Besides your crochet hook and yarn, a locking stitch marker is your best buddy for crocheting amigurumi!
Locking stitch markers come in a few varieties:
Everyone has their favorites, but the most important thing is that they open and close! Don’t get fooled into buying those ordinary ring markers that are for knitting needles… they don’t work for us crocheters!
Do you have your stitch markers ready? Let me get you and your new best friend acquainted!
Handy use #1: mark the end of the round
The most common problem crocheters have in making amigurumi is losing track of where the round starts and ends… which leads to an incorrect stitch count and mayhem! So, I’ll show you how to use a locking stitch marker!
Don’t lose track of your end of round!
I don’t tend to use a stitch marker for the first couple of rounds (because there are so few stitches per round), but I usually start at the end of the third round (here, I’m crocheting the snout of the cow, but most pieces begin similarly):
Since I crochet through the back loop only the front loop is available to hold a locking stitch marker:
Close it up, and keep crocheting!
I know I’m finished with my next round when I’m just above the stitch marker, like this:
Then I can move the marker and start my next round. No confusion!
Handy use #2: counting how many rounds you’ve done
A lot of amigurumi are made by crocheting in the round. When teaching classes, I’ve noticed that counting rounds is something that gives a lot of crocheters trouble… I mean, who wants to count every stitch? I’ll show you how a locking stitch marker can help you in counting rounds.
Let’s do a little example.
I’ve been following my pattern instructions for the first three rounds (read this post if reading patterns baffles you!), and now my pattern says:
Rounds 4-6: sc in each st (18)
How can we do this without counting?
I take a locking stitch marker (the orange thing in the photo above), and lock it onto the last stitch of the round. Then, I’m just going to keep crocheting around and around until I’m exactly 3 rounds above my marker!
Check out the photo above… and you’ll also see why I prefer crocheting through the back loops- each round leaves behind a little horizontal ridge that makes each round super-easy to count!
Handy use #3: position your pieces for attaching
Attaching pieces can be a little tricky, too… but stitch markers can help! So, let’s look at some instructions that say, ‘attach legs to rounds 9-14’.
Count until you’re at round 9, and place a marker. Place another at round 14. Now you know where your leg should be located on the body!
Handy use #4: hold pieces while attaching
So now you’ve marked where your pieces should go… but locking stitch markers have one more great use: I use locking stitch markers to hold my pieces in place while I’m sewing!
They’re big enough to go through a couple layers of crochet fabric, and by placing a couple around the piece that you’re attaching, and it’ll be held in place- making your sewing even easier. Yay!