Monday, March 17, 2008

Come-on! Knit like a Man!

Some gansey yarn came in the other day, and I realized that I wanted to knit ganseys in public (KIP). I have long knitted socks and other small stuff in public, but gansey needles were akward to carry, so I did not take them out in public.

Now, I have knitting bag that lets me easily carry gansey projects:

It is a Craftman 20" tool bag - from the hardware store.

Then, I had to revist needle cases. I made a bunch of cloth needle rolls and needle bags for the last trip back East, but after living with them on the road for 3 weeks, I hated them.

The new program is a mix of bamboo cases (which are light) and sections of plastic pipe with screw caps (which are stong) and wads of waste yarn in the ends to protect the needles.

The gansey needle case very functional. It is two pieces of bamboo, smoothed and slotted, held to gether with a cord. Thus, it can protect the needles (and protect other things from the needles) even with knitting on the needles. The 12" steel needles are in a bamboo case made from a large piece of bamboo and a small piece of bamboo that is slotted to fit into the larger bamboo tube. I strengthen the ends of the bamboo with a bit of epoxy and stuff wads of waste yarn in for extra protection for needle points. Also note that less than fully dry bamboo WILL rust steel needles. DRY IT, Dry It, dry it.

Plastic pipe with screw-on caps protects more delicate needles. Again, the ends are stuffed with waste yarn.

As you can see, I have started a new gansey. My old Cornish Fish is just not up to the stress of a new gansey (even with its new dentures). Thus, this morning, I made another Cornish Fish. It took less than 45 minutes from start to finish. I took a piece of fire wood and split it into a blank. Then, I used a hand saw to cut it to lenth. I used an electric drill to drill a 3/32 hole in one end. I used my hand saw to cut the slot in the other end. Then I used my pocket knife to smooth it and carve the funnel at the needle hole that makes it easy to stick the needle in. I sanded it by hand and smeared some bee's wax finish on it. It is not beautiful. It is not a love token that I have lavished hundreds of hours on. A wood worker with power tools could have made it in 5 minutes. I might have finished it faster if the plums overhead had not been blooming so sweetly. It is a very practical knitting tool that will last for no more than 500 hours of knitting with gansey needles. It does feel good in the hand, and it feels good in the belt. It does not have any sharp edges.

It is about 6" long. Early-on, I had read that such small knitting sheaths must be for children. That was clearly written by somebody that had never made and used their own knitting sheaths. This size works very, very well. I think I will name it, "Albrecht," after the dwarf that forged the Ring from the Rhine gold.

No comments: