Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Stitch markers - and other sanity saving devices
When knitting the Birthday Pi, you might need stitch markers - 13 to be exact. Why do you need 13 when there are only 12 repeats, you ask? Well, it's because on certain rounds you'll move said stitch markers to the right - meaning you'll have to put a stitch marker before the one that is already in place.
You can do that by knitting to the existing stitch marker, taking the marker out, putting the st just knit back on the left needle, replacing the marker, passing the st back to the right needle OR placing the new marker on the new spot and taking the old marker out.
ETA: the second clue is up! download now
I usually recommend using a marker that stands out to mark the beginning of the round. Here is where the second option above presents a problem. So you don't lose your place, use another fancy stitch marker at the beginning or tie a piece of string, contrasting color yarn, etc. to the beginning of the round marker.
Stitch markers don't have to be expensive (nor fancy). Because I mostly knit lace, I avoid the dangly ones like the plague. I use jump rings that you can buy by the handful at any craft store (you can see them in use here). Other alternatives include small slices of drinking straws, small lengths of yarn (in a different color from you knitting) tied up into rings and even paper clips.
Another sanity saving device is a life line. Life lines are simply long lengths of thread threaded (sorry) through a round. In case you make a mistake, you can take the knitting off your needles and frog back to the life line ( it won't run any further).
I personally don't use them as by the time I decide to rip an area I'm so fed up with my knitting I rather undo everything and start over.
How far apart should life lines be is up to you. If can "see" how the knitting is supposed to go by reading the pattern, you'll be able to identify the areas where you might run into trouble (being honest about your skills also helps). Wherever you read something that makes you think: "hmm...that's confusing...", the round before that is where you should put in a life line.