Personally I like the Boye Needlemasters and the fact they have size 3 and 2, but I HATED the cables so I have been replacing the cable with weed trimmer line.
I have not worked this out enough to give a lot of detail, I learn and change each time I do it. But here is what I have done.
What I have done is use the plastic ink tube from a cheap ball point pen to connect the cable end to weed trimmer line. I then file/sand the plastic tube to fit.
Plastic ink tube from a Ball point pen (only one is needed but grab a couple for learning)
Weed trimmer line. ( I don’t remember the the size, use what you have at home of play with some at the store to find the flexibility you like)
Super Glue (gel type) You could also use epoxy
File ( I used a nail file – Hey it was what was handy)
Sandpaper (I used am nail emery board with a very smooth side)
Candle and lighter
Paper cup or something to hold a small amount of alcohol
- Cut the cable ends away from the plastic cable of the NeedleMaster cable. Throw the cable away and place the cable ends where you will not knock them of your work area (don’t ask how I know).
- Take a couple of ball point pens apart to get at the ink tubes.
- The ink tubes come in different diameter and thickness, you are looking for one where the outer diameter of the ink tube is very close, but larger, then the end of the cable end. If the ink tube is larger if can be sanded down, if smaller it is harder to build up.
- When you find a tube that fits the way you like, cut the writing end off. Be careful even an empty ink tube has some ink in it.
- To clean the ink out of the ink tube.
a) Cut a piece of the weed trimmer line about 6 inches long to use as a push rod.
b) Tear off a small piece of paper tissue and roll it between your fingers into a shape
that will fit in the end of the ink tube. Put the tissue in the end of the ink tube,
leave a little hanging out.
c) Place a little of the alcohol in to a paper cup.
d) Dip the end of the tissue in the ink tube into the alcohol and allow it to soak up
alcohol to wet the entire piece of tissue.
e) Use the piece of trimmer line to push the tissue through the ink tube. This will
push ink out the other end and the alcohol will clean the tube. You may want
to do this over some of the tissues to catch the ink.
f)Repeat steps “b” to “e” until the ink tube is clean.
- Put alcohol away.
- We are now going to use the candle to heat the plastic ink tube and stretch to give it some taper and fit tighter around the trimmer line.
- Put the piece of trimmer line used as a push rod in step 5(e) into the ink tube.
- Light the candle. Use appropriate safety precautions with the open flame.
a) You are going to slowly heat the ink tube and when it gets soft stretch it until it forms around the trimmer line.
b) I use the entire ink tube so that my fingers are as far away from the heat as possible. If you are brave you could cut the tube in half.
c) Keep the ink tube 1 to 2 inched (2.5 to 5 CM) above flame. You want to slowly heat the plastic, not burn it.
d) Rotate the ink tube to evenly heat a section of about 1 inch ( 2.5 cm) in the center of the tube.
e) When you see the center of the ink tube begin to get soft pull it out of the flame and allow it to cool a second or two. If you wait to long you can reheat.
f) Pull slowly until the center of the ink tube fits on the trimmer line.
g) Allow the tube to cool for a minute or so.
- Pull the trimmer line out of the ink tube.
- Cut the ink tube in the middle. These are your two connectors.
- Put the trimmer line in to one of the connectors and see how well it fits around the trimmer line. You may want to trim the end of the connector for a nice end. This is trial and error and I don’t know how explain a “nice end.” Do this for both connectors.
- Cut the un-melted end of the connectors to a length of 1 to 1.5 inches ( 2.5 to 3.5 CM). Cut the un-melted end as square as you can.
- Cut a length of trimmer line to be the needle cable. I would rather have a long cable and do magic loop then a short cable. So if you are not looking for a specific size cable cut between 40 and 50 inches ( 102 to 127 CM).
- Feed the trimmer line cable into the connectors so the tampered (melted) end are point to the middle of the cable.
- Pick up one of the cable ends and place it where you can easily grab it.
17.Open up you super glue.
- Side the one of the connectors to about 2 inches (5 CM) away for the end of the trimmer line.
- Put Super Glue on the end of the trimmer line sticking out of the connector. Put on more than you think you need you want the glue to fill any of the gaps.
- Push the connector so that the un-melted end of the connector sticks a little beyond the end of the trimmer line.
- Pick up the cable connector and push it into the un-melted end of the connector. Push the connector so that it is tight against the cable end and then push the trimmer line as far into the connector as you can without pushing the cable end away.
- Allow the Super Glue to dry a little bit and then repeat steps 16 to 21.
- Allow the glue to dry completely.
- Check the cable end / connector fit to make sure there is no gap or fill the gap with additional Super Glue.
- Once dry file and sand the connectors so they are the same diameter as the cable end and taper toward the trimmer line.
- If you fine that the connector end around the trimmer line is loose add some more Super Glue and allow it to dry and then resand.
- Finish up the sanding with the finest sand paper you have.
So far I have done 2 cables and the only problem so far is getting the connectors tapered enough for the US size 2 needle.
If you want pictures it will have to be after the holidays. My DW want to do knitted gifts for Christmas and can you guess who her assistant knitter might be?