Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Knitting sheaths

The gansey in Fisherman's Wool is at some 40,000 stitches. Considering that a typical fisherman's sweater knit with worsted weight at 4.5 spi is only 25,000 stitches, mine is getting along. Considering that this garment will have more than 150,000 stitches in it when it is finished, I've got a ways to go.

But, I am going up the leaning curve on knitting sticks. I have made a dozen prototypes so far, some of which are quite effective. That is what this note is about.

I saw pictures of continental style knitting sheaths or sticks, so that is what I started making. I did not like them.

Then I saw and I started working along those lines. I find these shapes more comfortable and more effective. Here are two views of four knitting sheaths that I have made along these lines. The light colored wood is hickory, and the darker wood is red oak. The oak is more of the classic shape. That classic shape is really a good design. With an over all length of 6 3/4 inches, it has enough leverage to stabilized long gansey needles, but it fits comfortably under your belt, and does not poke holes in your easy chair. Turned upside down, it tucks nicely into apron strings.

These are two views of the same needles. The needls are polished steel and their dark color is artifact of the camera flash. Note that 3 of the sheaths have "notches" that catch on a belt loop on my jeans which gives the knitting sheath extra stability without additional length or bulk. The extra stability is useful with long, heavy (2mm) needles, but is really not needed with 1.5 mm and smaller needles.

This is another photo of one of the knitting sheaths shown above with 5 - 11 inch 1.5 mm steel needles. The 2 horizontal needles show their true polished steel color. The yarn in this photo is Bartlett's sport and the guage comes to about 10 spi, which you will find to be warmer than worsted weight yarn knit at 4.5 spi.

So, what does 40 K stitches look like? Here is a shot of my favorite knitting sheath with the gansey in progress.

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