Friday, February 27, 2015

Health Benefits of Knitting

A hat tip to Canadian Artisan, who linked over to this article on the health benefits of knitting:

I got a kick out of the article.  I read the part about "higher cognitive functioning" to my husband, and he said we probably have higher cognitive functioning than dead people! 

Of course, the article is about hand knitting, but most of us MKers hand knit, too, and we sew things together by hand.  I find knitting incredibly soothing, especially hand knitting, and especially if the yarn is a yummy color and texture.

Oh - while you're over at Canadian Living, check out their  hand knitting patterns!  I've never seen this online mag before, and I like what I'm seeing.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Monday, February 16, 2015

Inspiration at Knitting Up a Storm - Extra-Warm Mittens

When you click on this interesting mitten post, be sure and scroll down and see that she used roving for all the rainbow dots and left chunks of the roving on the side of the mittens for warmth.  She calls them "thrums," which is a new word for me.

There's a photo of the mittens inside-out.

My original reaction to these mittens was that they look big, like oven mitts.  Well, that roving is the reason why. 

Yes, I think we can easily do this on the machine.  Hmm.  So many ideas, so little time!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Ways to Shape a Beanie Top

I had a rather good question today, a very common issue.  How can you machine knit a hat without having lumpy gathers on top?  It's not easy to decrease evenly across a knitting machine's needles, because each one is on its own needle.
Here are some thoughts about how to solve this problem:
For a perfect finish, check out my golf club covers – done exactly like a hat top, using a garter bar to make nicely even decreases, here: 

That’s part one, and then YouTube will offer you part 2 – it’ll pop up in the suggested videos on the right. 
Although my photo has them lying on a table, so there are some wrinkles, they're smooth with the proper circular decreases for a fitted hat.  No gathers!

This is a lot of stitches to move, though.  By the time you finish a golf club cover, you're have had a garter bar workout.
The other way to do the same job is to take it all off on waste knitting, then put the stitches back on with the necessary spaced decreases, unravel the waste yarn, knit a bit, take it off on waste yarn again, etc.  Tedious but you can get that same perfect shaping.

There are other ways to do this, as well – none quite so perfect as the method I show in the golf club covers – 

1.      I did a watch cap in the Goldilocks Book that shapes beautifully at the top of the head because I disguise the decreases in among some latched cables. 

2.      You can transfer every fourth stitch to its neighbor, take the empty needles out of work, tighten the tension some, knit a few rows, then transfer every second stitch to its neighbor and take those needles out of work, tighten the tension as much as you can, knit a few rows and sew the stitches off and gather up.  This is smoother but not as pretty.  This is how I did the monkey hats in the KnitLeader course.  They're still a little gathered, but not much.

3.     You can make the whole hat ribbing, which gathers better than stockinette stitch, especially if you gather the knit stitches and then gather the purl stitches.  Here's a ribbed hat that I think looks very professional:

4.  You can make your hat sideways and short-row the crown, as I did in this short-rowed baby hat, pictured in shades of light blue and green.


A Milestone on "Finishing School"

Starting last fall, I've been working on a 2-DVD set about how to finish knits.  It's for machine knitters and hand knitters, and includes things like beautiful seams and grafts, blocking, and a number of other details that make your knits look expert, and maybe win a blue ribbon.

Well, I went wandered right off my plan.  I had a seminar or two to do, and then a wonderful trip to Israel, and then the flu, then the holidays, and then year-end close at work.

So, this week I went back and took stock of where I was on the project.  I scarcely recalled the work I did, ending back in October, but there was about an hour and a half of finished, edited video showing a ridiculous number of seams and grafts, in addition to a bunch of other video lessons that weren't yet edited when I got interrupted.  I was editing them and adding them to the course in a sort of logical order, and then next logical thing was grafting (Kitchener stitch) for knit two, purl two ribbing.

I had endless video showing that, and I watched them and saw why I kept re-filming.  Some of the videos had a bad picture - too-dark yarn, maybe, or a poor contrast between main and waste yarn.  In addition, those days that I was filming, I made every possible speech mistake and finger fumble.  But, if at first you don't succeed, try about fifteen more times and you'll get there.  After watching all this terrible dreck, I decided I don't like any of it, so I knitted new samples and re-filmed it.  Tonight I finished editing that technique demonstration, plus another one showing knit three, purl three ribbing, illustrating how you can graft any ribbing invisibly if you graft the beginning live stitches of one piece to the ending live stitches of another. 

And that fills disk one, putting me at the halfway point in the process!   Now, on to the second disk, starting by going through the video I filmed in the fall.  This project gets the award for the most goofy-looking little samples, lots of little squares sewed together various ways.

Also, recently, I've come up with a couple new demos for this year's YouTube videos and my local knit club.  I've also knitted, but not assembled, two new sweaters for myself.  I've got a different way to do an industrial neckband, which I tried on one of my sweater projects and find quite satisfactory. 

Knit a little every day, that's my motto.  Or, how about this one - any day is better, if I can just get a little while to knit. 

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Video for February - Zigzag Panel Join

In the February video, I demonstrate an easy way to join panels on the knitting machine.  I think it's pretty and quite tidy - doesn't it look almost like a braided cable?

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Look at what Tom's up to!

Over at Tom's blog, have a look at his work with img2trk.  This is something I haven't played with - I've used DAK to manipulate images and get them into the machine, but here's another way.

BTW, I'm getting February's video uploaded.  It's a very interesting panel join that almost looks braided, but is kind of like doing worm edging.  I'll embed the video, as usual, as soon as it's up.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Five Seminars This Year!

This year, I'm booked to do five seminars - San Francisco, CA; Waynesboro, PA; Monroe, MI; Princeton, MN; and Dallas, TX.

Right now, I'm working on the knitting curriculum for the classes.  I like to do detailed handouts so attendees don't have to take extensive notes.  I'm trying to freshen up everything in my classes.  I think I'll have a long session of "just for fun" things like the cable join and the twisted fringe.

Also, I've been knitting a sweater in a very nice mohair.  I have the parts knitted, and blocking and assembling come next.

I'm playing around with Design A Pattern charting software (from Ilene Levy) and I put a big, fat cable up the center front.  I wanted a design that would show up in the very fluffy mohair.  This yarn is really a teal, that is a dark turquoise, and to my surprise, it looks quite green in the photo, at least on my monitor.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Great Article on Yet Another Canadian Artisan - How to Sell a Knitting Machine

This is an article about how to sell a knitting machine that I noticed at the Canadian Artisan blog.  What wonderful information for non-knitters who find themselves with one of these complicated setups to sell.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year - And January's Video, Early

And, here we go again...I need ideas for possible videos for this year, and while I've brainstormed a fairly interesting list of ideas and pulled some ideas from emails, your suggestions are most welcome! 

I decided a great way to start the year as a machine knitter was by giving my machines a little LOVE.

In this video, I quickly run through the steps for a little preventative cleaning and maintenance.   A lubricated, oiled machine makes knitting easier, helps prevent stuck buttons and levers, and stops a lot of wear and tear on the machine caused by rubbing metal and gunky yarn fluff.  This TLC takes only a few moments, and it's a good idea to a quick clean and lube after each project, and a more thorough job every few months. 

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The Year 2014 in Review!

Mile Markers
  • I kept up my dedicated effort to encourage and teach knitters using this blog, my YouTube channel, the Knit Natters club, and my seminar schedule.
  • Slimmed down, and maintained the loss so far, after many years of struggling with overweight.  The story is in this "I Got Slim" blog post, and since them, I've responded to dozens of emails with additional information about the group that helped me.  I still love being small - wearing pretty clothes, having more energy, feeling great, and getting around more easily.
  • Published my newest pattern book, "Best Baby Blankets," after working on it many months.  I tried to cover as many machines as possible and produce both easy and innovative projects, well worth knitting and awesome for gifts.
  • From December 1 to 10, we took a Holy Land tour with our church, an inspirational and joyful experience all around.
  • December 21 was our 40th Anniversary!  John is a wonderful husband.
  • I taught at a number of knitting seminars in 2014 and have several planned for 2015.  Because I work full-time as an accountant, I only do four or five at most in a year.  I hope to see you at one of mine in 2015!  So far, I'm booked for San Francisco, Pennsylvania, Minnesota and Michigan. 
Video Content Posted in 2014
  • Good-looking tapestry needle bind off technique.  Get an ending bind-off to match your beginnings made with e-wrap.
  • The Faster, Flatter Mattress Stitch video shows a very seldom-taught and super easy and useful seaming technique.  Try this - it isn't the typical Mattress Stitch.
  • You can use this Mitered Ribbing to go around all kinds of edges.  This is also great practice to improve your ribber short-rowing skills.
  • Do you know what industrial ribbing is?  Here's a little piece teaching Knit 2, Purl 1 Industrial Rib.
  • Here's an interesting dropped stitch fabric, Wavy Dropped Stitch Lace.  Combining dropped stitches with ribber fabrics gives a great, three-dimensional texture.
  • Talk about 3-D textures - try out the warm Waffle Stitch technique.
  • The easy Ruched Cable is knitted separately from your garment, attached either by hanging as you knit or by sewing into position.
  • Here are Two Diagonal Trims to spruce up edges.
  • If I had only put up one video in 2014, this fold-over edging would be it! I probably got the most comments about it being just what knitters need.  You can put this around a project (like I did), covering all your frizzy little yarn ends and making the edges lie beautifully.  I saved lots of time by applying it on my baby blankets with a sewing machine on one side, then just hand-sewing the other side.
  • Here's a cabled edging, while we're on the edging kick.
  • Winding up the year, here's my Knit 2, Purl 2 Drop Lace video.
Best Blog Posts in 2014 - Okay, so the videos are always the "best," but here are some others worth consideration:
  • A story about how I knitted a round yoke sweater with almost no seams on a Bulky 8 (which doesn't do any automatic patterning) using a hand knitting pattern.  Good grief, I moved the yoke stitches with transfer tools!  When I was young and fearless...
  • A Sewer Drain Pipe for Mother's Day is about a storage idea.  It's worked out rather well for my tall skinnies like extra sponge bars and long cleaning brushes.
  • Tips to Eliminate Wavy Ribber Edges is a little how-to essay with a few of my edge fixes.

Dianaknits Knitting Channel on YouTube
  • I now have 2.7 million views and 8.7 thousand subscribers.  I am encouraging knitters to subscribe for convenience; that way you get the new videos as soon as they're up.
  • This year, I put up five playlists covering special areas, like project videos and my courses.

Monday, December 29, 2014

New Video - Knit Two, Purl Two Drop Lace

Well, better late than never on the December video:

This is another variation on drop stitch lace using the ribber.  Obviously, I love these stitches, which are three dimensional, easy and interesting.  It would make a good scarf or shawl, if you've got a luscious fluffy yarn, and the hand knitters will certainly wonder how on earth you did it.

I hope you'll try this one!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Under the Weather

I promised I was still around, right?  I'm afraid not much is getting done around here, though, on the blogging or knitting front.  But that's okay, right?  You're probably not doing much knitting either just now.

I've been a bit under the weather.  When we got back from our trip, I was starting to feel a little ill, and by the next day, I had a fever and the usual yucky flu symptoms.  The doctor gave me Tamiflu and I drooped around all that weekend.  This last week I managed to work all week, but still didn't feel very well, so went back to see the doctor on Friday, and he started me on a round of antibiotics. I'm still waiting for that day when I'm energetic again, but I'm back in action, anyway.

Our sons are coming for Christmas and we had to get busy, do some shopping and start getting ready.  At this point, there is a tree, there are some wrapped presents, and the fridge is stocked.  Whew! 

Today is out 40th anniversary!  I'm so grateful for my very own nice guy.  John and I had a good day.

I do pray that God blesses you with a beautiful, meaningful Christmas season, that you and your loved ones are well and in harmony this week.  May all the lights sparkle, the holiday meals turn out yummy, and everyone keep a sense of humor!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Hello....I'm still around!

Say, I haven't blogged, and I thought I better at least give a quick update.

John and I just got back from a marvelous Holy Land tour.This was a church-sponsored tour with fascinating Bible history teaching.  I absolutely treasure this incredible experience we had. 

We got back last Wednesday, quite worn out, and on Thursday, I woke up with a bad fever and body aches.  My doctor put me on Tamiflu, I rested all weekend, and now I'm just starting to feel better.

Of course, now that we're back, we're into the middle of the Christmas busy-ness. 

I am considering putting my photos of the trip and some highlights on the blog as a Christmassy, non-knitting series of articles.  Is that interesting to anyone?