Monday, September 21, 2009

Knitting Weights

Weights are very important in machine knitting. Even with Passap machines, which were advertised as requiring no weights, weights can be very helpful at times.

If you watch my videos, you see me use clothespins and weights quite often. This weekend, my husband and I photographed all the knitting weights I could find around my house, thinking this might be helpful for someone who is wondering what how heavy they are and how they're used. We weighed them all, too. You certainly can improvise and add more weights to your collection.

Working from the left, let's start with the lightest items - clothespins. I use them for the loose end of the yarn as I begin to knit. With a clothespin holding the yarn, I can use my hand for something else. From the left - a small plastic clothespin, 5.2 grams, 2 ounces. A plastic covered red clip, 9.8 grams, .3 ounces. A bigger blue plastic clothespin, my favorite, 10.3 grams, .4 ounces.
Then, a "heel fork." It's a cheap fork from the dollar store, and my husband bent the tines so it can hook into knitting. It's good for holding down heel stitches as I short-row. He also drilled a hole in the handle so I can hang a weight. It weighs 22.4 grams, .8 ounces.
Next, a garter carraige weight, 24.1 grams, .9 ounces.
The next object is a triangle weight holder. If you don't have a set of these, you could sure use 'em! Mine are from Silver Reed company, and they're great for holding hefty weights on ribbing. For just the holder without a weight, it's 38 grams, 1.3 ounces.
Next photo, from left: a typical claw weight for machine knitting, 108 grams, 3.8 ounces. Next, a Passap heel weight, long, white, with prongs on one end and a hole on the other (it can be used as a weight hanger), 165.5 grams 5.8 ounces. Next item - a brass weight, wonderful for main bed work, because the weight is spread a little horizontally, 214.9 grams or 7.6 ounces.
Now, for some more serious weight. First, a Passap weight from the comb and weights set, 351.5 grams, 12.4 ounces, then a Japanese small ribber weight, 210.5 grams, 7.4 ounces, then a large ribber weight, 500 grams, 17.6 ounces (about a pound), then a fishing weight (you can buy them in all kinds of different weights, and they normally have a hole. The hook was homemade, from a coat hanger), 460 grams, 16.2 ounces, including the hook (about a pound).
Finally, on the right, two sock machine weights. These are industrial weights, and you can stack more of the hockey-puck type weights on the one with the stick and hook. The one with the hook is 545 grams, 19.2 ounces, and the stackable one is 484 grams, 17.1 ounces (about a pound each). Sock machines use a lot more weight than the other machines.
In fact, now that I've gotten three antique sock machines working well, I learned that a key issue is to have NO tension on the yarn as it comes in and LOTS of weight on the knitting as it comes out. As you can imagine, I cringed at putting a whole pound of weight on a little sock toe, but I actually use two pounds on a sock toe now and two more pounds on the rest of the sock.

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