I had always wondered whether it wouldn't be easier to rehang
the stitches if it had grooves like the regular garter bar does. Well, I had
put one with 37 pins together a couple of weeks ago and I did think it was easier
to use with the grooves. However, when I put together a full-length bar with
112 pins earlier this week and tried it out across that many stitches, I ran
into the problem of hooking into the stitch loops of the row below again. This
had happened occasionally with the 37 pin bar also, but the problem seemed to
be worse across this wide a space.
In an effort to eliminate that problem, I added 2 extra pin
halves, side-by-side, flat sides down inside the groove made by each pin, hoping
this would block the needle hooks from going through the grooves and grabbing
the stitch loop of the row below. This has made a big difference although you
still have to check and make sure you did not split any stitches after you have
picked them up. If you are thinking about making a full length bar, I would
definitely recommend the extra pins.Try it and see what you think!
What you'll need:
Several sets of rulers - for a full length bar of 112 pins I bought 9
rulers, 3 for each side and 3 to serve as spacers to be left in place until
glue has dried completely. This insures that the pins dry in a straight line.
(The rulers with one beveled edge work better than another brand I bought
at the Dollar Tree which did not have it).
Bobby Pins (There are 60 in a package so you would need 6 for a full-length
garter bar. There will be lots of crimped halves left over and these could
be used to make several sets of needle
Several clips to hold rulers together till glue dries - 8 would be a
good number - these came 4 in a package
Needle Nose Pliers
Freezer or Masking Tape
Fine line pencil or pen
One yardstick (optional, for extra support)
Mark the Spacings on the Rulers:
To get the proper spacing, I think it is easiest to tape 3 rulers together
sideways and lay them over the back of the needle bed, numbered side down,
right up against the needle butts. With pen or pencil mark the center of the
needle channels on top and bottom edges of the rulers.
The instructions are the same for any length bar.
Place rulers on flat surface and connect marks. Make a continuous line 3mm
from the top edge of these rulers, grooved pins will end here. Make another
continuous line across the rulers, 7mm above the bottom edge. The 2 pin halves
inside the grooves will end here.
Connect and Mark 2nd Set of 3 Rulers:
Cut another ruler in half. Place two rulers, numbered sides up, beveled
edges with metal strips all facing in the same direction, next to each other
and add a half ruler on each end, making a total of 3 rulers.
Put a strip of freezer tape along entire length of rulers covering the
holes - this will keep glue from oozing out later. Place another strip of
freezer tape half on and half off the metal strip edges, this will be used
to hold spacer in place.
Turn these rulers blank side up. Make a line across them, 8mm from the top
edge (the one with the metal strip, see illustration below). Later, another
layer of rulers will be glued on top of the pins and up to that line.
Connect Spacers and 2nd Set of Rulers:
Place the spacer rulers (the ones with the spacing marks) on the tape, right
up against the top edge of the second set of rulers, fixing them in place.
Apply glue after shaping the pins.
Shape 112 Pins:
I have made two versions of this, with the second one I did more shaping
to the pins to produce narrower grooves. It did not work as well as the first
one and it was more difficult to line up the needle hooks with the narrower
grooves, so I am sticking with this one.
There's not much shaping. Just pry pin apart slightly at the top and with
needle nose pliers bend the end that flares up on the crimped side inwards
so that it will not interfere with its neighbor.
Cut 224 Pins in Half:
Use only the uncrimped half of the pins and cut each the right length so
it will fit inside the grooves formed by the other pins. Put the needle nose
pliers where you want the pin to break off and wiggle the pin back and forth
a few times.
Line up the Pins:
Put glue on a section of the bottom rulers up to the line that is 8mm below
the top edge. Place the pins with the straight sides along the marks, tops
ending at the 3mm mark of the spacer rulers. Inside each groove, place 2 pin
halves, flat sides down, rubber tips ending at the 7mm mark on the spacer
rulers. Put glue on the next section of the rulers and add more pins. Since
you want the pins inside the grooves to be as flat against the ruler as possible,
it is better to add more glue as you go along as it takes some time to place
them all correctly.
Drizzle more glue over pins, filling in spaces, but do not put glue past
the 8mm mark. Check repeatedly that pins are all still lined up correctly,
if not, move them back into position. Let dry.
NOTE: I did not check the spacings of the pins against those of the needles
on the machine until after the glue had dried. I had done that with my first
model but did not see any need to modify the pins and I think they will be
straighter if you let them dry undisturbed.
Add Second Layer:
Tape together 3 more rulers, side-by-side, putting tape in a continuous
strip across the holes on the numbered sides. Put another, thinner layer of
glue on the blank sides of these as well as on the rulers with the pins and
place them on top of the pins - the beveled, metal strip edge even with the
line that is 8mm below the edge. It may be a little harder to see the line
now with all the pins in place but you should still be able to make it out.
Put some freezer tape on the sides and on the back where the first ruler ends
to avoid glue seeping out. Clamp edges together.
Fold the little "feet" of the clamps down and set the bar upright.
Let dry. For added support and, in addition, you might want to glue a yardstick
to the side with the grooves, a bit below the metal strip. This seems to make
handling the 112-needle bar a bit easier.
This is what the bar looks like on the grooved side. Below, a sample of
the garter rows I knitted.
For NEW instructions on how to use
the "Groovy Plus" Garter Bar, click
In my opinion, this "GroovyPlus" bobby pin bar at a cost of about
$10 works better than the regular garter bar that I bought last year. The
wider grooves make it easier to line up the needles for transferring the stitches
from needles to bar and back again. If you need any more information, drop
me a line. If you make one, let me know what you think!
While looking around for an alternate, plastic material, I experimented
with an empty Parkay margarine bowl and think this or something similar could
also be used. You could cut strips from it, bend them lengthwise and glue
them into the bobby pin grooves. Only this would take quite some time to do
and one would have to make sure the edges were smooth so the yarn wouldn't
snag on them. Otherwise, I think this could work just as well and might eliminate
split stitches when transferring stitches from bar back to the machine.