one piece or in the round {back and front(s) at the same time}, you can use a marker to indicate where the “side seam” is, which is often where shaping details are worked {the increases and decreases used to fit the top}.

If you have ever used a post-it note to mark a place in something you were reading, it is basically the same idea. You use it to tell you that something important is there, or you will be doing something there. Clear as mud?

So a practical application would be:

If I were making a scarf that consisted of two colors in alternating blocks every… forty rows, I would use the markers on every ten rows or so to keep me from having to count? Is that correct?

Yes, but for a case like that, you would need to use removable markers. Those are the ones that look like a little coil or something similar, not the round little discs. You can also use a piece of yarn loosely tied around a stitch, a safety pin… anything that you can attach and easily remove later. Clear as mud?

Very clear, thank you. You answered my next question before I even had the chance to ask it.

Thanks so much for your help.

You are very welcome, and I was glad to help. Everyone on this forum is very helpful {as I’ve discovered in my short time here}, and when I can answer a question from time to time, I see it as my way of PIF {paying it forward}. :smiley: Welcome to the forum and welcome to the fun world of knitting. :XX: