After hardly any thought at all, I have come to the conclusion that making (or Frigga forbid, buying) fancy beaded stitch markers is really lame. I mean c’mon, we’re accessorizing our knitting? Seriously? That is at least as nerdy as knitting a fancy beaded dice bag for roleplaying. Or, um, putting a gold-embellished picture of the Virgin Mary plying yarn on a yarn-plying tool.

Both of which, of course, I have done. And am planning to do again. So, with some further ado:

A Really Quick and Dirty Stitch Marker Tutorial Because I Made Some and I Might As Well Tell You How.

The further ado I mentioned – I’m not really a big “tutorial” person. Don’t spend much time reading ‘em, and hardly ever hold/write ‘em. This is not because I’m a big snob, honest! It’s because I’m a poor snob. I can’t afford to buy anything that is the “right” thing, and I make everything up with whatever I can find. I can find a lot, because we horde things, but “go get your antique mirror in need of resilvering, some empty chicken feed sacks and a bag of drywall mix older than the mirror” is a lousy way to start a tutorial.
Or so I’ve always thought. But I’m realizing I’m not exactly alone in my approach to things (which is nice), so I’m just going to start trying to explain what I did and how I did it more often, and if you don’t care, you can skip those bits. If you’re some kind of reductionist neat freak, you’re probably not reading my blog anyway, right?
One further piece of ado: You probably should read the whole thing, in case you get halfway through and decide “this chick has no idea what she’s talking about” and go off and read someone else’s tutorial on stitch markers or whatever. Because I really don’t know what I’m doing when I start things. I find out by the end of doing them whether I’ve done it right, and I’m not going to pretend that I’m some kind of genius with lots of experience. Unless it’s a sewing thing. Then I am some kind of genius with lots of experience, and you should listen to everything I say. Just kidding, it’s your call.
Also, I’m extremely flippant and prone to hyperbole. A million.

Now. What you will need to make these things is:

At least one pair of needlenose pliers, two is better.
Something to cut wire. People who use non-dedicated scissors to cut wire go directly to hell when they die.
Some wire to cut. I used brass wire, which I had some of, and which I happen to know is readily available in craft stores of all kinds.
If you happen to have an old belt or something that has closed rings that will fit on your needles, cool. If not, you can just use the same wire, or it is possible to buy rings. which even have little charm loops on them. People have used those expanding-ring things like on keychains, but I am a big clutz and would prefer to reduce the number of things that can catch in my yarn and make me say more bad words than usual.
Some shrinky-dink or similar brand item (I haven’t found anything to fake that with yet). You can also use polyclay or fimo, in which case the instructions are the same except everything that refers to shrinky dinks should be instead read as “do whatever you do with poly clay”.
Colored pencils, and a hole punch unless see above.

Oh yeah, and some beads. Duh.

Draw a picture of a bunny (or skull or seahorse, or whatever) on your plastic stuff. Remember that it will shrink – that is the point – usually by at least a third, the packaging will tell you what to expect. Cut it out.

Do not forget to punch a hole in it before you bake it! It is nigh impossible to punch a hole in baked shrinky dinks without a) getting a hole halfway through the warm plastic before it chills and won’t let you go further or b) shatters. Trust me.
Bake it in your easy-bake oven that your mom found at a swap meet because even though you never had one as a child and she just let you bake in the real oven, you use it all the time now for crafts. Or just the oven, if you must.

Now it is a small bunny. (skull, seahorse, whatever)

Either make a ring (I did this once, before I remembered the belt – used a 10mm needle to wrap it around) or bend your wire around whatever ring you have come up with. Bonus points if you can make a tidy circle with the pliers. I made one end of the wire very short, so that it will just stick into one or two beads. The other end is longer, being the “working end”. I would tell you exactly how long, but I kept cutting the bits way too long and having to trim them after, which although wasteful of wire is better than the alternative.
Thread beads onto wire, at least until that first short end isn’t sticking out any more.
Wrap the working end of the wire through the hole in your (bunny skull seahorse etc.) and bend it back up. Super cool wonder-bonus points if you can get and keep a neat circle here, I sure never managed it.

Probably there are several pleasing and effective things you can do to close off the end of this wire. I don’t know what any of them are – small wire structures are firmly in my husband’s area of expertise, and he’s not here right now. So what I did was shove it back up through the beads as far as it would go, and hope for the best.

Voila! (See, that one on the top left has the wire loop I made.) I did say it was quick and dirty! But, if the dangly stitch markers are taking serious abuse, then it is reasonable to assume that the knitting they decorate is also taking serious abuse, in which case you and the person responsible both have something far more important to worry about than whether your wire is coming out of its bead. So I think they’ll be fine. I’ll let you know after Saturday – these are so I can teach increases. (Get your mind out of the gutter – they’re bunnies so they can “hop” from needle to needle or “dig” and “hide” between made stitches”. I thought it was clever.)