Tuesday, August 25, 2009

My First Ribber Lesson Video is UP!

I appreciate the kind comments and the people giving suggestions about the videos. It's certainly fun to get to the ribber videos, and although I'm going out of town soon I wanted to see if I could get one or two done.

Here's that first ribber lesson - definitely for beginners, but these will get more interesting as I go: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQZ_V5a7JLA

Your ribber adds tremendous capabilities to your knitting machine. For one thing, you go from having 200 needles on your standard machine to have 400 needles! You can do ribbing plus a lot of other textures; circular knitting; double jacquard, a kind of fair isle doubleknit; extra-wide knitting. There are just more options than you can count.

Here's something interesting, a very fast baby blanket that I make on the standard ribber:

A good place to start is with with casting-on, in fact, with a regular circular cast-on.

Most ribber cast-ons are variantions of the circular cast-on. The procedure is to have a zigzag row, where one strand goes from a main bed hook to a ribber hook to a main bed hook, and so on across the row. Then you know one row on the main bed only from left to right, one row on the ribber from right to left, and finally, one more row on the main bed from left to right.

You could get by with 2 rows circular instead of three, but what the heck, the Japanese manuals say three, so let's do three.

The circular cast-on works with k1 p1 ribbing and with full needle rib (k1 pl closer together). It also works with k2 p2 and k2 p1. For those odd ones, it's simply necessary to get the needles arranged to make the zigzag row.

After the circular rows are done, you change to regular tension and knit every needle and go on with the knitting.

When you get to k3 p3 and other variations where you can't do the zigzag row, the correct procedure is to do either K1 P1 as 1x1 or as full needle rib, and then immediately after the cast-on, move the stitches to the desired layout.

The other minor challenge with circular cast-ons is getting the tension just right. I strongly recommend that you swatch before every garment to get your tension the way you like it. Your ribber tension will be work up looser than you expect because of the distance between the beds. While you're at it, measure the ribbing for gauge, too. I like to do some ribbing, then transfer the stitches to the stockinette setup and main garment tension and see how that looks and feels.

You will find that the zigzag row needs to be tight, the circular rows need to be looser than that but tighter than the regular ribbing. You can, if the bottom edge is stubbornly flaring out, use scrap yarn and a ravel cord so that the comb isn't holding the stitches out so widely and get a tighter tension on the zigzag row, but I do not normally find that necessary.

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