Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Inspiration at Knitting Up a Storm

Check out these beautiful felted slippers!


Saturday, February 16, 2019

Connie's Warm Idea & Other Variations on the No-Sew Lined Slipper

Connie has come up with a very clever modification to my sew-as-you-go lined slipper from the Footnotes book.  She adds a cuff, which is doubled like the rest of the slipper!  Connie says she lives in Michigan and needed to make a warmer slipper.

She was kind enough to send me a photo and give permission to share this great idea on my blog.

I asked her how she does it, and she said that after knitting the lining, she added 40 rows and then went back to the rest of the pattern.  It does take some sewing, of course, but it's minimal.

This Sew As You Go Lined Slipper is probably my most popular slipper pattern.  It's double, and when you finish knitting it, the only sewing you have to do is hide the ends.  With Connie's modification, the only sewing you'll need to do is sew the cuff closed and hide the ends! 

The Footnotes book has the slipper in 12 sizes for standard gauge, mid-gauge, and bulky machines.  Here's a picture of the slippers without the cuffs.  I make the slippers in all sorts of yarn, since I have all those gauges worked out.

When you have a pattern for a small project like this, and lots of gauge options, it makes a great scrappy project.  Connie used two colors on her cuffed slipper, and I used at least two colors (an outside and a lining color on the ones in the photo.  Consider, then, my brown and green scrappy variation from the Footnotes book:

To get this look, do your color changes at the narrowest part of the heel and toe of the outer slipper.

If, like me, you knit a lot of woolen socks, you end up with a bunch of small balls of leftover sock yarn.  Sock yarn works very well for the standard gauge version.

Finally, one more slipper idea.  For a luxurious slipper, you need only a small amount of a luxurious yarn, something super soft, for instance, baby alpaca, to line the slipper.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

New Video Today - Tuck Mosaic

For February, the new video is about tuck mosaic, also called two color tuck stitch.  

I had a great time working with this particular tuck mosaic pattern.  The strong graphic design is quite striking, especially if you use a self-striping yarn with a solid color.

How about a placemat?

Tuck Mosaic Placemat

By Diana Sullivan

This will make a placemat.  You will find the stitch creates a relatively flat fabric with little edge roll, a pretty side edge, a lot of thickness and warmth, and a wide piece compared to slip mosaic.  It’s a very suitable fabric for garments, blankets, and household items.

Note that mosaic stitches, or two-color tuck and slip, have a different look than the diagram.  Here’s the diagram for this stitch:


Machine:  Brother 270

Yarn:  I used Caron Cakes along with I Love this Yarn in the white, but I want to try this with scraps or yarn that changes color more often.

Program the machine for pattern 146.  No variation keys.  Turn the center black piece in each of the pink cams on the bottom of the carriage so that end needles will ALWAYS select.

Needle arrangement:  Left 20 to right 21.  Set tension to #6.

Cast on with waste yarn and knit a few rows, then a row of ravel cord.  Change to darker yarn.  Knit 3 rows.  Turn tension dial up to #10 and knit a row.  Turn tension back to 6.  Knit 3 rows.  Pick up hem.

Turn the row counter to 000.  Turn on KC.

Thread with white.  Knit 1 row.  Needles will select.  Put in both tuck buttons.  Knit 2 rows.

Take out white yarn and “park” it under the end of the needle bed.  Put in color yarn.  Knit 2 rows.

Continue to knit 2 rows white, then 2 rows colored yarn, until row counter 84.  You should end with 2 rows white.

Turn off patterning.  Knit 1 more row white.  Thread colored yarn, knit 3 rows.  Turn tension up to 10, knit 1 row.  Turn tension back to 6, and knit 3 rows. 

Knit several rows of waste yarn in a contrasting color.  Cut yarn, leaving a long tail for sewing.  Sew the hem shut with a whip stitch through the bottom and top loops of each hem stitch.

Block lightly.

Edit:  I've added the chart, in case you don't have a copy of that Stitch World book.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Making My Own "Cake"

I've got a project for which I want a slow-changing, tweedy colored yarn.

I found some who-knows-what-it-is white slubbed yarn, and I'm using a twisting yarn winder to ply it with sock yarn scraps.  I knit a lot of socks, and have a lot of partial balls, since it normally comes in 50 or 100-gram balls.  Most of my leftover sock yarn is variegated or self-striping.  I'm putting maybe 100-150 cranks on the yarn twister in of one ball, then tying on another ball and continuing.

I had maybe ten balls that had some blue in them, and that's what I'm using.

I wasn't so sure I'd like this, but I knitted a sample, and am pleased.

Ah, back to the winding!  Good thing I'm listening to an interesting book.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Working On My Knitting Studio

When our younger son left for college, I took over his bedroom and made a knitting room.  I foolishly thought all my knitting things would be in one room, but no, it's still all over the house. 

One of my first goals as a new retiree is to work on the knitting room and make it into a studio where I will really enjoy working.  It was probably in the worst possible condition after last year. I was overwhelmed at work, helping hire and train a new person, while very busy.  I also traveled and taught five seminars.  It was a wonderful year, but I didn't even unpack right away after some of the trips, and plenty of times, I just tossed bags and boxes into the knitting room.

I've been working on it diligently every day, and progress is happening!  I still have a big list of things to do, but here's what I've done so far.

For starters, I put together some wire cubbies for yarn.  These things are simply banged together using plastic connectors and a rubber-tipped hammer.  They're about one foot square, and I put them up along most of the longest wall in the room.  I started with 10 units long by 5 units tall, but John looked at it and suggested I go one unit higher, so now I have a 10x6 array.

I put bulky yarn in the left end of the rack, then mid-gauge yarn in the middle, and standard gauge yarn is on the right end.  I am embarrassed to say that this isn't all of my yarn. There are also two cone trees in my bedroom and some boxes downstairs.  Friends have generously given me yarn, and yarn has been included with machines I purchased.  It's time to do another yarn destash.  I went through a period where I gave away ridiculous amounts of yarn.  It even sold it for $1 a cone at a garage sale, and a customer told me I was crazy to sell it that cheap.  Well, my friends didn't want any more yarn, my house was groaning with it, and it had to go! 

It took me a while to learn that I don't love collecting yarn and machines.  It's knitting, designing knits, and teaching that gives me joy.

One task I didn't realize would be fun was putting yarn and tools into the rack.  I had forgotten some of the yarn I had.  Having pretty stuff on shelves at eye level makes me want to knit - big time! 

I had read about a financial challenge a while back that suggested one buy nothing in January.  Give the credit card a post-holiday rest and "shop" in your home, said the article.  I wasn't doing it deliberately, but this project had me shopping in my own home, and there were some great finds.

Most of the rest of these photos are things that have been in the room for ages; it's my attempt to organize the miscellany that comes with a passion for machine knitting.  Since I like to see how things can be stored, maybe you'll pick up an idea or two from my storage.

Starting at the door and going clockwise around the room, and with all the machines uncovered so you can see how I work, here's some my functional but messy room.  On the back of the door I have a clear shoe bag.  I've had this for ages and find it works great for keeping and being able to quickly find small KM items.

After you walk in, there's a small closet with bi-fold doors, and in front of that there's a little wooden stand with my electric cone winder and my jumbo yarn winder.  These need to be out all the time.  I very seldom use a small winder anymore!  I don't believe in knitting without rewinding the yarn.  There's a trash can right there, between the winders and the mid-gauge Studio 860.  It's so handy to have a trash can by each machine.

This is my Studio 860, which is electronic mid-gauge. There are cups and trays of tools next to it, and on the floor under the winders is a cardboard box filled with more mid-gauge tools.  The machines set up in this room are my workhorses.  Sometimes I teach on other machines, and those machines are put away elsewhere.

To the right of the mid-gauge is a sturdy music stand.  I've tried different ways of keeping the current pattern and notes handy, for instance, clipping them to the yarn mast, but this works best for me.  A music stand is one more thing cluttering the room, but it has lots of room.  In addition to my pattern, I have a spiral notebook, a pen, and another pattern or two I'm thinking about working up.

If I'm working and get an idea or think of a task I don't want to forget, I'll write it down right away with that handy paper and pen. 

I have a desk in the corner of the room.  This was my 35-year-old son's desk way back in high school.  Although it's old and battered, it is very functional for my needs. It holds my desktop computer and has lots of cubbies to stash things.  It also has a pull-out on the right side that provides extra surface area when I have a desk project.  I use this area to edit video, do bookkeeping, figure out patterns, and keep oddball things like DAK cables or my camera bag handy.

This is a special computer, configured for editing video, and I am very grateful for it, because it saves me hours of time on each video project.  I needed a special video card and lots of memory (we went with 36 GB) to handle high-definition video files.  I'm thrifty, but my husband has tried to teach me how important it is to have the right tool for the job.  This is a great example of how much having the right tool pays off.  It's due for a tune-up, a new hard drive and some software installation.

I have two rolling office chairs I move around the room.  I prefer the adjustable office chairs, because they're padded and I'll move them up and down just to change my body position as I work. 

Next, on the west wall, in front of the window, is my bulky machine (Brother 270) that you see so often in videos.  The day I took the photo was rainy and gray, but this bay window on the second floor looks out on the front lawn.  I enjoy having it open for the extra light.  It's not good for the machines to be exposed to sunlight, or dust.  I have colorful beach towels to keep them covered, but these pix are with everybody naked. 

This 270 is the machine I usually go to first if I'm playing around with swatches, trying out ideas and solving problems.  I purchased three sets of these cheap plastic drawers about 20 year ago, and they're still just fine.  This one is on wheels and filled with bulky tools.  I have ribber covers in place all the time unless I'm using the ribber.  I will also remove the ribber entirely if my project is on the main bed and I need better access.  This one's on a tilt stand, so I can easily go from main bed work to ribber work and back again.

And, here's the standard gauge machine, a Brother 965i.   It is mounted on a Brother motor drive.  I currently have an old color changer on it, because I was doing some Brioche ribbing.  I have wires and extension cords in a pile on the floor.  When we have lightning storms, I always crawl under here and unplug the power strip, which is used for this machine, the camera, the light, and the motor.  Almost everything in the room is on three power strips, which facilitates unplugging at the very first rumble.

With the extension cords, I can easily move the camera and work light all over the room.  The plastic drawers are filled with standard gauge tools and weights, and then on top is a carrying tote overflowing with ribber items. 

Here's the far right side of the room, with new yarn cubbies in the background and an oddball item in the foreground.  This is the light I use when I'm filming.  We discovered that the more light I have, the clearer I can get the video focus.  My husband gave me this garage work light stand.  It used to hold an incredibly bright halogen light, which was hot and an energy pig.  I'd get cooked working in here.  Despite the heat, I became utterly sold on having lots of light in the room as I knit.  When the LED work lights became common, we put one of those here instead.  It's just as bright and not as hot.  In addition to the ceiling light fixture, there's a halogen floor lamp by the Passap and a clip-on desk lamp. 

That's it for the north wall, and turning to the east wall, which is a short wall, I have my beloved Passap E6000.  In the corner left of the E6 is a large capped PVC pipe, which holds all my sponge bars, both new and worn out.  I prefer to purchase new sponge bars, but sometimes you need a size that you can't find, and you can put new foam rubber into an old sponge bar frame.

 There's also a cardboard box, which is filled with ribber combs.  I really don't have a smart way to store ribber combs.  I tried hanging them Command brand hooks, but they're a bit heavy for the hooks and tend to hit the floor.  Also, the combs are also unbalanced and hang crookedly if you use the weight holes.  I suppose the solution would be to drill a hole in a spot that balances, polish the hole's rough edges, and then pound nails in the wall, but I hate to drill a new hole in any of my combs.  Anybody got a great idea for storing ribber combs?

Friday, January 11, 2019

I've been knitting lately...

I have been taking a sample Entrelac sweater with me to seminars that doesn't fit me anymore (I made it when I was bigger).  After all this time, I finally got around to making a new one to fit me!

This is from my Wear Your Diamonds book, which has Entrelac yoke sweaters for men, women, and children for mid-gauge and bulky machines. 

As we say in Texas, this is not my first rodeo!  I knitted quite a few of these in the course of creating the book and the video, but surprise - I hadn't knitted one of these in several years, and I had to reread the instructions carefully.

This is a round yoke sweater, which is a variation on a basic raglan.  I love the look of round yoke sweaters, and these have a strong graphic design that I especially like with the contrasting colors and the changing block sizes.  This yarn is Brush Strokes, a soft acrylic with a little alpaca.

You start with the yoke, using waste yarn at the bottom, then making triangles for the bottom of the yoke, then the rounds of different sized blocks. 

The big problem with having a sweater that is part Entrelac and part stockinette stitch is that the Entrelac is very, very wide compared to the stockinette. I came up with a way to greatly reduce the number of stitches for the yoke compared to the sweater, which is done in the setup triangles.

When the yoke is done, it's rehung upside-down on the machine for the body pieces.  This photo shows the short-rowing which makes the body fit properly with the round yoke. 

The front, back, and two sleeves are all different, because to have a good fit, the front neckline must be lower than the back neckline.  The whole yoke is placed lower on the front than the back, that is, the body is modified to make the neckline sit lower. I marked the inside center back of the yoke with a few stitches of the medium gray yarn, so I can easily find the right way to pull on the sweater. 

Today I finished assembling the sweater.  I found this fabric rather difficult to sew, since the yarn has hairy strands that make it hard to see individual stitches.  I put in and removed the first seam a couple times, and then got a very bright light to shine right in my lap, which made it much easier to see the stitches.

The color shows up best on the photos of the sweater hanging on a door.  In the close-up, the flash washed out the color a bit, but I'm including it so you can see the texture.  I didn't block the sweater at all, preferring to leave the three dimensional texture of the Entrelac diamonds. 

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Things to Do On New Years's Day

There are lots of superstitions about New Year's Day.  Here in the South, we're supposed to eat a "mess of black-eyed peas" for good luck and prosperity during the new year.   Some the other traditions and ideas I found on a web search:
  • Other foods are supposed to be lucky - lentils and pork, for instance.  Lentils are round like coins.  Pigs move forward as they root, and we want to move forward, don't we?
  • We're supposed to stock up the pantry!  You can't start out with bare cupboards, or the year will continue in that way.
  • Don't let any of your stuff leave the house; otherwise, this will be a year when things leave the house, and you become poor.  True believers don't even carry out the trash! 
  • Don't break anything today, or pay out any money, or cry.  Again, you're avoiding setting a negative pattern for the year.
  • First foot - the first person setting foot in your home is going to set a pattern for the year, so it's best if he's tall and handsome. 
  • Polar bear plunge - jumping into cold water is a New Year's tradition in several colder countries.  I have NO IDEA why what's good luck.  Can anyone enlighten me?
  • Set goals and make resolutions to set the tone for the year.  After all, a new year is a new start!
  • Turn the hangers in your closet the wrong way.  As you use your clothing during the year, you'll put it back in the normal way, and next New Year's day, you any easily identify anything you haven't used all year so you can clean out your closet.
All right, y'all, I am giving MY plans for great New Year's Day:
  • This is the FIRST DAY OF MY RETIREMENT!  I am celebrating a new time in my life and new adventures I know God will bring.  I'll start by spending time with the Lord. 
  • I'll follow my food plan.  Many of y'all don't remember me when I was fat, but five years ago, I lost a LOT of weight, and I'm sticking to the plan!
  • I am going to pack some boxes for charity, at least one or two, because I need stuff to go OUT of my house.  I want to set my brain on culling things we don't use. 
  • I'll knit for a while, to establish that pattern (and because I love to do it).
  • I'm going in my knitting room and doing the little TLC routine on all my knitting machines that are set up.  (The video is below).  A little cleaning and oiling, a little love, and these wonderful old machines will give another year of excellent service!

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

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."

How beautiful is this season when we remember how God came to live among us!

I am very, very grateful for those of you who read this blog, share my machine knitting hobby, and especially the knitters I have gotten to meet in person. I wish you every blessing this Christmas!  -Diana

Monday, December 3, 2018

Saturday, September 22, 2018

New Video for September

Here's a fun little baby project:

Like it?  It's from my Goldilocks book and DVD set, which is chock-full of easy, gift projects.  When I wrote the book, it was as a "progressive project" teaching tool.  It starts with the really basic ones and moves to the more difficult. 

You could start as a beginner machine knitter with this book, work the projects in order, and by the end of the book, you're making a real, shaped cardigan sweater with buttonholes.  It comes with 4 hours of video that is all about how each technique is performed.

The Goldilocks Challenge is available at www.dianaknit.com

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Upcoming Seminar at Prince Edward Island, Canada

I've been looking forward to this for ages - my first seminar in Canada!

Here is some information from the Glen Valley Knits website. 


The Island Knitters Club will be hosting the 2018 Maritime Machine Knitters Seminar at the  RODD ROYALTY INN, West Royalty, Trans Canada Highway,14 Capital Drive,  Charlottetown, P.E.I. (902) 894-8566 or toll free  # 1 800 565-7633  www.roddroyalty.com  Guest Room Rate $159.00., which includes a delicious breakfast of scrambled eggs,sausage,waffle station,toast,muffins,hot/cold cereal,yogurt,fruit salad,juice,coffee/tea. Please tell them it is for the Maritime Machine Knitters Seminar in order to get this special rate.

Friday, September 28th,2018, Registration 6:00p.m. and Saturday, September 29th,2018. Late Registration 8:15a.m. - 8:30a.m.

The cost for the seminar is $75.00 until August 15th,2015, after August  15th, 2015 registration cost will be$80.00. Full time student registration cost is $40.00. Registration fee includes refreshments on Friday evening and refreshments and buffet lunch on Saturday.

We are pleased to say our SPECIAL GUEST demonstrator will be Diana Sullivan ,from Austin,Texas.  You can be sure she will have many new techniques and interesting creations to show us. You can check out her videos on You tube.

All participants in the seminar are invited to be part of this. If you have a knitted creation you would like to share with others then please  bring this along, put information on a recipe card (Info – i.e. Name of Knitter, machine knitted on, yarn used, original pattern, adapted pattern or pattern from a book.) These items will be shown on Friday evening and will be on display throughout the seminar. There will be prizes!!

Download and complete this form and send with your cheque or money order payable to:
Clare Doyle,
1052 China Point Road,
Vernon Post Office, R.R. #3,
C0A 2E0

Monday, August 6, 2018

Diagram for the Tuck Lace Afghan

Here's the diagram for the tuck lace in the Tuck Lace Afghan, Stitch World #125 for the Brother 270.

If you need to punch a card, you would repeat this design3 times for 24 stitches, with shaded squares being punched and white squares unpunched.

The hooks at the bottom indicate needles in work.  The O symbols indicate needles out of work, in A position.

The dark squares knit.  The white squares tuck if they at a needle in work.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

August's Video is a Nice Tuck Lace Afghan

I whipped out this afghan a while back (it really is fast) using 2 strands of 2/12 Tamm yarn.  I have a lot of Tamm, and am quite happy with how it works, not just on my standard gauge machine, but on my bulky and mid-gauge machines.  For the bigger gauge machines, I use  more than one strand.

My afghan has a wide, sturdy hem that gives it a much tidier finish than an edging or a fringe would, at least for this yarn and this stitch.

If you have a DK weight yarn or even a worsted weight yarn, you could make this afghan.  Mine took about 3 pounds of yarn total, about half of that the lighter rose and half the darker burgundy. 

The afghan also has latched joins and latched sides.  They're easy to do, have an interesting look, and also go quickly.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

New Video for June - Smiles and Frowns with Waste 1x1 Rib

Oh, you're got to look at this one!  Wouldn't you like to be able to put a beautiful "smiles and frowns" cast-off on knit one, purl one ribbing without having the circular waste yarn rows at the end?  This cast-off looks just like the cast-on, and it's VERY professional-looking, as well as stretchy and sturdy. 

This is exactly the situation you find yourself in if you make circular sock machine socks toes first and end on ribbing, then crank on a few rows of waste yarn.  I usually do mine that way, and I've tried every bind off and crochet stitch I could possibly conceive.  Victory at last - this is such a stretchy bind-off that it's perfect for sock cuffs which must stretch and bounce back.

Please forgive me for being so quiet lately!  I'd blog more if I weren't so unbelievable busy.  I recently returned from Pacifically Passap, Pat Groves' wonderful knitting seminar in Oregon.  I taught, hung out with some of my favorite knitters, and met some wonderful knitters for the first time.  John and I had a marvelous time in and around Portland, as well, enjoying both the city and the amazing scenery in the Columbia River area. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Another Great Post from Ozlorna

This wonderful article is about the 20-stitch multiple transfer tools from the Netherlands.

One of my friends tried these and had difficulties with them not being smooth.  Ozlorna, being the ingenious person she is, has tacked the problem.  Have a read!


Sunday, May 13, 2018

Happy Mother's Day & New Video

I've had a lovely Mother's Day, and I hope you have, too.  I'm happy when my boys are fine, and I'm freaked out when they're not.   My kids are fine, and it really was a lovely day.

I always think about my wonderful, late mother.  She was an incredible person, and I was so lucky to have a mom like her.

There's a new video for May!  I should have posted about this before, because this video has been up a few days.  The May video is THE classic ribbing bind-off - Smiles and Frowns, done in the usual way with circular waste knitting (later, I've got a lesson with another way to sew it, but that's later). It's going to be the next video up, and circular sock machine knitters, that one's especially for you.

If you don't use this bind-off, come on, try it.  It isn't too hard to learn, and you'll find lots of uses for it.  It's stretchy, looks great, and matches the typical cast-on.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

New Video for April - Purl Graft Ribber Bind-Off

And the ribber bind-off lessons go on and on... Not that I was meaning to put up so many, but I just found them very interesting.  This one has an unusual look, is stretchy, and pretty easy:

After this, in a couple weeks, we'll have the crazy-simple whip stitch ribbing bind-off.  Promise me you'll try that one - it's just amazingly simple and has a great look and stretch.

Then in May, we'll do the classic Smiles and Frowns ribber bind-off (the one I use the most). 

On top of all these, I've got another ribber bind-off that isn't filmed yet - a smiles and frowns bind-off I cooked up for those situations where you end with ribbing waste yarn and not circular waste yarn, like the videos above.  This is IDEAL for use with your circular sock machine.  I need to get it filmed and up, too, as it's really changed the way I make my CSM socks!