There are so many different kinds of stitch markers out there, but I’d be willing to bet that you have a favourite?
For me, it’s those little lightbulb pins. I like them so much that last year I bought 1000 of them online: 250 of each colour – silver, gold, black and a tarnished grey. I was slightly disappointed when four little 5cm/4″ plastic packets arrived full of stitch markers. I think I thought 1000 lightbulb pins would mean a whole big bowlful, rather than a wee handful – I guess they are smaller and take up less space than I realised?!
Anyway, in the year that I’ve been the proud owner of 1000 lightbulb pins, I’ve discovered that, besides being used as a traditional stitch marker (threaded onto your knitting needle) there are a few other things they can do which make them super handy. Here’s a wee run down of my top five extra uses for lightbulb pins …
1. If you own a set of interchangeable needles, the kind that use a little key to unscrew the tips, then you can use a lightbulb pin in place of the key (I don’t know about you, but I’m always losing those keys, but I’m never far from a stitch marker!). Handy!
2. Similarly, you can also use a lightbulb pin in place of those little cable-end-cap-thingies – just thread the pin through the holes at each end of the cable and fasten together. Those stitches will be nice and secure on the cable until you’re ready to start knitting them again!
3. I love being able to unlock lightbulb pins and move them around in my knitting (which you can’t do with fixed stitch markers), and they work really well as a progress marker. You know when you’re working on something for ages but it never seems to be growing? Pop a marker in the actual fabric of your knitting and it will mark your progress. You’ll start to notice the marker moving down as your knitting grows: reassuring you that you’re getting closer to having a finished object. Hurrah!
4. Use lightbulb pins to pin together flat pieces of knitting for seaming. This works especially well for mattress stitch as the pins help to keep the pieces in place without holding them together too tightly, allowing you to sew the stitches and then draw the two sides together to create that lovely invisible mattress stitch seam.
5. Since lightbulb pins open up, you can also use them to pin knitting essentials inside your project bag. For example – if you’re out and about with your knitting and you know you’ll need a tapestry needle, but you don’t want it floating about at the bottom of your project bag, you can thread the eye of the needle through a lightbulb pin and pin it to the inside of you bag. When you come to need it, you’ll easily be able to find it.
There are probably lots of other ways of using these handy little stitch markers – let me know if you have another one.
The purple and pink project featured here is an upcoming cowl design in collaboration with Old Maiden Aunt yarns and part of Gamer Crafting’s Operation: Social Justice campaign. £1 from each copy of the pattern sold between 15/3/20 and 31/3/20 will go to CRER: Coalition for Racial Equality and Rights.
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I found a bazillion bulb pins on amazon. They have been my favorite for years after I took one off a clothing tag. What I love about them is that I can use them to pin tags on to knitted items that are gifts or donations.
Oooh, that’s a very good idea. I had never thought to use them for reason #2 and my stitches are always falling off when I scrunch up a project into the bag. Great tips!
Thanks! Yes it’s really handy and I guess you could also do it when the needle tips are still on, as you say, to stop projects falling off the needles.
Yes! Great idea.