Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Using Stitch Markers to Keep Track of Your Row End/Turning Chain

I often have a newer crocheter come to me in frustration and self-recrimination because their work is getting wider or narrower and they don't know why. It's usually because they're having trouble keeping track of that elusive turning chain at the beginning of the row and/or forgetting to skip the first stitch when the turning chain counts as a stitch.

First, I always tell them to stop beating themselves up. Everyone has this problem when they're first learning to crochet. Second, I let them in on a secret. Even experienced crocheters have trouble keeping track of the ends of the row. Especially when the yarn has color or physical texture that makes it hard to see your stitches. Third, I give them the tip I'm going to give you.

1. Buy or find a pair of locking stitch markers. If not locking ones, at least ones that are easy to get on and off and will stay in place, not falling out before you need them to. Like the spiral kind. They're not expensive and well worth adding to your tool stash.

Spiral stitch marker is on the left and the locking stitch marker is on the right.
2. When you work your turning chain for the next row, place your stitch marker in the last chain worked. When you work the last stitch in the row, put a stitch marker in the top of it, too.

The stitch marker it in the top stitch of the turning chain on the right and in that top of the last stitch of the row.
3. When you start the next row, the first stitch marker you encounter will tell you which stitch to skip and you can move it up to the last stitch in the turning chain.

You can see where the first stitch marker showed me to skip the first stitch (ideally you would move it to the top of the turning chain) and I'm about to work the final stitch where the stitch marker is placed in the top of the turning chain.
4. When you get to the end of the row, the stitch marker will not only show you where your turning chain is, it will show you exactly where to place the final stitch in the row. When you've worked that last stitch you can move the stitch marker up to the top of it.

My stitch markers have been moved up to the last row worked.
It's a bit fiddly but if it helps you achieve your goals of having a perfect edge, why not?