Monday, December 17, 2007
Soaps in Socks
I love these little soaps, they're made of a 100% wool single that is really drifty and felts really nicely. I used Sean Sheep Armytage for these, but it's very much like Brown Sheep Lambs's Pride Worsted in feeling (not in content, though).
I cranked these out on my little vintage toy knitting machine. Pants say that it's vintage because it's more than 30 years old, it's been banging around for ages, it's lost the tensioner and I'm not sure where the book is (hence, not knowing exactly how old it is).
Anyway, a few years ago, I moved and couldn't find the book and it was IMPOSSIBLE to find directions online, so hopefully this will help anyone googling vintage toy circular knitting machine instructions.
So, what follows is my pattern for soaps in socks. I sell these, so please only use this pattern and tutorial for personal use, charity crafting and gifts. It is not for commercial use.
This is my machine, which I believe is from the early 70s (I need to find that book!). To start a tube, all you do is thread a few inches of yarn through the centre of the machine, then, starting with the coloured needle (which is really kind of a hook, but they're called needles) wrap the yarn under the first needle and behind the second, continuing until you're back before the coloured needle.
It's really important that you do this first step loosely, because otherwise, the machine will get stuck and make a terrible grinding noise.
Now, with the yarn threaded under the hook of each needle, crank 20 rounds of the machine. The handle turns more than once for each revolution of the barrel, so count the number of times the coloured needle passes.
Once you have gone around 20 times, stop and cut the yarn tail to about six inches (more or less, depending on your preference and your adeptness with a darning needle).
Thread your darning needle with the yarn tail and use it to catch each loop as it comes off each needle, as you crank slowly around. Once they are all on the darning needle, slip them onto the yarn tail and tighten the loop as far as you can, then secure it. Because these are being felted and will lose some of the stitch definition, I thread the yarn through the knitting and tie a knot, weave the end for an inch or so and then clip.
Place your soap into the soap sock and tighten the beginning tail of the yarn to snug, and secure as for the other end. Lovely Zephyrama suggested that you crochet the yarn end into a chain to make a handle. Nice!
Your soap is now ready to use. Because you've used a feltable wool, the sock will tighten with use and create a nice, scrubby surface.
It should possibly be noted that there are modern toy knitting machines on the market, I believe there is a Barbie branded one. I haven't used one of these, but my research has indicated that they're pretty crap, the tension is impossible and they break after a few revolutions. I guess they don't make them like they used to.
If you ever see one of these old machines around, pick it up, there are some fun things to be made, from toys to knit suffolk puffs (yoyos) and scarves. I'll try to find the book and scan some photos of the tremendously retro suggestions.
I should probably add, if you don't have a machine, or couldn't be bothered making your own, I'm selling these in various colours for $5 US plus postage ($7AU, inc postage within Aus).