First of all, thank you for all the kind comments on #2 Clapotis and the beaded stitch markers! I've had a couple requests to post instructions on how I make the markers and this post will attempt to do that, but I have to add the caution that this last week is the first that I've worked with beads and there may well be far better ways of doing it out there on the web. That being said, here we go....
This first photo shows the tools I use and the parts of one stitch marker. The wire cutters and square needle-nose pliers are from DH's tool box. The round nosed pliers are specifically for jewelry and were purchased at Michael's 40% off sale last week - they're about $8 when not on sale, but they make a big difference in being able to bend the wire neatly. The parts of the stitch marker are three beads, a 2" eye wire, and a 10mm earring finding.
Here are the beads strung on the eye wire and the wire bent at a 90° angle. This angle may not be as important for a marker that's going to hang from a ring, but it holds the beads in place a bit better.
Here I've used the round needle-nose pliers to roll the wire around on itself toward the beads. This will form the loop that will slip over the ring.
The loop can be seen better in this photo. I've used the square needle-nose to flatten the loop and to make sure that nothing is sticking out where it might snag the yarn.
And here is the completed marker with the ring attached. If you have pierced ears, you've probably come across this type of earring. There's a small wire that pulls out of the loop and then is put back in to close the ring. I like them because the style doesn't leave any loose ends or rough edges to get caught in the yarn.
The following is a different style that doesn't use the ring. The ones I'm making here only have one bead because I'm using most of the length of the 2" eye wire to form a loop that will fit over a size 13 needle. (The 10mm rings used in the first marker will fit on a #13, but they do not slid freely.) For this style, the hole in the bead needs to be big enough to accept two wires.
Here the bead is on the eye wire and I've bent it at a 90° angle both at the bead and at the end.
The wire is now formed into a loop around a spare #15 needle (I wouldn't recommend using a good needle as the soft aluminum or plastic can get nicked in the process of making a marker.).
I've used the pliers to bend the wire a bit more and to insert the 90° bend at the end of the wire back into the bead hole. You'll notice that the loop is misshapen at this point, looking more like an egg or a teardrop than round.
This step straightens out the loop, although it will never be completely round given my lack of skill at this. I've forced the loop onto a #15 needle while pressing the bead down toward the needle to round the loop out and to take up any slack between the bead and the small loop at the end of the eye wire. You can see a finished marker on the desk.
And, to prove that markers can be super cheap - here are some I made with wooden beads purchased at the local Dollar Store. The eye wires at JoAnne's were $2.99 for 84 wires (I got them for less during a 40% off sale) and the two packages of beads were $1 each. These are made for smaller needles (they'll fit on a #10) using the same technique as for the small blue ones. For a $5 investment, I could easily make 50+ markers or about 10¢ each!
On the knitting front, the reclaimed yarn from Friday is dry and ready to be rolled into balls, the latest baby afghan is finished (ok, that's crocheted), and I just divided for the front & back yokes on the lime green vest for Mom.