Sticks & String

A podcast by an Australian bloke who knits.

How to – Make stitch markers

I’ve found these stitch markers are useful for lace work as they hang in front of the work and stop yarn-overs from migrating from one side of the marker to the other.


You will need 16 cm (5.5″) of tiger tail, 4 small beads, 2 crimps and some patience.


Double the tiger tail over without crimping it and slide one of the crimps onto the open end.


Slide the crimp along the doubled over tiger tail until it’s a little further than needed to fit the 4 beads. Remember to be careful not to crimp the tiger tail. Start sliding the beads on.

The arrangement I used for the beads uses binary numbers to help keep track of repeats in lace patterns. A silver bead represents 0, a gold bead represents 1. I put the MSB (most significant bit) bead on first, and the LSB (least significant bit) bead on last, so that when the marker hangs down it reads from top to bottom. 4 beads allows for the numbers 0 to 15. (The marker in the photos is 1011 or eleven).


When the four beads are in place, slide the second crimp on, and while keeping it close to the end of the tiger tail, firmly squeeze it closed.


Allow the beads to drop all the way down, then slide the top crimp down and squeeze it closed too. Voila, a stitch marker.



26 February 2007 - Posted by | knitting


  1. The binary is inspired! Thanks for sharing!

    I made a bunch of stitch markers this way for a stitch marker swap. I really think the tigertail is better then rings and wire because it’s so thin. It also doesn’t snag on things like jump rings can.

    Just one note to anyone trying, make sure the hole in the bead won’t slip over the crimp. Bead stores also sell special ‘crimp plyers’ that crush the crimp in an attactive barrel shape. They are usually inexpensive and worth it if your making a lot!

    Comment by Sherry W | 27 February 2007

  2. “The arrangement I used for the beads uses binary numbers to help keep track of repeats in lace patterns. A silver bead represents 0, a gold bead represents 1. I put the MSB (most significant bit) bead on first, and the LSB (least significant bit) bead on last, so that when the marker hangs down it reads from top to bottom. 4 beads allows for the numbers 0 to 15. (The marker in the photos is 1011 or eleven).”

    you have just been revealed as the coolest knitter i know.

    Comment by bunnysquirrel | 27 February 2007

  3. Thanks for the how-to, the pictures help. Good point about the hole in the bead!

    Comment by Gail | 27 February 2007

  4. Thanks for the photos! Now I just have to prevent myself from going nuts at the bead store. 🙂

    Comment by Laura | 28 February 2007

  5. Hi, David….I am in the UK and I am a regular listener and will miss you when you take a well-deserved break. I thought I would point out to you that doing a search on the iTunes store for podcasts with the search word ‘knitting’ doesn’t bring up Sticks & String, for some reason. It’s a shame, as people who want to hear a knitty podcast are gonna miss out 😦

    Maybe you can change this, somehow – not that I can suggest ways you can do this, sorry!

    Comment by Heather | 28 February 2007

  6. Hugely impressed with the stich marker photographs and presentation – like everything S&’NS related – it is a model of professionalism. Binary was never my strong suit – like mathematics I appreciate the beauty of it without getting grip on it 100%. As a big needle knitter I can’t see me ever ever using anything that requires such an elaborate confection though 🙂 but I can see skilled knitters loving them to bits. Clever you!

    I have discovered something (!), I can’t knit as I listen to Sticks ‘N String but I CAN crochet (work that one out!) so I have one dead easy crochet book and one Lily Chin complicated crochet book for when I get better.

    I hadn’t realised too, as I sometimes listen to you on the train into town (knitting garter stitch scarf) with a cocktail of background noise, that listening on iPod headphones – in the quiet – gives a completely different aural viewpoint %-), you get much more depth to the sound, and, I keep looking around to locate our kitten Dash as he has a bell that sounds exactly the same as yours * chortle *

    Adore the show, and keep telling all my friends about it!!

    Comment by Marjorie | 28 February 2007

  7. PS

    I forgot to say I enjoyed the essay. I have always found that I knit or paint or sew ‘life’ into any piece I create.


    Comment by Marjorie | 28 February 2007

  8. thanks for the great tutorial!!! i’ve always make stitch markers using jump rings but never thought of using tiger tail!!

    Comment by Michelle | 28 February 2007

  9. Looks like a trip to the local craft store has been added to today’s agenda! What a brilliant design, with or without binary code. Thanks for a neat tutorial and a wonderful podcast.

    Comment by Phyllis | 28 February 2007

  10. Great idea for the markers! You’ll appreciate my wedding anniversary. Six. That’s what is inscribed on our wedding rings. My husband is a computer geek and it’s easy for him to only have to remember one number. 0110. Jan 10th. The reason he married me is it was my idea!

    Comment by Lynn | 1 March 2007

  11. […] I made some stitch markers. I made them for my next lace project I have upcoming, based on the tutorial from the Sticks and String Podcast blog. David said they don’t allow the yarnovers to travel […]

    Pingback by Blergh. » Soapturtle Knits | 6 March 2007

  12. Hooray! A use for the tigertail and millions of beads that went into storage once I started knitting. I will be gifting tons of these!!

    Comment by Teri | 6 March 2007

  13. Ohhh, thank you!
    That’s really clear and a really good idea.
    I know I wouldn’t be able to manage the binary *and* a lace pattern, but I’ll definitely be using Tiger Tail instead of jump rings next time I make stitch markers.
    (Love the podcast too)

    Comment by Teaandcakes | 7 March 2007

  14. How do you get the stitch markers off when you are all finished? Do you have to cut them and then not be able to use them again?

    Comment by Heather | 6 April 2007

  15. As you slip the markers as you’re knitting, they should stay separate from the stitches. I just take them off while I’m knitting the row before I do the cast-off, or you can take them off as you go. Generally by that stage they’re not needed in any case.

    Comment by David Reidy | 6 April 2007

  16. I’ve been enjoying your podcast on my daily commute the last month or so…as a recovering mathematician, hearing about your binary stitch markers made this an especially enjoyable show (and earned me some shocked looks from other metro riders). Thanks!

    Comment by cathy | 11 April 2007

  17. […] are my stitch markers. I am so proud of them that I can bust! I want to thank David Reidy at the Sticks and String podcast for demonstrating how easy they are to make. I didn’t make mine the same way as his because I […]

    Pingback by My Own Beaded Stitch Markers! « ~DragonKnits~ | 24 May 2007

  18. …ok, forget the binary bit….too much for my right brain, but i don’t get why the yarn overs don’t migrate with these stitch markers…what am I missing here?? (Duh) *blush*

    Comment by woollyblue | 7 October 2007

  19. These are lovely. I wonder if you can tell me what gauge tiger tail you used.

    Comment by Eva | 15 November 2008

  20. Fantastic, saw this on Ravelry, making them for my knitting group. Tiger tail is perfect for my friend with the nickel allergy!

    Comment by Jess | 13 March 2009

  21. This sounds absolutely lovely – but, what is Tiger Tail?

    Comment by Margie | 9 July 2009

  22. I just found this and can’t wait to try it. I love your podcasts!

    Comment by Bevsyarncrazy | 21 October 2009

  23. They are a lovely idea, ive make these too, I used a crimp bead cover over the crimp to finish it off and prevent the beads from sliding over the crimp. I have NO IDaEA how you work with them to count your stitches, i only use mine to remind me the beginning of rows when knitting in the round

    Comment by Diane | 24 January 2010

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