Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Maakin belts (knitting belts)

In the last post, my attempts at Shetland lace knitting, I mentioned that I used my Granny's old maaking belt and can't knit without it.  I received a few messages asking me how it was used so I thought the easiest thing would be to write a blog post on it.

These photos are from the Shetland Museum and Archives Website:


The belt is fastened around the waist with the padded section on the right hand side.  The right hand wire is then stuck in the belt, which then keeps it still, and makes the knitting process easier.  You can just about make out the makkin belt below the woman's right arm with the wire stuck in.


Mimie Hughson, Leagarth, Fetlar


I had to add in this photo because I love it.

Girl with cat

Someone pointed out to me that  in all the pictures the belt is on the right hand side, but I use mine on the left hand side.  I thoiught this was a bit strange and delayed the blog writing until I did a bit of research. 


 I started asking around.  I asked lots of people I knew used a belt including my Aunty and my Mam and they all use it on the right.  My Mam's words were "well who taught you that?"

 Well I really don't know! 

 So, I have been knitting back to front all my life - I will have to try it on the other side to see if my knitting improves!


Makkin belts (knitting belts) are available online from Journeyman Leather 
The black and white photographs above can be purchased form the Shetland Museum and Archives Photograph Collection

11 comments:

  1. I bought a knitting belt on a visit to Shetland several years ago. I am sure that the nice people at Jamieson and Smith did tell me how to use it but I obviously wasn't listening because I use it on the left as well!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I dunna use a belt. I've tried & it wis on the right...probably as i'd always seen it worn that way. But funnily enough i think i'd have prefered to use it on the left!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I haven't used a belt since knitting at primary school. I mind though that my teacher got really riled we me to put it on my right hand side & I just couldn't do it. She told me that I was among a hand full of people she'd ever met that knits back to front. Funnily enough though I started off left handed, was given a rubber thing for my pencil & made to write with my left hand at school. I still eat left handed too. Odd! =)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Just re-read that, correction, I was forced to write with my right hand even though I was left handed. I think it's kind of cruel looking back!

      Delete
  4. Are there videos of the use of the belt I am very interested and would love to see one being used, how would they be for a stroke patient that has limited use of one arm/hand and still good with the other?

    Thanks
    Karin

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Very sorry for the (very) late reply - haven't been on blogger for a while! I have never seen a video, and the belt is generally just to keep the needle under control, I'm not sure how it would help a stroke patient, it maybe would help if they were relearning to knit. You can get maaking belts from here: http://www.journeyman-leather.co.uk/knittingbelt8.html
      Hope that helps!

      Delete
    2. A friend of mine used knitting belts with patients when she worked as an occupational therapist.

      I know at least 2 people who find they can knit again, following a stroke, with the help of a knitting belt.

      I am planning to do a film of knitting and use of the belt will be included.

      Delete
    3. Hi Hazel,

      I have commented over on Raverly regarding your film on using this technique.
      Can't wait!
      Karen Kennedy

      Delete
  5. I have looked in Ebay, Amazon and general search but cannot find anyone that is selling these knitting belts, I know they are an old custom but would love to try one. Do you know I can get one or if I can make one myself?

    Thanks
    Karin

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oops I ment do you know where I can get one or if I can make one myself.

      Delete
  6. Reversible Belt is a belt which can be reversed and wore. It comes in a combination of black and brown.
    Buy Belts Online

    ReplyDelete