Saturday, 11 July 2009

Homemade wicks for oil lamps

I spent an hour or so working on this project yesterday. The thinking and planning has been going on a bit longer, though. I started off withs oft cotton; I bought a couple of cones of this from e-bay several eyars ago, and it's been great for all sorts of things, now the wick experiemnt. It's pima cotton,, used to be known as Egyptian cotton, and is about the weight of a light DK. I made three wicks in all. The first one knitted on dpns, using 9 stitches, 3 on each needle; second one was on straight needles,5 stitches, stocking stitch; third one was French knitting, so 4 stitches for that.
After knitting,t he wicks were wetted slightly and damp pressed with a very hot iron - this flattens them considerably, to enable them to go through the opening in the mantle.
The one knitted on straight needles was unsuccessful as too floppy, it really needs to be a double thickness; if you examine a bought wick, it's tubular in construction. The French knitted one was OK, but a little thick to press out evenly. Most successful so far was the dpn one, but will need to be done with less stitches, maybe 7 next time; bit fiddly, but not impossible. At the moment, the French knited one is in the lamp just to see if the cotton itself is suitable. I have no reason to suspect it's not, as far as I can tell it's not treated with anything, so should burn like a bought wick. If sucessful, I'll knit the other narrower wick later today and get that in and give it a test.
I love little projects like this, and get a great deal of satisfaction from them - especially if they work LOL Half the fun is sharing the results with people too. Not that I expect many to go out and knit their own wicks...............but it ust goes to show that with a bit of forethought and planning, mostthings can be adapted for home made versions. Will report back on effectivenss of wick later.


Auntie Noo said...

You are so clever - and patient!!! - I wonder if an i-cord would work instead of the DPN's ? - it would be quicker to knit and should still roll in to a tube.

Bovey Belle said...

Wonder if it would be easier to do a little woven experiment? Sounds very fiddly with just 7 stitches on dpns!!

Leanne said...

knit my own wick, well technically i could, but I'd rather barter surplus fruits etc for some you had knitted!!! :-) :-) :-)

Leanne x