Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Errata as of 7-10-24



As of July 10, 2024


Shawl Collection

Page 2:  Change this line to read “mid-gauge or bulky” as follows:  Machine:  You may follow these directions for a mid-gauge or a bulky machine.

Page 16:  In the third paragraph from the bottom, after “Thread garment yarn and knit 1 row to the right,”  add this sentence:  Set row counter to 000.

Page 16:  In the second paragraph from the bottom, delete the words after Repeat * to * up to the last sentence, which you leave.  Replace them with “until row counter reads 040. You will have only a few needles in work.  This paragraph will now read: “Carriage on right.  Set the carriage to H for short-rowing.  In H, it will not knit needles extended to “hold” or E position.  *On the far left, pull 7 needles to hold.  Knit to left.  Put one more needle in hold just to the right of the ones already in hold.  Knit to the right.*  Repeat * to * until row counter reads 040.  You will have only a few needles in work.  That is the decrease part of your triangle.”


Monday, September 18, 2023

New Digital Pattern "Long Triangles Short-Row Graphic Blanket" and FIVE Technique Videos

Now that I've been making some digital patterns, I wanted to put up one more "Afghan in a Day or Even Less" project.  This one, the Long Triangles Blanket, required either a ridiculously long video or five technique videos.

Once you get the hang of this, it's actually a quite easy project.  To do it the first time, though, I felt that you needed to be able to see the techniques.  I try very hard to make my pattern instructions accessible to everyone, not just experienced knitters.

So, like a lunatic, I put up five technique videos.  I may not do this again!  I put QR codes in the digital pattern, so if you know how to do it, you can skip the video, and if it's new to you, you click on the QR code and see it.

What's new here?  May I recommend the videos of the top hem, which has a super simple marker row, and the corner motif?  There are two ways to sew the top hem - some of you might like the way that matches the bottom hem but takes longer.  There's also a video teaching the side hems.

I am getting the most comments on the corner motif.  Betcha you'll find more places to use it.

And are you wondering, what's with all the hems?  Well, I have gotten very, very fond of hems around my afghans.  The edges get the most wear, and the doubled edges are sturdier as well as more likely to keep their shape.  

Here are the videos.  I turned off the regular YouTube advertising, but I made a brief commercial for my new pattern and put it in.  

Monday, September 11, 2023

New Video: Short-Rowing a Toe Made Easy

 I did this video in response to a question.  I realized that to answer the question, I needed to demonstrate and explain the following things in more detail:

  • Why we wrap as we short row and how to do it
  • How to understand those line diagrams in magazines with the darts on the sides
  • How to do a very typical toe on a sock
Here's the video:

Friday, September 1, 2023

New Videos for August

 This month's new videos were two key techniques from my new pattern set, Bargello Lace Collection.  

The first video, the Double Strand E-Wrap, is an easy, practical cast-on for lace projects.  This gives you a thicker, sturdier edge than a plain e-wrap, and it's ideal for these Bargello Lace scarves.

The second video is a Double Strand Tapestry Needle Bind-Off, so you can do a top edge that exactly matches the cast-on taught above.  Same idea - it's thicker than a typical e-wrap and it's stretchy.  It's just a variation of the backstitch bind-off.

Thursday, July 27, 2023

Sponge Bars

Sponge bars on my mind lately, and I thought a little information about them might be useful to others.

So, why are sponge bars on my mind lately?  I have pulled two different knitting machines out that I hadn't used in a year or two, and they both needed sponge bars.  I can push on a needle tip anywhere and it pops up about 1/8".  I know better than to try to knit with the machine like this!  This can result in jams, bent needles, and terrible aggravation.   

First of all, just about every flatbed machine has either a sponge bar, a felt bar, or a spring to hold the needles down against the bed.  If the sponge bar is worn out, the machine will absolutely not knit properly.  It will be absolutely miserable to use, and plenty of people have given up on machine knitting when all they needed was a decent sponge bar.

Sponge bars wear out.  I've had knitting machines where I never had to replace a single part except the sponge bar!  These have foam rubber, and it deteriorates over time.  Also, the foam is squashed all the time, which of course flattens it.  I understand you can prolong the life of a sponge bar by removing it from the machine whenever you are not knitting, but I simply cannot make myself do this.  They're not all that quick to get in and out, and I like to go to my machine and just start knitting.  (But hey, I might as well mention that I've always been the sort who slips off shoes without unbuckling the little straps or loosening the laces, if I could get away with it.   And nothing terrible has happened to me from that particular bad habit.)

The sponge bar is a long metal stick (the length of the main bed) with foam rubber on one side.  It slides in to a slot at the end of the knitting machine near the front of the bed.  There is very seldom any information at all about it in your machine's manual - I guess the manufacturers all assumed we had a local dealer to help us with this.  The sponge bar is installed with the foam rubber side pushing down on the needles.  You need a new sponge bar if your machine's needles are not pressed firmly downward against the machine's number strip.

You can get your sponge bar out with a wooden chop stick.  Push on its end until it sticks out enough at the other end to grab it, then pull it out.  When you install a sponge bar, make sure you push the needles downward with the flat side of a needle pusher as you slide in the bar, because it has to be ABOVE the needles, FOAM DOWN.

Yes, you can refurbish your sponge bar.  There are good directions here.  I admit, I prefer weather stripping to the foam rubber in her directions, but it does take some hunting to find just the right size of weather stripping.  

However, I don't refurbish sponge bar anymore unless I can't get the proper sponge bar for that model.  I prefer to buy from a dealer.  Rehabbing a sponge bar takes time, effort, and materials, and my rehabbed sponge bars never last quite as long as the ones I can get from dealers.  If you have a dealer near you, buy the sponge bar from the dealer.  First of all, it supports your dealer (you are so lucky to have one!), and secondly, she can show you how to put it in, and third, shipping these long, skinny things is expensive, so you will probably save both money and time that way.  

I don't have a dealer.  Lately, I've been buying them from The Knitting Closet, here.  When I buy them, I try to buy several at once, to save on shipping.  Sometimes, you can find a friend who needs some, too, and order together to save on shipping.

Wednesday, July 5, 2023

Latest Video

 I didn't know how many of you would be interested in this, but I've been fascinated with it, so I'm sharing.  I had purchased a TINY Sister toy knitting machine, so small I can put it in my suitcase for an ordinary trip, and it is quite old.  I did a video on it, and someone suggested we replace the sponge.  Well, of course, I should have thought of that!  All old machines need a new sponge or felt.

The sponge holds the needles in proper position for knitting.  It's just foam rubber, and it deteriorates over time.  Modern machines have a sponge bar, which you can simply purchase.  They slide right into the knitting machine, super easy if you know how (sponge above and against needles, please).  I like to get mine at the Knitting Closet, which has an online store.

Older machines, especially small ones, might have a piece of old-fashioned felt or they might have foam rubber.  

In this video, my husband (always the good sport) took this old toy machine apart and figured out what and where the padding was.  Then he replaced it with a home-trimmed bit of foam, to very good results.

Later this summer, I'm posting some videos on making hems with this old, plain, simple machine.  Of course, I think you should get the very best machine you can afford, but you'd be amazed at what can be done with a primitive machine.  Let's not settle for so-so knitting - let's do our very best!

Sunday, July 2, 2023

Deadline Approaching for Charity Knitting Grants

 The knit club that I belong to, the Knit Natters, which is a machine knitting guild in the Austin, Texas area, has funds for charity knitting and has decided to offer charity grants.  The grant application (which is short and simple) is due by July 10.  

Yes, the deadline is coming very, very soon!  You can pick up an an application in the files on Facebook in the "Knitting with Diana Sullivan" group.  

Thursday, June 22, 2023

What I've been knitting...Round Tams!

Round Tams

My mother-in-law likes these little berets for her morning walks, just for a little bit of extra warmth.  She is having a birthday later in June, and since she asked for more, I knitted some.

A few comments about this pattern:

1.  They're standard gauge, and made from 50 grams of self-striping sock yarn.  You could use whatever works well on your standard gauge, but I enjoy the interesting designs that self-striping yarns make on the crown.  Besides, I often have 50 grams of sock yarn - sometimes I'll even buy single balls on the sale table in the yarn shop.  50 grams won't make a pair of socks, but it'll make a beret.

2.  These have a sew-as-you go ribbed cuff.  You make the cuff first, using the ribber, and take it off on contrasting waste knitting.  Then you hang a stitch on every other row (as explained in the video).  

3.  I do see one change I like to make to the video - cast on 200 stitches for the ribbing.  That gives you one extra stitch on each edge of the band for a selvedge.  

4.  Obviously, I think they're fun to knit.  After all, I made four over just a couple days!  These three are in the mail to John's mom, and the other one just wasn't her colors.  

5.  I block them over a dinner plate.  I pull the hat over the plate, sew around the ribbing edge with a piece of smooth yarn, and pull it and tie it to tighten the hat.  Then I steam the hat and leave it to dry.

Here's the (old) video where I teach how to make them:

Saturday, June 10, 2023

New Video: How to Add Ribbed Button Band When You Don't Have a Ribber

Don't you think you ought to be able to make very nice garments on a simple machine?  I do!

My video for June is out, and it's a very nice ribbed button band especially for knitting on machines without a ribber - for instance, your Brother 350, Bond, or perhaps your beloved LK150.  And, this isn't difficult to do.  

Saturday, March 4, 2023

New Video - Faster, flatter mattress stitch - Sewn from either the knit side or the purl side

 I have been remiss about posting my new YouTubes here - sorry!  I'll try to do better.

So, this video is specifically to help the Chicago club as I teach seams at their meeting next weekend.  It is the "Faster, Flatter Mattress" stitch (probably my most popular YouTube ever in its original form), but I had to change it up.  The original video showed how to sew it from the knit side, and this one shows that and also how to sew it from the purl side.

Maybe you have never done this stitch - try it!  It will improve your ability to get projects sewed together, and it looks very, very good.  Maybe you've only done it from the knit side, and I think you'll get a kick out of how easy it is to do from the purl side.

And here it is:

Sunday, December 25, 2022

Merry Christmas - And an Oldie But Goodie Freebie Project to Knit

 Hello, dear fellow knitters, and Merry, Merry Christmas!  

Over the years, since I've been teaching machine knitting online, I've got to know quite a few of you.  You are very important to me. 

I do hope you are having an absolutely beautiful holiday and that your heart is filled with the hope, love and peace Jesus provides. If for some reason you're experiencing difficulty, discouragement, or illness, please email me so I could pray for you?   (Email me by clicking on the envelope icon down the left side of this blog).  

We knitters need to stick together and encourage one another.

I'd like to give you a Christmas present, and I wondered what I could do for everyone.  Why not repost a cool old pattern that's a little tricky to find?  So, here's an an oldie but goodie machine knitting pattern for a sew as you go gym-length sock.  Knitters get a lot of requests for socks, and here's a pattern you can make on the simples single bed machine.  It's a great opportunity to tune up your sew as you go skills!

First the old video (sorry, made with the older technology) for the technique:

And here's a written pattern for a womens' medium gym sock:

Sew-As-You-Go Single Bed Sock

By Diana Sullivan

© Diana L. Sullivan All Rights Reserved

This pattern makes a low-rise gym sock, which barely shows under an athletic shoe. Instructions are for a women’s medium.

Click here for the instructional video

Yarn: Use a good quality sock weight yarn.

Gauge: 8 stitches and 9.25 rows to an inch, or 34 sts and 38 rows to 4” (10 centimenters) I was using tension 6.2 on my machine to get the gauge, but you need the tension setting that gives you the gauge on your machine with your yarn.

Machine: Any standard gauge Japanese flat bed knitting machine, no ribber required

Mock Rib Hem

Tension 3 tensions tighter than garment tension.

Arrange needles for a 2 x 1 mock ribbing arrangement from needle #L16 through needle #R16. That is, put two needles into working position, and leave one back, across those needles. Knit a few rows of waste yarn and a row with ravel cord.

Change to main yarn and knit 20 rows. Pick up the hem, filling in the empty needles. All the needles are in work now, 32 sts.

Back of Ankle

Turn to the regular tension, which gives the gauge for the sock. Knit 20 rows.

Back of Heel

Short row shaping – decrease one stitch at the beginning of every row until only 11 stitches remain in work. Wrapping to prevent a hole (see the video), increase 1 stitch every row until all stitches are in work again.

Bottom of Foot

Knit 40 rows.


Short row shaping, just like heel. Decrease one stitch at the beginning of every row until only 11 stitches remain in work. Wrapping to prevent a hole (see the video), increase 1 stitch every row until all stitches are in work again.

Top of Foot and Front of Ankle

Knit, doing sew-as-you-go pickup of 1 loop on side opposite carriage every row. Watch the video to see exactly how to do the sew-as-you-go join. Knit until you are all the way back to the mock rib hem.

Final Mock Rib Hem (Ankle front)

Following the video, sew off every third stitch onto a piece of waste yarn. Move those unused needles out of work. Turn the tension to the tighter tension for the mock rib hem. Knit 20 rows. Pick up the stitches from the waste yarn and put them on the out of work needles. Pick up the remaining stitches. Cut the yarn and sew the hem off as shown in the video, OR cast off.


Monday, December 5, 2022

New Book, Video, and YouTube - Teddy Bear Wardrobe

I think you'll get a kick out of this if you have children in your life who just love teddy bears, especially Build a Bears.

Kids love to dress them.  Last year, I helped with a charity project to help dress a LOT of them, and after getting the patterns just right, I created a new book and DVD set.  

These patterns include a dress, Mary Jane "show" which is really a slipper, Tam hat with and without ear holes, top-down raglan sweater with cables or Fair Isle, poncho and also a sewing pattern for trousers, complete with the tail hole.

This is a terrific teaching set.  If you want to teach a beginner, why not do it with small projects?  Or maybe you'd just like to finally get the hang of top-down raglans or round tams?

The video shows how to make the poncho.  Here are lots of great techniques in one video,.  This project is sideways knitted.  It has hems at both the bottom and the top, and they match.  It has an extra-easy neckline.  It has self-made fringe, and on this one you can learn to lock the fringe in place so it doesn't unravel where the fabric begins.  

'Nuff said, here's the video:

Sunday, November 6, 2022

TWO New Videos

 I just put up two new videos for November.  I usually do one a month, but I wanted to let people know about my digital pattern for a Mukluk in 3 gauges and 12 sizes in time for holiday knitting.

Here is the Mukluk video, which shows me knitting a child's size mukluk.  

And here is my regular monthly video, a pile knitted slouch hat.  This is warm, but keep in mind that this stitch is a bit fragile.  It's okay for a hat if you're careful, but much too easily snagged for something like a mitten or a pillow top.  

If anyone knows how to thoroughly lock the stitch, would you clue me in?  I think it is super cute and you might really enjoy making and wearing this:

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 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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