Thursday, June 16, 2022

June Video - Pile (Loopy) Knitting on a Brother with Ribber

If you've never played with loopy knitting, that is, pile knitting, why not give it a try?  Here's a video where I show how to do it using a Brother bulky machine with ribber:


Sunday, May 8, 2022

New Video for May - Reversible Double Jacquard

This is one of my favorite ribber techniques, and I hope you will try it!  

You can create a double-thickness, fancy two-color pattern that is beautiful on both sides.  It's like a photo negative in that the background color on one side becomes the foreground color on the other side.  

Many of us have done this in hand knitting, and it's quite an exercise in counting stitches.  I used to try hand-counting it on the knitting machine, and I did not have the patience to do it.  However, using the patterning capability of a Brother machine with a ribber, you can use the machine-selected needles as a guide to hand-count the needles on the ribber.

'Nuff said - more easily seen than explained...


And also, Happy Mother's Day!


Wednesday, April 6, 2022

Slipper Bottoms from The Knitting Closet

 I wore my own mukluks so often this winter! It's cold underfoot where we usually sit at our breakfast table with our laptops, because we have a tile floor. I just like to have my feet quite warm. (People do ask for this pattern - it was part of my Strings to Things seminar, and it was based on the lined slipper in Footnotes. it isn't published separately from that USB at this time. I may do it later, but it's not done yet.)

I realized I was going to wear through the slippers, and before that happens, I wanted to put some sort of sole on them.

I purchased these suede heels and toes from theknittingcloset.com. I used some black yarn that has nylon on it to stitch them onto the slipper. The soles came with some black yarn for sewing, but I used my yarn instead because I knew it would be strong. I used two strands and I pulled it through with a rubber "finger cot," one of those gummy thimbles people use in offices. I bought a box of them years ago, and they've lasted all this time and still grip a needle.

So here's my review: They're nicely non-slip. My soles were size "large," and I have a size 8 foot. Large was a good choice since these mukluks are Group 4 yarn and lined with Group 4 yarn, therefore, they're not small foot bottoms. The suede pieces are pre-punched, but the holes aren't very big, so expect to tug. It was easy to keep them in position with just a couple sewing pins, since you can slip pins into the holes.
My only real complaint is I wish they'd come with gray yarn to match.

Standing in them, I can feel them a little, but it's not an issue since my slippers are double-thickness. You would certainly feel them through a thin slipper.


Saturday, April 2, 2022

New Video Today - Hand Painting a Sock Blank Using KoolAid

 I have a new YouTube video today - I did this a while back, and it was so much fun and turned out so well! Great activity for kids who are cooped up...hand painting a sock blank with Kool Aid.

While I realize this is a childlike approach to dyeing, I love working wih Kool Aid. It smells good, it isn't toxic and doesn't require special pots and implements, it's inexpensive, and it is amazingly colorfast.
The downsides are the colors are limited and the purple is a disappointment (to me - I know other people like it). You can get strong colors by using more Kool Aid.

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Easy Way to Match a "One Way" Self-Striping Sock Yarn

This last week, I'd been making knee socks.  I posted a photo the first pair, in rose colors.  This was a so-so yarn quality but I bought it because the colors were so pretty.

Next, I tried some gorgeous high-end yarn, which came on a hank.  I weighed it, weighed my finished knee socks, rewound the good stuff on a cone, and started knitting a pair of knee socks.  I ran out of yarn before I finished the second sock. I was pretty grumbly about losing a game of "yarn chicken."  I can't get more - it was a gift and hand-dyed besides.

Not wanting to abandon the beautiful yarn as a UFO, I unraveled it and knitted ordinary short socks. I have a little left, and I'll think of something to do with the leftover sock yarn.  

Then I got into some 100-gram skeins of Sale Sock from Yarn Paradise.  I wasn't sure about quality, but I bought it because it was such pretty colors.  The yardage was good, and I got two pairs of socks out of two skeins - a pair of knee socks and a pair of regular socks.  I matched these by finding a place where the color changed, starting there, and then starting there on the second sock.  After making the knee socks first, it was easy to match the regular socks since I just started on the yarn where the knee socks ended.  I only had a very small amount of leftovers, some of it from where I started a ways into the yarn to make that second sock match.



I am really happy with this yarn, even though it was inexpensive (for sock yarn...sigh - it's not unusual to spend $20 or more for one pair's worth of really nice yarn).  This was soft and knitted beautifully in my antique CSM.  

But notice - this is a "one way" striping pattern.  It is not the same right-side up and upside-down.  It seems like most of the sock yarn I get is "one way."  I rewound my yarn twice, waxing it as I went, to eliminate any knots and tangles.  If I rewound one skein once and the other one twice, the patterns would not match - one pattern would be upside-down!

Once I visited my mom and she had a beautiful piece of plaid fabric and a pattern to make my little sister a 4-gore bias skirt.  She was puzzling over how to make that plaid match.   Mom showed me how the fabric was "one way" both vertically and horizontally.  It was a woven-in plaid, not a printed one, and after a whole lot of fiddling, we finally got a beautiful match by flipping the fabric upside-down and cutting out half of the pieces that way.  But I digress...  

Back to my current sock puzzle:  I still had two skeins of this blue print sock yarn, and they didn't start all that close to the same place in the one-way design.  I tried winding off yarn and looking for a spot that matched, but it was annoying - this is such a long repeat!  I wanted an easier, but accurate way to do it.

I came up with what I think is an efficient, easy way to make your socks match, and I want to share it.

Step One:  Wind cones or cakes of both skeins of yarn.  If you do cakes, leave the plastic centers in the yarn.  Not rewinding yarn for machine knitting is just asking for trouble anyway.  Always rewind your yarn!

Step Two:  Using the flatbed knitting machine and 60 needles, make enough rows to knit an entire repeat and a little more.  Remove the cone and the sample without cutting the yarn.  Do this with each skein.  Here's what I had at this point:


This was very fast and easy.  What you see in the picture is the beginning of the knit pieces at the top and the rest of the cone, unused, at the bottom.  

I put them on a table and lined them up, matching the knit design.  

Step Three:  Mark the place where I need to cut the yarn to get two matching cones.

Step Four:  Cut the yarn at that spot.  Why?  Well, you can't just unwind this from here - the top of the photo is the cast-on edge of the yarn.

Step 5:  Take a cone, push it back on the winder, and wind to unravel the stuff previously knitted up and wind it onto the cone, then do the same thing with the second cone.  This is also fast and easy.  Here's what I have:

This is two cones of yarn that should match very nicely.  The little piece is leftover, but I will probably need it for the second pair of socks.  By leaving it knitted, I'll be able to see how it will work in to where I run out, and using it plus my other skimpy little leftovers, I can probably create another matched pair. 

I am so happy with this approach!  Next time I work with unfamiliar self-striping yarn, I'll definitely do this again.  First of all, I can see at a glance how often it repeats, what it looks like, and whether the stripes are accurate and it can be matched.

I didn't knit my preview pieces on my antique CSM because mine has a closed yarn feeder, and I didn't want to cut the yarn more than necessary.  This was extremely quick to knit on the flatbed.












Cranked a Pair of Socks Today

 



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Thursday, March 3, 2022

What's Going On With My New Facebook Group?

 I was advised by family and friends to do a Facebook group.  I'm really NOT quick to adopt social media strategies.  I have this ugly vision of myself strapped to a computer and forced to fool with social media all the time.

However, Facebook worked very well for online virtual seminars, and I simply put up some ground rules - stick to knitting and be nice.  I started a Facebook that is free and fairly wide-ranging in content:  Knitting With Diana Sullivan.   Join up and see!

We have about 2,600 people there now, and I am getting a huge kick out of what people are posting, gosh, especially the photos of what people are making.  A wonderful lady is helping me moderate.  

I've been posting free patterns and videos in this group to help a children's charity. The upstate New York knitters are making clothes for a huge number of Build A Bear bears.  The bears are being supplied through a counseling service to children in crisis.  You know how much kids like to dress up their toys!

The needs are ongoing and persistent, and there isn't really an end date for this project.  Of course we could use your help.

Want to learn to knit teddy bear clothes?  Or would you just like patterns that actually fit the Build A Bear bears?  These are specifically sized for the Build A Bear toys that are available for the charity.  They send me measurements and I even purchased a bear for a mannequin.  These bears are about 17 to 18 inches tall and they are CHUBBY.  The clothes look short and wide, but do fit Teddy beautifully.  

So far, I have put up the pattern and video for the top-down raglan, the beret hat, the Mary Jane slippers, and the dress.  The beret is a round, flat tam, and after putting up a video showing with and without ear holes, the group asked for both options, so that's how I did the pattern.

Come and join us!  This is a worthy cause, and it is so much fun to knit these small projects!









Wednesday, March 2, 2022

New Video - Seashell Shawl Techniques

 I posted a new video the other day about how to make the Seashell Shawl.

This is a really interesting stitch.  I've been working on the pattern the last few years, changing thing up to make it easier to do and to make it possible to knit it on all three gauge machines - bulky, mid-gauge, and standard gauge.  

I have tried this shawl in SO many yarns!  I never quite know how it will look in a particular yarn until I try a shell or two, and I especially loved it with two strands of thinner stuff and in self-striping yarns.  

I am not quite sure how many I have knitted, as I have given some away.  They take me a long afternoon (after some practice) but the standard gauge takes about twice as long.  More stitches, you know!  This is all short-rowing.

This pattern is available at www.dianaknits.com and at Etsy.  It's a digital download.  It's actually three separate patterns for the three gauges, and I've added lots of photos and diagrams.  There's also a big diagram you can use to track your own progress.  

Here's a little video "ad" I did to Etsy.  You can see some of the other versions of the shawl in this quick little video.







Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Lion Brand's "How Much Yarn Do I Need" Chart

Click here to see Lion Brand's yarn requirements chart:

So, what do you think of this?  I just noticed it this morning, looking at one of the Lion Brand advertisements that hit my email, and I plan to check it over a bit, comparing it to some known yarn amounts on previous projects.  

This chart is denominated in yards, which is a really good thing.  The yards-per-pound of various yarns have tremendous variation, and it is yardage that matters most.

I expect that a chart put out by a yarn company will tend to overestimate yarn requirements, but I think this is a GOOD thing.  I try to overestimate yarn requirements at least a little when I write patterns.  What's more, I tend to buy an extra ball beyond when I'm following someone else's estimate.  

Here's why overestimating is good:

1.  If you don't buy enough yarn on your initial purchase, you will probably have difficulty finding it later.
2.  If you do find the yarn you need later, you may not be able to get the dye lot.  New knitters are often shocked at how different two different dye lots can be!
3.  If you buy too much yarn, you can return the extra if you do it reasonably soon.  
4.  This is a risk/reward calculation.  Suppose you buy 10% too much yarn, or even 25% too much yarn.  Suppose this increases the cost of your project from $60 to $75.  You are out $15, right?  Suppose you can't return it.  Suppose you can't find anything to make from it.  You still have the finished project.  If you don't buy enough yarn, you have wasted your money and your time knitting, and you are unable to finish your project.
5.  We can always find something to make with leftover yarn!  


Tuesday, February 8, 2022

New Video - How to wind center-pull balls by hand

My new video is a simple little thing, how to hand wind center-pull balls.  It's also  useful for hand knitters and crocheters: 

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Guest Article by Abby Holt

I don't run a lot of guest articles, but Abby Holt hunted down some interesting links and ideas, and it's so timely during the holidays!


Made with Love: DIY Holiday Crafting That Won't Bust Your Budget

 With the holidays approaching, it’s easy to get sucked into feeling like you have to spend a lot to show how much you care. But who says gifts have to come from a store? There are plenty of  DIY ideas for presents and decor that don’t bust your budget. From zeroing in on the best gift ideas to finding deals on crafts and supplies, Diana Natters has the resources to help you get started.

 Crafting Gift Ideas

 Here are some fun and budget-friendly crafting gift suggestions:

           Visit Diana Natters’ Blog About Machine Knitting

      30 DIY Christmas Card Ideas to Send Out This Season

      20 Inexpensive Homemade Gift Ideas

 Shopping and Saving Tips

 Learn how you can save on craft and art supplies:

            15 Super Places to Buy Art and Craft Supplies Online

      Find Local Art Supplies & Craft Stores

Crafting Supplies

 Here are some supplies you may need for your next crafting project:

            Craft Supply Checklist

      Versatile Crafting Supplies for Multiple Crafts

      The 16 Tools Every Crafter Must Have

 Starting a Crafting Business

 As you improve your crafting, you may want to start a side hustle or even your own business.

           How to Start an In-Home Craft Business

      How to Sell Online: The Complete Guide

      Learn the best way to start an LLC for Your Crafting Business

 It’s important to note that creating gifts shouldn’t be a stress inducer but a stress reliever. Make sure you don’t overextend yourself or attempt a project you might not finish. This is supposed to bring a smile to your face and the giftee!

 So without further ado, roll up your sleeves, crank up those holiday tunes and get into the spirit of the season.

 Diana Natters is your ultimate blog resource on machine knitting. Read more informative articles today!