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!

http://ozlorna.blogspot.com/2018/04/3d-garter-bar-for-my-brother-7mm-kx350.html

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.

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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! 

Monday, March 26, 2018

What would YOU include?

I taught a seminar this weekend in Tennessee, and I loved it!  It's a terrific group.

One of the things I learned was that there needs to be a little something for beginners at the start.  We had a couple of beginners, and one of them told me that she was quite bewildered at my first class, which was a bit advanced.  She said that when I got to some simpler demonstrations, she felt much less confused and happier she was at the seminar.

We all value our beginners!  I want to make one of my Pacifically Passap classes (the first one, day one) for beginners as well as knitters who have gotten rusty.  The advanced folks have other sessions they could attend, and in all my subsequent sessions, I will do demonstrations that are a little more advanced.

Here are my ideas of things to include for the special beginner and returner class:
  • "TLC for your machine," a very fast verbal run-down about making sure you have a good sponge bar, oiling and cleaning. 
  • "Speak the Lingo," a list in the handouts of our typical phrases and what they mean.
  • "Cast-On and Bind-Off Tips," which would be written with some YouTube URLs, but in class, I'd teach starting with waste yarn, put in a ravel cord, do an e-wrap cast on, knit some rows slowly, listening for the click, take it off on waste yarn, and show a tapestry needle bind off. 
  • "Learning Plan," how to use the free Beginner Course on YouTube or the Beginner DVDs. 
  • "Gauges and Consequences" - In person I'd just do the basic "practically perfect gauge swatch" and explain how important this is.  That demo includes the quick utility cast-on, a few eyelets, and some stitch marking and measuring.  In the write-up I'd also go over gauge conversions, yarn groups briefly, and very basic knitter's math.
  • "Basic Seams," Kitchener and mattress, which my diagrams in the handout and the URL for the YouTube videos teaching basic seams.  I will hand out bulky swatches, needles, and suggest homework.  I won't have time to teach it unless we get lucky, but I'll give them tools.
  • "Cable Join and Worm Edge" demonstrated, with a free pattern, "My First Cabled Afghan."
  • "Get More Knitting Done While Having More Fun," which is an essay I've written which encourages finding knitter friends, seminars and clubs, finding short periods of time to knit, and various other resources and ideas.  This just goes in the handouts.  I'll talk about it if I get time.
I'm adding a lot to Pat's handouts, but hopefully, she won't mind because she says we ought to try to take care of our beginners.

What would YOU add?  What do you wish you'd seen at your very first lesson?

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Join me in Tennessee

You could still go to the Tennessee Valley Machine Knitters seminar that I'm teaching this weekend.

If you have never been to a machine knitting seminar, here's a wonderful chance.  I'm teaching Saturday and Sunday, the cost is $60/day, and the location is Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.

So what am I covering?

Garter bar class - speed ripping, garter stitch, decrease or increase evenly across a row, move only desired stitches.

Lace clinic - automatic scalloped lace, mirror image lace, slant lace circle scarf, and scalloped lace scarf pattern from Stitch World. 

Tricks and treats - cap sleeve knitted in armhole, the practically perfect gauge swatch, Knit Leader tips, the easy anti-roll edge, the foldover edging, the 12-stitch seashell stitch, floatless, vertical fair isle, finishing tips, easy cable join, ruched cable trim, best cast ons, best cast offs, built-in I-cord edge, vertical dart, and sew as you go lined slipper.

 
Ribber workshop - the magical medium ribber comb, fingerless gloves, "bubble wrap" stitch, reversible English Rib stripes, vertical buttonhole, and scalloped ribbing.
 
The handout book includes the instructions for everything, in case I don't get to something, but I usually get through everything in the book.
 
The ladies in Tennessee are super nice, at lease the ones who have been emailing me!  I finally get to meet them in person.
 
John and I are staying several extra days in Pigeon Forge.  Why?  Well, this is a tourist destination.  We're going to Dollywood!  Even if we didn't want to go to that famous amusement park, there are many other attractions that have grown up around it, museums, shows, dinner theaters.  There is also an amazing national park!  Dollywood ought to give us a great amusement park experience, since it's off season and won't be so crowded.  The town seems to have lots of hotel capacity.  I found a lot of deals at Groupon.  We're staying at the place where the seminar is, and it looks great online.
 
I also hope to visit another important destination:  Stephanie's Studio and Yarns.  Stephanie has been a major asset to the machine knitting community for many years, and she sells wonderful 2/24 acrylic and other yarns at amazing prices.  She is closing down the business (sob) and having a big clearance sale.  If I can't fit things in my suitcases, well, she ships things.  John thinks that I don't need any more yarn, a ridiculous idea, of course. 
 
I know this is last minute, but maybe you're the person who actually could go and wasn't sure you could.  Maybe you're the person who is hesitating for some other reason...so, I'm nagging, already.
 
Hugs, and happy knitting, y'all. 
   23

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Remember Swedish Weaving?

Over at Yet Another Canadian Artisan (a fun blog to follow), here's something I haven't played with in a while.

We used to purchase huck toweling, which had a raised, bumpy grid-like texture. By simply weaving embroidery thread through the bumps, we made Swedish Weaving embroidery.

Here it is on knits! Cool...  Click on the link, head over there, and see how it was done.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

New Video - Cast Off Ribbing by Crocheting

Here's a basic technique for binding off ribbing using a crochet hook, after you take the work off the knitting machine.

In your finished garments, small details like good-looking bind-offs and cast-ons make such a difference!  I've put up quite a few options.



Sunday, February 25, 2018

Look to the Left!

Look to the left at the GET STARTED HERE! heading.  It's new.

This is a bunch of links just for beginners.  I've included information about  choosing a knitting machine, choosing the yarn, and coming up with a learning plan. 

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

2018 Seminars!

I love to teach knitting.  As I write this, I keep deleting words and trying again, because I sound like such a raving lunatic, but it's a fact - I absolutely love doing machine knitting seminars. 

In 2018, I have five planned.  In March, I'm teaching in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee; in May, near Portland, Oregon; in July or August (dates not nailed down yet), in Butler, Pennsylvania, in September, in Price Edward Island, Canada, and in October, in Dallas, Texas. 

As far as I know, every one of these seminar organizers has room for more people, so hey, if you're able to, I hope you'll come and join us.  If there's a seminar that might work for you and you need more information, email me and I'll send you contact information for the organizer.

John and I have been sitting around building a master list of seminar details.  Who is organizing.  Whether we're flying.  Whether we're renting a car.  What machine I'm borrowing for demonstrations.  It goes on and on, but from your point of view, as a knitter, you fall into one of two categories:  you either go to seminars, or you don't. 

I think most machine knitters don't go to seminars.  There might not be one near their home, and they may not want to put their time and money into going to a distant seminar.  However, I think most of the knitters who have not gone to a seminar just don't know how valuable the experience can be and have no idea what they're missing.

At a seminar, you are going to meet a bunch of other machine knitters, which is quite a treat if you're the only MKer you know!  Some of them might live quite close to you, and you might acquire a knitting buddy or find a knitting club through attending.  Or, you might just have an amazing time with a group of people who feel like instant friends.  If the seminar has a block of rooms at a hotel, you can either hang out with the group, go off by yourself and rest, or gather up some knitters to try out a restaurant.

Seminar organizers try very hard to make the whole experience fun.  There might be contests, raffles, a fashion show, door prizes, or freebies.  There might be an opportunity to buy or swap equipment and supplies.  There is often free yarn and books, and I've even seen free machines.  One seminar I went to had a little auction to raise money for the knitting club!   Sometimes there are charity knitting challenges.

The classes are very interesting - after all, we teachers like to bring out ideas and techniques that folks haven't seen too much - and then your fellow knitters are doing interesting projects, as well.  Everyone likes to talk about how to solve project challenges, and you end up learning from what everyone else is doing. 

Each teacher has a unique approach to teaching.  I am known for my detailed handouts.  I try very hard to write sufficient instructions for each demonstration so that you can do it on your own later and you won't have to take a lot of notes.  I put free patterns in the handouts, usually a few of my more popular crafty projects.  I bring gobs of samples that we pass around, and I show how to do one technique after another, making scruffly little swatches, which are also passed around.  Everyone peers at these samples and thinks about what they want to make and how they might use the idea.  Beginners cane come up and sit or stand right by me, if it'll help them.  Everyone wants to help the beginners - unfortunately, we don't have nearly enough beginners! 

The last year or two, I've taught my garter bar tricks at nearly every seminar.  It just keeps coming up as an often-requested item.  I've also done a lot of the geometric things I do so much of - entrelac, short-rowed shapes, diagonals.  I do a little finishing technique; if you read this blog you probably have noticed that my idea of a good seam is one that doesn't show at all from the public side.  I might talk about fitting, or I might do lace and ribber tricks - it depends on what the knitting club wants.  I often send a survey first to figure out what they'd most like to do.

Signing off! I'll put more details about the seminars in this space as plans firm up!

Sunday, February 4, 2018

New Video - Short Row Graphics

This technique has been around forever, and my illustration with bold diagonal lines is just a jumping-off point!  You can make all kinds of colorful designs with this for a float-free, intarsia look, especially anything with diagonals-diamonds, for instance.  Play around with it!


Saturday, February 3, 2018

Thanks, Jane, for the YouTube Video Captions!

I can't tell you how thrilled I am to announce that a great many of my videos are now captioned!  Linda M, my friend, remember telling me (among many other people) that it's difficult to hear what I'm saying in those things?  I have a small voice and I'm looking at the machine and even mumbling, at times.

I captioned a few of the videos myself, but it takes tons of time.  I've tried the automatic captions, and they produce perfectly amusing nonsense.  The voice recognition stuff YouTube has might work great if the video is about a cat, but they can't speak knitting lingo.  They've called a stitch all sorts of things!

YouTube has come out with a community approach to the problem, and I announced it and asked for help. We are much stronger together, and there's a goal here:  to get more people machine knitting, and mastering the craft, finding it fun and enjoyable.  Once someone learns the basics well, it has become an incredible platform for creativity. 

Jane Raddatz to the rescue!  She has closed captions so many videos that I've lost count!  She has worked away at it for quite a while, and I think the videos are greatly enhanced.  She's good at it, too, giving great attention to detail to get it exactly right.  I know from YOUR emails that this is needed and is truly going to make it much easier for many people to learn to machine knit.  If you're having trouble hearing, or you're just wondering what the heck I said because I didn't speak clearly, give the captioned videos a try. 

My husband and I have closed captions on movies we watch at home whenever we can.  He has trouble hearing.  While I have no hearing loss, I've found that old movies have much clearer dialogue on their sound tracks.  It's a change in acting style toward realism, but there are times - really! - when the hero says something critical, and we've had to run it back several times and then we still didn't know what he said. 

Here's one of the videos with captions:


Thank you, Jane, and thanks again!