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How Stitch Markers Make Life Easier

Knitting markers or stitch markers are indispensable tools to crocheters and knitters alike. They can be used to mark a certain number of stitches, the beginning of a round, where to mark a particular stitch or beginning and end of a pattern, and more. 

Stitch markers are like signs along the highway that let us know how far we have come and how far we have yet to go keeping us on the straight and narrow road towards lovely pattern stitches.

Patterns often call for stitch markers with the abbreviations ''pm'' (place marker) and ''sm'' (slip marker). 

Ring markers
I remember that very first time I decided to knit a lace shawl. It was the wavey leaves lace pattern and I fell in love with it. I selected lace-weight yarn and began to knit. A few rows further the pattern was a complete mess. This was how I discovered ring markers. I have gotten so attached to using ring markers that I did not knit a lace pattern in which I couldn't use them. 

The ring markers often match the asterisks in the pattern stitch instructions. For example, on row ten you must knit two stitches together and make a yarn-over before every markers. If you don't, there is something wrong, so stop and fix it as you notice it. If your pattern is correct as you get to each marker, your knitting will stay on pattern.

Besides lace patterns, stitch markers are useful for marking patterns like pleats in a skirt. Use them to see what you are supposed to be doing and then remove them. 

In making raglan garments in top-down knitting, ring markers are a necessity. They tell you when and where to make the increases.

Safety pins & locking stitch markers
The alternative to the ring markers are knitter's safety pins and locking stitch markers. One should always be careful when using safety pins in place of stitch markers because they can ''catch'' and snag the yarn. If used carefully safety pins are great for all-around purposes, from marking the right side of knitting to keeping the tail ends of your yarn in place to marking how much progress is made while knitting.

Locking stitch markers look almost like safety pins, except that they won't snag your yarn as a safety pin would. They are available in small, medium or large size; use the large size when working with bulkier yarns so the marker won't get ''swallowed'' into the stitches.


It is possible to use other things, like little bits of yarn tied with a knot to form a circle. Even though these can be a great substitute for stitch markers in case of emergency, I find that my needles move such yarn loops more slowly than they do the commercial rings, and usually, I try to avoid anything that slows my knitting down :-) 

How many stitch markers does a knitter need?
We recommend to always pay attention to sizes of stitch markers as they can vary and you want them to fit over those needles you use most often. In addition, stitch markers often come in packs of 10 to 20 and this is not too much. The rule of thumb here is - better to have too many than too few! 

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How to substitute one yarn for another & estimate the amount of yarn you will need

How to substitute one yarn for another & estimate the amount of yarn you will need

If you design your own sweater or want, in an existing pattern, substitute one yarn for another, you need to know how much yarn to buy. If you are purchasing the yarn from our online shop, please reach out to us to find out how much of a specific yarn is required for the size and type of garment you want to make. Alternatively, follow this short explanation on how to make an estimate of the amount of yarn you will need.

Most yarn labels list, among other things, weight in grams or ounces and the length in meters or yards. Knowing the weight of yarn can be useful for calculating its price per kilo. Other than that nobody uses yarn by weight. Yarn is always used by length - the meter or yard.

SUBSTITUTING ONE YARN FOR ANOTHER IN AN EXISTING PATTERN

If you are going to substitute one yarn for another and both yarns have the same stitch and row gauge and the same resiliency, multiply the number of skeins specified for an existing pattern by the number of meters in each skein to find the total number of meters required. Divide the total number of meters by the number of meters in each skein of the selected substitute yarn to find out how many skeins will be needed.

Example: For a medium size Cromwell Pullover, instructions call for ten skeins of Woolstok by Blue Sky Fibers, and you want to substitute it with Rios from Malabrigo

  112  meters in each skein Woolstok
x  10  skeins
1120 total number of meters required for size M pullover
÷ 192 meters in each skein Rios
= 5.8  total number of skeins of Rios needed

Obviously, you cannot buy 5.8 skeins. That figure must be rounded up to 6. To substitute Woolstok yarn for Rios you must purchase six skeins of Rios yarn.

ESTIMATE THE AMOUNT OF YARN NEEDED FOR YOUR ORIGINAL PROJECT

Estimate the amount your project will require according to the following rules (to support your guess we recommend to check the instructions for similar garments):

1. It takes about 1,460 meters (1,600 yards) of sport-weight yarn to hand-knit a woman's L size long-sleeved basic sweater at a gauge of 24 stitches and 32 rows per 10cm.

2. It takes about 1,100 meters (1,200 yards) of worsted-weight yarn to hand-knit a woman's L size long-sleeved basic sweater at a gauge of 20 stitches and 26 rows per 10cm.

3. It takes about 750 meters (830 yards) of chunky-weight yarn to hand-knit the same basic sweater if the gauge is 14 stitches and 16 rows per 10cm.

Please keep in mind that these rules are not always exactly accurate all of the time. Look critically at the project you want to knit. If you add a (shawl) collar or a turtleneck, you'll need more yarn; if you make a cardigan with a front overlap, or you want to put pockets into your cardigan, you'll need more yarn. And vice versa, if you decide to leave off the sleeves and make a pullover vest instead, you'll get by with approximately less yarn.

RESERVE AN EXTRA SKEIN OF YARN AT OUR SHOP

If you are planning to knit a garment and not sure whether you bought enough yarn to accomplish it, on your request, we will set aside an extra skein of the same dye lot (provided it is available) just in case you happen to run out of yarn before your project is finished. We do kindly request, as soon as you know it, to tell us if you need the extra yarn or not.

DON'T BE AFRAID TO BUY EXTRA YARN

Probably one of the saddest things that can happen to any knitter is to design an original garment, watch it grow, finish the back, front, and one sleeve, and then run out of yarn (the nightmare that I know happened to many knitters, including myself). We recommend you to always buy an extra skein or two just in case! Don't be afraid of having a basket of leftover yarn in your knitting storage. One way or another it always gets used. You can make ''proof swatches'' to see the effect of different colors on yarn and create your unique designs playing with leftover yarn combining different fibers and trying stitch patterns.  

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