Thursday 28 June 2018

More Tools and Gadgets

A few weeks ago, a long-standing member of the Knitting & Crochet Guild sent a small group of tools and gadgets as a donation for the Guild collection.

There are only seven items in the donation, but five of them I had never seen before.

The "Carnell" needle for blanket making (at the top of the photo above) is a hook for Tunisian crochet, which can be extended, up to about twice its original length, by attaching one or both of the extra lengths of metal tube.  We have  a Carnell needle in the collection already, but this one has a rolled up set of patterns in the box, and the box is in better condition too.

Robin Silk Winder

The Robin Silk Winder is, I guess, made of some sort of pre-WW2 plastic, and would have been used for artificial silk knitting yarn - like the Felix the cat winder I showed here.  And we have a child's dress in art. silk and angora, knitted to a Robin pattern, so it's nice to imagine the silk winder being used to make the dress. 

Viyella needle gauge and row counter 

The Viyella knitting needle gauge and row counter is a small barrel-shaped object (surprisingly heavy) with the gauge holes in the ends.  We have one in the collection already, but it's useful to have an extra one that we can take to trunk shows, and let people handle it and work the counter.

ORCO Handee Gauge

ORCO Handee Gauge - U.S. Pat, 3,068,580

The ORCO Handee gauge is a patented American gadget with a sliding pointer for (I suppose) more accurate measurement - according to the patent, dated 1962, it's designed for both sewing and knitting. (Not sure yet how it ended up in this country.)

The "Little Dorrit" Triple Knitting Counter

The "Little Dorrit" Triple Knitting Counter is not one we have in the collection already, although we have other similar row counters made of card.  (I don't know why it's called the "Little Dorrit" - was she a knitter?  I could find out by reading the book, but I shan't.)  This kind of row counter seems very flimsy to me, but in fact, the pointers still work perfectly well on this one, even though it seems to have been well used.

The Wimberdar 'Positive Row Counter'

The Wimberdar 'Positive Row Counter' is a much more substantial gadget. I think it's called a positive counter because you can only change the count if you're positive that you want to do it - unlike a lot of counters where there is a wheel to turn or a pointer to move, and it could easily be done when you weren't intending to.  The Wimberdar counter has two discs with the numbers on inside the case - one counts single rows and has the numbers 0 to 9; the other counts 10s of rows and is numbered 1 to 14 (plus a blank, showing in the photo).  You change the count by inserting the end of a (fairly fine) knitting needle into the hole at the left of the window at the top, and move it to the right of the window.  When the units disc has got to 9, the hole at the left of the window is lower down, and coincides with a hole in the 10s disc, so that you move both discs at the same time.   (Hope that's clear.)  It's very clever.  There's a leather case to go with it, too.  I kind of feel that I want one, but in fact, I know that I wouldn't use it - I'd rather count rows by making pencil marks on a piece of scrap card than use a row counter.  Though if I had a really nice one like this....

'Dont Lose Your Wool' yarn holder
Finally, and my favourite, is a yarn holder in a leather case. There is a bangle to go round your wrist, made of some sort of plastic, and hanging off it, are two wooden balls that go into the middle of your ball of wool.  Thus:

The piece of wire is a bit springy, so you can compress the two balls together, to push them into the  ball of wool, and then the wire springs apart to hold the wool firmly.

I have never seen another yarn holder of a similar design, and there's nothing on the holder or case that gives any clue to who made it - the only writing is 'Dont lose your wool' on the case. A really clever design, even though they don't appear to know about apostrophes.

A very nice little group - we are very grateful for the donation.   The yarn holder will be part of a trunk show for the Lincoln branch of the Guild on Saturday.


  1. I have a gauge like the Orco one, though mine just says 'Made in China' and has both inches and centimetres. It's very useful for counting stitches in tension squares.

    I think there might have been other Little Dorrit knitting items as I have a vague memory of some of my mum's knitting needles being 'Little Dorrit' make. But that might be a false memory. As for the book, it's one of my favourites and I recommend it. I don't remember Amy (Little Dorrit) knitting, but she is an accomplished seamstress and that's how she makes her living. Dickens most famous knitter is the 'tricoteuse' Madame Defarge in 'A Tale of Two Cities'. She works the names of those condemned to the guillotine into her interminable knitting. Estella in 'Great Expectations' also sits and knits in one memorable scene as she calmly breaks poor Pip's heart. As she is a rich fashionable young lady, I imagine she's knitting something frivolous and lacy in silk yarn. Later Pip sees another woman whose compulsive hand movements remind him of somebody knitting, setting him on the course of putting two and two together...

    1. I don't think there was a Little Dorrit brand of knitting needle - they aren't listed in Susan Webster's very comprehensive website ( I thought I might have seen Little Dorrit knitting patterns - but I might have been thinking of Little Pals instead.

    2. Thank you for the link to the knitting needle list - comprehensive is the word, it must have been a labour of love. It made me think of my grandmother. She used to get very annoyed if we said 'knitting needles' as in her opinion the correct term was 'knitting pins'.

  2. What a lovely collection. I think the wool holder designer is brilliant, it sounds like it would be possible to make one.

    1. That's an interesting possibility. You'd have to get the right kind of attachment to the bangle, so that the wool could rotate freely, but I guess that could be found.


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