Paper Clip Cast on Comb

To see pics of how the cast on comb can be used, click here.

This paper clip cast on comb is pretty much like the one I made earlier with bobby pins but the paper clip hooks are thinner and fit better between the needle and the needle channel dividers - when knitting the first row, the wire guide of the ISM or the green plates of the USM will push the hooks against the bed and slightly into the needle channels - so the thinner the hooks are, the less likely it is that the carriage will jam. The hem in the picture is from a Knitsmart machine but the Bond hem fits over it just as well.

You'll need 12-inch rulers, two for each 38-needle cast on comb, wood glue, jumbo paper clips (each makes two hooks), a pair of pliers, several heavy duty office clamps, maybe a Lego block or something similar, and freezer tape.


1. You would want to mark your ruler to match the spacing on the needle bed. Place it so that each end is in the center of a needle divider, this will let you combine several rulers for a longer cast on comb.


2. Straighten paper clip as much as possible with the pliers. It will make two 'teeth' for the comb. Put the tip of the pin into the pliers even with the side edge (not sticking out) and parallel to the very top edge of it - as close as you can so the pliers will still grip it. Hold the pin in a straight line with the top edge of the pliers.


3. Bend the pin around the pliers, straight across the edge, forming a hook.


4. On a ruler, make a line 2 3/8"in from the edge. Line up top of hook with mark, holding it in place with your finger - not shown :) - Slide ruler off the table slightly so you can clamp onto the pin with the pliers, even with the edge of the ruler. For easier measuring, you can tape a small Lego block or something similar along the line and push the tip of the hook against it each time. Lift pin off ruler and bend back and forth a few times until it breaks off.


5. With the hook flat on its side, facing left, line up the tip of the pin with the side edge of the pliers again as far to the front edge as possible so that the pliers are still having a good grip on it. Bend pin around pliers, forming another hook.


7. The hooks of the comb should be in a straight line across the top, not some shorter or some longer. I taped the ruler to the kitchen counter and a weight rod parallel to it an inch away. That way, I could push the top of each pin up against it and have them all even. Fix pin in place with a small amount of wood glue and bend the remaining pins the same way. Once you have them all secured, you can liberally pour on more wood glue. It will settle in the hooks at the bottom and keep them from being pulled out. Once it has dried a little, add more glue and put a second ruler over the top of it. Hold in place with clamps until all is dry. It doesn't take very long. I made a short comb with 38 hooks (12" ruler) and was able to use it a few hours later. The good thing about the clips is that you can bend them to fit in case one of them isn't lined up just right.


For narrow pieces of knitting you don't always need the weighted hem, the comb alone has enough weight. For an open cast on lay the waste yarn across the needle hooks and put a clip on the tail end of it. Hang comb over yarn, in between the needles. Push comb with yarn behind open latches against bed. Push needles to forward working position, making sure latches are still open. Thread up the carriage and go. For a closed cast on, e-wrap with the main yarn, bring needles slightly forward and hang the hooks over the e-wrap in between the needles. Bring needles to forward working position, latches open, thread up the carriage and knit. You can do the same when starting with a crochet cast on.

When the knitting gets too long, push the stitches down over the hooks with your hand, and the comb will come out. Rehang at the top, hooks over the fabric in between the needles. For a full-size comb, you could use several rulers next to one another and glue the second layer of rulers staggered on top of them, using half a ruler at each end. Or use a 36-inch ruler as the top layer instead. Another possibility is to make several short combs and clamp them together side-by-side on top of a 36-inch ruler with the large office clamps.

Since I made my first cast on comb three years ago, I have not gone back to using the the weighted hem by itself. The combination of cast on comb and weighted hem is a lot quicker to cast on with and easier to remove and rehang too.


Click here for Uses for the Cast on Comb: Page One, Page Two, Page Three

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This page last updated 23 - February - 2004