Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Inspiration at Yet Another Canadian Artisan

 I really like this tuck stitch - such deep texture!

Monday, June 7, 2021

NEW VIDEO! Cluster Edging

 I am absolutely crazy about this edging!  It is fantastic around blankets, it's easy to do, and it looks great.

Tuesday, January 12, 2021


Strings 2 Things 2021

Machine Knitting Seminar with Diana Sullivan

Get fired up and knitting in 2021!  

I'm having another high-value, content-rich online machine knitting seminar with something for every machine knitter, from beginner to adventurer.  

The emphasis in this seminar is on habit-forming projects that your friends and family will love.  There will be lots of interesting techniques taught along the way! 

The seminar is in February, and registrations are limited! Please sign up early to ensure your place. 

Register or see details:

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

First Video of 2021 - Five Stitch Braided Cable

Happy New Year!  Alright already, let's knit!

I just love braided cables!  Here's one for almost any machine:

Friday, January 1, 2021

Inspiration - Socks from Tom C.

 Sometimes I get a wonderful finished project email from a knitter with photos.

Tom C. emailed me these pictures of his socks, and, well, wow!

Here are some clever details on these socks:

  • The fair isle is under a hem so there are no floats inside.
  • The sock bottoms have every-other-needle fair isle for padding and looks
  • The pictures that personalize them are original! Tom drew the charts using a PPD and uploaded them,

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Facebook in Ten Minutes a Day

I was advised that the best platform for my virtual seminars was going to be Facebook.

I rebelled at that.  I don't think social media brings out the best in a lot of people.   Also, Facebook has so, so much power over our lives and our used-to-be-private information.  

I studied alternatives, investigating a number of streaming platforms.  They were either expensive, complicated, or both.  

I ended up using Facebook because it lets you leave the video up in the private group so people can watch it whenever they want while the group is operating!  That is a fantastic feature.  Also, you can post all sorts of documents and links that keep all the necessities for a seminar together.  

I used Facebook, and it worked out just great.  Yup, I'll use it again.  I liked everything but Facebook "Rooms," which is like Zoom but not as good, not at all as good.

With me doing the seminars on FB, a lot of you are now communicating with me on FB.  I had to stop ignoring Facebook and start keeping an eye on it.  My friend list is longer, so I get more of everything.  If there's anger or negativity, I don't want that in my head because I will keep thinking about it.  

I especially want to manage my time, too - you know, more knitting and less nattering!

I have developed a deliberate system to deal with Facebook daily in 10 minutes or less.  I'm getting better at it, too!

Step One:  Open Notifications

  1. Check friend requests, and if the person is not a knitter, delete the request.  When my FB friend group got so large, a bunch of handsome older men with blank profiles wanted to be my friends.  These are fake scammer pod people.  An actual knitter usually has several of my knitting buddies on their friend list or pictures of their knitting machines or knitted items.  
  2. I love knitting posts, especially if they have pictures.  I only answer if I think I can add value somehow, perhaps answer a question or make a suggestion someone else hasn't already given.
  3. If the post is political, religious, sentimental, or any other kind of non-knitting, I might read it and I might not.  I am training myself to look at the picture and read the first sentence or so and make a decision.  This is most of the forwarded content and it's easily identified!  I spend no time on those whatsoever.  
  4. I do pay attention to family pictures and updates, of course.
  5. If the post is mean spirited, I spend no time on it.  I hardly ever see these, though, since most of my friends are knitters, an awesome group of people.  
  6. If the post is non-knitting and it's in a knitting group I administer, I delete it.  It's usually just a mistake.  For those groups, I posted "knitting only and be nice" rules, rules which also apply to me.  
Step Two:  Look at Messages

  1. If the message has a clickable link, I don't click it.  It might be malware.  I learned this the hard way.  :(  
  2. If the message is from a knitter or customer, I will do what I can to help them.  If it's a simple question, answer; if not, give them my email address and ask them to write an email.
  3. If the person wants to "chat" or "say hello," that's nice, but I do not respond.  
  4. If the person is writing in a foreign language, I do not respond.  I don't know why I get so many of these, but it looks like they sent them to a boatload of people and they're not really for me.
Does anyone want to spend less time on social media in 2021?  You might make your own strategy to burn through it faster.

Sunday, December 27, 2020

Inspiration from Eme

One of my knitting friends, Eme, sent me two photos of an absolutely beautiful baby blanket made using the Little Twist Cables technique.  I love the color!  Look how great her borders are, done in the ribbing!

Here's the video where I teach this easy cable:

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Wishing you a very merry Christmas!

We attend a wonderful church, and we have been able to attend lately (as they have social distancing, masks, etc.).  The services are also broadcast over the internet and available to view later.

This was my favorite sermon this Advent, a lesson tht gets to the heart of what God gave us for Christmas.

I hope you all have a beautiful, meaningful holiday!

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Choosing a Brother Knitting Machine

 I was asked a really terrific question recently.  If I were starting out, what standard gauge model Brother knitting machine would I choose?

I'm going to limit these comments to Brother machines.  Even limiting to the one brand, this is a very tough choice and a long essay.  

Do think about what you want to knit and what gives you joy.  

The Variety Knitter:  Speaking for myself, teaching and designing is the most fun, and that dictates that I teach and design on a the most popular models so you will get the most out of my books and videos.  But even if I weren't teaching, I would still design.  I always have a thing in my head I want to make.  I do knit other people's patterns, but I nearly always change at least a few things.  And, I constantly chase new ideas and different patterns.  

Are you like me?  If so, my workhorse standard gauge machine is the 965i.  Why?

  • The electronics give me lots of flexibility, which allows me to change things like the stitch design without punching a card.  I can make any design size I want, even if it's a multiple of 7 stitches or an isolated 92 stitches.  Electronics allows me to get the prep done quickly and start knitting.  Oh, by the way, I don't like punching cards, especially the noise my card punch makes.
  • The 965 has a big, big memory.  You could have a humongous picture that you put in its memory, but in my case, the big memory is handy for holding a lot small designs with individual pattern numbers.  
  • My "perfect" setup also includes a motor, Knit Leader, garter carriage, color changer, ribber and Design A Knit plus cables.  
  • Why not the 910, 930, 940, or 950?  No real reason, I like them all.  The 940 has the bigger memory.  The 965 is quite good with several patterns across something, so it's excellent for personalized items where you put in names.  Do you sell things or make gifts?  People love personalized items.  It's also great when you want borders.
I'm fortunate in that my husband (aka Mr. Fixit) deals with electronics quite cheerfully and effectively.  Sure, he's rather work on an antique motorcycle than fix a knitting machine, but he's fixed plenty of knitting machines for people.  John tells me to go ahead and have electronic machines, since I like them so much, and if they break, he'll try to fix them.  If he can't fix them, he'll help me find a replacement. Truthfully, I've had very, very few problems with my electronic machines.  I don't move them around a lot, I keep them inside and covered, nd I avoid shipping them.

Comments on the 970:  The 970 was the fanciest electronic machine Brother sold in the US, and they are indeed very feature-laden.  These are more expensive than the other models.  My biggest gripe is that they are harder to learn, and I keep meeting people who never learned the 970 and find themselves still knitting on a previous model.  

Charlene Shafer has good materials to help you learn the 970.  I also like the information on the Daisy Knits website.  

I do have one, and it's very nice to use.  However, the tiny display is hard on my eyes.  Also, these displays gradually dim and the luminescent panel will need replaced.  John puts a brighter light in them than the original, and other people do the job too.  I know Michael Becker does them.  

It is a great machine if you really love double jacquard in up to 6 colors, for instance, turning photographs into knitting.  

I've been told about the new console for the 970.  I haven't played with one, but I imagine I would really like it because I'd be using a big screen.  Hmm, I should look for one of those, although I really should only teach on the console most people have.

The Punch Card Lover:  Not everybody wants to fool with electronics.  Knitting machines can be quite frustrating, and if you don't love electronic gadgets, perhaps you'd rather not add learning to "program" patterns into the electronics.

Some knitters prefer punch card machines because they will never have to cope with broken electronics.  One of my friend's engineer husband told her to always buy punch card machines because he will always be able to fix them.  In her situation, I would definitely do that.

Some knitters have fantastic punch card collections and favorite patterns that use the punch cards.  I admit I haven't used extra wide patterns nearly as much as I thought I would when I went from punch card to electronic.  What I use is the flexibility and speed of putting in new patterns.

Are you an RV enthusiast?  Punch card machines don't need electricity.  

Punch card machines are less expensive and widely available.  The 24 stitch cards fit in multiple brands of machine.   

If you want a punch card machine, try to get one with pattern isolation.  Brother had little cam strips you put on the bed only where you wanted a pattern.  That was a very nice feature.  It's also really nice if you get one that works with a garter carriage - the older ones don't.  

The Prolific Knitter:  You might be doing some craft shows or knitting some volume for charity.  What machine you need will depend on what you make.  If you are running machines hard enough to wear them out, you would want to keep an eye out for a spare machine in great condition.  Most of all, I think you would want to use a machine you find easy to use.

I have never worn out a knitting machine.  I knit a lot, but not all day or every single day.  With a little care, these machines last a long time.  

The Beginner Knitter:  Many beginners make one of two humongous mistakes:

Beginner Big Mistake #1 is to purchase a cheap but awful machine to save money. Here's an example:  a knitter I knew purchased an old-time metal knitting machine from Germany with sinkers.  These were curved teeth that pulled down on the yarn as you went across with the carriage instead of using weights or a more sophisticated sinker plate.  I could not work that machine!  I really tried, but it constantly jammed.  

Now don't fuss at me in the comments that you loved that machine and you could have taught her.  At the time, I couldn't find a person who could teach her.  How could she, a beginner, manage that machine?  She tried incredibly hard over a period of time, but became discouraged and gave up the hobby entirely.  

I don't want to bad-mouth any particular machines here, but I urge you to avoid old, old machines, especially pre-punch card models.  Get a "modern" punch card or electronic machine.  I greatly dislike some of the new cheapie machines.  You want a machine that knits quickly and smoothly and has a proper upper tension unit.  If you want a plastic bed, get an LK150 or a Brother 350.  Are you a beginner considering some model or other?  Send me an email asking about the model you're considering, and I'll tell you what I know if I'm familiar with it.  I am NOT a dealer.  As we say in Texas, I don't have a dog in the fight.  I am focused on your knitting success.

Beginner Big Mistake #2 is to try to go it alone.  I prefer to learn things on my own, at my own speed and with nobody watching me fumble, but I didn't really master my machine until I found other knitters.  This isn't a good hobby to learn on your own.  There is just too much information that is not in the book.

Do yourself a huge favor and buy from someone who will will help you start or join a knitting club.  If you generally don't like to join groups, you might be quite surprised at how pleasant it is to be in a group of machine knitters.  Most groups are meeting virtually now, which means you can join a club thousands of miles away if you want.  I'm very happy with my remote membership in the San Francisco Bay Area Knitting Guild. I recently had an email from a knitting friend asking if there were a club near her.  It turns out she lives near one of the best clubs in the country! They will really help her out. 

You can learn from videos, too.  You can watch my instructional videos on YouTube at my channel, dianaknits.  I have hundreds of brief video classes, where I try to show and explain each step, and they're free!  I was one of the first people to do this, but LOTS of other knitters are doing it now, and they do good videos.

Finding a Machine:  I've written about this before, but a few fresh thoughts come to mind and a few things are well worth repeating.

Did you ever buy a lemon car?  Remember how expensive that was?  Well, on a knitting machine purchase, keep in mind that your biggest financial risk is buying a bad machine.  If you do find a deal at a yard sale or a thrift shop, don't spend more than you can afford to lose.  Some great machines have been found this way, and some had to be discarded because they were broken or the missing parts cost more than replacing the whole machine.  

Brother machines are getting quite old, and you don't know what they've been through with their prior owners. That's why I recommend buying from a dealer if you can.  Some of the dealers have amazing used Brother equipment for sale at very affordable prices.  A dealer who wants to stay in business cannot afford to sell you a bad machine.  That's why they go over used machines thoroughly, ensure that everything works and the parts are all included.

If you are hunting for a good machine, try searching for a local machine knitting club.  Most clubs have people who need to sell machines and some clubs have a person or two who loves to find homes for machines.  Here in Central Texas, we have no dealer, but if you contacted our knitting machine club, our members could help you find a good machine quickly.  

Monday, December 7, 2020

New Video - Bias Striped Gift Bag

 I have come to really appreciate holiday gift bags.  They're a time-saver, and reduce waste and mess since they can be reused.  

Here's one you can knit, and while you're at it, you'll practice working with bias knitting, making knitted cord, and sewing a grafted seam.  Have some fun with it - change the size, make it in striped cake yarn, or scrappy stripes, or run a fair isle down the bias - whatever you like to do with whatever you have on hand.

Do you like my videos?  When you watch this on YouTube, click on Subscribe and Notify.  I do at least one every month and really try to vary the topics.  

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

My Next Virtual Seminar

 Hey, everyone, I'm working on the next virtual seminar for early next year.

The ones I did in 2020 had four half-day sessions and picked four big topics.  I plan to follow that same general format.

So here's my question for you, and giving me answers is the very best way to help me:

What sort of projects and techniques would you most like to have covered in a knitting seminar? 

Leave a comment here or send me an email.  Down on the left-hand side of the blog is an envelope icon where you can email me.

Monday, November 16, 2020

Brand New Video - How to Use your Tilt Stand and Tilt Safe Brackets

When I taught the Rib It! seminar, the knitters really noticed my tilt stand and how I use it.  There are a lot of advantages to them:

  • Tilt stands are very sturdy.  I have had really old ones (like 30+ years) and they are still rock solid.
  • Tilt stands don't rock or wiggle.  The four legs are spread for a wide base.  The legs have thick rubber pads on the ends that stay put.
  • These stands have a holder in the back for the lid of your knitting machine case.  That lid holds a lots of miscellaneous necessities for machine knitting.  Mine are chock-full of items, and I'm grateful to have them right there within reach.  I might have to stand up and peer over the back of the machine, but this holds a lot more tools and books than a flat table, unless you have an enormous flat table.
  • Tilt stands have a relatively small footprint.
  • If you want them taller, you can put each leg on a bed riser and then stand to knit.  I just put them on the floor, and use an adjustable office chair that I move up and down to change my body position from time to time as I knit.
  • They are just the right thickness to hold machine clamps.
  • They're expensive, but you can find them used, since they last so long.
  • Best of all, you can go from slanted operation with your ribber to flat and back again in seconds!
I was surprised at how many questions I got about tilt stands.  This new video covers those questions.

Also, I originally had the very old style ones, which did not have a security bracket to hold the clamps. When I treated myself to a new one I discovered that the new ones come with these brackets.  I promptly decided that the safety brackets are an absolute necessity.  Without them, with the stand tilted, you could have your machine slip right off onto the floor or your lap!  The machine is both fragile and heavy.

Other people had the same thought.  Ronnie in Chicago has a source for these safety clamps that I put in the video description, below the video on YouTube.  The ordering links are here, as well:

There are two sizes, 1" and 2", so look at your stand and see which ones you need.  I do not have an affiliation to "feature" these items - I simply am very happy with the 1" ones I bought and I want to spread the word and support vendors who are willing to manufacture items we need and can't get elsewhere!

Important: Do not overtighten your machine clamps!  Gradually, over-tightened clamps spread and then no longer hold the machine securely.  I don't have great grip strength, and to tighten them, I grab a short dowel or chopstick for a little leverage.  You could use a screwdriver shaft or a longer stick, but don't overdo it!  Also, I avoid using the racking handle for tightening.  It is probably strong enough, but I'd hate to damage it.

Sunday, November 15, 2020

My Two 2020 Seminars - USBs Available

 Now that the two 2020 virtual seminars are over (whew!), I wanted to announce that their contents are available on USB flash drives.  We have caught up on these and have plenty in stock. 

This is VERY new and different for me.  Let me tell you the Readers Digest version of what happened.

In the springtime, with the pandemic, machine knitting seminars all over the country were cancelled.  I was very disappointed, since I had some great seminars planned, and I started to think about doing a virtual seminar.  I asked several very knowledgeable people about how to go about it and whether it could work for me, and then I recruited my son and husband to figure out the technical set up for the knitting video.  Gradually, it started to look quite possible, and with just a few announcements on social media, the first seminar, Summer Seminar 2020, filled up.  

As the summer went by, we solved our technical issues, putting a studio setup in the house with a new video system and a new sound system.  I figured out how to run the seminar on Facebook, how to enroll people, and I worked to create an experience, not just a class.  We had vendor advertising and discounts, online discussions, socials on Zoom (after trying and abandoning Facebook Rooms, which didn't measure up to Zoom at all).  I put on extra sessions both before and after the main curriculum, and we worked out all sorts of minor technical issues.  

Summer Seminar ended up huge - four planned half-day sessions plus two long bonus sessions, detailed handouts for everything, and a bunch of free patterns.  The knitters were amazing, sharing all sorts of ideas, photos, patterns, links, and friendship on the Facebook page.  A number of knitters asked me to put out the videos later without editing so they could have a permanent copy of the materials.  There were so many hours of video that we had to rule out DVDs and downloads and I finally came up with the USB flash drive idea.  

To my astonishment, the USB flash drives were quite popular.  Feedback and reviews have been great!

When Summer Seminar was well underway, another club asked me to do a virtual seminar on the ribbing attachment.  I went to work on fresh curriculum and offered that one (Rib It!) in early fall to that club and others who wanted to participate in a seminar specializing on the ribber.  This was really different material, much more specialized classes, and it turned out great.  A lot of knitters don't get nearly as much great knitting out of their ribbers as they could, and I am quite proud of that curriculum.  We had four half-day sessions again and a bonus session, plenty of free patterns, detailed handouts again, and all those hours of video and documents went on another 64GB USB drive for sale at a deep discount to seminar participants.  

If you couldn't make either seminar, the USBs are both available at  

These little USB flash drives go into an envelope and I just drop them in the mail like letters.  Since that's cheaper to mail than the padded envelopes we usually use for books and videos, we've been able to offer them with free shipping.  

Keep an eye on this space - I am planning my first 2021 seminar for early spring!  

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

New Video - Tower Cable

 Every so often, I get a bit obsessed with cables!  There are just endless variations.  Sometimes, you want a BIG cable to anchor your design.  Here's one!

And now, a word from our Sponsor.  ME!

I finally got all my products onto USB flash drives.  This is an option.  If you buy a book and video set, you can purchase the coil-bound book and the DVD(s), or as an alternative, you can get the USB flash drive.  The flash drives are very nice for people who don't play DVDs anymore.  But mainly, they're good for our international customers, because I am shipping them for FREE (instead of the current minimal shipping of $17 beyond the US and Canada).

I used the USBs as a way to make video and handouts available for my two 2020 virtual seminars, and I have gotten very positive feedback about it.  I wasn't so was new and therefore a bit unpredictable, wasn't it?  So these look like little credit card or business card sized flat plastic things with a swing-out USB piece.  In fact, the front of it is my business card art and the back has a sticker with the contents.  You push it in your USB port and the video is .MP3 and the documents are .PDF. files.  

For such a little thing, they're are fairly large data capacity and more costly to me than the previous products, books and DVDs.  I've kept the prices the same, though, for at least an introductory period.  I have to see how this goes.  

My international knitters have been asking me to do digital downloads for years.  I can easily create patterns that are just written instructions and do that, but I want to include the videos of how to do everything, which has always been the heart of my patterns.

DVDs have chapter markers so you can pop over to the video you want.  MP3s don't.  As a solution to that, I created a READ ME file with a list of all the demos and where to find them on the video in minutes and seconds.  

Some Apple products don't have a USB drive.  If that's what you have, you'll need an adapter.  

Friday, November 6, 2020

New Video - Surprise! Cable Join

 OOPS!  Somehow didn't announce October's new video on this blog.

Actually, I know how I forgot.  I have an interesting new product line coming out, and I've been crunching away, working on getting that ready.

Anyway, I promise this is a VERY cool video.  You end up with a "cable" join for two knitted panels that is:


* Introduces another color, if you want

* Well-closed and warm

* Best of all - it looks like a braided cable!

So have a look:

Thursday, September 17, 2020

New Video - Playing with the Kris Krafter Needle Beetle

Over the years, I've come to admire Kris Basta's commitment to machine knitting.  She's the lady who manufactures and sells the nice Kris Krafter garter bars. She makes them in gauges that we can't get anywhere else.  

Kris now has a new product.  It fits right into that same category of needed but very difficult to find machine knitting gadgets.

This one is called the Needle Beetle.  What the Beetle does is select needles on your LK150, LK140, LK100 or GK370 knitting machine so you can more easily make pattern stitches.  You pick out the first 8 needles on the right, you slide the Beetle along, and it picks out the needles on across the needles in work, copying those first 8 needles accurately.  I found this was much easier and more accurate than hand-picking all the way across the needles in work.  

The Beetle works on 6.5 or 9 mm gauges.  You have to unscrew and flip over the cam inside to go from the 6.5 gauge to the 9 mm gauge.  I haven't done that myself, as I don't have a Studio 9 mm plastic machine.  I do have an LK150, though, and I had a blast playing with this new toy.

You can use this for tuck, slip, lace, tuck mosaic, slip mosaic, and fair isle.  I tried quite a few stitches, but not wanting the video to go on forever, this video shows a tuck stitch and a slip stitch.

Here's my video:


Things I learned along the way:

1.  The Beetle goes from right to left, only.  You'll move it into position on the bed each time you want to select needles.

2  The Beetle does not work on other machines besides the ones Kris named.  It's a slider, folks - it has to fit the needle bed size.

3.  If you want to not tuck end stitches, you've got to move them back yourself.  If you want to not slip end stitches, you need to move those, too.

4.  Hold the knitted fabric against the bed as you slide.  Fabric can come toward you if needles are being moved toward you!

5.  Use your row counter to help you keep track of charts.

6.  The Beetle would be fantastic in conjunction with the Fair Isle carriage, but those are rare.  I don't have one of those.  For Fair Isle, I did it a color at a time.

7.  Have you got two LK150 carriages?  I do!  You can feed one color in one and one color in the other for color work.

8.  The Beetle does 8-stitch repeats.  You'll be amazed at how many 8-stitch charts you can find.  In particular, Kris sent me to to download some of the old Jones 8-stitch pattern books.  You'll also be surprised how many of the stitches in the newer pattern books use a 2-, 4, or 8-stitch repeat.

If you want one of these, go to and have a look.  Kris has an introductory price right now, so if you want a deal, you need to get your order in before that special ends.  

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Update on Virtual Seminars

I did two virtual machine knitting seminars this summer.  It was a fantastic experience!  I was able to offer far more content than I've ever been able to do in a seminar, we had a little community in a Facebook private group for each seminar, and the back-and-forth, including pictures of member projects, was inspiring and energizing.

Summer Seminar is winding up.  I had a couple people who hadn't been able to see the content, so I left it open for an extra 48 hours. Tomorrow, Thursday), the Facebook private group closes.  If you are a member and still need to see some content, go there today.  

The Rib It! seminar live sessions are over, and the Facebook pages will be up all of September.

Both seminars are closed to new members.

The 64 gigabyte USB drives with the seminar contents from Summer Seminar 2020 were incredibly popular.  We sold out of these but have more arriving this weekend.  You can order the Summer Seminar ones, and I will fill orders in the order they were received.  It will take me up to a week to catch up on the duplication.

Later, I will offer Rib It! seminar USBs. 

I'll make update announcements here.

New Video This Month - Embossed Diamond Cable

 Here's a cable for any machine.  No ribber required, no patterning required:

Friday, August 7, 2020

Another Virtual Seminar Coming Up

I got great feedback on Summer Seminar, and with a favorite knit club requesting a seminar focused on the ribbing attachment, I've decided to do that one virtually.

This one is four sessions that focuses on using your flatbed knitting machine ribber.  This is more in-depth teaching than I usually get to do on the ribber.  This is NOT a general interest seminar - you'll really need a ribber so you can practice and benefit.

It's  held in a Facebook private group, so you'll need a Facebook ID and some patience with the quirks of Facebook.  The reason I've used that is it lets us record the sessions and you can watch them anytime as long as the group is open.

It will be next weekend and the weekend after, but as I said, you can watch them live or watch them later.  There will be detailed written handouts.

Registration for the seminar (and a very detailed description of curriculum and dates) is available here: