I recently participated in a discussion over on Ravelry about stitch markers. I mentioned that my favorite stitch markers are the rubber lockable rings by Boye. These ones:
I love these mostly because they’re easy to remove and replace after knitting a lifeline, also because they’re soft, inobtrusive, and weigh practically nothing. But some commenters mentioned that the rings were hard to close or tended to pop open. I was surprised, as I’d never experienced that — I even mentioned that, if anything, they were hard to open because the rubber and tight fit made them lock really well. I suggested that a bad batch in the manufacturing may be to blame.
So fast forward to a couple days ago. While I was picking up some sock yarn, I saw some of my beloved Boyes markers. I picked up a couple packages as I can never have enough of these, and they aren’t always available in my local chain stores. Well, it seems that the complaints were well-founded. I assume (but don’t know) that Boye switched manufacturers, because both of the new packages have several problems.
Many of the markers do not, in fact, close easily or stay closed. The main reason is that they were sloppily molded — there are several bits of extra rubber that were not removed, particularly near the part that locks. and even in the hole. I can probably take scissors and file to the markers to make them workable, but I shouldn’t have to. The markers are not as soft and flexible, either. They’re stiff, and some do not lay or close flat. I’m really disappointed.
Here’s a side by side comparison of my older and newer Boye markers:
The arrows on the top left point to extra bits of rubber, including some in the hole. You may not be able to tell by the picture, but the newer bluish marker is not laying flat, but both sides near the ends are raised and don’t touch the surface the marker is on. When closed it does this as well. Something else you cannot see, and once again it harkens back to the molding, is that the tops and bottoms of the newer markers have a sharper raised line.
So there has definitely been a change in the manufacturing. I will probably be looking out for new stitch markers to use, because, frankly, the newer ones are practically unusable. I’ve never seen ones like these by any other company, so it’s not likely I’ll be able to replace them with a similar product.
It’s such a shame. I will have to be extra careful with my older Boyer markers. They’re so easy to lose. My older ones are now a precious commodity.