Making Knitting Needles
Of course, they have had plenty of assistance from their teacher, who posted a photo last week of cutting apart the hardwood dowels into 10-inchs lengths. What I didn't know then was that the wood is actually a very nice quality, and did not require much in the way of sanding.
The next step after cutting 60 lengths was to use one of the school's pencil sharpeners to rough out points. Then, the students spent their handwork periods last week and today sanding their needles, until the points were smooth. Now, using a pencil sharpener and sandpaper has made me far more appreciative of my bamboo and ebony needles - some of the points are "pointier" or "scoopier" (those of you who have used these adjectives to describe your favorite needles will feel the lack thereof immediately), and then again, some are a bit too rounded for my liking.
However, looking over last year's crop of needles, still in ready use by my second grade students, showed that the needles had almost all developed the patina that comes from being clutched in a pair of small hands, and that the students turned out excellent projects with them.
I spent most of yesterday evening doing some finish sanding, and getting ready to glue these lovely beads on the ends; I found that 11 of my students had finished both of their needles, while 11 more had only a bit of sanding on the second one to reach their goal. I also discovered that I had grabbed the wrong size of glue sticks (even though the packages were hanging on a display with the hot glue gun I bought last week, they were too big).
Here is the assembly line set-up, to make sure that each student had a pair of matching beads and all needles were ready for glueing.
Our class today went well, with most students having the increased motivation to finish their pair of needles, since those who were done sanding got to pay a visit to the handwork room (where older students have their classes, and where the WOOL is kept on shelves, displayed in color groupings of the rainbow).
These students brought back bags of many colors, and helped roll up small balls. We now have a large basket full of an array of colors, waiting for the lessons in How To Knit, and much practice, as the students make their first project, a striped case to hold their flutes when not in use for music lessons!
Those pairs of needles that are finished have been tied together and are ready for me to present to the students at the next class, on Wednesday.
Don't they look nice, resting in my Booga Bag? There will be a little story, and a knitting verse to help them remember the steps as well, at our next lesson.
I have to say that it really warms my heart to pass on my love of fiber (or is it an addiction?) I am also grateful that the school has a well-organized parent volunteer program, as I have had at least two parent helpers for each class period! The time still flies by, and I will be working all year to contain the after-hours portion to a reasonable amount of time, so that I can get to my own knitting. After spending five hours of weekend time over the past two weekends on the needle construction, it's time for me to have some quality moments with my Forest Canopy shoulder shawl.