Saturday, May 16, 2015

FB 100 Parts

The FB100 disk drive for Brother electronic machines was a very popular way to purchase or store stitch patterns.  Unfortunately, a great many of these are broken now.

John was interested in trying to fix mine plus two of my friend's disk drives, and knitters saw my appeal on the internet and sent us all kinds of useful information.  The most common reason for these to break down is that the belt (which looks like a rubber band to me) gets stretched out and worn out. 

This photo is simply two FB100 belts - my old, stretched one on the outside, obviously much too big and loose to do any good on the disk drive, and a new one that John purchased from Russell Industries (again, thanks to a tip from helpful knitters), which is much smaller.  Five belts cost about $30, including shipping.

Now, he's figuring out how to take the thing apart and replace the belt.  Then, we'll test the drive.  Fingers and toes crossed!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Notice to Beginners: You Can Get Started Learning Machine Knitting for Free

Here's how to start machine knitting - and learn to make very nice things:  Watch a beginner lesson, work a lesson each day, and in a little over a month, you have learned to machine knit quite competently on any Japanese main bed.  It doesn't go into fancy patterning but emphasizes the all-important basics.  The lessons even finish with a child's raglan in both standard and bulky gauges, so you can learn the techniques for an actual garment.

If you want to master something FAST, do a little practice every day.

At the end of that course, you're probably "hooked."  You made a nice sweater in a fraction of the time it would have taken to hand knit it, and you probably made a better sweater than you thought was possible, if you followed the finishing instructions carefully.  Now, there's a world of options available, for instance, my ribber course, other teaching materials from plenty of knitters, free on YouTube, there's this blog and other folks' blogs, there are unbelievably awesome local groups, and there are lots of great instructional materials available for sale at reasonable prices (and from lots of people besides me)!

The beginner course is over here:

After I did these, folks asked for a DVD and high-definition lessons.  I bought the equipment and did that, but what I left on YouTube was these freebies, which were done with an old analog camcorder.  The old freebies are absolutely the same content, but lower quality picture, sound, and editing, as well, since I was a newbie.  Should I replace them?  I don't know; I certainly have sentimental feelings about them, because they led to my whole book, DVD and seminar business and meeting so many terrific knitters in the last few years.

The beginner course DVDs, and a bunch of other products, are available at  All the products that are for sale are high-definition and you can play them on your big screen TV, if you really want to see everything in giant detail. 

But what if you're just curious about machine knitting?  Go watch the freebies.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Inspiration at Ozlorna's Blog

Congratulations to Ozlorna on the arrival of her lovely SK155, which traveled all the way from California to Oz!  Check out the beautiful sweater she has already knitted on it:

She's an expert I'd love to meet someday!

Oops - link fixed!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Great Shawl at Marg's Knitting Place

Check out Marg's shawl, and note that she used my recently-uploaded YouTube lesson on a diagonal anti-roll edge.  It certainly worked out well on this lovely lacy shawl.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Inspiration at Rett Og Vrang

Look at these lovely fingerless gloves that Synnove made!

I know a very cool way to do this color technique.  Hmm, adding it to my video list.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

New Video for May - Latch Tool Cast-On Trim

Before I introduce this video, let me mention that I'm teaching at the San Francisco Bay Area Machine Knitting Guild next Friday and Saturday.  I'm excited because I've redone and refreshed my curriculum, and also because I've heard such terrific things about this MK group.

Email me (link on the left-hand side of this blog, just scroll down) if you are in that area and want more information.

Now, for May's video, here's a flat, sturdy (not stretchy), thick edge that I think looks quite elegant.  It's easy to do.  You can put this at the beginning or the end of a piece.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Celebrating Three Million YouTube Views and Ten Thousand Subscribers

Today's a big day for me on YouTube -

10,434 subscribers                     3,001,173 views

This may not seem like big numbers for YouTube generally, but for machine knitting, it's wonderful!

Thanks, everyone!

I used to celebrate by buying yarn, but I really must stop that!  And, I used to celebrate by munching out, but that's out of the question, too. 

Instead, I guess I'll just put up another video tomorrow.  Hint:  For May, it's a nifty tailored-looking trim for the bottom or top of knitting, accomplished with the latch tool.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Inspiration at Needles to Say

I love this little girl's cape, and especially like the edge trim.  If you click on a photo, you can get a bigger view and see the nice lace scallops:

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

2015 Seminar Dates

Thank you, Sasha, for reminding me that I ought to put a seminar schedule up on the blog so folks and see where I'll be teaching this year!  I only do a few each year - I really do love my day job, but it takes all day, you know? 

In case you want to sign up (you do, don't you?), I've included information for the local sponsoring groups. 

If you have not ever attended a machine knitting club meeting, or attended a teaching seminar, you are in for a very pleasant surprise!  Be good to yourself and try one!  If you can't make it to one of mine, there are a bunch of other great ones all over the country. 

You do need to hustle, though; Seminar organizers need you to pre-register so they can plan properly.  Many of them end up having to turn people away because, of course, they have space limitations.

Here are the seminars I have planned for 2015:

San Francisco, California - May 8 and 9.  The Machine Knitters Guild of the San Francisco Bay Area has a website, here.

Waynesboro, Pennsylvania - July 17 and 18.  This one is sponsored by The Knitting Cottage, 6810 Iron Bridge Rd, Waynesboro, PA 17268, (717) 762-1168.

Monroe, Michigan - July 24 and 25.  This one is organized by Cathy Reaume, (734) 243-3016.

Princeton, Minnesota - October 9 and 10.  This is Cindy's Knitting Room Seminar, organized by Cindy Schmatz, (612) 290-1279.

Dallas-Ft. Worth, Texas - October 24 and 25.  The DFW club has a website here.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

April's Video: Mobius Scarf with Garter Stitch Graft

Most of the time, when we do Kitchener Stitch, we're making an invisible seam in stockinette stitch.  Did you know that you can graft quite a few different knit stitches invisibly?  Garter stitch is particularly easy to graft, and as I taught the technique in "Knitter's Finishing School," I elected to show it with a few rows of waste knitting at the ends of the knitted fabric.  Then, after sewing the invisible graft, remove the waste knitting, and you're set.

Why waste knitting?  Most hand knitters graft from knitting needles using rote memorization of what to do.  Well, by using waste knitting;
  • You can see exactly how much to pull up the sewn stitches to exactly mimic a row of knitting
  • The knit fabric is secure on the waste knitting, and won't slide off the needles or unravel.
  • The row of waste knitting adjacent to the garment fabric actually follows the path that your sewn stitches will follow, so acts as an extra guide.
Why not knit a couple swatches and try this?  Remember the key rules for Kitchener Stitch, no matter what stitch fabric you're grafting:
  • Use a blunt needle.
  • Have enough yarn so you don't have to tie on more in the middle of the row.  It takes about three times the width of the knitting to sew all the way across.
  • Never pull the sewn stitches tight!  Just pull until they're the same length as knitted stitches.  Soft.  Loose.  Relax...
  • Always make sure you're inserting your needle into a LOOP, not just a space between stitches.  If you're not in a LOOP, you're going to have a hole!
  • There are two stitches, even if you can grab them in one push of your needle, on each side.  With garter stitch, on the bumpy side, it's through two bumps; on the leggy side, through two legs.
  • When you take that first stitch on the opposite side, always go first into the "used" hole, where your yarn came out last time you were on that side, then go into the "new" hole. 
Here's the new video:

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Knit Natters Machine Knitting Club Today

I'm demonstrating this anti-roll edge at knit club today.  Barbara's also demonstrating, teaching an absolutely adorable Mary Jane slipper on her bulky machine.  She's letting me use her machine for my demo, too, so I don't even have to carry a machine to club.

Here's my little demo, if you want to attend "virtually:"

Diagonal Anti-Roll Edge
By Diana Sullivan 

Here’s an anti-roll edge that doesn’t take a lot of time, is easy and genuinely creates a good-looking, anti-roll edge. 
Using the triple transfer tool, move the second, third, and fourth stitches from the edge over by one needle so that the second stitch goes on the end needle, the third stitch goes on the second needle, and the fourth stitch goes on the third needle.  Using the one-prong end of the tool, pick up the heel of the fifth stitch and fill in the empty needle left by the transfer.
Knit two rows. 
Repeat the transfer after every two rows.
Variations:  You can do this with the 2-prong tool, and that works fine.  It is also quite practical to do it with a 7-prong tool and get a wider fancy edge, as well.
Curious about the yarn in the photo?  It was one of my experiments, just a few yards of some 2000 yards-per-pound (skinny) white cotton chenille that I used for playing around with dyeing in KoolAid.  It’s pinker than the photo, not such a peach, more of a light salmon.  I made a small hank out of it and tye-dyed it with cherry flavor.  This was then knitted on the bulky machine at tension 5, but I think it would be better at about tension 4.  You could get it through the standard machine, and I worked up one project on the garter carriage at the loosest tension. 
I have also knitted this is quite a few other yarns and found that it'll give you a good edge, even in a clunky worsted weight yarn.  Try it!
I did a YouTube video with this demo a little while back.  Here it is:  

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Fun Post at My Blue Heaver Knits

Read this for fun:  A Crafter's Story of Anger Management

Personal disclaimer:  My obsessive knitting is because I love to knit.  Thank goodness, it's not because I'm angry at John!

When I'm angry at John, he knows it...   :)

Sunday, March 22, 2015

At Last - "Knitter's Finishing School" is Available!

Finish your knits expertly!  The Knitter's Finishing School - Video Course is now available, a resource for all knitters, beginners, experts, hand and machine knitters alike.

Wouldn't you love to just relax and enjoy the sewing up process on your knits, confident that you can assemble them expertly? This set of videos has the information to help you make your investment of time and materials turn out as beautifully as possible and give your projects a "blue ribbon" finish.

This course is also a resource for when you encounter some of the less common situations, like making horizontal, invisible ribbing grafts.  You can use this course by making swatches and practicing the techniques, or as a reference when you need a specific technique.  Perhaps you'd like to show it at your club meetings and then practice with your friends.

Note that I do some things in about the same way as any other knitting teacher, but I also do a lot of things with a different approach.  Some more experienced knitters may enjoy seeing a different way to do the job, especially if it helps make the seams invisible.

I have longed to produce a course like this for years, as I listened to knitters talk about their finishing experiences and their need for up-close lessons.  The two DVDs have over four hours of video lessons, all hand assembly techniques.

Here are the contents:

Disk One: 

Mattress Stitch:  In the photo, that's an underarm shot of the side seam done with one-row mattress.  Mattress is the way to get side seams that are invisible on the right side.
I show mattress on stockinette stitch, on reverse stockinette, on a shaped edge, and along a full-fashion decrease edge.  Later on the disk, I work it with knit one, purl one ribbing and knit two purl two ribbing, just showing how to plan ahead or even adjust so the ribbing forms an unbroken pattern.

Hide Yarn Ends:  A lesson on hiding ends with a needle and then one using the latch tool.

Kitchener Stitch (Grafting):  Kitchener is a stitch that acts just like a row of knitting, but is sewn in with a needle, for a wonderful invisible seam.  The videos teach purl side grafting, knit side grafting, and Kitchener for a growth line in children's garments.  Did you know that you can graft ribbing invisibly, as long as you can graft from waste yarn at the bottom of a piece to waste yarn at the top? We start grafting ribbing with knit one, purl one and go on to knit two, purl two ribbing.

Disk Two:

Grafting Ribs Top to Top:  I begin by demonstrating the challenge of grafting pieces of knitting with open top stitches, showing how knit one, purl one doesn't work out well if grafted in the usual way, because the stitches will be offset by a half stitch.  Instead, there's a method called the "four-needle graft" that I show using a waste yarn string through the stitches that gives a virtually invisible graft.

Mobius Scarf and Garter Grafting:  Garter stitch is easy to graft invisibly, and there just had to be one project on the disk.  I have a simple, hand knitted garter stitch Mobius scarf (with nice, big easy-to-see stitches) that I begin and end on waste yarn and use to demonstrate the Kitchener Stitch on garter stitch. 

Right Angle Seams:  This is a mattress stitch for those situations where the two pieces are quite unlike, but you still want them to look even and tidy.

Knit 3, Purl 3 Graft Top to Top:  Here's how to deal with wider ribs that need grafted top to top.

Three-Needle Bind Off:  Using knitting needles, I demonstrate the three-needle bind-off.  I call some of these seams "dent" seams, and I like invisible ones better, but this is an easy technique when you need a sturdy seam.

Crochet Seam Like Three-Needle Bind Off:  I demonstrate this two ways, taking the stitches off knitting needles and also by working from waste yarn.

Zipper Installed in a Seam:  Having problems getting zippers in so they're not wavy?  I baste the seam and use that to keep the knitting from stretching out, then remove the basting later.  Just for fun, I use some Liquid Stitch to baste the zipper fabric to the inside of the knitting (test that stuff, first, okay?  And make sure you don't get it on the coil.)

Separating Jacket Zipper:  Here's an exposed coil installation of a separating jacket zipper, positioned with hand basting, then machine sewed.

Blocking:  Here is how to use blocking wires, pinning out to measurements, and then an explanation of several methods of blocking.  I demonstrate steam blocking.

Armhole Seam:  This segment shows how to sew in a seam with mattress stitch.

Bands and buttonholes:  I show how to pick up and knit a band along a vertical edge, how to pick one up along a horizontal edge, and the math behind those processes.  I show how to make a doubled neckband.  (Warning:  I used knitting needles here, because I wanted this course to be for all knitters.) Then I demonstrate three garter stitch buttonholes and two ribbed band buttonholes.

PRICING:  The two-DVD course is $25 plus shipping.  This course contains over four hours of high definition video that looks crisp and clear even on a humongous television screen, showing how to do the techniques with detailed, up-close views.

SHIPPING:  We mail items each weekday using U. S. Postal Service.  In the United States, we charge $3 to ship an order.  If you need other items, you can save on shipping - when a customer orders more than one item at the same time, additional items are shipped free of charge.  My other items are at

I love my international customers, but shipping is different - please see the page for information about international shipping. 


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Monday, March 16, 2015

Inspiration at Art Machines

Scroll down just a bit to see Anna's ruched hat:

This is EASY on the knitting machine.  The stripes would help you pick up the correct row of stitches for the ruching.