"Groovy Plus" Bobby Pin Garter Bar

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:

  1. 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).
  2. 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 selectors)
  3. Carpenter's Glue
  4. Several clips to hold rulers together till glue dries - 8 would be a good number - these came 4 in a package
  5. Needle Nose Pliers
  6. Freezer or Masking Tape
  7. Fine line pencil or pen
  8. 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.

Mark Spacers:

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 here.

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!

?Another Possibility?

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.


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This page last updated 4-October-1999