Wednesday, February 03, 2010

An approach to using different sized needles with the same knitting sheath

Many Victorian knitting sheaths have adapters that allow several different sized needles to be used with the same knitting sheath.   Many of these Victorian knitting sheaths with adpaters have a look about them that make me think of vocational school projects for teaching young men to use a variety of power tools.  That is, these are not tools made by a knitter.  Moreover, I do not see much in the way of wear marks on such tools suggesting that they were often gifts and keepsakes.

Several knitters have asked about how to use several different sized needles with one knitting sheath, and this is certainly a workable approach. The photo shows two knitting sheaths that I made which accept  adapters.  By changing the adapter, different sized needles can be used with the knitting sheath.  Thus, with these 4 adapters, US # 0, 1, 2, or 4 needles can be used with either of these knitting sheaths.
These are crude prototypes, but they work very well.

Another advantage of this system is that the knitting sheath can be made of a light weight or decorative wood while the adapter can be made of a harder wood such as maple. Thus, the  design life of the system can be longer, that the design life of a system with the (steel ) needle flexing against a softer wood.

On the other hand, these adapters are tricky little fellows and I expect they will tend to runoff, join the circus, and never to be seen in a knitting bag again. 


Pat S said...

I wonder if the absence of wear marks on old examples is indicative of the problem you suggested later - they simply get lost and therefore are not much used.

Aaron said...

Or, they may have been "love tokens" and kept on the mantle rather than used?

Anonymous said...

It is useful to try everything in practice anyway and I like that here it's always possible to find something new. :)

Aaron said...

:( they worked well for #0/#1 needles. Not so good for #8 DPN.

Ben David said...

Very happy to come across this blog!

Have you tried using a spring?

Take a piece of acrylic sheet - or a CD cover. Cut a strip.

Heat it (you can use an iron or space heater, or easily build a bending jig - this is how all that mod acrylic stuff was made in the 70s).

While hot, wrap it around the smallest steel needle you want to hold.

The resulting spring resembles the flat-wire coils that connect the telephone's receiver to the body.

This should open to grip a range of needles larger than the one it was wrapped around.

You may need to rough up the surface of the plastic for more grip.

Aaron said...

Sounds more like a design for a knitting sheath then a design for an adapter.

A lot of my customers seem to want something traditional. Look and feel tends to be more important than functionality.