Saturday, March 11, 2017

Knit Natters Met Today

Today was our Austin area machine knitting club meeting, Knit Natters.  We meet at a church in Leander.

Today Delpha showed us her brand new LK150 - really makes mine look a little old and worn, but I've had such pleasure with that lovely machine, and Delpha plans to "wear it out!"  She's already made a pile of hats and a scarf. 

Joan put a new sponge strip in her portable machine, and we were all pulling needles.  I was surprised at how quickly she and Pat put in that strip.  She carried it off with plans to clean all the needles before they go back in the machine.

I had the demo today, and I taught this Entrelac blanket - it's something I came up with to add to my afghan class at the Knit Knack Shop's Spring Fling next month.  Look, Ma, no triangles!  This Entrelac is on the square. 

Our local club is very good about letting me try out my new demos on them, and after I showed this technique using use one color of yarn, Dea said I ought to stick with several colors because it's so much easier to see the diagonal rows.

We talked about future plans for the club, at least a little bit.  We've got hopes of attending the Dallas seminar in October, carpooling to Dallas to see Sandee Cherry teach.  We nearly always send a contingent. We also rescheduled the April meeting so Barbara and I can attend, even though we're going to Knit Knack Shop the weekend we usually meet. 

It was nice to see Dea again, too; she had been out a while with illness.  Today, she purchased an extra Knit Leader I had - I had picked it up at a garage sale some time back.  You never know what you'll find at thrift stores and garage sales, but the really lucky thing about this one was everything was there, and complete.

John repaired my KE-100 Brother motor drive today.  It had stopped counting backwards, so I had to watch the rows.  He took it apart, cleaned it and removed old, gunky grease, and it's working great now. 

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Old Knitting Files

A few years ago, when I bought a new computer for my knitting, I took the old computer apart, and it has sat in a corner of the room now for three or four years.  

Thinking about some goodies I have on that computer and that I wanted them, hubby helped me fish it out of the corner and set it up today.  I pulled off dozens and dozens of old knitting files, and I've been having a good time browsing through them.  

Most of them are Design A Knit pattern files.  I have a real tendency to entertain myself by making up stitch patterns, whether I ever knitted them or now.  I also worked out a lot of more complicated knitting in DAK first.  I'd download them to the machine, discover problems as I knitted, go to the computer and fix the problems, and download and test again.

There are about 30 doily patterns, some much better than others.  Just as I have used the slip buttons on the Brother machine to make scalloped lace edgings, slip can be used to make short-rowed lace in pie shapes so that you knit and knit and get a round doily, tablecloth, shawl or whatever.  With a good invisible graft between the ending and the beginning, these things are lovely.  It's not that most people use doilies any more, but I just love figuring them out.

There are baby blanket files.  I had made a lot of garter carriage baby blankets for gifts where I would choose background and edge stitch patterns, and use the DAK font tool to program the baby's name into the center. 

There are about 35 garter stitch pattern files.  I made a number of big afghans that were stitch samplers.  One of them had garter stitch lace and hand-turned cables on it, as well, but my favorite thing to do by far was make afghans 3 or 4 panels wide with all sorts of stitches that didn't require any manual intervention.  The garter carriage would run for days, but these afghans were a wonderful weight and not much work after I figured out the first one.

I also found dozens of thread lace patterns and a gob of patterns styled after Norwegian fair isle themes.  

I also found old club demonstration files, photos from our knit club that reminded me of people I haven't seen in years, and Toyota, Brother, and Silver Reed stitch patterns saved in DAK.  

As a person who pack-rats data, there was a bunch of stupid stuff there, too, ridiculously outdated resumes, school essays the kids typed, and plenty of duplicates.  




Saturday, March 4, 2017

New Video for March - Scalloped Hem

For March, the new YouTube video is a scalloped hem that you can do on any flatbed knitting machine.  It's just some tuck stitch along with a regular hem.  I do love the looks of this, though, and hope you like it, too.


Friday, March 3, 2017

Knit Knack Seminar is Coming Up!

I just finished writing my instructional materials for the upcoming Spring Fling seminar at the Knit Knack Shop in Peru, Indiana.  The seminar is Friday and Saturday, April 7 and 8. 

This is a wonderful seminar, and if you have never gone, you ought to!  First of all, it's a big seminar with several teachers, so you have lots of class choices.  Also, the Knit Knack Shop has almost every kind of tool or item that you might need for your knitting machine, and Harold Shafer does repairs on machines.  Harold gets very busy during the seminar, so if you need a repair and want it done to take home with you, contact him right away.  When I've been there, Harold also had nice machines and accessories for sale, as well, at very good prices.

Oh, as speaking of shopping, they have all the Tamm yarns for machine knitting.  This is acrylic cone yarn, made in Mexico.  It's practical stuff that washes and wears, and it is ideal for our machines.

Another reason you should go is the incredible camaraderie.  This is a big seminar, with lots of knitters.  Almost everyone who stays in a hotel stays at the same place, and it can take on a knitting party atmosphere in the evenings! 

Another thing I love about the seminar is that the Shafers are organized and experienced.  The instructors are varied, all the teachers have written handouts, food is fine, and the event is orderly. 

So - what am I teaching?  Well, I made a lot of changes to my class lineup.  I always change it, but I've taught at Knit Knack before, and needed fresh material.  I'm starting out with a ribber class, with the English Rib Cloche Hat, Wiggles stitch, and a ribber seams overview.  Then I'm doing a lace class, with short-rowing lace, slant lace, scalloped edge lace, isolated lace, and finally, a hand-tooled lace edge for a triangle shawl.  Next class is a fun projects class with Kitty Cat Baby Hat, Mocassin Slipper, and Stuffed Hearts.  After that, I have a fitting class, where I'll talk about fit, gauge, knitter's math, and the Knit Leader.

On the second day, I'm teaching a fairly advanced garter bar class, then a tips and tricks class, and a class that is all about making cables.  After that, I'm doing a class called "Easiest Afghans Ever," where I teach several panel afghan techniques and a rather different (and pretty) simplified Entrelac afghan that I've named "Squared Away."  (My mom was always getting things "squared away.")  My second-to-last class is all edges and joins, and I've got some good ones you probably haven't tried.  And, finally, I'm teaching "This Class is Biased," because I've got some fun slanted projects, including the Slant Lace Circle Scarf, Bias Mid-Gauge Scarf, and Bias Gift Bag. 

Actually, not on the lineup, is my own version of Clapotis and my own version of a fast, stitch-out-of-work bias scarf that behaves a little different than Clapotis stitch.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Socks by Bob - Here's an admirable gentleman!

Check out this article and video about an octogenarian man who has made over 10,000 pairs of socks for shelters:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatoon/88-year-old-saskatoon-man-socks-1.3922778

Wow.  What a terrific charity knitting project!

He has built his own circular sock knitting machine, and he's apparently making long, long tubes of stockinette, which he later turns into tube socks.  I am curious how they are finished.  I cannot tell from the photos, but I suppose you could simple serge the toe end and the top end, or use a sewing machine.


Saturday, February 18, 2017

Inspiration with Ozlorna

She's doing some beautiful things with tuck stitch and punch cards:

http://ozlorna.blogspot.com/2017/02/tuck-stitch-baby-blanket-with-cards.html

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Video for February - Horizontal Ribbed Band

Here's February's video:


This is a very basic ribbed band that is reliable for cardigans.  The ribbing stabilizes the edge, and these buttonholes are a great basic.

Monday, January 2, 2017

New Video for January - Embossed Leaf Lace

As I create a video to upload each month, I'm trying to have a wide mix of machine knitting topics - sometimes a small project, sometimes a simple technique, sometimes an essential skill, and occasionally, something fancy.

Today's video looks fancy, a double bed technique where you make a lace motif that stands up on top of a purl background.  Although this is hand-manipulated, it is very easy to do, and I believe it could be done on any double-bed machine. I just love the way this looks, and hope you like it, too!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Happy New Year! Best Posts of 2016



Happy New Year!  I wish you every blessing in 2017!

Here are my favorite picks from my 2016 posts.  I stuck with my discipline of putting up a video each month, so many of these are videos:
  • Curved, slanted pocket lesson in a video.  This one's a little longer than most, but it's quite a thorough lesson.

  • Video showing how to knit both sides of a neck at the same time.   

  • Take the Ronnie Challenge!  I was so impressed with Ronnie, the lady who let me stay at her home while I taught at the Chicago seminar, her knitting expertise, kniting creativity, and her amazing charitable knitting output, that I wanted you to get that shot of inspiration, too.

  • You don't need a special Intarsia carriage or special setting to do picture knitting.  It can be done on just about any machine, with a little planning and manipulation.  Here's the video.

  • Want to learn picture knitting, and you DO have an intarsia carriage?  Here's a video teaching how to do Intarsia with the Brother carriage.  It's a 3-color cable design, by the way, but I do go through the usual Intarsia basics, especially how to manage all those yarn ends.

  • I love lace, and I do peculiar things to "hack" the knitting machine's lace capabilities.  Here's an old favorite of mine, Mirror Image Lace, shown in a video.  I often show this at seminars.  It gets you thinking about the directional movements of the machine and stitches.  

  • I interviewed Kris Basta, the creator of the wonderful, made-in-America, very cleverly designed garter bars for all sorts of gauges, bulky as well as mid-gauge.  Here's yet another hobbyist who has used her unique talents to help all of us.

  • Here's a post about stumbling onto and acquiring a fascinating vintage Juki machine.

  • February's video was a simple little craft project that is a huge favorite - stuffed hearts for Valentine's day!  I've made these into pin cushions, sachets, throw pillows, and heating pads.  

  • Based on reader feedback, I believe the most popular video of the year was the Cloche Hat project.  I hope you'll try this one and learn to make two-stitch English Rib as well as the flower embellishment.

  • Now this video teaches a darn good buttonhole technique.  
How do you plan to spend your Near Year's Day?  John and I aren't exactly worn out from partying, since all we did was watch a couple Netflix movies and then watch the ball drop.  This morning, we went to church.  We're relaxing right now with hot tea, but one thing for certain - I plan to have some time for knitting today!  Lately I've been having the best time with my antique sock machine and I've also been playing with Red Heart Scrubby yarn.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas!

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
 
 
Jesus changes everything!
 


Sunday, December 11, 2016

Another Video for December - Candy Cane I-Cord

I've done so many things with I-cord. Haven't we all?  It's good for edgings, trims, drawstrings, handles, and straps.  I've been fascinated for a while by variations on I-cord, and this video is a small example of that.

You can use you a little of your excess stash by making gift wrap bags and ties that you can reuse.  It saves money and reduces trash! 

Knitted cords often are much better than the fuzzy yarn ties you can purchase.  Cord knitted with sturdy yarn will hold up a long, long time.  For fun, you can mix different strands, colors, textures, and even add shiny run-along yarn.  In the video, I used the patterning system on the machine to make a candy-cane type of stripe. 


Sunday, December 4, 2016

December's Video: Slanted Pocket

I had a request a while back for a video showing how to do a slanted pocket. Thanks!  These requests help me come up with teaching ideas.

This is a slanted pocket, and just to make it more interesting, it's also curved:


Saturday, November 5, 2016

New Video for November - Knit Both Sides of a Neckline at Once

Well!  I've been going, and going, and going, like the Energizer Bunny, but this morning I found a little time upload the November video, which shows how to knit both sides of a neckline at the same time.  A simple little thing, but a useful shortcut sometimes!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Take the Ronnie Challenge!

Ronnie generously put me up when I was teaching in Chicago recently.  Mary S. was there, two, and we were just three relaxed, happy, knitting ladies hanging out together. They were so sweet to me - I was tired and didn't have much voice left at the end of those days, but they made me feel incredibly at home.

Ronnie, a dedicated charity knitter, takes on the challenge of working with all kinds of donated yarns.  She says she like to leave them out where she can see the skeins and "let them talk" to her.  Sooner or later, she figures out just what to make of them - and she makes some very nice things.  I'm sure you all realize, as I do, that unfamiliar, "mystery" yarn can be tricky to use, requiring lots of experimenting and adjusting.

At one point, she got quite a mish-mash of interesting yarn and crochet cotton donations.  Here's Ronnie's pool table, stacked with yarn donated for charity knitting:
Before...

And, here's Ronnie's pool table, after she turned all this material into knitted goodies:


After!
 
Ronnie says that she used it up, right down to the last yard or so of each ball.  As a matter of fact, she made this inventory of "before" and "after:"


100 BEFORE
 
92 AFTER
15
Green
 
64
Hats
9
Red
 
1
Puppy
11
Pink
 
1
Scarf
6
Turquoise
 
3
Balls
9
Yellow
 
3
Bears
10
Beige
 
2
Monsters
3
White Cotton
 
10
Little Mended Hearts
2
Brown
 
8
Preemie Hats
2
Taupe
 
 
 
1
Green
 
 
 
1
Royal
 
 
 
1
Blue – Rose
 
 
 
1
Rose
 
 
 
1
Purple Eyelash
 
 
 
2
Orchid Eyelash
 
 
 
5
White Eyelash
 
 
 
3
Blue Eyelash
 
 
 
2
Green Eyelash
 
 
 
3
Pink Eyelash
 
 
 
4
Black Eyelash
 
 
 
3
Brown Eyelash
 
 
 
2
Brown - Black Eyelash
 
 
 
2
Red – White Eyelash
 
 
 
2
White Angora
 
 
 

I don't know about you, but I'm dazzled by this accomplishment.

So, here's the Ronnie Challenge - and I should take it myself.  Instead of yarn coming in and taking up semi-permanent residence, let's make soft, warm, useful things from it that someone needs and will truly enjoy!
 

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Saturday, September 24, 2016

MORE Inspiration at Rhythm of the Needles

Yet another beautiful mini-mitten!

http://www.rhythmoftheneedles.net/2016/09/mini-mitten-19.html

You should look at them all.  I've only linked to them occasionally, but there are 19 tiny, beautiful mittens pictured on the blog now!

New but Old - My Sock Knitting Videos on YouTube

For various reasons, I'm taking down the old sock knitting videos on YouTube, and putting up new ones with the music stripped off.

This is something I had been meaning to do, and getting it done this morning reminds me that these lessons were a very cool ribber exploration.  These are a little long, but spend 30 minutes watching, if you'd like to get more out of your ribbing attachment, or if you're thinking about getting a ribbing attachment, or just for a review:
  • This video shows a very practical use for circular knitting with a ribber.
  • This is a darn good sock.  The foot and ankle is seamless, which saves you sewing time and makes a more comfy sock.  I used regular hand knitting sock yarn, which is easy to find and produces the best socks, IMO.  I show how to do each step.
  • The book that goes with this, "Knitting Socks on the Standard Machine," has twelve sizes, from little babies to big guys.  I put a lot of tips in to help you get a good fit and make nice seams.   The book, which comes with a hi-def DVD, is available here.
Here are the videos!  Popcorn not included...

Mary Anne Oger has a new book!

This IS exciting!  Mary Anne Oger is a fantastic machine knitter, who for many years published the incomparable Knit Words magazine.  I have gotten so much over the years from her patterns and other books, and I hope you'll consider picking up a copy of her new book at Amazon. 

Right now, Amazon is showing it in stock, eligible for Prime, , and if ordered now, it would be delivered on 9/27.

Click here to see it at Amazon.