Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Jewelry for your knitting

I have been thinking about stitch markers for a couple of weeks now.

(Stitch markers are used to keep from having to count your stitches every time you do a row, or to separate repeats on a lace motif, or to show the beginning of your round, or to mark where to make the increase/decrease, etc.)

Here is my current project with a hodge podge of stitch markers. To show the beginning of the round I have a small matrushka doll, that was a gift from Moonsilk Stitches, a couple of split ring markers, a couple of flat markers that look like they were punched out of a sheet of plastic, and a ring. They get the job done, but they are not very inspiring.


On my Citron shawl I didn't use markers, but I should have. I had to make evenly spaced increases (24 of them!) on rows 13 and 19 of every repeat. I ended up counting all my stitches before every one of those rows...

Of course you don't really need ring stitch markers. You can always tie a little circle out of some left-over yarn and use those instead, but what is the fun in that?

When we went to the Midwest Fiber Fest, I said that I was going to shop for stitch markers. I wanted some pretty ones. I didn't find any that I liked. There were some that had charms on them, but I was afraid those would get caught in my knitting (plus they were way expensive, 2 markers for around $7). I kept looking and found some markers I liked, but they were included in a kit that I was not interested in buying. However, the girl/knit designer/kit maker was there, and said she had made them herself (hmmm) and had soldered every joint so they wouldn't catch on anything. (more hmmm.) They were cute, made out of wire for the ring, and a bead dangle; one of the dangles was different so you could use that one to show the end of your round.

I thought about that for a while, thinking of what would be needed (beads, check; soldering gun, DH has one, check; wire for the rings, store has those, check; head pins for the dangle, should be some in stash, no, back to the store, check; know how to solder, not so much; know how to do a wire wrap, know the theory, but not up on the practice).

So I stopped at the bead store (such a sacrifice!) and got wire and head pins. Checked You Tube for information on how to do a wire wrap, and tried a couple (not impossible, hopefully will improve with practice). DH took 5 minutes and showed me how to solder.

Here's the set-up for the soldering:


Here are the first two sets I made. On the left are rings that were wrapped around a size 13 needle with chain mail rings on them. There are 2 colors and I tried to represent Roman numerals with the different colors. (I had wanted to use indigo for "I," and violet for "V" but I didn't find mail rings in those colors.) On the right are bead dangles (plain old Mill Hill beads) and the rings are sized on a size 8 knitting needle. Of course, you cannot use a size 8 needle with them, since the dangle wire took up some of the space, so these would probably have to be used for socks or smaller.


Then I started going through my bead soup bucket and found and made these (size 13):


and these (only 5 of these pretty beads):


and these (the orange one can be your end of row marker):


(I have a lot more of these butterfly beads... )

Here is where my craziness took me, though:


These are on a size 10.5, so will be good for working on worsted on down. There are enough to mark 24 increases. Actually, there are 32 of them, and they are in binary code. It starts with 0 on the left, and goes up to 31 on the right. I want to try this again with different colors, and maybe even bigger beads. Size 6 beads would show up really well. It is going to be fun trying to keep them in order until I can get them into my project.

It makes me smile just to look at them, even though my inner geek is showing. (For my mom, check it out, the design is capicua! [translation: palindromic].)

Which ones are your favorite?