How difficult is it to find one simple little knitting tool?
Apparently, if that tool is a yarn stranding guide, the answer is nearly impossible.
I’m currently knitting a pair of Endpaper Mitts, and have to switch colors every 1 to 3 stitches. Normally, when I’m knitting colorwork, I’ll just drop one color, pick up the next and knit, drop that one, pick up the next and knit, etc. When you’ve got 4 or 5 stitches before you pick up the other color again, that’s not so bad. However, picking up a new yarn every other stitch gets tedious quickly.
I know one method of stranded knitting is to hold one color in your left hand and knit it continental style, and hold the other color in your right hand and knit it English style. However, try as I might, I have a lot of difficulty knitting English style. I just can’t seem to get my tension to match that of my usual continental knitting, which is a problem when you’re using both styles in one object.
Having seen stranding guides in the store before, I figured purchasing one would be the perfect solution to my problem. I’d seen them in stores constantly, even laughed at why someone would need that (before I knew how annoying the drop-and-pick-up) can really be.
Do you think I could find one when I actually needed it? Of course not! I tried both big box craft stores and specialty yarn stores, and just could not find one. The only place I could find one was on KnitPicks.com, which didn’t help much considering I’m not planning on spending a full $50 at the moment to get free shipping, and the shipping alone on just the stranding guide would have been more than three times the price of the item.
Frustrated, I finally had the epiphany that I (hopefully) could make my own! I bought some 18 gauge aluminum craft wire at Michaels, with a coupon of course, and brought it home. I figured the aluminum wire would be best because it’s softer and easier to cut than copper, even at the thicker gauge, and it wouldn’t turn my finger green.
I bent the end of the wire around a size 8 (5.0 mm) dpn I just happened to have in my purse, of course, wrapped the rest of the wire around my finger a few times, cut the wire leaving some length on the end, and wrapped the loose end around the same dpn. Happily, I tried it out and it’s working perfectly! Hopefully this mini-tutorial can help someone else as frustrated as I was 🙂