Need a Crochet Stitch Marker? (You May Already Have One on You!)

By Caissa "Cami" McClinton – 45 Comments

Stitch markers are one of the most basic and sometimes the one of the most fun crochet tools. For those who haven’t used them yet, crochet stitch markers are a removable tool that you place on your crochet as you are working. They serve the purpose of marking a spot in your crochet work where you are supposed to “do something,” such as start a new round, make an increase, change colors, etc. Stitch markers are often mentioned in the pattern but sometimes you’re crocheting along and you realize you could benefit from using a stitch marker. Stitch markers can be helpful in keeping count on long pieces, and a single stitch marker can hold your active crochet stitch in place while your transporting your work from place to place!

I wanted to share some of the random things I’ve used as stitch markers over the years. While I love fancy handmade stitch markers from Etsy, and I have certainly used the perfectly-sized, removable, plastic stitch markers from Clover, I have used the following items to hold my crochet for just a moment, or for a while.

1. The Paper Clip. I bet this one has come as no surprise to many of you. The ubiquitous nature of the paper clip makes it a favorite for lunch break crochet. Paper clips can be found in nearly any workplace and are so inexpensive that people are more than happy to give you a few if you need them. To make them perfect for crochet, I simply pull the outer edge of the wire away from the inner loop of the clip. This way, the clip can be hooked onto any piece of crochet, easily marking the stitch! Additionally, for holding live stitches, once already hooked into the work, the paper clip can be rotated so that the work is effectively held inside of the inner loop of the paper clip! This simple supply can do double duty! 🙂

2. The Bobby Pin. Aside from magically holding your lovely locks in place, bobby pins can serve as a perfect crochet stitch marker! I don’t know about you, but I always have a couple of these guys in the change area of my wallet, so they’re always at hand. And, you know, if you happen to have an extra in your hair, then by all means, USE IT to move your crochet work forward. Priorities, people! To use these for crochet, I don’t change a thing and simply slip them onto my work. The regular shape of the bobby pin works just fine. As an added bonus, you can use it again in your hair after you’re done!

3. A Piece of Paper. This may be the most surprising of the bunch, but I have used it in a pinch! What I do is take a small piece of paper (approx. 2″x4″), and basically fold it lengthwise over and over itself until it’s a thin, stiff piece about 1/4″ in width. I then fold it in half and it does hold its shape. I’ve used this to hold active stitches for short term crochet transport and also to “mark the spot” in larger scale crochet projects.

4. Yarn! Now I KNOW you have this on you! 😀 Sometimes marking a stitch in a contrasting color of scrap yarn can be just what you need. Obviously smooth yarns in a similar weight to the main yarn would work best for this. To use, you can pull it through with a hook, or lay it over the work and crochet across it to remind you to “do something” when you come back around to it.

So, what about you? Have you used any of these? What do you think of these ideas? Any surprises? What did I miss? What’s the wildest stitch marker you’ve used? Please share your reactions, ideas, and experiences in the comments below!

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  1. Paula says:

    I’ve all of these except for the bobby pin! Never thought of that one..when I first started crocheting again and the pattern said I would need a marker, I dutifully bought some at the craft store. Boy, did I regret that. It suggested the round type that you kind of “screw” on. Well, they are more trouble to use than counting stitches! Not to mention getting the wire snagging the yarn when trying to remove. Thanks for reminding me that most of the time, the simple things in life are the best!

    • I have never heard of the “screw on” crochet stitch markers… Oh well, sometimes we all make an unnecessary purchase. Sounds like it was a big pain! 🙁 Oh well, water under the bridge, right? True, simple solutions can be the best! 🙂 Thanks for reading & commenting!

  2. Erin says:

    I usually use safety pins.

  3. Brenda says:

    Hahahahahahaha I’ve used them all. I used a pencil once, wasn’t fun. Ended up cutting the other end of yarn and using it instead until I got home and quickly found my stitch marker.

  4. Gwen says:

    I love to crochet. My grandmother taught me and now I am figuring out different things to make and also make them as gifts. As I am sure you do. It really is relaxing.

  5. Gwen says:

    We ought to put the pictures of my crocheting if it’s alright on the Pinterest page.

  6. Lindy says:

    I’ve used lever back earrings. They stay in place and can be moved easily…plus they are pretty!

  7. Dotty Kay says:

    Plastic Bread Wrapper Tags make good stitch markers for bulky yarns.

  8. Bonnie Matthews says:

    I use yarn all the time, a contrasting color of course!

  9. countryluver says:

    All of these sound great. I have used a larger size Lobster Claw from an old necklace or a leverback earring.

  10. Diane Woodside says:

    Bobby pins are my “‘go to” stitch marker. I also have a favorite earring I use. It’s a ear hook with a little fairy hanging from it. 🙂

  11. Mitzi Trenz-Christian says:

    I recycle earrings too. I like the claw hook backs, but any kind will do. I use that “odd” earring I end up with when I’ve lost one of them. They’re pretty and it’s putting them to

  12. Terri Sanders says:

    I buy coilless safety pins & the small alphabet & # beads kids use for necklaces. I use the beads to remind me what size hook I am using, etc. The # beads can keep count of the rows or stitches, etc. I also take half an index card, write the exact name of the pattern & where I got it & pin it to my work. That way, if it is one of those projects that sits for a while, I can always pick up where I left off.

  13. Maria says:

    What could be simpler than a safety pin?

  14. I cut twist-ties into 2-in lengths, fold them in half and use them, pull thru and fold in half again, they stay in place very well. For more secure hold just do a loose single twist after the last fold-in-half.

  15. lizmaynz says:

    I use the old paper clip if you buy the larger type that are colored even better i have a little crochet pin and needle holder that i just hook them into when not in use works for me 🙂

  16. um me Habiba says:

    Thank you for your guidence l have collected a lot of small hangers that we get when we buy socks they really work well your ideas are easy to get any time and any where

  17. Carey says:

    you know the plastic rings that you put on fruit bags at the stores. the ones that look like a squared. I use these also.

  18. Michelle says:

    I use a small piece of yarn. Two reasons – One, It’s a great way to use up the little odd bits that get left over when you trim tails off your work, which soothes the recycler in me, and also gives me a use for those cute little bits of my favourite yarns that I hat to throw away. Number Two, and probably more importantly it was the way my Grandmother taught me. She was born in 1901 and I suppose they didn’t have anything else, there were certainly no paperclips or commercially made stitch markers when she learnt in the early 1900’s ! But I get a quiet satisfaction in knowing there are some things that cannot be changed or improved upon and that I am making an item in exactly the way she would have been doing it 100 years ago.

  19. Dorothy Schmidt says:

    I use the plastic holders that hold bread bags closed – both the ties and the other kind with the little heart shaped hole in the center. The ties use only in a pinch because they can actually cut the yarn.

  20. Mimi Smolevitz says:

    Recently I was working on an afghan & had to put it away for a while to finish some gift projects. I did not want the work to unravel so I grabbed a plastic shower curtain ring that snaps closed and put it on that last stitch. Bingo. No matter how I move it around there is NO unraveling and losing a lot of hard work.

  21. Marilyn M says:

    I was having trouble keeping up with the chains at the end and knowing which one to use when I got to the end. I use an “Air Erasable Fabric Marking Pen” on light colored yarn. The mark evaporates within 24 hours so it is not a permanent marker. It really helped me to keep up with which chain to crochet in. Loved all the helpful tips on what to use.

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