That is the question.
In the photo of my shawl in progress yesterday, you may have noticed that I have the pattern repeats marked with stitchmarkers. I have since removed the markers.
Most of the time, I prefer to knit lace without stitchmarkers. I put them in this project, because I took it with me to work on at the yarn shop on Monday. I knew I’d be talking to people while knitting, picking it up and putting it down mid-row, etc. In that scenario, I’m happier having markers to keep me on track.
But when I’m knitting in solitude (and this is how most of my knitting is done), I’m happier without the markers. I find that for me, they get in the way of the “big picture” of the lace. I also find it annoying to have to slip them as I knit. Even more annoying — when a marker is in the middle of a maneuver that requires that I move the marker one stitch to the left or right. Know what I mean?
Take a look at this chart:
This is an all-over lace pattern that has a 6-stitch repeat, which is shown on the chart with dotted lines. The even-numbered rows are not shown, because they are all simply purled.
Note that on Row 5 of the chart, the beginning of the repeat comes in-between a yarn-over and a double decrease (sl 1, k2tog, psso).
Okay, you start working Row 5 — you have three stitches before your first repeat marker, right? The chart tells you to knit 2, yarn-over before the marker. But you still have 1 stitch left before the marker. That’s because the yarn-over makes your third stitch before the marker, and that 1 stitch is part of the double decrease on the other side of the marker — that “sl 1, k2tog, psso” maneuver takes up only 1 stitch on the chart, because there is a yarn-over on each side of it there to compensate for those 2 stitches that are decreased. But because it is in the middle of a pattern repeat, you have to move your danged stitchmarker one stitch to the right before every repeat.
Of course, if you think ahead, you can make this move on Row 4 — as you purl across move each marker one stitch to the left (left instead of right because you are on the back side of the work, going in the opposite direction).
Still, I prefer to do away withe the markers entirely.
“I’ve got my eye on you!”