Ella from Jamieson & Smith Shetland Wood Brokers contacted me. She wondered if I could design and make custom knitting needle gauges from wood. They wanted to sell on their website and at shows. In her email, she sent me a photo of something she liked and a copy of their logo.
Designing wooden knitting needle gauges
As I’m not a graphic designer, I don’t often do design work for customers unless they involve simple shapes and text, or laying out artwork elements.
In this case, Ella wanted a circular gauge with their logo in the centre. Their address, web address and phone number was to be engraved symmetrically around it with all the holes and their sizes around the edge of the gauge. Ella wanted the product to be 4 inches in diameter. I knew I could do this.
I suggested that 3mm birch plywood would be ideal for the gauges. They’d be light, robust and beautiful, and all the engraved fine detail of the logo and text would be clear and easy to read. Ella agreed, and I designed a prototype that Ella and her colleagues approved.
Checking the hole sizes
I laser cut a sample, but I wanted the holes to be checked to make sure that the sizes were spot on.
I could only post it after the Beast from the East snow had melted! Ella tested each of the 16 holes for fit. Some of the smallest holes were too big, so I made two more prototypes to test.
Ella sent me lots of needles so I could work out what was best to do. I decided that all the holes of 3mm diameter and above were fine as each needle tested fitted the correct hole only. I made the 2, 2.25, 2.5 and 2.75mm holes 0.2mm smaller. On the first prototype, some of them fitted the holes a size above.
Now we had a perfect prototype, Ella asked me to make a first production run. She had wanted them for the Edinburgh Yarn Festival, but the Beast from the East and all the snow prevented that unfortunately. Plywood deliveries and the post were delayed, and I felt that prototype testing was essential.
Ella and her colleagues are delighted with the gauges and that they could be made in Scotland. They proudly mention this on their website, and it’s something that’s becoming increasingly important to customers.
You can find the knotting needle gauges for sale here.