Thursday, December 31, 2015

Best Posts of 2015

Happy New Year's Eve!  All is well at this house, where we are enjoying a few days off.  John and Steven worked on a cool muscle car all day yesterday, and I knitted in the nice, warm knitting room.  Then we went to our favorite restaurant for dinner.  The car is a long way from finished, so Steven stayed the night and they're going at it again today.

I am very blessed to have this social outlet for my machine knitting obsession, and this was a fun year!  Not only did we go on marvelous jaunts to seminars, I persisted in putting up a video each month, which is a great motivational kick in my pants.  Some of them were very useful to readers, and some were just ho-hummy things.  Selfishly, I won't go into the so-so stuff, but I'll point out the good ones, and mention a couple of other favorite things I found on the web:

I started the year with a video showing how to give your machines a quick clean and oil.  Guess what?  You probably need to do it again...after every project would be good.  Once a month would be good.  It only takes a few minutes!  How about NOW?

In the spring of 2015, when I finally finished "Finishing School," I felt "finished."  This was my most difficult project to date, taking me nine months and turning my knitting workroom into a giant heap of chunky samples and my video editing computer into a vast wasteland of outtakes.  I wanted it to have a very large amount of information on how to do excellent project assembly, to be meticulously detailed and comprehensible, and to make it MINE.  I showed the ways that I do things, which is very often not at all the way other people do things.  What I discovered in the actual process was the relentless need to redo sections to make them clear and to struggle to find better ways to explain how the grafts and seams work.  Being able to do it is not the same as being about to explain it!  The final result was about 4 hours of video (it could have been 20 hours, but who would want that?), more of a reference work than a course. The feedback from knitters has been wonderful.

In June, I linked to another blog that had an explanation of my favorite provisional cast-on.  I use this all the time!  It's great for hand or machine knitting:

In October, the video I put up (seashell stitch, above) was very popular.  This is a very unusual stitch pattern, do-able on almost any flatbed machine, and after you knit it a while, has a rhythm and becomes habit-forming.

September's video, the Slant Lace Circle Scarf, is another don't miss item.  If you haven't played with this stitch, you ought to give it a try.  It biases tremendously, and that's the whole point.  You end up with a trapezoid shape, and self-striping yarn gives you bias stripes.  I made several of these scarves, and always get comments when I wear them.  One of my scarves was made with a goofy assortment of small leftovers from socks.  Oftentimes, scrappy projects just look junky and overly busy, like alphabet soup, to me, but that was one of the best uses I've found to this particular common leftover (my women's medium socks never take a whole ball.  Good sock yarn is lovely, a bit expensive, and just too good to waste).

Well - this was a little nothing of a video, just a quick edging, but folks loved it - an anti-roll edging.  I play around with edgings quite a bit, and my first clue that this was a really good one was when my local knit club liked it so much.

Tom updated his whitening formula for yellowed plastic:  I haven't tried it yet, but Tom says it works even better!  It has less ingredients and looks like it would be easier to do.  I used his original formula just once and was astonished at how much better the vintage machine we treated looked.

Tomorrow - a sneak peek at the videos for 2016!


  1. Just getting into machine knitting which I love. Bought a couple of your books that were of great help. My LC 580 carriage knits stockinet well but jams when connected to the DAK 8 pro. What should I do? Frustrating. Help! ! ! !

    1. I'm not very good at mechanical things. You need a repair person. There are several around the country, and it's likely that you would just have to mail the carriage to them for repairs. I would start with Harold at the Knit Knack Shop (link down left hand side of this page). No affiliation, except that sometimes I have taught there. I recommend him because he's done some terrific repairs for my readers.