Turning Archive 2005

Knitting Needles *PIC*

Rick Allen

I made a bunch of wands a while back. I showed the wands to a co-worker and she exclaimed how they looked a little like knitting needles. So I asked her about knitting needles. She says she currently is using size 8. Well a size 8 is a 6mm shaft. That is larger than most of my wands so I though this would be easy. About a Turns out that knitting needles are more difficult to make than magic wands. My wands are tapered. I don't much care about the rate of taper, just that the tip is smaller than the handle end. But with knitting needles the shaft needs to be of a consistent diameter. I guess the first few inches could be consistent and the diameter could be smaller after that. Anyway my first try yielded a 5mm shaft. Oops a size 7 knitting needle. The second one broke. The third one was 4mm which is a size 6. I tried one more. Another size 6 well at least I had a pair. I gave up for a few weeks while I tried other things. So this weekend I tried again. First one broke, second one was a size 7 (great now I have two pair) and the last two I managed to make 6mm which is the size 8 I was looking for.

The stops on the knitting needles was another effort. I wanted to make tiny flowers. Fat chance. Instead I decided to make the stops for like needles out of the same material. I needed some way of "displaying" the needles so the tall vase was selected as a good shape. I had some 16/4 Brazilian cherry on hand. Another bad idea. That stuff hollows like concrete. Or at least that is how it worked in my hands. So the hole is primarily drilled with a ship auger.

The stock I was working from for the needles was 14" long and 13" long. I lose about 1/2" to the mounting so the thin needles were 13 1/2". The larger needles were 12 1/2" long. I wanted them all the same length so they are all 12 1/2" long.

I hope the lady likes the needles. It will likely be a while before I make any more. My understanding is that using wood needles feels better than plastic or metal needles. I wonder if the needles will hold up to use for very long.



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