Monday, June 27, 2011


A while ago I was sitting on a train knitting when the woman across from me leaned over and asked me what the red and green plastic things in my knitting were. I told her they were my stitch markers. The red one told me when I was up to the start of the round and the green ones told me when the patterned bits started and finished.

She was amazed. She told me she was 73 and that she had been knitting socks practically her entire life and had never seen such a thing. She told me she was upset her own Mother, also a sock knitter, had died the year before and had never seen one either, because she would have loved them.

I asked how they knitted socks without stitch markers and she said they used scrap bits of yarn that they dangled in the appropriate spots between the stitches. But scrap bits of yarn are a pain she said because they always fall out and get tangled and you are forever losing your bit in the pattern and guessing and making mistakes and undoing it.

I rummaged through my bag and found a couple of the plastic stitch markers and handed them to her. She was thrilled and so very grateful.

For the next few days I told that story to anyone who listened. I loved the evolution of craft materials, I loved that she was so thrilled with a gift of a little bit of plastic and I loved the thought of her future sock knitting being so much easier.

I was a bit embarrassed though because my stitch markers at that time (pic above) were pretty ugly.

A few months after the train story, I was having a discussion on Ravelry with Jen when she offered to send me some of her gorgeous stitch markers. Yes please!

They arrived today (pics one and three) and as well as making my knitting look and feel a bit special, it also kind of brings this stitch marker story full circle. Nice.

Thanks Jen! x

And today I cut into my vintage marimekko and made some curtains for the caravan bunk beds.

I think this means I am officially not a hoarder any more.

See ya. x


  1. You mean to say there is an alternative to using yarn as a marker? That is brilliant. In my years of knitting I have followed the suit of my nana and mum.

    Love your newly adorned windows.


  2. I'm with Tammi, I also have been in the dark about these wonderful stitch markers. I'm a yarn user too ( which is a pain) do you think they'd work with crochet?
    and Love your curtains, you clever chook! xo
    ps i'm sure the lady retold the story to everyone she could too.

  3. Bling for your needles. I like! The curtains are very sweet. I can imagine it would have been a big moment, cutting into the vintage marimekko!

  4. Lovely post. Which I found via that's one thing good about the Big T. Otherwise I'm finding it's giving me a headache! I can't get my head around all the tweets and there's not enough PICTURES for my liking. It's all chat chat chat, I just can't commit. Anyway, that's my problem, not yours! Loving the curtains, the markers and all the fanciness of your van. I'm imagining the girls all tucked up and comfy in their ace bunk beds, how fun. Love to you xo

  5. Oooh, having spent a year in Finland a long time ago, I know all about Marimekko fabric. You are definately officially not a hoarder if you cut into that gorgeous fabric!

  6. What a great story Kate!

    And I sooooo love that fabric you've used for the curtains. How perfect do they look?!!!

  7. I'm not a knitter. But I don't have to be one to appreciate such a lovely story. These small (and significant) stories tell us there is loveliness in the world yet!

  8. oh I smiled with this story.....I am sure that lady is so glad she made that train journey that you realise you have truly changed her life?? TK xx

  9. What a sweet story Kate. Craft really does bring people together in unusual ways doesnt it. I am sure she was delighted to get those stitch markers (which I still use too). I tend to keep my pretty ones in a special spot, otherwise I lose them. The curtains look great for the caravan.

  10. I have caravan envy. I think I need a caravan so I can make it over! Are you going to blog your trip? It would be ever so amazing to follow you on your adventure!

    Rach xx

  11. I LOVE your little caravan windows and all those vintage prints! Reminds me of of the caravans we stayed in when I was little.
    I think I need to get some stitch markers pins are not really very pretty.

  12. That is a lovely story Kate, and your new knitting bling is lovely. The curtains are gorgeous.

  13. Oh I love stitch markers and have made some in the past...

    Crochet stitch markers are different than knitting ones...the plastic ones you have are fine...crochet markers need to have an opening to slide them off the work...knitting stitch markers can have a closed ring, since you slide them back and forth on the needles...I tend just to use crochet type ones in both knitting and crocheting...

  14. How nice that you could pass on some knowledge to an experienced knitter, my neighbour hadn't seen stitch markers either and she has shown me a great way to count rows in exchange :-) Van is looking FAB!!

  15. That story is so lovely Kate...It must have been fate sitting next to her on the train...
    So sweet...
    I have used bit of yarn when I do crocheted rounds and didn't know that there was such a thing as a proper marker...
    I will be the first to admit that I hate working in rounds...

  16. what a lovely story. Sharing the crafty love with the young and old.

  17. Thanks for sharing. stitch markers can be so beautifully made.

    Have a lovely week.

    Leah x

  18. that is such a lovely story. I LOVE your stitch markers, I have 'fat' tiny plastic safety pins. Must see if I can make some like yours I have plenty of bits in my craft room.
    Love the curtains too btw.
    x Sandi

  19. What a beautiful story Kate. I have no doubt that sweet lady told everyone she spoke to for days later about your kindness too. I love encounters like that. Makes you feel warm, happy and at peace with the world. Lovely xo
    P.S. My Mama, a knitter, uses the piece of yarn as a marker too!

  20. Beautiful story Kate. It's funny to think that as much as you were retelling that story, the old lady was probably doing the same and telling her version...and that's kinda cool.
    How funky is the caravan looking! Very exciting...VERRRY exciting!

  21. Gorgeous story Kate. I had a very long conversation with a lady of great age one day in a craft store about english paper piecing with hexagons. It was something she'd only just come to know but it was the perfect solution as she was unable to sit at the sewing machine and sew now due to arthritis. She got a real kick out of talking to someone so young and knowledgable about the subject.

    And yes LOVE the curtains. I think busting into the stash is always good when it's something that will stay with you for ages - like curtains.


  22. Love your story about the old lady and the markers Kate...I just used some bits of wool the other day and was wondering how I could make it easier LOL :) You caravan is looking amazing!Take care
    Sandrine x

  23. The curtains look FABBO and I can't believe I just absorbed an entire post about... markers. Which I have no use for and didn't even know existed until you pointed them out to me. x

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  25. Such a nice story, and I can just see the lady going home and starting a new pair of socks to try out the markers :)

  26. I love the story of the markers and I ADORE the vintage marimekko.

  27. How inspiring that you were able to share something new with a 73 yo seasoned sock knitter. The marimekko fabric looks like it was designed to be curtains in that van. About the hoarding, if you are not already cured I am sure living in that van for a few months will sort you out!

  28. What a super lovely story...fancy being able to still teach someone so seasoned something new about their craft....
    The curtains are great and now you can continue to admire such lovely fabric while on the road.

  29. I love that story, how sweet. You've given me an idea, my sister just got a glass bead making kit and now I know what I'll do with any beads that make it my way.
    Also loving that van by the way. It looks super cute, I hope you are going to do a ta-da so we can all have an ogle at her. Good luck with the countdown.

  30. I love meeting fellow knitters - makes me feel part of a community. I have some very pretty stitch markers and you know what??? I always seem to come back to the same boring plastic one because they are easy.
    I love how your caravan is evolving - it makes me so envious because I would love a caravan and the type of holiday that goes with it. We are on our last day of our mini break and I can tell you now, no-one wants to go home. It's been bliss. Take lots of games (we love board games - especially one called Carcassone) and my boys have loved audio books on ipods :)

  31. Aww!! Thanks Kate, you are very welcome.
    I'm so glad to see they arrived safely, and before you left on 'the trip' as well.

    How long do you have to have some fabric or yarn before it is classed as hoarding and not simply saving for a special/important/perfect project?

    The curtains are fab!

  32. That is the most beautiful story. I love that feeling that you two were meant to meet and that you gave her so much joy :) LOVE those curtains too! How have I missed all these posts? Sorry Kate. Kx


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