This morning (John and I are still on staycation), we took the Brother punchcard down, put it back in its case with all the parts in the right positions in the case, and then we dug out the Silver Reed 700 and set it up. I'm going to see whether automatic lace edgings will work on that machine. I couldn't find the manuals. My girlfriend who sold me the machine included manuals, but oh well, I finally decided to see if I could download them.
There are a tremendous number of manuals at this site:
Jan King in Australia very generously wrote and explained her own method for converting the Enchanted Edgings (automatic lace edgings) for Brother punch card knitting machines. I had done it another way, adding two blank rows, one before and one after the knit carriage punches. However, Jan's method knocks the socks off my method, since she reduces the number of carriage passes. You do more passes than an electronic knitting machine requires, but only two more for each lace group. My method took 4 extra passes. I'm sold, of course, since it's always nice to do less carriage pushes and get more lace knitted in less time.
I figured out the patterns and punched cards yesterday, and look, in the last two days I knitted all these Enchanted Edgings laces on a Brother 890 punch card machine:
They're spread out on a towel, drying after steaming.
The next job is to take down the Brother 890 and set up the Silver Reed, just to see what can be done about these edgings with that different knitting setup.
But you know what? For once, I'm tired of knitting. Time to goof off.
I have just worked out a good solution so Enchanted Edgings can be knitted easily on the Brother punch card machines. These are the self-shaping scalloped edgings that I published a couple of years ago for the Brother Electronic machines (one shown in photo, above).
My next challenge will be to see if they can be done on the Silver Reed, which has a completely different issue to investigate.
For the Brother punch card machines, the individual patterns require a modification, which I've done to each of my DAK files. I'm printing out templates and punching cards to test. I did the first couple by taping the template and the blank plastic card to a window, but I got tired of reaching up to draw the dots. After that, John made me a quick, free lightbox with items from around the house.
My fancy new light box consists of a cardboard box, a fluorescent shop light, which stays cool, inside the box, and a piece of glass.
Of course, not everybody has a piece of glass around the house, but if you look around, you might find a translucent cutting board, a piece of glass shelf, or some other piece of glass or acrylic you could use. We taped the glass to the box on one end to prevent it slipping off an breaking. You could also use a glass-topped table with a shop light underneath. Make sure you don't create a fire hazard by using a light that gets hot near paper. This little setup isn't that different from an Easy Bake oven, which uses an incandescent light for heat.
I taped the template to the glass, stuck the box in a chair to put it at about the right height for comfortable tracing, and I'm marking the blank punch cards with a washable marker.
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given: and the government shall be on his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. --Isaiah 9:6
I had to hurry up and get this Entrelac yoked sweater sewn together so I can give it to my son tomorrow. It's not a surprise at all. Our Aggie likes tthe Texas A&M color scheme. We haven't had any really cold weather yet, but it's coming.
If this project is familiar, it's because I worked it up for a sample in my "Wear Your Diamonds" book and photographed it as I worked on it. When the book was finally finished and I had knitted piles of samples, this sweater was tossed into a knitting bag for sewing up later. Much later, it turns out.
The back and front of the sweater are different - the neck is higher in the back, as it should be. To make it easy for him to find the back of the neck and pull the sweater on correctly, I embroidered a little chain stitch inside the back neckline, in lieu of a label.
I hope you are having a beautiful, meaningful holiday, taking time to let your loved ones how much you treasure them, and especially, experiencing the love of our Savior.
All kinds of knitting machine problems are solved by replacing a worn-out sponge bar. The bar holds the needles down against the needle bed, yet allows them to move and "play" a little bit.
I had reached the point where nearly every sponge bar I had was worn out. This idea of recycling sponge bars makes both economic and environmental sense, and once in a while, you get a machine for which brand-new sponge bars can't be located.
Wonderful information on redoing sponge bars is available here:
Over the years, we've acquired our own quirky ideas about redoing sponge bars.
First of all, Kathryn's advice to get rid of the awful petroleum-based gunk that was originally used to stick the foam to the bar is very good advice. Attaching the new foam with white glue is SO much better!
Secondly, I really do like the interfacing idea on Kathryn's site for the covering for the foam. I've tried some other things that worked, as well, in particular first aid tape, but the interfacing is very inexpensive and easily cut into strips using a rotary cutter.
At first, I used the 1/2" craft foam from Jo Ann's that Kathryn recommends, and that worked okay but didn't last as long as weatherstripping that we had tried before we ready Kathryn's great instructions. We now use 3/8" wide by 5/16" thick weatherstripping for our sponge bars. We glue the non-sticky side down with the white glue and use the sticky side to attach the interfacing.
We played around quite a lot with the different foams and thicknesses. In the craft foam, 1/2" is the stuff to purchase, but in the weatherstripping, that would be too thick. The weatherstripping is a more heavy-duty foam.
Mary Anne is using up sock yarn she's collected on her travels. I do the same thing - purchase a couple of balls of sock yarn when I visit a new LYS. I can always use sock yarn, and some of it is delightful.
Here's our son, Steven, receiving his diploma Friday morning. The "cum laude" was a marvelous surprise, since his science major was so difficult, especially these last couple of semesters.
In the photo, he said later that he took a few seconds to tell Dr. Loftin how wonderful the enhancements and improvements Dr. Loftin has begun in his tenure as President of A&M. Steven isn't bashful, is he? Later during our day at College Station, Steven told us about some of Dr. Loftin's initiatives and pointed out projects under construction. Of course, our son was thrilled with this last Aggie football season, and he thinks A&M joining the South Eastern Conference was great.
We're not sure what's next for Steven, who is applying for grad school, researching career options and trying to figure out what will fit best for him, plus working at his little event business. He claims a haircut is in his near future, but I've heard that one before! We might have felt sad about him being "all grown up," but Steven has been so independent for so long, that we really weren't feeling that, just nostalgia for the fun we had raising him. A&M held a beautiful ceremony (they are doing three ceremonies this weekend to graduate over 3,000 students), John got some good photos, we went out for a nice celebratory meal, and we visited with our son at the house he shares with two other guys. Before we drove back to Austin, he gave us big hugs and told us how much he appreciated us.
She's about four inches tall, transparent and fragile. In the photo, she's just leaning against a piece of velvet, but if you could see her in person, you'd know that she's really going to sparkle once she's on the tree with the lights twinkling.
Here's how to make her:
This is for the standard knitting machine. You'll need 30 gauge coated silver and gold wire, wire cutters, and a small knitting needle. You also need 2 cast-on rags or pieces of mesh for casting on the wings.
Skirt: Cast on 16 stitches with waste yarn. I used T7 on a Brother. Knit several rows and affix a couple of claw weights, a big brass weight, or a small ribber weight. Knit a divider row with either the same yarn to make it easier to later remove the waste yarn.
E-wrap cast on with silver wire. Knit 30 rows. You need to go slowly; hand-feed the wire from your lap or the floor. Pull the wire up as you approach, then have no tension on the wire as you knit slowly across.
Head: Take the knitting off on waste yarn. Rehang, putting 2 stitches on each needle so it's gathered into 8 needles. Knit 20 rows for the head.
Wings: Snip the wire with wire cutters and knit across with gold wire. Use a cast-on rag and ravel cord to add 8 more stitches on the carriage side, hang another weight, then e-wrap the gold wire onto them and knit back. Use a cast-on rag and ravel cord to add 8 stitches to the other side, hang a weight and knit 19 more rows. Cast off using a transfer tool. I have backstitched a cast-off, but it's tedious with wire.
Find the middle of the head and twist it so that the top is gathered. Twist the neck to gather it. Wind the leftover wire ends around and around the neck to make a shiny neck and cover that twist. Shape the skirt with your fingers. I made more of a cylinder with it and stretched and fluted the bottom with my hands, but do what you think looks nice.
You can get your fingers inside the head and shape it round.
Shape the wings by folding them like a fan and then using a piece of wire to securely gather them in the center. You can "sew" with the wire by poking it through - you won't need or want a needle.
Make the arms and hands by casting on 7 stitches (using waste yarn, etc., as above) and knitting 30 rows. Bind off. Stretch. Fold in the middle. Twist the ends for the hands. Use the beginning and ending wire to connect the hands together if you like. Sew the arms to the back of the angel between the body and wings with a piece of wire.
The crooked halo was made by winding gold wire tightly around a very small knitting needle to make a "spring." I used about 10" of wire for the spring and "sewed" it to the back of the head with the ends, which I left uncoiled.
You can add a unique personality to your angel. Perhaps you could add tiny accessories from the hobby store - a music book, a harp, trumpet, package, toy, etc. How about a tiny ball of yarn and two pins for knitting needles? You could sew on beads or glue on rhinestones. Maybe your angel will have curly or wavy hair made of wire. I was a lousy angel hairdresser - my wire springs stood straight up, so I removed them. Something to try again on the next one!
Attach a loop of wire to the back of her head to finish your ornament.
I have been playing around with knitting wire since attending a Marcia Hauser seminar. She has wonderful books of instructions and stylish jewelry and lots of supplies at her site:
This morning we attended the Lone Star Model A club's 1000th breakfast. We seldom attend because Saturday is my day to sleep a little later, maybe until 7:30, and to make it every week, we'd need to get up and going about 5:45 a.m. (it's in another town). Folks were wearing Christmas clothing and Christmas hats, and my favorite was a Grinchy hat covered in sequins that bobs up and down and plays music. So, here we go again! There's holiday music everywhere, we have decorations up at work. I just posted asking how people get it all done, but now let's switch over to my other favorite Christmas subject, which is how to make it the most meaningful and memorable. I spend lots of time making it memorable for my family, but to help keep it meaningful for me, it's time again for me to go through the book of Luke, one chapter each day for the first 24 days of Christmas.
I understand exactly how she feels. I am "in charge" of Christmas at our house, too. I love Christmas and want to have a beautiful holiday, but I must buy a great many gifts and do lots of other Christmas chores. Also, I live far from my extended family and struggle with gift decisions.
My husband John is more than willing to help, although a few years ago, we had the following conversation:
Diana: Whine, whine, I'm overwhelmed, there's so much to do for Christmas, and maybe I won't get everything done this year.
John: I don't have any problems at all getting everything done for Christmas.
Diana: (annoyed, almost speechless, croaks out) Oh, yeah?
John: (grin) I get my wife to do it.
I keep a spreadsheet, too, which has an abbreviated "to do" list, plus a gift list. My gift list is the most useful part of the spreadsheet - I have names, a place for ideas for this year, and, since I've kept this list several years, what I gave the person the last few years.
I have beaten the over-whelmed-by-Christmas blues, but not everyone can make the change I made: I started taking vacation days in the month of December and spending them doing Christmas tasks. This uses up some vacation time, but I get so stressed by the holiday workload that I'm quite happy to make that sacrifice.
Hey, got any great tips for getting holiday workload organized and under control?
I used to hand knit lace from Anna magazine. I haven't been finding time lately to hand knit lace, but I haven't stopped loving it, and I don't intend to stop finding ways to make fantastic lace on the knitting machine.
I honestly have never felted mittens, but I love the idea.
If we lived in snow country, I'd certainly be looking for a way to knit mittens that is less permeable to water, a sort of knitted ski mitten. I imagine that felted mittens are much warmer but that moisture still soaks through.
The one idea I have entertained is installing a layer (inside or outside, I'm not sure which) of waterproof fabric, probably a rip-stop nylon.
Look at these nice mittens at Machine Knitting is My Life. Maybe she'll run an after-felting picture later on:
A terrific club project - a progressive, charity scarf knit-along!
Sometime ago we spoke and I
mentioned the charity summer project our machine knit club was doing.
Eight of us ladies from the Kawartha
Carriage Knit Club where working on scarves for a charity in our local area. Each of us started a scarf (most of
us did two) and then placed it in a paper bag and we meet at each others homes
and exchanged projects without looking into the bag. The idea was to not look at the
progress on each scarf as we meet, each person only got to see the scarf (or
scarves) they took home to work the next section on.
We had all agreed to use either our
mid-gauge or bulky machine and keep the width around the 30 to 38
stitches and knit approximately eight inches a section.
As we are all at different levels of
knitting we had an open option of pattern to knit but to also consider trying
new stitches to challenge ourselves. We agreed also to use an acrylic
yarn that was suitable for the given machines and what ever color we felt went
with the already scarf in progress.
Six of us took turns making lunch (
and they where delicious lunches with the some wonderful desserts) and we
would go home with a different (new to us) scarf to work on until we meet up again.It was a great learning experience
and a pleasure to visit with each other over lunch and build on our
They are now complete and gift
bagged up ready to be deliver to the charity in our area as a little warmth of
caring to ladies in need of compassion.
Us ladies in the group
pictures Margaret, Marg, Betty, Barb, Nancy (myself), Pat and
the two missing from the pictures are Krys and Ialean.
I hope you have enjoyed hearing a
little what other knitters are doing.
We are on a cruise that left Sunday out of Galveston. We hadn't had a vacation so far this year, and we wanted something easy. This fits the bill - we merely drove from Austin to Galveston and got on board. After that, Carnival provides meals, lodging, and entertainment.
I am writing this concurrently but can't put the posts up until I get back. There's surprisingly good bandwidth on the boat, but not enough to upload my many pictures to Blogger.
First, we had a sea day. We like making friends with other passengers, spending some time exploring the floating resort, and going to the shows and events.
Yesterday, we went to Key West. We saw the end of Highway 1 - at the southernmost point of the US, it runs all the way from Key West to Canada. We did an overview tour on a bus, then
Marcia Hauser's seminar in Dallas inspired me to try knitting jewelry. Here is my first small success. It took me a few tries. First, I tried to put too many large beads on the background and it didn't look good; then I broke the wire. I just cut the beads off those two and tried again (you can't unravel this stuff).
I enjoyed working from Marcia's book. She writes a good, detailed explanation and includes lots of photos. I especially appreciated her detailed advice as to exactly what supplies to purchase.
I like the effect of the gauzy knitted wire. This is the copper color, and I used some glass beads I found on sale at Hobby Lobby. I have some silver and gold wire, too. I thought, when I bought it, that it might be fun to use all three colors in a necklace.
I found knitting with wire awkward, but hopefully, I will improve with practice.
Halloween festivities are about over in my neighborhood. I can still hear kids giggling and shrieking in the yard behind us, but our doorbell has been quiet a while.
While there are very negative aspects to this holiday, John and I completely enjoy the cute little kids, saying hello to my neighbors, and the whole community aspect of the evening. We had more kids visit than ever this year. For several years, we were lucky if we had a half-dozen kids come by in the whole evening, but tonight there were about 60, based on the number of items we gave away. More families with children have moved to our area, plus, we try to be very welcoming and give the kids unusual items.
A number of years ago, when my own kids went trick-or-treating, some families gave the boys something other than candy, and I copied the idea of giving out non-candy treats. The kids enjoy these items so much! First I discovered the miniature Golden Books - exactly like the traditional ones, but tiny and inexpensive. The kids loved those, but I haven't seen them in the stores for years. I would love to find those again, if they're still being printed. After that, I found other things, searching for fun items (little airplanes, tiny cars, high-bounce balls, necklaces...) Just the last few years, we started purchasing cheap plush toys from Oriental Trading. Kids get a huge kick out of getting something surprising. This year, we had bright colored stuffed snakes (always the MOST popular, but getting a little expensive now with more kids), little stuffed Halloween bears, and some toys called "Smiley Face Monsters," a peculiar assortment.
Karen Kingsbury writes Christian romantic novels, and I discovered her fairly recently, as I downloaded a tried out authors on my Kindle. Her books are extremely popular, with hundreds of reviews and usually 4-5 stars.
Her books are on special, today only, at Amazon for $1.99. Her stuff doesn't go on special much, so I just treated myself to the ones I hadn't already read. (I am a K3 user, and often listen to books with the mechanical voice, while I drive or knit. How eccentric is that? It sure has improved my boring, surface street commute with all the red lights).
Here's a pretty little blanket that looks like "card #3" tuck. But I'm not sure exactly, nor do I quite understand the very attractive waffly variation, since the browser translator made such a hash of Norwegian to English. Some pages translate better than others, and this time, Bing couldn't find the words.
I just love Card #3. I know it's not very original of me, but I like to change colors for the rows of bumps for contrast.
I just did something very luxurious - I went to a knitting seminar in Dallas with four friends from Knit Natters. I'm hoping to describe what it's like to go enjoy a seminar with knitters. Maybe I can get some of y'all to try it!
I took a half day of vacation Friday so I could get on the road, and Barbara and I drove to the countryside near Burnet so we could meet up with Norma and Mary and ride with Mary. Mary had her comfortable Suburban detailed and off we went into the countryside on a perfect autumn day (warm, sunny, blue skied Texas perfection). Mary drive the scenic route along 281 through hilly country dusted with yellow wildflowers under live oaks. We spotted horses, donkeys, buffalo, goats, and sheep. We chatted, we laughed, my friend Barbara who is recovering from back surgery got to doze a little, and we had a rest stop at a fascinating gift shop/cafe/candy store about halfway there.
We stayed in a hotel right next to seminar (which the last few years, has been held at Stacy's Furniture in Grapevine), where we had a room that easily held four of us, and went for a nice dinner, also walking distance, at Olive Garden. Next, we watched Blue Bloods (a little dose of Tom Selleck is always good) and I went down for the count while the others watched the news shows. I'd had a hard week - not so much because of work, but peppered with evening events and medical checkup stuff), and I was thrilled to get away from it all.
Saturday morning, we breakfasted in the hotel, and here came our instructor for the weekend, Marcia Hauser. If you haven't gone to one of Marcia's classes, well, you're missing out. An inventive, out-of-the-box, artistic thinker, Marcia creates high-impact looks with elegantly simple techniques. Marcia says we've all let machine knitting get too complicated, and then she does one cool thing after another we've never tried before.
The general format of the day is like this: munch out on yummy potlucked breakfast (yes, I know we just ate at the hotel, but we didn't let that stop us). Browse the many free, giveaway magazines and snatch some favorites, then browse the many, many door prizes while sipping strong coffee and watching Marcia set up her many, many displays and sample garments and jewelry. Catch up with nice friends whom we haven't seen since the seminar last year. Drool over Marcia's great displays and then settle in for her high-speed, high-content demos.
I scribbled notes until I realized that I was missing content trying to write everything down. I often take notes as a way to stay focused and not get too bored, but Marcia isn't capable of boring me. She does one thing after another, working so quickly that you really don't want to look away. I knew right away what I wanted to buy - her three big basic technique books and her two jewelry books.
We broke for lunch at some point and had another excellent potluck meal, visiting at round tables and continuing the catching-up and meeting-new-people pleasures.
In the afternoon session, almost everyone ended up clustered around Marcia. I got a great vantage point over to one side and soaked up the remarkable way she approaches knitting problems.
I meant to take a bunch of pictures, but the seminar was too content-rich, and I didn't like to take my attention away from the material.
Marcia is a hard-blocker. She blocks her garments smooth with pressure and steam, so you get that elegant high-end drape; obviously, it's no surprise that she likes dress yarns. Marcia has a great capacity for designing timeless yet creative, eye-catching garments that look great on real people.
Saturday evening we hit El Fenix and gobbled up as much Mexican food as we could handle, then returned to the hotel for more nattering and watching telly.
Sunday morning is check-out time. We downed coffee, got our stuff out of the room and to the car, settled up with the desk clerk, and had more coffee and breakfast. I got into the warm cinnamon rolls I had managed to resist on day one. We were excited because Sunday was jewelry day, and we wanted to see how to knit with wire. First, we reveled in the knit weaving - a technique I really ought to do more often. Then Marcia showed us "rag knitting," in which she applied all sorts of separate trims and pieces to the work as she knitted. The jewelry was exciting enough that I purchased three colors of wire (and when I got back to Austin, I hit Hobby Lobby for a little hammer, some pliers and more beads.).
On of the things I find very difficult to describe is how enjoyable the crowd is when you get a big roomful of knitters together! It's great fun to see what other people have been working on or making.
We hit the road about 2:30 in the afternoon. I don't know when seminar ended, but we had a long drive home.
I pulled into my own driveway about 9-ish. I had brought home yarn, books, jewelry supplies, free magazines (old but very good), someone else's yarn (oops! gotta return that), and a suitcase full of dirty clothes. Ah, Austin.
Do you watch this blog? I have mixed feelings about it, since they run how-to articles that promise more information than they actually deliver. It does have a brief description of how to kitchener from two knitting needles (instead of waste yarn):
Check out this cute color-blocked child's sweater at Synnove's blog, rett og vrang.
When Synnove has a new project photo, I always go and have a look at her beautiful workmanship. I like her blog title, an allusion to making your work look good on the inside as well as on the outside.
By right-clicking on the blog, Internet Explorer lets me choose to translate from Norwegian to English, so I can do more than just look at the photos. It takes a while, but I find it quite helpful to read what she had to say about making her project.
We had fun today! In addition to many of our regulars, Joan was back, and Norma was there! We met at the church in Leander, so we had lots of space, good lighting, and a television showing a camera close-up of the machine. It did start pouring rain outside, but only after we were all set up and cozy. There are worse things than munching cookies, drinking punch, and talking knitting on a rainy day.
I showed that demo with the vertical Fair Isle, and most of the attendees tried it. I think everyone liked the technique, especially being able to make vertical designs with several colors (and no floats)! I also showed how to make the picture frame blanket edging.
Then, we had a business meeting. We're getting all uptown with officers, a new location, holiday party plans, and plans to carpool to the local fiber festival, Kid 'n Ewe. Barbara has diligently watched our money to build up a kitty. Maybe we can hold another seminar next year.
Five of us are carpooling (goodie - next week!) to the DFW Machine Knitters Guild seminar in Grapevine, where Marcia Hauser is this year's instructor. We're renting a big hotel room next to the seminar and sharing for a hen party/slumber party and sharing the cost.
My one disappointment was that we ran late, and we didn't get to go through Barbara's Passap E6000 lesson with two forms of long stitch and two other very attractive doublebed techniques. Longstitch, which can be done on Passaps AND Japanese machines, makes great sweater bands, because you can make it too long and trim away the extra on the bottom without it unraveling. Next time we have a demo she'll do it.
I apologize that we were having problems today with the PayPal buttons one of our shopping sites. I replaced all the "Add to Cart" and "View Cart" buttons, and it seems to be working fine again.
I am sorry for the inconvenience, and a bit baffled, since it was working fine a few days ago.
If you still are having any problems, email me. I appreciate knowing there's a problem like this that I need to fix. Just scroll on down the left-hand side of the blog and look for the big envelope icon. Click on that, and it brings up an email window.
On a personal note, today we celebrate the 39th anniversary of our first date, which was on Columbus Day, October 12, 1973. My husband is a sweetheart, my sweetheart.
Now: Let's get a little Knitting Related - let me give you a link over to Marg Coe's blog, which somehow or other, I have not been following up 'till right now. I'm fixing that now and following. I already knew about Marg and her wonderful knitting, but I had no idea she had this great blog.
Marg emailed - she's knitting my Footnotes No-Sew slippers, and has a nice post and photos of that slipper.
I've been a busy bee, but not necessarily machine knitting. However, this weekend, the haze finally cleared, with my taxes done and our club website mostly fixed, and I got to knit. I needed a demo for knit club next weekend.
Feeling rather blank-brained about what to demonstrate next, I went flipping through my knitting magazines and found something interesting in Machine Knitting Monthly's January 2012 edition. The magazine calls it "Magic Fairisle," but it is hand-manipulated and a little slow going. All the same, I went off and practiced and found it quite cool.
The first sample on the left looks like the pattern in the magazine. Basically, you cut a length of contrasting color and fold it in half. You hang the middle of that piece of yarn on the stitch that you want for the bottom of the diamond and knit it through. Then you push the needle all the way back to out of work position, knit 2 rows. After the 2 rows, you bring the needle back into work, pulling the yarn a little to adjust the stitch so it isn't too loose. Then you take the yarn to the right and knit it through the next needle to the right and knit the needle to the left with the yarn hanging on the left, push 'em both all the way back out of work, and knit 2 rows. You bring those needles back into work and adjust the contrast stitches, then do the next two to the left and right. And so on...
The magazine cautions that you should practice before you do a project, and I very much agree. The writer warned against getting the stitches too loose, but I was making them too tight at first.
Look, no floats to snag anything! Have a look at the closeups, front and back of the work. You're carrying a thread vertically, and if the design works with that, you don't have floats.
I played around with different kinds of patterns. It's great to get to use several colors vertically, not so easy with conventional fair isle. I found I could make a vertical line, but wasn't crazy about how it looked. It seemed to help to use a heavier yarn than the background yarn for things like a vertical bar.
I could make a horizontal line, but that gives a float. Sometimes you do need a horizontal line in a design, but it's tedious to adjust the tension of the stitches when you put the needles back in work. Go experiment and see what you like!
I decided it works very well with skip-one kinds of designs and diagonal lines. Since it's hand-manipulated, I liked it best with the bulky and mid-gauge machines, because bigger stitches work up faster.
Saturday, I promptly got busy making a crib blanket with the technique. I had some leftover sport weight pale pink and some white, and some rose colored worsted weight yarn. I did horizontal rows of the pink and then the white, and zigzag columns of the hand-manipulated fair isle technique.
I put a picture frame edging around the blanket. I have done these for years, but haven't seeen other people doing them. It's doubled with mitred corners, a fold on the outside edge and sewed to the inside.
Here's a picture showing a little of the back. It looks very nice on both sides, eliminates all rolling, and squares up the blanket, but you have to do a lot of sewing, around all four sides on the knit side of the blanket and then all around the purl side as well. You have to kitchener the beginning to the end of the edging, too. I spent far more time sewing up than knitting, but I like to sew and I like how it looks!
I like this generous-sized blanket a lot, and now I have my demonstration for Knit Natters this weekend. I'll do the demo on the LK-150, which is so nicely portable.
Jane, who is another knitter in Austin, and who serves on the board of the nonprofit Friends of Colombian Orphans (FOCO) met me at my office Thursday, and we went to lunch. I enjoyed spending a little time getting to know Jane and lunching away from the office.
Jane and her story inspired me. I often link to websites with beautiful knitted things, and I mention "inspiration," but just wait until you see the FOCO website!
Jane explained that Colombia has a shocking number of homeless orphaned children, a greater percentage than anywhere else in the Americas. So many of these little ones have lost their parents to endless war, and they live in desperate poverty - "first world" people can hardly comprehend such hunger and privation. She says the locals are used to seeing uncared-for, homeless children on the streets every day.
Jane adopted a Colombian daughter, and as she and her husband experienced conditions there during the adoption process, they began to wonder how they could help more Colombian orphans.
At the orphanages, IF the children are very lucky, they learn some sort of vocational skill to help them escape an endless cycle of poverty. FOCO has established a program in one of the orphanages that gives these beautiful girls and boys a chance to learn machine knitting, a valuable vocational skill, so that when they are sixteen years old and leave the orphanage's care, they can find work as production knitters.
FOCO provides a machine knitting teacher on-site at an orphanage in Bogota and a dedicated knitting room with Brother and Silver Reed machines. They are constantly exploring ideas to make the program more effective, dealing with all sorts of challenges, like obtaining machines, good yarn, sufficient instruction, funding, and on and on. They're determined to do their best for these kids, and have done wonderful work with few resources.
Below is a picture of the children having a fashion show in garments knitted by the older children on Brother and Silver Reed knitting machines. These kids are very talented, enthusiastic knitters, and I hope you'll go look at the website - in particular, there are more fashion show photos at http://friendsofcolombianorphans.org/?p=945. And, while you're over there, click around, check out FOCO, and think about whether you can help these children, too.
Greta phoned and gave me the latest installment in her figuring out mirror image lace on the 970. Basically, the concept of mirror image lace on a Brother is that you put the lace carriage on the opposite side, flip the pattern either with a variation key or by turning over the punch card, and you can make lace that's a mirror image of the regular pattern. This can be very, very pretty when the lace has a diagonal pattern. Obviously, there's no point if the pattern is symmetrical.
Greta wanted to make a mirror-image shawl, but she was having a problem with the Brother 970's control box.
Not much stops Greta, and she solved her problem. Basically, she fooled the computer by telling it that the pattern was for the K carriage. The 970 doesn't know she's using the lace carriage and doesn't obstruct her efforts.
To do the Enchanted Edgings on the 970 (which Greta pioneered, as well - thank you, Greta) you do the same thing. You tell the machine you're doing fair isle, but you use the lace carriage and the knit carriage both. The whole thing is so peculiar I put up a video showing how to do Enchanted Edgings on the 970.
We also often tell the Passap E6000 fibs, just to get the knitting programmed and the job done.
I was especially happy to hear Greta beat the computer, considering that lately I've been feeling beaten up by computers. Right now, I have the Knitnatters club site under construction. I have put a lot of the old content back up, still have to do pictures, and plan to put up some extra demos, patterns and newer photos to freshen up the site. Give me another couple weeks, then go have a look. The other thing I'm doing while I'm in there is emphasizing our Yahoo group.
Knit Natters is about to have some of the best meetings of the year. We have the carpool to the DFW seminar coming up, then the Kid 'n Ewe coming up, and in December, our holiday party.
Why the big, and admittedly overdue knit club website redo? Because I messed up the old site inadvertently. I am using Microsoft Front Page, and the software befuddled me.
I think I am finally getting the hang of Front Page again; however, I may not use it again for some number of months and be just as stupid next time. I hope not!
John pointed out this evening that I don't have "Wear Your Diamonds" on the latest shopping site. This is quite a humbling experience...oh well, a project for another day.
What is more dismaying than making a whole project only to find that the fit is terrible? If your gauge is off even a quarter stitch in an inch, you get that "shock and awe" moment when you realize that your project is ruined.
We machine knitters have a fantastic advantage when it comes to fitting our garments because we can very quickly knit a nice, big gauge swatch. You see, the bigger the swatch, the more accurate the measurement.
If a pattern gives the gauge in stitches per inch, or even stitches in 10 centimeters (common in international patterns), whether you're hand knitting or machine knitting, you want to measure a larger area than just a few inches (10 cm is roughly 4 inches, by the way). Our typical swatch size in machine knitting is 40 stitches by 60 rows, and in fact, we knit the swatch bigger than that and mark a center area to make it easy to measure that size rectangle.
Here's a video showing how to make a good gauge swatch:
The eyelet holes mark the tension setting, and the colors mark the block to measure. You'll be able to measure in several places and you won't have to try to count individual stitches.
If you are working on a bulky machine, you can knit your swatch 20 stitches and 30 rows. Go ahead and block and launder your gauge swatch in the same way you plan to block and launder your garment, as those processes will change the size of the stitches.
Still, bigger is better! Waste a little yarn to make the whole project turn out much better.
Now, to move from inches to centimeters, just multiply by the number of inches by 2.54. If you would rather use a conversion table, here are a couple of them -
Today, I did a little business housekeeping - created a new shopping site that loads fast, works great, and has my new products, Footnotes, my slipper book, and Wear Your Diamonds, the circular Entrelac book.
I noticed a discussion about the 7-minute and 14-minute slippers over at the Fun With Big Brother Yahoo group (a terrific group). I made a bunch of those clever slippers myself back in the day, but I think the Footnotes slippers are better, since there are now lumpy gathers.
I've been quiet lately, but I am getting back to blogging now. I was in the throes of budget season at work, always very busy, and in the evenings, I've been working on a group of hand knitting patterns for grafted round dishclothes that are just beautiful. I thought it would be cool to try and get more hand knitters to come over to this site and get some exposure to knitting machines - a lot of them don't even know home knitting machines exist.
Knit Natters is meeting the second Saturday in October at Crystal Lake Baptist Church, and we'd love to meet more Central Texas machine knitters! Join our Yahoo group Knitnatters and get on the mailing list. In late October, a group of us is carpooling to the seminar at the DFW guild, and then in November, we're carpooling on the 2nd Saturday to the Kid 'n Ewe fiber festival.
The new Footnotes book is finally finished and available!
I apologize that this project took so long, even as summer becomes a memory and we approach slipper weather, but I am very pleased with the final book and DVD set, which has my best slipper patterns ever as well as a sock pattern.
Slippers are just wonderful to knit for gifts. These are quick, inexpensive projects, personal and homey like apple pie and grandma hugs.
So, what's in the book? Well, I have five slippers, all with 12 sizes apiece (children, women, men), and most of them in three gauges - standard gauge, mid-gauge, and bulky gauge.
I did my usual charts where you pick out the color for your size and follow that column. In addition, I have narrative explanations of the techniques and a section with Kitchener and mattress stitch seams. The standard gauge slippers are knitted with typical hand knitting sock yarn; the mid-gauge ones use sport weight yarn, and the bulky ones, worsted weight yarn. Odds and ends from your knitting stash can become cute small projects.
The first pattern is the "no sew" lined slipper, which comes off the machine all assembled. This slipper is a nice, smooth fit and absolutely addictive to knit. My knit club made bunches of them for charity, and I selfishly pulled a few out of my pile to give to loved ones.
The second pattern is a cute little mocassin complete with a rather sentimental story about how it is a variation on the first pattern I ever wrote. Teaching someone to knit? This one has a hem, an eyelet row, an idiot cord, short-rowing, and even a bit of sew-as-you-go edging, truly an interesting little pattern to make up.
Quick And Cozy
For ribber fans and high-volume charity knitters, I have an English Rib slipper, the Quick and Cozy Slipper, that knits up super fast and is warm. The Knit Natters made heaps of these for the soldiers.
The last pattern is a sew-as-you-go slipper sock in bulky and sport weight yarn. But - if you want a regular short gym sock, make it up in regular sock yarn on your standard gauge! I did this sock a long time ago in a women's medium in a video, and folks have been asking for it in all the sizes since then, so finally, here it is in written form.
If you use wool to knit the last pattern two tensions too big and two sizes too big and then felt (shrink) it, you have the warmest, thickest slipper of all. In case you are hesitant to try felting, this is your chance to get your feet wet, literally. Try these incredible shrinking cuddlers on your feet while they are still wet!
The book is all in color, has lots of photos and diagrams, 32 pages, plastic spiral bound so it'll lie flat, as usual (that's what I like, so I'm sticking with it). The whole book is laid out the wide direction because of all the charts. There's also a detailed DVD, high-definition and close-up, showing how to do everything. There's no story, plot, scenery, or characters, just a long stream of up-close knitting techniques.
Don't forget to add some non-slip treatment to the soles. I just scribble a little silicone seal or puff paint on the bottoms for safety.
Many thanks to Tom Panciarello, who did testing and suggesting, the Knit Natters who are my most beloved guinea pigs, testing and suggesting, and my sweetie, John who proofread and helped with duplication.
Ordering Information: You can order here with our usual prices and shipping - $25 for the book and DVD set, $3 for US shipping, $8.50 for Canada, and $13.50 for other countries. Shipping additional items in the same order is free. If you want to look at other products, you can use an "Add to Cart" click, and add other items to the cart if you wish (see other products at www.dianaknits.com )
I'm a lady CPA in Austin, Texas. My husband, John, and our son John write software, and our son Steven is at Texas A&M. I can be mailed at "diana_knits at sbcglobal dot net." I am an avid machine knitter and doing all I can to spread machine knitting joy.