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Archive entry for March 2010

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March 2010

Time for Change (... or "Spring Forward")

PinkClock.jpg

The clocks changed for British Summer Time last night - so here's a Spring clock!

Last summer our kitchen clock stopped working - not simply the battery this time. I took the cheap plastic mechanism to pieces - which was very interesting for me, and very irritating for George - but my only conclusion was that it was broken. I discovered I could get a relatively inexpensive replacement module from a local electronics chain store.
At some point along the way, I had the idea to make a knitted clock face - not sure where it came from - but here are my ideas in case you too want to create this somewhat over-the-top quirky original.

Making the clock

If you want to make the whole body of the clock yourself from scratch then you can buy the mechanism and hands from Maplins (or elsewhere I suspect) either online or from one of their shops for about £5. However, having done this to refurbish my old clock, I found that IKEA sell the entire clock (including mechanism and hands) for under £2.
In the end I made a couple of these clocks - using my old IKEA clock and a new one. Here is what I did.

The clock face

First of all - it is very important that the clock face that you knit is not too thick - if it is then it will stop the hands going round. This is because we are using a supplied module where the height of the hands above the clock face is pre-defined. I have not thought of any clever way of increasing the height, so - make sure your knitting is as fine as possible. The hour hand is the one closest to the clock face, and it is also the shortest - so you can cope better with increased texture towards the rim of the clock, for example, to create the markers for the hours, which could be, for example, buttons, knitted bobbles, or embellishments such as rhinestones or silk roses.
[Editor's note: I actually trimmed the minutes and second hands as they were not high enough to pass over the silk rose embellishments.]

The clock face is knitted from the pattern for the smaller table mat (the pattern for the mats is given in its entirety below).

I stopped after row 47 of the smaller mat and continued working each section of the mat with short rows before casting off - this helped make the face rounder, minimising the pointed edges:
48th round: * P23; turn the work and work back: sl1, k22; turn the work again: slip the first stitch and pass the last stitch from the previous set on the right hand needle over the first stitch; continue loosely casting off the next 22sts purlwise; sl1, k1, psso; repeat from * to end.
Fasten off.

However, once I had finished, I found the whole thing was very slightly too big. So in the end I had to adapt it to make it even smaller, because I did not want to change to a finer yarn.


Carefully take the clock to pieces. The following relates specifically to the clocks I used.

The plastic front cover is secured to the outer rim by moulded plastic clips which should be released at the back - I managed to release them easily enough using my thumbnail. I then pushed the front face further upwards from the back using a small screwdriver or steel knitting needle - push at each clip in turn a few millimetres at a time until the front face comes free.
Remove the 3 hands by simply pulling (gently) away from the central shank attached to the mechanism. Note that shank is made up of concentric rings, with each hand attached to a different size of ring. The hour hand is the lowest, and sits on the largest ring.
Next, remove the clock face. In these budget clocks the face is simply robust paper, and I managed to peel the paper away from the securing sticky tape without damaging it. I turned the paper over to make a plain clock face, and glued my knitted face to it using tacky glue, and left it under weights to dry overnight.
[Editor's note: If you want to embroider the hour markers, then do so before you attach the backing.]

PinkClock-dismantled.jpg

Add any non-knitted embellishments to mark the hours, and reassemble the clock.
Push the clock face well down on the clock mechanism - add glue in the centre if necessary.
Make sure the hour markers are correctly oriented with respect to the way the clock will hang on the wall (ie 12 at the top!). Hour first, minutes next and finally the second hand. Point all the hands to 12 to start with.
[Editor's note: If you want you can paint the hands to match your colour scheme. I would leave the hour and minute hands in black (or white) as they need to be a sharp contrast to the face colour. I thought it might be fun to paint glue on the hands and dip in sparkles for my pink clock. Whatever you decide, do not add anything that will make the hands too heavy, otherwise it will disrupt the function of the clock mechanism.]
Push the plastic cover back into place, allowing the plastic clips to click into position.

Now you are ready to embellish the surrounding frame of your clock. Here is an opportunity for your own imagination - I knitted a fancy strip, which I tried to glue it (slightly stretched) around the rim edge with tacky glue, holding the surround in place with clothes pegs until the glue dried. However this did not work well and I ended by drilling tiny holes around the back edge of the plastic surround and securing the edge by sewing through them.

PinkClock-detail.jpg


Knitted frame for the clock

This is a simple knitted strip, using a technique I learned at a workshop with Fi Morris.
It is garter stitch, so the strip is fairly stretchy; it can snuggly form itself around a curved surface, and it has an elegant wavy edge to suit a round "romantic" styled clock.

Cast on 12 sts and knit 2 rows, then begin the short row pattern:

Row 1: K10; wrap the next stitch by bringing the yarn to the front of the work, slip the next stitch on to the right hand needle, take the yarn to the back of the work, slip the stitch back on to the left hand needle; turn the work.
Row 2 (and alternate rows): Knit to end of row.
Row 3: K9; wrap the next stitch; turn the work.
Row 5: K8; wrap the next stitch; turn the work.
Row 7: K7; wrap the next stitch; turn the work.
Row 9: K6; wrap the next stitch; turn the work.
Row 11: K5; wrap the next stitch; turn the work.
Row 13: K4; wrap the next stitch; turn the work.
Row 15: K3; wrap the next stitch; turn the work.
Row 17: K2; wrap the next stitch; turn the work.
Row 19: K1; wrap the next stitch; turn the work.
Row 20: Knit to end of row (that is knit 1 stitch).

Then knit across all 12 sts for 3 rows.
[Editor's note: The slipped stitches are elongated when knitted, and form part of the pattern.]

Repeat these 23 rows until the strip is as long as you need.

My clock was about 30 inches round and I did 40 repeats in 4ply yarn using 2½mm needles to fit around it. I cast on with waste yarn and grafted the sts together to make a ring before stretching it over the clock and glueing in place.


1950s Table Mats

Instructions

To make the pink clock face I worked the smaller mat using a vintage 4ply synthetic yarn. These are the full instructions for the table mats here (in case you want to make table mats).

Large place mat

Cast on 8 sts, (2 sts on one needle and 3 sts on each of 2 needles), and join in a round.

1st and 2nd round: Knit.
3rd round: * Yfd, k1; repeat from * to end. [16 sts]
4th and alternate rounds: Knit.
[Editor's note: Although these instructions say "alternate rounds" please note that SOME alternate (even numbered) rounds are not knitted plain. I have highlighted these exceptional rows in bold type.]
5th round: * Yfd, k2; repeat from * to end. [24 sts]
7th round: * Yfd, k3; repeat from * to end. [32 sts]

Continue to increase in this manner having one more knit stitch in each repeat until the round 'yfd, K25' has been worked.

52nd round: Knit. [208 sts]
53rd round: * Yfd, k1; yfd, k25; repeat from * to end. [224 sts]
54th and alternate rounds: Knit.
55th round: * Yfd, k3; yfd, sl1, k1, psso; k23; repeat from * to end. [232 sts]
57th round: * Yfd, k5; yfd, sl1, k1, psso; k22; repeat from * to end. [240 sts]
59th round: * Yfd, k7; yfd, sl1, k1, psso; k21; repeat from * to end. [248 sts]
61st round: * Yrn, p9; yon, sl1, k1, psso; k20; repeat from * to end. [256 sts]
62nd round: * P11, k21; repeat from * to end.
63rd round: * Yrn, p11; yon, sl1, k1, psso; k19; repeat from * to end. [264 sts]
64th round: * P13, k20; repeat from * to end.
65th round: * Yfd, k2; (yfd, k2tog) 5 times; k1, yfd, sl1, k1, psso; k18; repeat from * to end. [272 sts]
66th round: Knit.
67th round: * Yrn, p15; yon, sl1, k1, psso; k17; repeat from * to end. [280sts]
68th round: * P17, k18; repeat from * to end.
69th round: * Yrn, p17; yon, sl1, k1, psso; k16; repeat from * to end. [288sts]
70th and alternate rounds: Knit.
71st round: * Yfd, k19; yfd, sl1, k1, psso; k15; repeat from * to end. [296 sts]
73rd round: * Yfd, (k2tog, yfd, k1, yfd, k2tog, k3) twice; k2tog, yfd, k1, yfd, k2tog; yfd, sl1, k1, psso; k14; repeat from * to end. [304 sts]
75th round: * Yfd, (k2tog, yfd, k3, yfd, k2tog, k1) twice; k2tog, yfd, k3, yfd, k2tog; yfd, sl1, k1, psso; k13; repeat from * to end. [312 sts]
77th round: * Yfd, k2tog; (yfd, k5, yfd, sl1, k2tog, psso) twice; yfd, k5, yfd, k2tog; yfd, sl1, k1, psso; k12; repeat from * to end. [320 sts]
79th round: * (Yfd, k3, yfd, k2tog, k1, k2tog) 3 times; yfd, k3, yfd, sl1, k1, psso; k11; repeat from * to end. [328 sts]
81st round: * (Yfd, k5, yfd, sl1, k2tog, psso) 3 times; yfd, k5, yfd, sl1, k1, psso; k10; repeat from * to end. [336 sts]
83rd round: * Yfd, k31, yfd. sl1, k1, psso, k9; repeat from * to end. [344 sts]
85th round: * Yrn, p33, yon, sl1, k1. psso; k8; repeat from * to end. [352 sts]
86th round: * P35, k9; repeat from * to end.
87th round: * Yrn, p35, yon, sl1, k1. psso; k7; repeat from * to end. [360 sts]
88th round: Knit.
89th round: * Yfd, k2; (yfd, k2 tog) 17 times; k1, yfd, sl1, k1, psso, k6; repeat from * to end. [368 sts]
90th round: Knit.
91st round: * Yrn, p39; yon, sl1, k1, psso, k5; repeat from * to end. [376 sts]
92nd round: * P41, k6; repeat from * to end.
93rd round: * Yrn, p41; yon, sl1, k1, psso, k4; repeat from * to end. [384 sts]
94th round: Knit.
95th round: * Yrn, p43; yon, sl1, k1, psso, k3; repeat from * to end. [392 sts]
96th round: * P45, k4; repeat from * to end.
97th round: * Yrn, p45; yon, sl1, k1, psso, k2; repeat from * to end. [400 sts]
98th round: * P47, k3; repeat from * to end.
99th round: * Yfd, k2; (yfd, k2tog) 22 times; k1, yfd, sl1, k1, psso, k1; repeat from * to end. [408 sts]
100th round: Knit.
101st round: * Yrn, p49; yon, sl1, k1, psso; repeat from * to end. [416 sts]
102nd round: * P51, k1; repeat from * to end.
103rd round: * Yrn, p51, yon, k1; repeat from * to end. [432 sts]
104th round: Knit.

Cast off loosely.

Smaller side mat

Cast on 8 sts, (2 sts on one needle and 3 sts on each of 2 needles), and join in a round.

1st and 2nd round: Knit.
3rd round: * Yfd, k1; repeat from * to end. [16 sts]
4th and alternate rounds: Knit.
[Editor's note: Although these instructions say "alternate rounds" please note that SOME alternate (even numbered) rounds are not knitted plain. I have highlighted these exceptional rows in bold type.]
5th round: * Yfd, k2; repeat from * to end. [24 sts]
7th round: * Yfd, k3; repeat from * to end. [32 sts]

Continue to increase in this manner having one more knit stitch in each repeat until the round 'yfd, K12' has been worked.


26th round: Knit. [104 sts]
27th round: * Yfd, k1; yfd, k12; repeat from * to end. [120 sts]
28th and alternate rounds: Knit.
29th round: * Yfd, k3; yfd, sl1, k1, psso; k10; repeat from * to end. [128 sts]
31st round: * Yfd, k5; yfd, sl1, k1, psso; k9; repeat from * to end. [136 sts]
33rd round: * Yfd, k7; yfd, sl1, k1, psso; k8; repeat from * to end. [144 sts]
35th round: * Yfd, p9; yon, sl1, k1, psso; k7; repeat from * to end. [152 sts]
36th round: * P11, k8; repeat from * to end.
37th round: * Yfd, k2; (yfd, k2tog) 4 times; k1, yfd, s11, k1, psso; k6; repeat from * to end. [160 sts]
38th round: Knit.
39th round: * Yrn, p13; yon, s11, k1, psso; k5; repeat from * to end. [168 sts]
40th round: * P15, k6; repeat from * to end.
41st round: * (Yfd, k1, yfd, s11, k1, psso, k2, k2tog) twice; yfd, k1, yfd, s11, k1, psso; k4; repeat from * to end. [176 sts]
42nd round: Knit.
43rd round: * (Yfd, k3, yfd, s11, k1, psso, k2tog) twice; yfd, k3, yfd, s11, k1, psso; k3; repeat from * to end. [184 sts]
44th round: Knit.
45th round: * Yrn, p19, yon, sl1, k1, psso, k2; repeat from * to end. [192 sts]
46th round: * P21, k3; repeat from * to end.
47th round: *Yfd, k2; (yfd, k2tog) 9 times, k1, yfd, sl1, k1, psso, k1; repeat from * to end. [200 sts]

---------------->>>NOTE<<<-------------------
To make the clock face the right size for my clock - using my vintage yarn - I stopped knitting the table mat at this point. Please refer to the additional instructions telling you how I executed the finishing rows for the clock face.
-------------->>>End of Note<<<----------------

48th round: Knit.
49th round: * Yrn, p23; yon, s11, k1, psso; repeat from * to end. [208 sts]
50th round: * P25, k1; repeat from * to end.
51st round: * Yrn, p25; yon, k1, psso; repeat from * to end. [224 sts]
52nd round: Knit.

Cast off loosely.

To Make Up

Sew in all ends.
Damp and pin out to measurements.

Materials

2 x 20g balls Coats Chain Mercer-Crochet No 20 in selected colour to knit the table mats.
**

To knit the clock: one 50g ball of fine yarn (3 or 4ply or finer) in your chosen colour.

Set of 4 No 14 needles pointed both ends for the clock face or table mats.

A pair of No 12 (2¾mm) needles to knit the clock face surround.

Embellishments available from John Lewis branches or
knitandsew.co.uk.

Tension

Original cotton yarn knits 15 rows to one inch.**

Size matters

Largeer place mat: 14in diameter;
smaller side mat: 7in diameter

Abbreviations

yfwd/yrn/yon: "yarn forward"/"yarn round needle" /"yarn over needle"; make a stitch by passing the yarn over the needle.
sl1: slip one stitch.
psso: pass the slipped stitch(es) over.
k2tog: knit 2 stitches together.

**A word on the wool.

I used a vintage 4ply synthetic mix of "unknown origin" to knit the clock. The side mat worked up sligtly too large for my clock face, so I had to adpat the pattern (see instructions).

The recommended Coats crochet yarn would be suitable, and help ensure the clock face was not too thick.

Disclaimer
(well...almost)

In transposing any patterns it is always a risk that errors will be introduced, in spite of dedicated proof reading.
This can be very frustrating with lace patterns.
If you have any problems with this pattern, do not hesitate to and I will try and assist.


Footnote on knitted clocks

I did think that there would be nothing else like this - but as we know there is nothing new in this world. A while after I first discussed the project with Alison, she pointed me at this ClockTam from Knitpicks.

© Christina Coutts 2007

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