I used to knit just fine with little loops of contrasting yarn for stitch markers. Then while blog-surfing, I discovered that crafty knitters were making pretty stitch markers, or knitting jewelry as I call them. Though my first markers were cute, those ring gaps and wire ends got caught in my yarn. Frustrating!
After some experimenting, I came up with the "perfect" beaded stitch markers. I looped 24 gauge beading wire around a needle for shape & sizing, and both ends of the wire are tucked away inside the beads. The only problem is the single wire running through the bead - if you grab the markers during knitting, or compact your project into a tight bag, the wire can bend. Still, the 24 gauge holds up well, and easily bends back into shape. Being somewhat a perfectionist, I'll come up with a new & improved design soon.
It true - those safety pin coils get caught in the yarn, but I can't find knitter's saftely pins anywhere! Not to be discouraged, I devised my own. Using regular safety pins, I grasped them with two pairs of pliers to straighten the coil, then bend them into shape. They're cheap and easy, and will impress your friends!