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Dear Lindsey,

When a pattern says to make yarn overs right next to stitch markers, sometimes the yarn overs slip over the stitch markers making the count I should have between sets of stitch markers look off (especially with lace repeats). I find this really confusing. Any suggestions as to how I can avoid this?

Slip-sliding on the South Shore

Ah, stitch markers. Can’t live with ‘em; can’t live without ‘em. I love stitch markers, and I’ve experienced the slipping and sliding issue myself. When you make a yarn over as you knit, your yarn over has a bit more space (hence the resulting hole) and give to it than other stitches. This means it can end up sliding over the stitch marker on your needles and cause confusion and frustration. There are a couple of things you can use when knitting lace to get your stitch markers to behave.

  1. Try a larger marker or one with a drop. If the marker you’re using is close to your needle size, then the yarn over can slide over it just as easily as it slides over the needle. Use a larger stitch marker so that it won’t be able to move over it. You can accomplish the same thing by using a stitch marker that has a large decorative piece dangling down (see picture). Even if the yarn over creeps over the top of your marker, that large drop will still be positioned on the correct side of the yarn over so that you can see where your marker should be.ballstitchmarkerforknitting
  2. Try a different type of marker. While closed stitch markers are the usual choice for knitting, a locking stitch marker is a nice alternative.  The picture below shows three different styles of locking stitch markers. This means you’ll have to mark a specific stitch instead of the space between stitches. If your lace pattern has a column of knit or purl stitches on one edge of the repeat then this could work quite easily. It can be a bit tiresome to undue and refasten the marker each row, but when it helps avoid the confusion of sliding markers, it’s worth it.lockingstitchmarkers

Good luck with your lace stitching!


Need more help for your lace knitting? Learn how to lower your stress and fix those mistakes with Laura Nelkin’s online class, Save Our Stitcheslace knitting mistakes