Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Stitch markers, mine really are knitting jewellery

In my last post, Shelly admired my stitch marker and asked if it was antique, its not but I'll explain a neat trick for turning old jewellery into stitch markers, and then a quick update on the garter rib jersey for Bear.

I used to admire the pretty stitch markers shown on the blogs of other knitters, but no such things were available here - still aren't. Best we can do is the ubiquitous plastic rings in larger sizes for worsted weight yarn and larger. No good at all if you are a sock knitter. So I had unrequited stitch marker envy. Then, somewhere on the net I read about turning old earrings into stitch markers. I had a quite a few old earrings, from the early to mid 1990's, and was intrigued. It seemed simple, take a metal needle several sizes larger than you usually knit with, wind the earring hook around the needle to create a loop and snip of any extra using wire side cutters. Voila - a stitch marker is born. I tried it and it worked well, sometimes the ends snag some yarns but with a bit of plier squishing you can prevent most of that.

So inspired, I converted several earrings, here are others. So far I have only converted my cheaper glass and metal bead earrings, but I do have some semi-precious and artisan hand wrought precious metal earrings and if I were not worried about the reaction of Bear (my jewellery gifting spouse) I would consider transforming more of my earrings to markers. I don't wear earrings much, only really on dress up occasions. Its not that I don't like earrings, but that they don't seem so fashionable now and I just forget to include them in my dressing rituals.

Last mothers day Bear took my two wee ones to town and had them make stitch markers in the bead shop for me - so here are the only purpose built stitch markers I own. These have smooth rings and are much lighter than the converted earrings. Great for sock yarns and fingering projects. I also have a collection of plain silver jump rings in a variety of sizes to use as markers, again from the bead shop and an extravagant cost of around 5 cents each.

Then when working on this latest jersey, on size 5mm needles, I found all my stitch markers except the ruby bead one that caught Shelly's eye were far to small for a 5.5mm size needle. I could have used the other ruby bead marker - but that would have confused me, I do like to indicate the start of a round with a unique marker. On top of the freezer - which lives next to the washing machine - I found this cute as a button child sized ring. I suspect it came in a party bag for Poppy and has had a trip through the washing machine, along with many other small toy items - she has not spotted it and for now it is mine, mine I tell you. It is a little big but is working well as a jumbo sized stitch marker. So much so - I have begun to eye up other teeny tiny rings in her bedroom for the same use. She has so many ... and one day it will be my jewellery she wants to dip into, I'll just get in first.

... and this, is progress on the garter rib jersey, inspired by and based loosely on Interweave Press Holiday issue Charcoal Ribbed Cardigan, page 48, scroll down. I'm knitting it in the round not flat, and will EZ saddle shoulder the sleeves. the yarn is from naturally coloured sheep, slightly more that sport weight, and 'sticky' to knit with - but washes up soft and slightly felted. A good steek project methinks.


Sarah said...

How clever! I too have lamented the plastic rings. There's a bead shop right on campus, so I will get to work on these ASAP!

Shelley said...

Thank you for responding to my question. What a great use for singleton earrings... and baby rings. I love originality born of necessity.

You will be starting a trend. I bet we all have old, dated, bead necklaces which can be taken apart and re-used. Get out your snub-nosed pliers everyone. That much less for garage sale tables. :-)

Anonymous said...

really pretty, I found depending on the type of yarn and pattern I am making they can get caught up in your work, boy what a mess.

Years ago I found some pretty colored hoops in diff.sizes at my local bead store. I got a bunch (about 60) in diff.sizes for $5.00. I use them consistently and never get wrapped up in what I am knitting.