Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Baby Blankets

I made some baby blankets for the local hospital. Although I was promised some emailed specifications for baby blankets from them, that didn’t happen. I had to make the blankets, though, because the ideas were popping out of my head.

These are ribber blankets, about 24” x 30” on the size because that’s a good bassinette size. These come out narrow but just a little steaming makes them wider. I had to crochet around one of them to give it a better-looking edge, but for the other one, I devised a built-in border. Free pattern to come soon.
Now I have to bug the hospital again about specifications.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Fighting the Yarn Mess

My accomplishment of the weekend was cleaning up the den where I knit socks. A big part of this was going through all the odds and ends of yarn.
Unless I make knee-length socks, each sock uses less than a 50-gram ball, so no matter what size I make, I have just a little yarn left from each ball. I spent some time sorting out all the interesting color schemes to try to make some composite socks from the leftovers. Then I made a pile of leftovers where there obviously isn’t enough to make socks, which I will use for baby socks, hats, hair scrunchies and the like.

I also filled a basket with things to sew up.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Short Butt Ribber Needles for Sock Machine

I tried the short butt ribber needles in my Legare (they’re actually shorter overall, therefore, don’t pop out as far and pull back closer to the center). They worked okay, but not as well as the regular ones. So I set them aside to try in a different machine.

After much fiddling with the rivet, I decided it just didn’t make enough difference so that ribbing stitches consistently did not drop. I changed out the cylinder needles and put in large-eyed needles. I will stick with the them; it ribs flawlessly with them.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Last night I spent some time winding my new sock yarn so I can start knitting it. I have found that the circular sock machines work much better if the yarn is very loosely wound in a pull ball and put on the floor.

I heard a very interesting idea for Christmas. My co-worker’s grandma gives each person $100 for her gift, in advance of Thanksgiving so they can hit the sales. Then she has them over for a Christmas meal (actually before Christmas) and they are supposed to bring whatever their gift choice was, wrapped, and open it in front of everyone. Grandma gets to see what she got the family, and they have a very good time at the party.

Monday, January 12, 2009

January Knit Club Meeting

Knit Natters Saturday was wonderful. Barbara, Pat, Mary, Rose, Sylvia, and Mildred were there. Everybody liked the lace scarf, and I think the demo was easy enough. We showed Sylvia some things – it’s so encouraging that she’s already knitted so many good swatches and a nice scarf (lined, with fair isle on each end).

I couldn’t get over how nice Barbara’s project – a notebook of charity patterns for each of us – turned out. I had a few more to bring, and we added those. She had additional plastic sleeves. Rose and Mary from Marble Falls talked about their church’s charity knitting. They are very prolific knitters - once they get a pattern that works for their charities, they knit it dozens of times.

I talked to a friend at church about donating baby blankets to the hospital where she works. Because people have donated blankets that didn’t work, they give out a pattern now and even the yarn. Of course, the problem is that we want to do machine knit ones, which are not going to be out of the thick yarn they give volunteers. I’ll have to get some patterns cleared with them, and maybe another hospital or two. It sounds like I need about 24” x 30” blankets for the samples – they say bassinette size, and not crib size, but I can’t be sure until I talk to them.

The current “to do” list for my knitting:
1. Try short-butt needles in my Legare ribber (why not try them?)
2. Organize the book mess
3. Organize the yarn mess from my sock knitting leftovers
4. Wind my newest sock yarn acquisitions into balls, ready to go
5. Work on our website
6. Get my DAK cable working with the 970
7. Figure out more baby blankets and knit samples to show hospital.
8. Make the shawl out of the turquoise laceweight baby alpaca
9. Another lace scarf out of the other hank of hand-dyed baby alpaca

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Greet Charity Knitting Patterns

I am active in the Austin, Texas machine knitting guild The Knit Natters, A few of us take care of the program, and Barbara Deike does the hostess work, as well as doing almost all the Passap programs. We decided that charity knitting will be the Knit Natters club theme this year.

Barbara made a notebook for each of our regular Knit Natters with plastic sleeves and charity knitting patterns. I have put a bunch of my free patterns for charity knitting up at the club website. She also asked us to find favorites of ours and make copies for the notebooks.

I have found that quite a few other people write free charity patterns and post them on the web. There are terrific preemie patterns available at
Lots of fun patterns at our neighboring knit club (Dallas/Ft. Worth)

Friday, January 9, 2009

Sock Roundup

I am still tweaking the Legare to make it rib better on the 72 cylinder. I played a little with the Stretch from Regia. It behaves a little differently because it is so springy.

I took some pictures of recently made socks:

Made with Bare yarn, dyed with Kool-Aid. To get these stripes, which are about two rounds on the 72-stitch cylinder, I wrapped the yarn around the lip of my 6-foot kitchen counter and made a giant hank, then dyed half blue and half green. It was tedious, and then extra work to wind into a ball from which I could knit, but I got my stripes. These socks have no ribbing on the top of the foot.

The dark blue pair is the regular Knit Picks 75/25 sock yarn, in their teal color. I made a short cuff, ribbed through the ankle, so these are lowtops.

The red and light blue socks were dyed with Kool Aid. I tie-dyed the hank in three places. Yes, there’s a second blue sock.

These have the 1 x 3 on top of the foot, as described on January 7.

The pink, gray, hot pink and brown socks are Paton’s Kroy that I found at Michael’s on sale. It’s a much heavier sock. It knitted quite well, though, with my regular gym sock crew style and the ribs down the top of the foot. I got a pretty good color match by starting the second one part way into the skein.

None of these socks were blocked. The heels and toes are not flat, but the plump, springy feel of the knitting is retained. I don’t wash socks before I give them away.

Rivet, Rivet

I still want to use only small hook cylinder needles with the 72/36 combination on the Legare. I had found that the yarn comes out a little outside the hook and was thinking about a way to pad the yarn feeder so the yarn pathway would move in just a tiny bit.

Last night, John and I found an ordinary sewer’s rivet in my sewing things and he pushed it into the Legare yarn carrier.

The red rivet makes the yarn come out just a millimeter or two closer to the cylinder needles. The photo shows the small hook cylinder needles (vertical needles) and how they now have the turquoise yarn feeding exactly into them.
It wasn’t deep enough to crimp around the Legare yarn feeder, so it’s on there with a drop of Super Glue. We can get it off if we need to.

It does seem better! However, I have cranked a few feet of ribbing and it isn’t perfect. Especially with some yarns, it drops a cylinder stitch once in a while. Not all fingering weight sock yarn is alike, and it looks like the fatter ones need a bigger stitch size, higher ribber plate, and a waxing. I plan to adjust and knit with it a little more and see if I can actually use only the small eye needles.

A box from Webs arrived yesterday! I’d ordered at their year-end sale. I snagged some Regia Stretch sock yarn, some Trellis yarn for handknitting scarves, and some stretchy cotton sock yarn.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

My Best Sock Ever

I started making socks with the 72/36 combination on the Legare and have made my best socks ever. They have ribbing across the top of the foot and ankle and a long 1x1 cuff. I’m using Kool Aid dyed Knit Picks Bare sock yarn, 75% wool and 25% nylon. It’s silky soft and the easiest yarn I have ever used on these old machines.

I have knitted many, many socks with a long ribbed cuff and a stockinet foot. I really have to think differently to make that ribbed foot top. When you get to the heel shaping, the drive pin for the ribber comes OUT and the ribber cam gets parked over the center mark.

We were watching TV while I knitted and John surfed the Net. I don’t think I multitask well, but TV isn’t all that interesting with all the long commercial breaks. John got sick of the dumb program I was listening to and put on an interesting, recorded Cold Case.

My concentration went right away, and I forgot to pull out the drive pin at the beginning of the heel shaping. I pulled the back needles up for short rows, turned to the right, and took the ribber cams with the yarn carrier. It dropped the ribber stitches across the top of the foot. What a mess – first the needles have to come out, anything that didn’t drop has to be put on a cylinder needle, the ribber has to come off, all the dropped stitches have to be latched up with a little ribber needle, knitting has to be ripped back, ribber has to be put back on and stitches put back on ribber needles. That took me about 30 minutes, but I did it and finished my sock with very pretty yarn.

That was very interesting episode of Cold Case. In fact, on the second sock, I got all the way to the toe shaping and DID IT AGAIN! When I lifted the ribber dial this time, it was such a mess with so many stitches dropped and such unravelling that I took everything off and unraveled the sock. John suggested I stop for the evening. I took that excellent suggestion and walked away.
It’s almost like a curse, being punished by making the same idiotic and frustrating mistake over and over.

Last night after supper, I told John I had to go break a curse. I went in the den and managed to knit the second sock just perfectly.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Lace Alpaca Scarf

For months now, I’ve had some baby alpaca, hand-dyed, fingering weight, given to me by Mary Page. Mary lives in San Angelo now but drives to our Knit Natter meetings anyway (God bless her). In San Angelo, she’s met some local folks who have alpacas and other fiber critters and they are spinning this dream yarn. She gave me some as a gift-for-no-reason, and I’ve puzzled over what to make with it.

Mary’s charming, positive, and an encourager. Many times once I’ve seen her make a stranger’s day with kind, appropriate, and sincere words.

Last night, New Year’s Eve, I set up the garter carriage and knitted a scarf using this hank of yarn. It’s only 2.2 ounces, but there’s a lot of yardage. The next morning, I bound off the finished scarf and tried it on. What a shame – it’s not really long enough (I let the g-carriage run until it ran out) and it’s not soft like it ought to be. I used too much bumpy little seed stitch. I unraveled the whole thing and began again with an idea of how to make the yarn go much farther by knitting lace.

This is the finished lace scarf done on the 965i (on my brown comforter, maybe not the best background).

I got a nice 5-foot scarf out of my little 2.2 ounce hank! And, it’s silky and soft.
The scalloped edges are not all that difficult, and one of my favorite things to do with lace knitting. One of these days, I’d like to write a lace instruction book.

This is my demo for January’s Knit Natters’s meeting, Saturday 1/10/09. Blocking it was necessary to make the scalloped edges show up and to get it not to roll. I pinned it on the ironing board, because it’s long, steamed it like crazy, and left it to dry. I worked quickly, didn’t measure as I pinned, and that was fine for this project. Also, here’s a close-up shot of the finished scarf.