The gentle art of whittling

Ash shawl pinI don’t normally post about my dear husband’s crafting efforts rather than my own, but I have something I need to share. He has taken up whittling wood and wanted suggestions for what to make as his first project. “How about a shawl pin?”, said I, with no real expectation of a successful outcome. And then, being the fussy person that I am, I gave him a specification as to length, thickness and wiggliness of the pointy bit and dimensions of the knobby end. He gave me a look that said, “You’ll be lucky! You do know I’m a complete beginner, don’t you?”, but picked up an ash twig from last winter’s tree pruning efforts and set to work with a penknife. And just look what the result was.

It certainly beats the shawl pins I have made from bamboo skewers with beads on the top, like this amethyst one.

Amethyst shawl pinI have been wearing this delicate ash pin with pride in various shawls and to close my Nanook cardi, which is buttonless. Mind you, I did have to sand it to a flawless finish myself with 420-grade paper, dear husband had no idea what degree of smoothness is needed if a shawl pin is not to snag on fine yarn. I was thinking about staining it a bright colour with some ink or fabric dye, but then I realised that the off-white shade will go perfectly with the scarf I’ve been knitting. (See below for an update on that project.)

Since making this pin, dear husband has begun whittling a corkscrew-like object, for reasons best known to himself. (Because it was difficult, presumably – he’s never been one for the easy way.)

Wooden corkscrewI will probably use it as a shawl pin too, when it’s finished. Although it is only suitable for chunky knitwear and does look rather odd when screwed into the fabric, there’s no way it will ever drop out.

Yippee! I can have an endless supply of shawl pins to suit my knitting projects. Until he gets tired of whittling and moves on to something else, at least.

The swingy silk scarf

My scarf is finished and, although I know I ought to have blocked it before wearing, I haven’t. Or maybe it doesn’t need it, being 100% silk and garter stitch. I’ll think about it when I wash it for the first time. I just couldn’t resist wearing it straight away, given all the windy, snowy weather we’ve been “enjoying” lately.

Short rows scarfWool next to my skin makes me itch so my winter scarves and cowls are mostly cashmere (for when I want to look smart) or acrylic (for when I want something I can sling in the washing machine and that can stand getting snagged on a twig while I’m gardening). This silk one falls in the former category – it will need hand washing and keeping away from anything that might catch on it, but it it’s worth the effort because it feels so luxuriously cosy around my neck.

About yorkshirecrafter

I live and work in West Yorkshire.  I've always enjoyed crafts of all types, from woodwork to lace-making.  I also enjoy anything mathematical, which makes knitting a favourite pastime, especially complicated designs.  I've been advising businesses and industry on environmental matters for 30 years and also have an interest in green living, especially where it saves me money. I live with my husband and our Maine Coon in a 100-year-old cottage that constantly needs something doing to it.  Fortunately, I enjoy DIY too.
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2 Responses to The gentle art of whittling

  1. chrisknits says:

    What a lovely job for a first timer! I can see why you wear it with pride. Can’t wait to see the corkscrew finish.

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