Cute knitter’s badge
Have you seen those little brooches with a ball of wool and a couple of mini needles on them? They proclaim “I’m a knitter” and are quite a cute thing to wear at a yarn fair or to give to a knitting friend. I’ve wanted one for a while, so I set to and made one last weekend. Whenever I’ve thought about doing so before, a couple of things have put me off. Firstly, what to use as the backing material? Felt would be too floppy, unless it is a very thick felt. I suppose I could cut a slice off a broomstick, or even a cork for a mini brooch, but I’d then need to glue a pin on the back. Which brings me to problem no.2, I don’t have any brooch backs and I keep forgetting to buy them when I see them.
The other day I was browsing through projects on Instructables – one of my all-time favourite websites – when I stumbled across the answer in the shape of a method to replace a broken or lost pin in a pin badge. It seems that you can make a new one out of a paperclip, it just slips under the lip around the edge of the badge like the original pin did. For some reason, I remembered that the caps from carbonated drinks bottles have a similar lip inside. I sliced off the bottom of a cap to leave just a disk with a lip on the underside and, in no time at all, I’d made a pin that would fit securely under it. All that was needed was to decorate the badge by sticking a tiny ball of wool and needles onto it.
I suspect that these bottle caps are made from polypropylene, which isn’t the easiest of plastics to stick things to. But I performed a few experiments with glue and discovered that superglue will stick yarn to a cap quite well if the surface is first roughened. But in the end, I just wrapped yarn around the cap, because sticking a ball on made the whole thing quite bulky. Fastening and unfastening the pin is rather difficult, the yarn round the back gets in the way. I will experiment some more and develop a mark 2 design, but in the meantime the finished brooch is pictured above, made from a bottle cap, a paperclip, a scrap of yarn, a cocktail stick and two beads. One of these days I’ll write up my own Instructable showing exactly how it’s done, but it’s quite obvious once you know how to make the pin.
Talking of Instructables, my T-shirt prize has arrived. This was for being a runner-up in a recent yarn competition, with my Mayan blade spinning device.
I like the funky robot, which is the Instructables logo. Something else to wear with pride.
A sorry sock story
My sock knitting hasn’t been going well. The pair in Rico Superba Bamboo should have been finished by now, but I still have half a sock left to knit. After sailing through sock no.1 with no trouble, I have struggled massively with the heel of sock no.2. It just kept going wrong. I have ripped it out no fewer than four times. Being something of a perfectionist, I knew I wouldn’t be happy to wear a sock with holes in the “mitre”, or a heel that had somehow gone lop-sided.
Finally, I figured out that the problem was probably poor light combined with multi-tasking instead of concentrating on the tricky (for me) job of turning a heel. I feel like I’m wasting time if I’m not watching MOOC videos or listening to a podcast while I’m knitting. But my poor brain clearly isn’t up to managing a heel in such circumstances. So I sat down yesterday afternoon in daylight – we get so little of it at this time of year that I don’t usually squander it on knitting, even at the weekend – and just knitted. I took the precaution of putting in a lifeline at the half-way point so I would only have to rip it out that far if it went wrong yet again, but thankfully it didn’t. All I have to do now is knit the leg in a 2×2 rib, which shouldn’t be impossible even in artificial light. Just as well, because the overcast skies mean we’re putting the lights on at 3pm.