Over the weekend, I stumbled upon this website of unusual patents, and it got me wondering about what knitting and crochet related patents are out there. I searched the US Patent Office website to see what I could find.
I found a lot of stuff. The problem is that patents aren't written in plain language. Also, a lot of patents are related to the commercial textile industry, which is something I only understand in relation to hand knitting and crochet. So I did the best I could to decipher what I found. Here is what I came up with:
1. US Patent 5,222,266 - Process and apparatus for the space dyeing of hanks of fibre or yarn - Filed by Ian Watson and Geoffrey Hodds of New Zealand in 1991. Based on the description, it looks like this machine is used for self-striping sock yarn. (It's recommended for wool and nylon blends.)
2. US Patent 6,449,987 - Knitting aid - Filed by Deborah Lynn Poole of Canada in 2000, this device would help people with the use of only one hand knit.
3. US Patent 4,189,112 - Formation of balls of knitting yarn - Filed by Andreas Sprecher of Switzerland in 1978. This machine winds and bands balls, while preventing the "collapse and distortion of the ball which causes difficulty in applying the banding."
4. US Patent 5,445,092 - Crochet stitch which simulates a whip stitch - Filed by John Washburn of Connecticut in 1993. It's hard to tell how to make the stitch by hand based on the description. The patent itself talks about using the technique with crochet machines, which I didn't know existed.
5. US Patent 4,607,505 - Hand needle for knitting or crochet - Filed by Friedrich Dunker and Walter Ossenberg-Engels of Germany in 1985. The description is a little hard to understand, but it sounds like a way to make knitting needles and crochet hooks with flexible ends like circular needles, except they aren't circular. Sort of like floppy straight needles, I think.
6. US Patent 4,047,397 - Crochet needle with cutting means Filed by Shirley Laliberte of Connecticut in 1976. This patent is for a crochet hook with a built in method for cutting yarn on one end of the hook.
7. US Patent 6,357,497 - Knit crochet bag - Filed by Sarah Frase of Washington in 2000. This patent is for a bag with pockets created specifically to carry yarn and crochet hooks.
8. US Patent 4,090,347 - Spinning wheel yarn guide - Filed by Deloria Chapin of New York in 1977. This device helps guide yarn along the bobbin of the spinning wheel. I don't know if this it utilizes the exact same patent, but it sounds similar to the device used on Stephanie's wheel.
9. US Patent 7,032,413 - Knitting needle sizing structure and method - Filed by Denyse Specktor of California in 2004. This isn't the typical needle gauge. It's for some sort of "sizing wand."
10. US Patent 4,341,094 - Circular knitting needle - Filed by Helmut Heide of Germany in 1979. Form what I can tell, this is the patent for circular knitting needles