Stitch markers and a line of KYOKs

I wrote a couple of weeks ago about how to read a line of KYOKs in knitting without stitch markers. (KYOK is an abbreviation for [k1, yo, k1] in a single stitch – it’s a double increase.)

There are times when stitch markers come in handy. Sometimes they can be useful to simplify pattern writing. Sometimes when I’m knitting something that’s primarily stockinette, I don’t look at my knitting, and so then I might forget to work increases or decreases. Stitch markers help my hands feel when I need to actually look at what’s happening. Other knitters will want the markers there anyway as an extra guide to help them read the pattern. There are many ways to knit, and there are only two rules about the right way: first, you’re not hurting yourself, and second, you’re getting the results you want.

Placing stitch markers with double increases is a little tricky – without care, the marker will move progressively away from the center stitch that should be marked. If this happens, the next double increase will be in the wrong stitch. One way or another, moving markers is required when they’re in use with double increases. I’m going to write about using regular stitch markers and also about using locking stitch markers.

So, with that in mind, here are three ways to use stitch markers with a line of KYOKs.

three kinds of stitch markers

These are three different stitch markers: the one with a blue bead is a regular stitch marker: it sits on the needle between two stitches to mark a location. It is slipped from one needle to the next when it arrives. (This isn’t the best example; it snags my knitting and so I don’t use it. This is probably why I could find it!) The other two markers are locking stitch markers. They both work the same way: they are pins that can be opened and closed. The brass one is a coiless safety pin, much less prone to snagging yarn than regular safety pins. The plastic one works similarly. There are also larger coiless safety pins that fit on larger needles; they seem to be called pear-shaped or bulb-shaped coiless pins. I covet some – I don’t like plastic.

I often use locking markers as if they were the more regular kind of marker.

Regular stitch markers and KYOKs:

A regular stitch marker sits on the needle between a particular pair of stitches; the marker is slipped when the knitter reaches it. It helps keep track of a particular location in the knitting so the knitter knows to do something that isn’t plain knitting in that spot.

marking KYOKs with stitch markers on the needle.

The simplest place to put a regular stitch marker to mark where to knit a KYOK is just to the right of the previous  KYOK. However, when the KYOK is worked, the marker must be moved one place to the left so as to stay in the correct place on the needle.


When I come to the marker, I remove it from the needle, work k1, and place the marker again.


Then I work KYOK in the next stitch.

Locking stitch markers and KYOKs:

marked stitch for KYOK with locking marker.

First, work the pattern up to the marked stitch (or the first stitch that will be worked with a KYOK).


Remove the marker from the stitch, and knit 1 without removing the stitch from the left needle.


Bring the yarn forward, ready to make a yarnover, and clip the marker around the yarn.


Leaving the stitch marker at the front, yarnover, and knit 1 in that same stitch. The stitch marker is now clipped to the front leg of the center stitch of the KYOK.

One last way to use locking markers:


I generally place locking markers in my knitting so that when I’m knitting by feel I can tell that I need to actually look at my knitting to see what I should do. Therefore, I leave the marker in one place and move it every sixth or eighth row or so, otherwise it becomes as fiddly as moving regular markers around. It’s up to the individual knitter to find what they’re comfortable with.

Please feel free to ask questions about this!

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