Traveling with Stitch Markers

I just got back from Boston, and I didn’t lose a single stitch marker! That is a big feat after knitting on airplanes and subways and in meetings (don’t tell!) and sessions. I usually drop stitch markers just sitting on the couch, so I had to figure out a way to hold on to them. My secret is a life line for my stitch markers. Here’s how I did it.

Set up:

Thread the Life Line through markers
with a tapestry needle.
  1. Choose a sock weight yarn in contrasting color. Cut a length at least as long as your needles and up to as wide as your project’s finished size.
  2. With your stitch markers in place on the needles, thread the life line through each stitch marker on your needles.
    • If you have to add stitch markers throughout your pattern, I recommend using open stitch markers that clip closed or bulb pins so you can add them to the life line later.
    • If you use closed markers, you must add them to the life line in the correct place before you continue to step 3. They will dangle from your life line as you work, and that’s ok.
  3. Choose 2 extra stitch markers the same size or bigger. Tie one to each end of your life line to keep it from becoming loose from your work. Your last marker can stay on the needle or dangle free.

Working with the Life Line:

  • Always keep the life line on the same side throughout your row.
  • Do not allow the life line to wrap or yarn over your needles as you work.
  • I recommend working with the life line on the side facing you. Stitch to the first marker. With the life line in front, slip marker purlwise.
Stitched over marker
This is what it looks like when you carry your life line on the opposite side and you slip the marker with the yarn in back.
  • If you have to turn in the middle of the row (for example, when working wraps and turns), the life line must fall to the side away from you. In this case, work to the marker, and with the working yarn in front, slip the marker purlwise. If you don’t do this, the marker will be stitched in like this:

Trouble shooting:

  • If you stitch over your marker as above, you can continue your row. When you come back to the marker, slip it off the needle, pull the marker through the stitch to free it, and place it back on the needle.
  • If you wrap or yarn over your life line, it will become entangled in your work. You must unknit back to the mistake and unwrap the life line from the needle.
  • I prefer using bulb pins with this technique. The large end sits in place on the needle and the small end dangles down a little bit allowing the life line to hang out of your way as you stitch.

Zombies are Crap at Knitting

crochet knit icon

But I love stitching them! I made a double knit Zombie Scarf that is sure to keep my brother-in-law warm in the zombie apocolypse!

And, so everyone will be prepared for the impending doom, here are charts you can use for knitting, cross stitching, needlepoint, or any reason you might have for needing to stitch zombies. Included are a zombie head, Crossed Winchester rifles, and a biohazard. If you would like to duplicate my scarf above download the full pattern here. If you have never tried double knitting, you will want to start with a simpler pattern like my Double Knit Scarf pattern. Enjoy!

Art & Craft: What’s the difference?

crochet knit iconI’m so excited to have my work shown in the Mississippi Museum of Art this Thursday, September 20th. The museum is featuring work from the Craftsmen’s Guild of Mississippi in their Third Thursday event this month.

I consider myself lucky that even as a kid, I knew I wanted to be an artist. When I would visit the museum, I dreamed of having my work displayed here. In high school, I had my first opportunity when my drawings and paintings hung as part of the Scholastic Art Awards competition. Now, almost 30 years later, here I am again as a Craftsman!

I find that often in public displays, “art” and “craft” are often separated pretty sharply. I have wondered why that is. In my experience, they are the same, just different media. In any medium, you learn the basic technique first, then you increase your skill by replicating various techniques of the masters. Finally, you rework and extend your technique to create unique pieces. In both cases, when your proficiency and originality reach a high standard as judged by peers in your medium, you become a master.

So, what is the difference? Is it the difference between utilitarian and decorative? Innovation versus tradition? Beauty versus expression? The quality of the work versus the fame of the artist? If you would like to know more about the history of the divergence between art and craft, here is an interesting TedEd.

Top left: Traditional Granny Square afghan made for me by my MIL. <3<3<3
Top right: Granny square hexagon motif used to make Christmas stocking by Katie Clark
Bottom: Detail of table decoration using traditional filet crochet technique by Katie Clark
All images copyright Katie Clark.