kerravonsen: Crafty: a medly of beads (craft)
[personal profile] kerravonsen
(Yes, there were previous adventures.)

I've decided to stop using the term "knooking", and am going with a suggestion someone made in a forum on Ravelry, and start calling it "hook knitting". It's more precise, I think. Less confusing.

Why am I bothering with hook-knitting? Because I want to. Please don't call this craft a "rip off", "a waste of time", or "not real knitting". It is "real" knitting, it just uses different tools to achieve the same effect, just like loom-knitting does. Then again, loom-knitting also tends to be called "not real knitting". Enough - or I will end up derailing this post with a rant about Realness.

So... I've been doing more hook-knitting, trying out tools and methods and modifications.

Trial 1: Using a KnitPro Symphonie interchangeable Tunisian crochet hook.

This is a laminated wood crochet hook in rainbow colours, smooth, with a pointy point. At the non-hook end, it tapers, and there is a metal bit to which a stiff cord can be fastened by screwing it in. There's a little wire tightening tool one can use to make the attachment just a little firmer. The cord is plastic-coated flexible wire, about 1mm wide. At the end of the cord, one can attach a stopper, or one can use a fastener to screw on an additional cord.

Plusses:

* the hook itself is nice and smooth
* the pointy point goes into the loops nicely (but see below)
* the knitting glides from the hook to the cord easily and smoothly
* pulling the cord out of the previous row is a little jerky but doable
* the cord is securely fastened to the hook, you don't have to worry about it coming off

Minuses:

* because the cord is firmly attached, it is less easy to change cords (if one desires to do so; some people use two cords, alternating them, so that one has more protection from mistakes)
* the cord is too stiff

I found that I could do knit stitches, but all my stitches were twisted knit. (As if I were doing an e-wrap in loom-knitting). This happened for a few reasons. First, I was doing it as if it were a Tunisian knit stitch - working yarn at the back, going front to back, dominant-hand-to-off-hand, yarn over, pull through. It was just easier for me to do it that way, coming from crochet as I am. Secondly, the cord itself was so stiff, it wasn't easy to bend the whole row around so that I was coming in to the loop "reverse-wards", and it became more difficult as I went further along the row. Thirdly, while I've seen people do this without having to bend the work around, by hooking the front loop of the yarn with the hook and then pushing the hook through that way, the pointy end of the hook tended to catch in the yarn when I tried to do it that way.

The other downside of this is that the stiff cord makes it very difficult, if not impossible, to do cables, since you have to be able to cross the cord over itself when doing cables. And one of my reasons for teaching myself hook-knitting is that it is much easier to do cables with hook-knitting than with loom-knitting.

So I thought "I need some non-stiff cord!"


Trial 2: KnitPro hook with tiger-tail, crimps, and nylon string

Now, the cord-to-cord fasteners have a little hole in them for the tightening tool to go through. The hole is too small for cord to go through, but tiger-tail will go through fine. So what I did was cut some tiger-tail, attach it through the tiny hole, crimp it with some crimps, add some more crimps and make a loop at the other end for the string to go through. The string was white 2-ply nylon (not the thickness, the ply-ness) which I cut with my thread-zapper. So the fastener went on the hook, the tiger-tail on the fastener, the string on the tiger-tail.

Plusses:

* the string did bend around
* pulling the cord out of the previous row is easy

Minuses:

* pulling the knitting from the hook onto the cord was terrible; the yarn kept on catching on the crimps and getting more and more ragged
* because the string was 2-ply and the hook was pointy, I sometimes caught the hook on the string instead of going under the string

FAIL.


Trial 3: Bamboo Tunisian hook with plastic-tube end, hole poked in tube

I took the thread-zapper and zapped a hole in the plastic tube of my bamboo hook, and cut off the remaining part of the plastic tube. The idea was to push the string through the hole. I made the string a bit stiffer at the ends by blasting it with my heat gun. Unfortunately, it still wasn't stiff or thin enough, I couldn't manage to push the cord through the hole (though I could get a tapestry needle through the hole).

This trial was a fail because it didn't even get as far as the knitting.


Trial 4: Bamboo hook with hole drilled in the end, satin-rayon ("Rattail") cord

Here I cut off the plastic tube altogether - yes, I didn't mind mutilating the hook, because it was bought for experimental purposes, rather than being for everyday crochet use. I used a centre-punch to make a dent in the bamboo, then took my Dremel Stylus with the smallest cutting bit, and drilled a hole in the hook. This hole was too small for the string to go through, so I took the larger cutting bit, and carefully drilled in from either side, where the small hole was, in stages. I didn't want to break the hook by rushing it.

I wanted to use a cord which wasn't going to split and was also not too thin, so I took some of my 2mm Rattail cord, cut it, and then experimented with my heat gun to see if I could stiffen it like the nylon cord. I melted it instead. But I tried again, more carefully, heating it at a distance and pulling it away, and I got it so it was just a teeny bit melted at the ends, which made the ends stiffer.

The cord easily threaded through the hole in the bamboo hook. Yay!

Plusses:

* the cord did bend around, I could do non-twisted knit (though I still find it more comfortable/easy to do it twisted)
* pulling the knitting from the hook onto the cord was okay; not as smooth as with the KnitPro Symphonie hook, because the knitting had to go over the cord as it stuck out of both sides of the hole, but it got easier with practice
* pulling the cord out of the previous row is easy
* the cord did not split on the hook

Minuses:

* one has to be careful when pulling on the knitting or on the cord, that one doesn't pull the cord out of the hole in the hook. Not really a problem, one just has to be aware of it.
* the bamboo hook was not as smooth as the wooden one (I don't like bamboo hooks that much)
* the bamboo hook was not as pointy as the wooden one


Trial 5: Sharpened Bamboo hook with hole drilled in the end, satin-rayon ("Rattail") cord

I saw this post which suggested sharpening a bamboo (or wooden) crochet hook with a pencil sharpener to make it more pointy (and thus go into the loops more easily). So I did. Then I sanded it with my Dremel, but it turns out, not enough, because there were a couple of spots where the yarn jagged on the hook. Still, it wasn't too bad, and it's likely fixable. I couldn't really fix it while I was knitting with it, since I didn't want to get sawdust in the knitting!

Here is the final hook with its cord:
knook-2015-11-06

Here is the sharpened point:
knook-2015-11-06a

Here is the hole for the cord. You can also see the bit at the end where the plastic tube was attached.
knook-2015-11-06b

Here is the end of the cord. The darker bits are where the rayon has melted. Since it is not completely melted, the half-melted bits serve to stiffen the cord.
knook-2015-11-06c

I deemed this successful enough that I cut off the tubes and drilled holes in the bamboo crochet hooks from that set which were bigger than the one I first experimented with (it was 5mm). I then sanded the points with my Dremel to make them pointy; using fine sandpaper, less likely to get rough edges than with a pencil sharpener. What I've just done with the original hook is cover the hook with a bit of my home-made moisturizer (which is also good for finishing wood, who would have known?). That should hopefully smooth it down a bit more.

I didn't drill holes in the smaller bamboo crochet hooks in the set, because the large carving bit would probably break the hooks, and the small carving bit makes a hole that is far too small to be useful. I mean, I've already found that tiger-tail + crimps + yarn = mess. And I wouldn't want to use just tiger-tail by itself, because it is too stiff, and if I were to be using flexible wire cord, then I might as well use the Symphonie hooks, since they are nicely made. Maybe using actual wire would work, putting it through the hole and then twisting it into a loop that the cord can thread through, but I'd be afraid that the yarn would still catch on jagged edges. And if the wire was too thin, it would break. Probably worth a try, though. Thin round leather cord would be worth a try too, though it might be too stiff. Or maybe I could glue something into the end of the plastic tube rather than cutting it off.



At some stage during all this, I figured out how to Purl as well as Knit. Purling had stumped me, since I was trying to make the hook go from back to front and finding that difficult, when I realized that the most important part of the stitch (considering that I don't really care whether my stitches are twisted or not) is that the working yarn is in the front when it is pulled through the loop, so I ended up doing the stitch like I would a Tunisian Purl stitch. That seemed to work. I managed to do a rectangle of K2, P2 ribbing, go me!

It's interesting seeing the similarities and differences between Tunisian Crochet and knitting with a hook. Knitting with a hook is like doing a Forward Pass in Tunisian Crochet, but instead of doing a Return Pass, you slide the knitting off the hook onto the cord, and turn your work. Because there isn't a return pass, the structure of the stitches is different, but it still feels a bit like doing Tunisian, because the cord is holding the stitches in place, like the return-pass stitches hold them in place in Tunisian. But with hook-knitting, that cord will go away when you've finished the row, because you'll be pulling it out.
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Kathryn A.

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