Thursday, January 01, 2015

a better concept for knitting sheaths

I have been knitting handspun 5-ply sport weight at ~10 spi on US 0 DPN.  Yesterday, I knit ~ 15,000 stitches. For perspective, most modern hand knit sweaters (e.g., Elizabeth Zimmermann patterns) have ~40,000 stitches and a moderate gansey will contain ~ 90,000 stitches.

How can this be done without hurting my wrists?

It is a better knitting sheath - two pieces of wood that clamp over a heavy work belt and  one of  the pieces of wood is drilled to accept the 2 mm DPN.  It also works with a lighter belt that will go through my jeans belt loops, but just now I am lounging around in a sweat suit, and the heavy leather belt works better over the sweat suit.  The belt and knitting sheath are worn under the apron and the working needle comes up beside the apron.

Clamping to the belt give extra stability and having the fulcrum closer to the belt gives  better control of the needle.  Also shown in pix is the general tool that I carry in my knitting bag, and which comes in handy for any required adjustments.

It is not pretty - it is not something one would make as a keepsake for a loved knitter, but it is the VERY BEST KNITTING TOOL (with spring steel DPN) that I know for knitting fine, fast, and tight. I have not tried it yet, but I expect the concept to be even better with the big ol' #1s.

I expect that they will also work for swaveing (with bent needles) which is how I knit socks and gloves from fine yarns.

This one was made using threaded inserts, but I will likely switch to short carriage bolts and  thumbscrews.  

First make it work, then make it pretty!  

Good  solutions inhibit the discovery of excellent discoveries.

The current generation of 2 mm DPN have tips with flat ends, but are still rather pointy, and tend to dig through the cloth aprons that I had been using.  So I moved up to my leather wood turning apron, but those ties would not fit through the holes in the last knitting sheath designed to fit on apron strings.  So I thought about clamping the sheath to the leather apron ties.  However, the ties for the wood turning apron are designed not to be snug around the waist, so I thought about clamping the knitting sheath to a leather belt.  I had made knitting sheaths that fitted snugly on nylon belts, but why, oh why, had I never thought about actually clamping the knitting sheath on to my heavy leather belts?  I do not know!  I think it was because I had never seen anything like this in the historical collections, and thereby assumed that it would not work.  Well it does, and it is very easy to fabricate with minimal tools and supplies. 

These work belts are available a good hardware stores that cater to building trades.


Ellen McPherson said...

I know someone who has had a stroke and has difficulty using her left hand but wants to continue to knit. I have a large collection of antique knitting sheaths, too delicate to be used, and want to try and find her a new knitting sheath to buy but can't find any on the internet. Would you possibly know where I can buy one? Many thanks. Ellen

Aaron said...

No, I stopped making knitting sheaths - except for myself.

I suggest the use of a leather knitting pouch.

Or, there are wood workers clubs around and I am sure that a local wood worker would make you a replica of one of your old knitting sheaths.