Saturday, October 11, 2008

of Bell's bell and beehives

Bells posted about a vintage bell-shaped knitting gauge that she has recently purchased [ and how could she not, given her nickname ? ]
and that prompted me to check the two that I have, to see if they were the same.

My friend Maz would know immediately which ones she has but not me.
and, as it turns out, mine aren't quite the same as Bells'.

Then the next thought that occurred was that I hadn't ever shown you my rather modest collection, except for incidental photos of the silver coloured bells and beehive that hang on the tree in my bedroom at Christmas

so here they are
some are in the old UK/ Commonwealth sizings, some are metric and a few of the contemporary ones also have US sizing as well.

These ones don't go above size 6 which is today's 5.5mm /US 9 - presumably because people simply didn't knit with anything thicker. There is no modern equivalent for those teeny size 16s, but a 2mm / US size 0 would be a 14.

This one isn't a needle gauge per se - it has a little brass slide on the front for keeping track of rows.. On the back it has a ruler and the legend " The 'BRAX' KNITTER'S AID patent applied for" ... anyone got any idea where or when it was made ?

I used to have more needle gauges - a couple of Bakelite beehives that had been my mother's, and some others that had probably come free with English Women's Weekly in the 60s and 70s, but somewhere along the line, they have disappeared as is the way of such things.

Friend Maz
is the serious collector of these things so if you'd like to see more, go visit her and then my dozen-and-a-bit will pale into insignificance :]
eta I've now linked to the specific post that shows her collection

and if you have some lurking in the bottom of your knitting basket, or the drawers of that old Singer sewing machine, or in Nanna's old workbasket - please share photos.


Lynne said...

Wow! I have one - a plastic utilitarian model bought sometime in the last two years! I only bought it because I needed to sort out my circular needles - I hadn't put them back in the original packets after use!! :-(

When I was a child, my mum had a pink metal needle case and it had grooves in the side of the lid for measuring the gauges of needles - I haven't seen it for years so she probably deosn't have it anymore!

Tanya Brown said...

Cool. I had no idea that such things existed.

Bells said...

fantastic! What a gorgeous collection and what a nice use for them on the tree. I've been waiting for this post since you mentioned you do it. Fabulous.

Off to check the serious collection!

Kate/Massachusetts said...

Really interesting collection! I particularly like the row counter! My only "antique" is a brass KnitWit. Did you ever have one? You looped yarn around this gizmo, sewed the center, and then retracted the spokes and off popped a daisy-like flower. Never did figure out how to put the daisies together but I suppose they were either sewn or crocheted into an afgan.

catsmum said...

You know Kate, that's one thing I've never had, but I shouldn't be at all surprised to find that Maz has a collection of Daisy Wheels/Knitwits as well :]

Sheepish Annie said...

Those are wonderful! It never occurred to me to collect that sort of thing. I have my sheepie gauge from Goose Pond and that's all she wrote. Now I guess I'll have to start a whole new collection of stuff. ;)

Alwen said...

I do have a few needle gauges, maybe three? but I like my micrometer best.

But that wouldn't stop me from buying a nice bell gauge if I happened across one!

crazyhaberdasher said...

Hi Susan! ...thanks for the link-up.
And yes, I do have a collection of daisy winders too! Might be able to post about them on the "knitsandbits" blog soon.
I have tried to find out something about Brax but to no avail - only to suggest that while we think that only wool companies were responsible for the gauges, sometimes they were give-aways (like Betterware for instance - which is a house cleaning products firm which sold door-to-door and rewarded the customers with those plastic gauges), sometimes they were a promotional gimmick, etc, and of course, freebies from magazines. So it might be along that line of things! But it does look to be from the 20's - 30's to me.

Rose Red said...

I LOVE the beehives!! Now I think you've really triggered a serious need to collect these!