Monday, January 6, 2014

Memories...and an interesting project

I was digging through old photos today, and I found this photo of a sweater I machine knitted around 1982.  I have to share this with you, because this sweater was very much a hand-manipulated and hand-counted project:
If I remember correctly, this was about a child's size 8.  Back then I had a yarn shop, and I had recently gotten a Bulky 8, my first bulky machine.   I had had a Brother 830 and a Toyota 901 before that.  The Bulky 8 had no patterning, but it did have a ribbing attachment.  This sweater was made following a hand knitting pattern.

I have a clear memory of making that sweater.  It worked out that I had an evening by myself with my husband out of town.  We didn't have children yet.  There were no classes that evening, and it was after closing.  I stayed at the store and knitted the sweater in the one evening.  I was fascinated by the idea of trying to make a circular seamless sweater, except for the ribbings, almost as if I was hand knitting the sweater.  I figured I couldn't knit it from the neck down because the stitches wouldn't stretch enough.

First, I made the ribbings, then rehung them on the ribber and main bed to knit circular. I knitted the front and back as one tube and the sleeves each as a tube and took them off on waste yarn.  I had to do sleeve increases, of course, working up the arms, but that turned out to be simple.  Once I got to the yoke area, I rehung all three pieces - the body tube and the sleeve tubes, and then worked the neck, hand-picking the needles for the pattern, going around once for one color and again with the next color.  That was really fairly easy.

There are a lot of decreases in a round yoke, and of course I didn't have a garter bar (Am I wrong when I say that a Bulky 8 is not 9mm, but 8 mm?  I didn't keep it, but moved on to something newer, which is what dealers do.)  I remember sitting and moving the stitches from needle to needle using a 3-prong transfer tool, even then realizing that if it weren't such a small sweater I'd lose patience with all that stitch-transferring.  I did it, though, in the one evening.  I don't remember using any waste yarn for the yoke part of the sweater.  Because I was moving stitches around I had to look at the purl side of the work and make sure I was still counting out the colors correctly.  I remember being hugely relieved when I pulled it off the machine that I had managed to follow the graph without making mistakes.

When it came off the machine, I only had to do a little finishing.  I sewed little short seams in the ribbing and under the arms.  I believe the ribbed neckband was doubled and backstitched on the inside. 

Oh, I was such an enthusiastic young knitter!  I didn't know what I was doing half the time, but I would try things anyway, sometimes with good results like this project, and sometimes not so good.

A while later I saw Joyce Schneider teach at the Newton's Spring Fling in Garden Grove and learned the smart way to do round yokes, using a garter bar. 

This was back when Gene and Bev Newton owned the Toyota machine distributorship for the western part of the country, and I was one of their dealers.  They were wonderful.

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