Putting Stitches on Hold

Do you remember that Paul Simon song 50 Ways to Leave your Lover?

You just slip out the back, Jack
Make a new plan, Stan
You don’t need to be coy, Roy
Just get yourself free
Hop on the bus, Gus
You don’t need to discuss much
Just drop off the key, Lee
And get yourself free

I’m not planning to leave my lover (don’t worry dear heart). The song just popped up in my mind while I was pondering the many different ways there are to do things in knitting – all those different ways of casting on, binding off, increasing, decreasing etc. It was the cardigan that’s on my needles that set this train of thoughts in motion.

It is knit from the shoulders down, and the stitches for the back and fronts need to be put on hold for a while, and later the stitches for the pocket linings. This time I’ve decided to use plastic cords.

I don’t pretend to hold the key to what way is most suitable for what kind of knitting…

… but I do have some thoughts about the pros and cons of perhaps not 50, but at least 4 ways to put stitches on hold.

1) Needle and thread:

Pros: Inexpensive; always on hand; available in every length; can be knotted to prevent stitches from sliding off
Cons: It can be hard to get the stitches back onto a needle from the thread (the stitches tend to shrink into the row below)

2) Giant coilless safety pins:

Pros: Easy to transfer stitches to and from; can be closed to prevent stitches falling off
Cons: Only suitable for small numbers of stitches; ends may scratch precious needle tips; stitches can only be picked up from one end

3) Spare circular needles:

Pros: Available in many sizes; stitches can easily be transferred back to other needle from both ends
Cons: Needles may get in the way; stitches can slide off
Alternative: Use the cords of interchangeable circulars with end stoppers on (only I don’t have many spares of those)

4) Plastic cords
(Mine were a birthday gift and came in a tin with two 75 cm/30” cords and one 150 cm/60” cord.)

Pros: They are hollow and can be attached to needle tips for easy transferring of stitches; stitches won’t ‘disappear’ into row below as with ordinary thread
Cons: Expensive; plastic smell

What is your preferred way of putting stitches on hold?

To close off, a few pictures of a herd of fallow deer we came across on last Sunday’s walk. They have nothing whatsoever to do with putting stitches on hold, but I just had to include them. There is a pure white one among them. Aren’t they gorgeous? Bye! Xxx

4 thoughts on “Putting Stitches on Hold”

  1. I own three tins of those plastic cords in different colours and I absolutely love them! Bought 2 tins myself in different colours and got a third as a present last year. The smell does fade I noticed.
    I love knitting garments top down and they are so easy for trying on your project along the way. And I also like to knit large triangular and crescent shaped shawls and putting the stitches on sometimes several cords makes it possible to really measure and see how large your project is going to be.

    Reply
    • Ah, that’s good to know, about the plastic smell. Otherwise, I’m very happy with these cords. And thanks for the tip about using the cords in large shawls – great idea!

      Reply
  2. I love my plastic cords and I never noticed a smell from them. Funny, because usually I am quite sensitive to smells.

    For many years I never bought stitch markers or other useful tools, I thought they were unnecessary and that some scrap yarn would do just as well. Now I pamper myself with them. After all, some pretty markers or other useful things are cheap as luxuries come!

    Reply
    • Absolutely – compared to, say, designer hand bags, these knitting accessories cost next to nothing. And these little gifts to yourself bring pleasure every time you use them.

      Reply

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