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Monday, January 18, 2016

Adventures in Giant Knitting and Claire's Cowl

I've been wanting to make this beautiful giant knit for a while.  I love the look of very big or very small stitches so this one is right up my alley.  I had to improvise a bit on the needles and yarn.  The pattern calls for 19mm needles and chunky yarn and I didn't have either.

My improvised needles are 19mm dowel rods with the ends carved down to points.  I just happened to have the dowel rod pieces in the house and they were already cut to perfect lengths so I really just had to make them.  It was a new process and very interesting.  My wood pieces are actually two different kinds of wood.  The shorter one is lighter colored and much softer.  It was easier to carve but the finished needle is more prone to dents and pokes from the tip of the harder one.

For the carving process, I chose a pocket knife with a partially serrated blade (I don't know that I would have been able to do it with a smooth blade, especially with the harder wood).  For the pointed tip, I started about an inch and a half back from the end and gently started to remove some wood until I had a rough pointed shape.  Then I carefully smoothed it out into a proper point.  I probably did this a dangerous way, but I found it a lot easier to pull the knife toward me to remove the wood rather than slashing away from me.  I took as much care as I could and didn't have any unfortunate accidents.  I did round off the back ends of the rods so the corner edges wouldn't poke me.  I found knitting in a big size requires a lot more whole body action.

After I was happy with the basic carved shape, I sanded it with first a coarser 80 grit sand paper and then with a very fine 220 grit.  The sanding actually got it to be very smooth.  I did rub the raw areas with a tea light candle to get a bit of wax into the tiny grooves.

I really can't believe how well these turned out in terms of smoothness and ease when knitting with them.  I didn't have any issues with the yarn snagging or hanging up on any rough spots and the wood was light enough to be easy to work with.

For the knitting project itself, I held 4 strands of worsted weight acrylic together and made a garter stitch rectangle about 21 stitches by 60 or so rows.  I did not add a twist for the mobius style on this one.  This was really fun and I learned a lot.

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