The needle pusher is a tool for manual needle selection.
It is used to push several needles into working position at once. Usually a needle pusher has too edges, each coding for a different preselection of needles.
creating custom needle pushers is a great way to automatize needle selection on a manual knitting machine.
In most cases one edge is straight, while the other side looks like a comb. The 1-1 comb selects every other needle, but there are also combs for other variants of garter stitch patterns.
The effect of the comb also depends on the needle gauge of the machine. A 1-1 comb for a machine with 7mm needle gauge, will select pairs of needles on a machine with 3.5mm gauge, acting as a 2-2 comb.
You can easily create your own needle pushers from cardboard, or plastic. By using a different needle pusher for every row you knit, you can effectively turn any hand knitting machine into a “punch card machine”.
The customization of needle pushers can be optimized by stacking needle pushers ontop of each other. Using n different pushers, you can create 2^n different patterns, depending on the subset of needle pushers used. Additional possiblilities are provided by using a different offset for each comb.