Wednesday, October 28, 2009

What I'm Knitting

I am cranking socks these last few days. I'm rather fussy about my socks. I use the 72-stitch cylinder on the Legare for most of them, and I run ribbing down the top of the foot for an elegant look and somewhat better fit. I have that whole gorgeous grab bag of sock yarn I bought from Barry, and Christmas is coming. I have several people who will be disappointed if they don't get socks at Christmas.

Of course I'm thinking about what the next videos will be, and for a while, I think gift ideas are the best plan. I have a scarf pattern I made a bunch of last year that I might put up, and I have an idea for a warm scarf/hood as well. Additionally, I have a baby sweater in my head that needs to get worked out and knitted and would be a great little gift sweater.

I didn't go to Weight Watchers until Tuesday this week, and lost about a half pound for the week. Last week I had lost just a little over a pound. So I continue to work at it and expect some health benefits to accrue.


Beautiful scarf:

LOVE the way the cables are done!

Hmm, we could do something like that on the knitting machine with ribber, or the garter carriage. You just have to be patient and do some hand-transferring.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Crazy Woman Puts Shawl On Tree

Finally, a pretty decent photo of the drop lace shawl.

Last night when I got home, it was beautiful outside with plenty of good light, but I still had to walk the dog and do a few things before I could mess around with trying to photograph my shawl. Attempts to photograph this big black object inside the house had been very frustrating, and I'm dismayed to admit that there isn't a good shot of it in the how-to video.

I didn't have a model. I was home alone. The shawl is too large to show on a hanger. So, I draped the shawl on a low branch of our magnolia tree. (I always wanted a magnolia tree, and when we purchased this house in Texas, the tree was small but healthy. Now it's as tall as the two-story house. It blooms with enormous, plate-sized fragrant white flowers. Its shade is so dense that no grass grows directly under it.)

By the way, see the nice straight edges on this shawl? The only finishing is one row of single crochet at each of the two narrow ends. On the sides of the panel, I had two extra ribber stitches on each side, which did not have corresponding main bed stitches. Since the main bed stitches create the drop holes, there were never any holey spots along the edge. Those side edges look just fine. Also, after killing the shawl, curling is minimal.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Lunchtime at the Thai Noodle House

I met Melissa, a UT student friend, for lunch at the Thai Noodle House in Austin. This little restaurant is tucked away on a tiny side street (maybe I should say, alley) off Guadalupe, the street lined with businesses that cater to University of Texas Students.

It rained and was gloomy in the morning, but by lunchtime, it was sunny and beautiful.

The Thai Noodle House serves delicious Asian food, and on nice days, you can sit on the deck and enjoy the flowers.


Georgeous bed jacket at Mason Dixon knitting:

Drop Lace Stole

I continue to be frustrated in my desire to photograph the black lace stole and show how very pretty it is! We have rain and gloom here, so an outdoor photo hasn't been possible. Here I've hung it over the door, draped it over my arm, and John took a photo. I don't think the lace shows much at all, nor does the drape.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Drop Lace Stole

The lace stole turned out just beautiful! I am finding it very difficult to photgraph, since it's black. I will have to try and photograph it in the bright daylight.

What makes the stole luxurious is it's generous size and it's softness. I would like to make this again, possibly using a yarn with a run-along metallic thread.

It takes two videos to show how to do the project. Here are some details:

Yarn: Worsted weight, fuzzy acrylic. I used 6 50-gram balls.

Pattern Stitch: Brother 270 stitch world 158 with reverse button turned on. You could use any pattern that's suitable for drop lace. I did a ribber lesson on drop stitch lace.

The videos:

Part 1 of 2:

Part 2 of 2:

Monday, October 19, 2009

Upcoming Ribber Project Video

I have a whole bag of black, fuzzy yarn (Pingouin Mousse) given to me by my elegant youngest sister. I've had it a long time, and Karen probably only dimly remembers giving it to me. Well, I'm turning it into a long, slinky stole/shawl using drop stitch on the bulky ribber.
Suitable yarns - fuzzy, acrylic yarns like Unger's Fluffy, or Reynolds Kitten, or Lion's Jiffy. But a warning: do not use a bulky weight. It has to be a light worted weight yarn. Fuzzy yarns knit up thicker than they look.
Here's the swatch, sideways. The actual project is knitted (and I filmed my work) up to the blocking stage. I am going to block it hard with steam this evening - what we gentle knitters call "killing" the fabric. It won't have any bounce, spring, or curl. It'll be flat and drapey, and hard-blocking will make the lacy stitches show better.
I hit on the idea of having two extra stitches at the ends of the ribber bed to make a little better edge, and am pleased with that. I decided not to add fringe, and merely crocheted on the ends for a cast-off.

Interesting Handknitting Stitch

I got this from an 1846 book, Exercises in Knitting by Cornelia Mee, which I downloaded from Amazon to my Kindle for free. I had to do a little research to figure out that when she specifies "seam stitch," that's a purl stitch.
She calls for large needles - "large wooden pins" - but I don't know how that would compare to today's needle sizes. Just for grins, I knitted up this swatch. It's called "German Pattern of Open Double Knitting, Both Sides Alike," and knits up rather thick. I've knitted a lot of stitch patterns, but this one was new to me, and I hope I knitted it correctly. I've translated it to our jargon.
Cast on 71 stitches.
First Row: *Purl 1, yarn over, Slip 1 purlwise, repeat from *, end purl 1. Do this row only once.
Second & All Remaining Rows: *Purl 2 together, yarn over, slip 1 purlwise, repeat from *. Purl the 1 stitch left at the end.

Why You Need These Ribber Wires

On the right, see my old ribber wire, and to its left, the new ribber wire?

What a difference good ribber wires make! These wires from Helen Griffiths are sturdier and not so easily bent. I finally have enough for all my machines!

In you need ribber comb wires, Helen's the person, prices are good, and you can email her at No affiliation. I'm just a fan of Helen's.

Chorus Austin

My friend Victoire (on left) and me, at the Chorus Austin performance Saturday night. We ushered, and then in this shot, we were holding the donation baskets. My husband was there, ushering, and friends Diane and Elaine were there from the Austin CPA chapter.

We had so much fun! There are over a hundred singers and quite a nice orchestra, too. It was an absolutely beautiful performance.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Happy Saturday!

Saturday morning updates -

Weight Watchers - I keep forgetting to update this. I am staying the course! Two weeks ago I lost over 2 pounds and then the next week, gained one back. I wasn't really doing anything different, but it goes up and down in this zigzag way. I don't weigh in again until Monday evening, and I'm eating soft foods because of my dental work Thursday, but I think I did okay this week.

Tonight we're attending a choral concert. Some friends of mine sing in this group, and they do classical pieces with some kind of orchestra - I don't know how big of an ensemble. I know they work very hard on this production and have maybe 100 voices and lots of talent in the group. This will be interesting!

Ah, knitting, don't quite know what's next. I may go right off my beaten path and spend some time with my Passap and my CSMs over the next few days, or I might put up another gifty project pattern or two. It's certainly time to start planning seriously for the holidays.

I got my ribber comb wires in the mail this morning that I ordered from Helen Griffiths. The ribber wires that came with each of my Brother machines are just awful, flimsy, bendy and frustrating, and Helen's wires are straight, sturdy, and fit like a dream. I believe her husband Cliff has a source for the right stuff and makes them. I didn't have enough for all my machines, and now I will. In fact, I ordered an extra set. In you need ribber comb wires, Helen's the person, prices are good, and you can email her at No affiliation, just an honest endorsement.

One more thing - you know that post, below, about the beautifully matched striped socks? Well, if you look in the comments, the knitter has remarked that she does two socks at a time on circular needles and watches the striping to absolutely ensure that it matches! That a great tip for handknitting the socks; I don't know how to apply it to machine knitting them unless I had another circular sock machine and cranked them both at the same time...I bet you can just picture that. :)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Matching Self-Striping Yarn

A wonderful example here:

Good quality self-striping yarn will usually match fine just fine if you start each garment piece (or in this case, sock) at the same place in the color sequence.

Yarn Label Symbols

Hat tip to The Patchwork Frog:

Goodies from Barry Arrived!

Barry Travis is a participant in the online circular sock knitting machine community, and answered a lot of my questions and dished up lots of encouragement as I was learning. Now that I'm a habitual sock cranker, and he was selling a 15-pair grab bag of sock yarn, I couldn't resist. He also has coned boot yarn for sale, and I bought some, but haven't tried it yet. I have bought parts from him before. It really helps to have a good, new cylinder springs, and I bought a couple of those as well to put on my Gearhart, which I plan to use soon for some sock yarn I have that is too fat for the 72-stitch cylinder.
I like the colors! There's enough for a pair of socks in each color scheme.
No affiliation, he's just a nice guy and a good source for CSM parts. Barry is at if you want to email him about his items for sale.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Child's English Rib Sweater - Links

Video 1 of 3 - Start Knitting the Child's English Rib Sweater

Video 2 of 3 - Finish Knitting the Child's English Rib Sweater

Video 3 of 3 - Sewing Up & How to do Child's English Rib Sweater on Bulky Machine

Photo of Sweater on Tiffany & General Notes

Pattern for Bulky Version

Pattern for Sport Weight Version - On Standard Machine

Pattern for 2/12 Version - On Standard Machine

Child's English Rib Sweater

I now have this little sweater in three weights - fingering (well, 2/12), sport weight, and sport weight on the bulky. I found that I couldn't get the same gauge on the two different machines - no surprise there, so two sets of instructions are needed.

There are two videos, because that's what it takes to go over the basics. Of course, virtually everything was covered in the ribber lessons, but sometimes you just want to knit and not go back to the lessons and review, so the instructions are in here all over again.

You do not need patterning for this project. You need either a bulky or a standard gauge machine with a ribber. This photo is Barbara's granddaughter Tiffany in one that Barbara made, and Barbara decided to crochet around the neckline.

Even though the pattern is just rectangles, we were very pleasantly surprised at how good it looks on the body. It's all ribbed, so it moves with an active child. It's an elbow-length sleeve, again, for a busy little critter. It could be a warm wool sweater, though, and if you want a long sleeve, you'll have to adjust it. The sport-weight sweater I knitted is much warmer than the 2/12 Tiffany's wearing. If I lengthened the sleeve, I'd do some shaping to make it narrower toward the wrist.

I was using the pattern as a stash-buster, and for knitting sweaters for charity, and for using small amounts of leftover variegated sock yarn.

English Rib Sweater - Bulky Machine Version

English Rib Child's T-Sweater
by Diana Sullivan

Yarn: Sport Yarn

Machine: 9 mm bulky gauge with ribber; patterning not needed
About Tension 2 - both 1 x 1 ribbing and English Ribbing

Gauge (relaxed): 5.8 stitches and 9.8 rows per inch in 1 x 1 ribbing
Gauge swatch - 40 sts by 60 rows, 6.9" wide by 6.1" tall

Front and Back (made the same):

Size 2, Size 4, Size 6, Size 8, Size 10

Width Across in Inches: 12.25", 13", 13.75", 14.5", 15.5"
Starting at bottom edge
Stitches to Cast On: 71, 75, 79, 85, 89
The needles on the ribber count - so for instance, if it says cast on 71, you will cast on 36 stitches on the main bed and 35 stitches on the ribber in full needle rib.
T 0 Zigzag Row
Hang Comb & 2 lg wts
T2, Circular knit 3 rows
T5 or tension to give gauge
RC 000
Rows to knit in full-needle rib: 8 8 10 10 12
Switch to full-needle English Rib
Length to armholes 9.5", 10.5", 11.5", 12.5", 13.5"
Rows to knit 84, 94, 102, 112, 122
Row counter says 92, 102, 112, 122, 134
Place marker
Length of armhole 5.5", 6", 6.5", 7", 7.5"
Rows to knit for armhole 44, 50, 54, 58, 64

Knit to row #144, 160, 176, 190, 210
Switch to plain full needle rib, rows to knit: 8 8 10 10 12
RC #154, 168, 186, 200, 220
Change to plain ribbing settings and very loose tension, knit 1 row. Change to waste yarn, regular tension and circular knitting and knit 20 rows (10 rounds), then cast off using the loop-through-a-loop bindoff.


Width across: 11", 12", 13", 14", 15"
Cast on in full needle rib T5 (or tension for gauge): 63, 69, 75, 81, 87
RC 000
Knit to row #8 8 10 10 12
Switch to full-needle English Rib
Knit __ additional rows: 64, 66, 72, 78, 80
RC #72, 74, 82, 88, 92
Cast off LOOSELY (same technique and back and front)

Sport Weight English Rib Child's Sweater - Standard Machine

Use this pattern for the standard machine. You won't get this gauge with the bulky machine - there's another pattern for that machine.

English Rib Child's T-Sweater
by Diana Sullivan

Yarn: Sport Yarn
Machine: Standard gauge with ribber; patterning not needed
About Tension 7 - both 1 x 1 ribbing and English Ribbing - Adjust tension to get your gauge!

Gauge (relaxed): 6.75 stitches and 12.75 rows per inch in English Rib
40 stitch by 60 row swatch: 4.7" tall and 5.9" wide

Front and Back Pieces:

Size 2, Size 4, Size 6, Size 8, Size 10
Width Across in Inches: 12.25, 13, 13.75, 14.5, 15.5
Starting at bottom edge, cast on 83, 87, 93, 97, 105 stitches
Set up for 1 x 1 rib
Tension 0 Zigzag Row
Hang Comb & 2 large weights
T2, Circular knit 3 rows
RC 000
Rows to knit in 1x1 rib 8, 8, 10, 10, 12

Switch to English Rib
Length to armholes will be 9.5" 10.5" 11.5" 12.5" 13.5
Rows to knit: 108 122 134 148 160
RC #116 130 144 158 172
Place marker - this is where the armhole begins

Length of armhole = 5.5" 6" 6.5" 7" 7.5"
Rows to knit for armhole: 64 70 74 82 86
Knit to row #180 200 218 240 258
Switch to 1 x 1, rows to knit: 8 8 10 10 12
RC #188 208 228 250 270
Mark for neck opening (left and right needle numbers:
25,25 25,25 27,27 29,29 29,29

Knit one row on loose tension and cast off (loop through loop bind off)


Width across: 11 12 13 14 15
Cast on in 1 x 1 rib, T5, 75 81 87 95 101
RC 000
Knit to row #8 8 10 10 12
Switch to English Rib

Knit __ additional rows: 84 86 94 100 102

RC 92 94 104 110 114

Cast off LOOSELY

2/12 English Rib Child's Sweater Version

English Rib Child's T-Sweater
by Diana Sullivan

Yarn: a 2/12 like Trenzado or Trenzi, or 2 strands 2/24
Machine: Standard gauge Brother with ribber; patterning not needed
Use Tension 5 or tension to get gauge. Both 1 x 1 ribbing and English Ribbing are the same tension.

Gauge (relaxed):
9 stitches and 7-1/2 rows per inch in 1 x 1 ribbing
13 rows and 7 stitches in English Rib

Front and Back Pieces:

Size 2, Size 4, Size 6, Size 8, Size 10
Width Across in Inches: 12.25, 13, 13.75, 14.5, 15.5"

Starting at bottom edge, cast on: 71, 75, 79, 85, 91
Set up for 1 x 1 rib
Tension 0 Zigzag Row
Hang Comb & 2 lg wts
T2, Circular knit 3 rows
RC 000
Knit 8, 8, 10, 10, 12 rows in regular k1, p1 ribbing
Switch to English Rib (set ribber carriage to tuck one way)
Knit 84, 94, 102, 112, 122 rows
Length to armholes: 9.5, 10.5, 11.5, 12.5, 13.5"

RC #92, 102, 112, 122, 134
Place marker
Rows to knit for armhole 54, 58, 64, 68, 74
Length of armhole 5.5 , 6, 6.5, 7, 7.5
Row counter will read: 146, 160, 176, 190, 208
Switch to 1 x 1, and knit 8, 8, 10, 10, 12
RC #154, 168, 186, 200, 220
Mark these needles for neck opening: 22,22 22,22 23,23 25,25 25,25
Change to big tension, CO


Width across: 11, 12, 13, 14, 15
Cast on 64, 69, 75, 81, 87 in 1 x 1 rib T5
RC 000
Knit to row #8, 8, 10, 10, 12
Switch to English Rib
Knit __ additional rows
72, 72, 80, 84, 86
RC #80, 80, 90, 94, 98
Cast off LOOSELY

Thursday at Home

Quick update. I had a long session with the dentist this morning and took the day off. I'm doing very well and didn't need to take any of the pain prescription.

I had all the filming done, so today I am uploading YouTube videos for the Child's English Rib Sweater. It took three videos to cover it:

  1. Part 1 - knitting the sweater
  2. Part 2- finished up the knitting techniques
  3. Part 3- sewing-up (all mattress stitch) plus, what to do differently to knit this project on a bulky machine

I have all the patterns written (2/12, sport weight, and sport on bulky machine) and need to check all my math again and then put up the patterns. I'll put them here. You can also find the 2/12 pattern over at Knit Natters.
You're going to need to print it out and circle your size. I charted it for a bunch of kids' sizes.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Angelika's Table of Yarn Weights

Very, very important information for knitters:

Lace Inspiration...

Here's a gorgeous shawl pattern (handknit) that I found on the internet:

Photos from Knit Natters last Saturday

Repeat announcement: In November, Knit Natters is attending Kid 'n Ewe instead of our regular meeting.

Great club Saturday! Let's see, we had Barbara, me, Pat, Sara, and Mary, with some folks under the weather or otherwise engaged. Barbara's had a tough month with some skin cancers removed, but hostessed us anyway. I've had the tooth, but I did bring some Boy Scout green bags to give out (I work at a Boy Scout council) and I brought along some of my projects I've been doing with videos. s

Here's Pat Tittizer's new handknit sweater. I don't think the pic is showing the subtle colors to their best advantage, plus this is one of those natural fiber creations that's nice to feel. The striping pattern is a Fibonacci sequence of five with four repeating colors.

Mary brought some scarves she's finished, and I goofed and didn't get a picture.

Austin is home to the University of Texas and FOOTBALL is a very big deal here! In fact, I've been told it's a religion, but really, attending games is a very social, fun thing to do in Austin.

When Sara started hand knitting a UT blanket, she got begged for more, and I got a sense that one of Sara's immediate goals is to stop knitting Longhorn blankets! Sara was in the crochet-it-together phase on this one.
Sara found the hard-to-find burnt orange at Hobby Lobby in worsted I Love This Yarn. I think it's showing darker than it is in the picture. She used Red Heart for the black and white because she couldn't find that in the same yarn. Her mom (Pat Tittizer) did the charts. Sara twists her carried color floats as she works, so the back looks great and won't snag.
You must use your imagination, because lovely young Sara is hiding behind the blanket! Last month, I got her to poke her head above the triangle shawl she brought, but no such luck this month.

Monday, October 12, 2009

When You Can't Get Gauge

Knitting teachers tell people to knit swatches until they match the gauge in a pattern, but sometimes you absolutely can't get that gauge. It's not necessarily your fault -
  • The yarn might be discontinued
  • You might have yarn you want to use - it's suitable for the project, but that yarn just won't get this gauge.
  • Sometimes one color of yarn, or batch of yarn, knits a different gauge from another

One thing you could do is strive to get the stitch gauge, then adjust the pattern for the row gauge. This is an especially good solution for very similar yarns.

If that's not an option, you could refigure the pattern by doing the math. I've got a shortcut that I've used many times:

Your stitches DIVIDED BY Pattern's stitches = ______

The answer is the conversion factor (or, technically, your "magic number"). Multiply it by stitch counts in the pattern. For instance, if you are getting 25 stitches in 4" and the pattern says to get 20 stitches in 4", then 25/20 = 1.25. Use that 1.25 times the number of stitches to cast on, the number of stitches at the shoulder, etc., and you've got the number of stitches you need to use in each of those places.

You have to figure out the rows, too. You can't use the conversion factor for the stitches to figure out the rows! You need a magic number for the rows:

Your rows DIVIDED BY Pattern rows = ______

And there's your magic number for the rows. In the example, above, suppose you were getting 32 rows in their 4" gauge square and the pattern says 28. Divide 32 by 28, and you get 1.14. Multiply that by the number of rows when the pattern specifies rows, and that's the number to use.

It stands to reason that if your stitches or rows are smaller than the pattern's, you need more stitches or rows to make the same size piece of knitting.

Maybe your stitches are larger. If so, you can use the same method. Say the pattern is telling you to get 5 stitches per inch, 20 in that 4" gauge square, but you're getting only 16. Take yours and divide by the pattern's: 16 / 20 = .8. If they tell you to cast on 100 stitches, you multiply that by .8 and get 80. You need to cast on 80 stitches. Because your stitches are bigger, you need less of them for the same size piece.

For hand knitters, I suggest at least a 4" gauge square. Cast on more than enough stitches and knitting more than enough rows, then measure 4" in several different places on the swatch.

Gauge swatches are NOT a waste of your time or your yarn. You can reuse the yarn in your project, and besides, your gauge swatch will help ensure your success.

Machine knitters should make a bigger swatch, because it takes so little time. After all, the more accurate your measurement of the gauge is, the better your results will be.

Photo of Pam's First Sweater

Check out the sweater Pam made, and what a wonderful job she did.

Her little grandson steals the show, of course!

This is the beginner's v-neck sweater that I taught with videos to be used after after the beginner video knitting course. It does not require a ribber, but is all main bed work. There are two patterns, one for a standard gauge and one for a bulky machine. I also did filmed lessons on sewing the sweater together.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Important to Read

Thoughts about the individual mandate in the current Baucus bill:

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Knit Natters

We had a good knit club meeting today, and I did get a few photos, which I will upload later on.

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT: Knit Natters will go to the Kid 'n Ewe fiber festival near Boerne, Texas for our November meeting instead of the regular meeting! If you're interested, contact me. Some are meeting at my house and carpooling, and others will meet us there.

Another Honeycomb Dishcloth

This honeycomb dishcloth pattern is sportweight cotton yarn, called "I Love This Cotton," from Hobby Lobby. (I have no affiliation with Hobby Lobby, but there is one nearby, and I like the store.) I grabbed two skeins of it the other day because it has a wonderful, soft, silky hand for 100% cotton.

I used the bulky machine with the ribber again. The stitch pattern you need is:

x o x o
x o x o
o x o x
o x o x

In other words, birdseye double-height but not double-width this time, because this dishcloth is on every needle. I think it'll work on 1x1 ribbing on the standard as well, but I haven't had time to try it.

Cotton is not the easiest yarn to knit. It has very little stretch and it doesn't run quite as smoothly as other fibers. To knit with cotton, be sure to do the following:

  • Rewind from a ball to a center-pull skein, or else work with coned cotton. Trust me, not rewinding your yarn is not a worthwhile shortcut, no matter what skeined yarn you use.
  • Use wax in the wax holder on the machine.
  • Don't go with a thicker yarn than your machine can handle easily.
  • Avoid lace stitches or any stitch that requires elasticity.

Great Links

I made this list of links for the Knit Natters site quite a while ago - and I still think it's one of the best machine knitting link lists on the net:

Cool Post - Triangle Lace Shawl

From Knotty Knits and Knotty Kids:


Friday, October 9, 2009

Honeycomb Dishcloth, and Another Version Coming

Here's the still closeup of the dishcloth.

Knitting dishcloths is a great mystery to a lot of people, as in, "Why bother?"

Even though I started out with that philosophy, I have spent a lot of time figuring out ways to machine knit dishcloths, and I hand knit a lot of them, as well.

The reason is simple: people want the dishcloths, and people want to know how to knit them.

This honeycomb stitch dishcloth is knitted from Sugar N Cream self-striping yarn, and I got the video up last night despite my having ten thumbs and no energy. The knitting wasn't difficult. I was the problem. At one point my husband overheard me and said, "Did that bad word get on the video?" and I acknowledged that I wouldn't include it in the video and it's a good thing I can edit the videos.

Ah, victory at last - no bad words and a video I think you can easily follow if you want to make this, or just use if you want to learn to do the honeycomb stitch.

Now, here's the important part of the post - as I was shopping, I found another brand of 100% cotton yarn that I think will make excellent dishcloths and is a sport weight, so I'll do a second video showing how to do that one on both the bulky and standard machines. In fact, this other yarn has a very good hand and would make nice garments, but I haven't tried that yet.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Honeycomb Dishcloth - Easy Ribber Project

This dishcloth is knitted from Sugar N Cream yarn on the Brother 270. It's a simple project, and an opportunity to try out the honeycomb rib I showed in a prior post.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Things I'd like to do...

30-step gradation dyeing? Well, anyway, it's beautiful.

I love to dye yarn with Kool-Aid, and my favorite socks are knitted from it. It would make a great video all the same!

Ribber Swatch #3

Pictures are acting wonky on Blogger, but here's a lacy tuck stitch that I think has interesting possibilities. Flat it's a tuck stitch we've all seen before, but since it's based on a 1x1 rib, and blocked open just a little gives a knit-and-purl lacy stitch. It's very fussy, though - a little goes a long way visually, at least in this big gauge.

Pattern 125 in my Stitch World, only the out-of-work needles are ribber needles:

o x o x x x o x
o x o x x x o x
o x o x x x o x
o x o x x x o x
x x o x o x o x
x x o x o x o x
x x o x o x o x
x x o x o x o x

Here's a concept - try any tuck stitch that's intended to have out of work needles (a tuck lace) and make the out of work needles be ribber needles instead of empties.
I probably can't get any video done tonight - too many other things on the schedule, but I do have plans involving this stitch, too.

More Swatching - Honeycomb Ribbing

Well, ho hum, we do this all the time on the Passap...

But, most people don't do it on Japanese machines! I knit it quite frequently, and here it is on the bulky, a very thick, warm version. I have a project for this for an upcoming project video, and I plan to use a mohairish yarn.

Here's how I did this:

1. I set the end needles to not select automatically (see the manual).
2. I used a double with, double height birdseye pattern (checkerboard). That looks like this:

x x o o
x x o o
o o x x
o o x x

3. In my case, pattern 112 in the Stitchworld did the job.

4. Cast on and knit 1x1 rib on T3.

5. Select needles.

6. Set main bed to tuck stitch, both directions.

Swatch - Bulky Racked English Rib

I've been swatching so I can video some more easy ribber projects. I'm trying for things that will make good gifts.

There's nothing unusual about this technique - but it is really very fat done with a bulky ribber!

Here's how to do it:

1. Cast on for 1x1 ribbing
2. Set the ribber to tuck leftward, when you're on the right
3. Knit 2 rows
4. Rack over until the ribber stitches have moved to the other side of the main bed stitches
5. Knit 2 rows
6. Rack back to the original sides

Repeat rows 2-6. This was a light worsted on T3.

Round Lace Blanket, Machine Knitted

Hat tip to Heidi's Knitting Room:

I know I've knitted something like this as a doily. I think it's in a published knitting book.

This one's hand manipulated. I've made up a bunch of 'em using DAK and my lace carriage. I got fascinated at the time and couldn't stop, kind of like eating potato chips. One of these days I should do something about those patterns...

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Yarn and Knitting Machines

I get questions about what yarn to buy and what knitting machine to buy.

I've done most of my videos on a Brother 270, which is a "bulky" knitting machine, because it's the biggest gauge I have and therefore allows the biggest pictures and clearest closeups.

I'm not a good person to ask which gauge machine to buy because I believe I need them all! You could ask your dealer to show you things made by the different machines and look through the knitting books to compare the results. Then there's the cost issue, and the visibility issue, and the versatility issue. I did post on this a while back:

As for the yarn question, please don't get the idea that you can use a lot of fancy, bulky handknitting yarns on the "bulky" machine. It takes up through worsted weight yarn and not much thicker at all. If the yarn is hairy, furry, eyelashy, bumpy, kinky, uneven, that makes it knit up much bigger. I urge you, as you're learning, to use smooth, thin yarn, thinner than you think is necessary, so you don't have a struggle caused by the choice of yarn.

For the midgauge (6 or 6.5 mm) you need sport-weight yarn or thinner.

For the standard gauge machine (4.5 or 5 mm) you need thinner than sport-weight yarn, fingering weight, lace weight, or industrial/machine knitting yarn.

The process of learning machine knitting and choosing what to knit is kind of like looking for clothes. If you go to the store searching for a red silk wrap dress with a swingy skirt, you're unlikely to find it. If you go to the store determined to try on available dresses and see what looks good on you, you'll find a dress.

If you start machine knitting by following machine knitting lessons, books and patterns, pretty soon you know what the machines will do, and you're bursting with ideas. If you go into it wanting to duplicate Aunt Irene's handknit Celtic sweater, you'll be frustrated and miss most of the fun.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Luxury Throw - A Beginner Ribber Project

Here's an afghan made on the ribber using English Rib, also known as half fisherman's rib. I've reversed the pattern from the knit to the purl side, every 20 rows, to make it reversible.

I was going fror the look of a luxury throw, the kind you see in decorator and gift shops, and specifically hoping for a very nice gift item. The beauty of this project comes from the yarn, so look for a luxury/novelty yarn but make sure it's thin enough to knit in full needle rib on your ribber, and double-check by making a good-size swatch. I used rayon chenille - which is elegant but not sturdy - that had over 2,000 yards per pound. In the video, look how skinny it is next to my hand.

The chenille I used was rather soft and floppy. Now the machine needs a thorough brushing and vacuuming, as it always does after any large project or any yarn that sheds. I am thinking you could use a very thin hairy yarn, or two or three strands of very, very thin yarn like 2/30 for color depth - experiment with your swatches. A few years ago I found some yarn that was half wool and half cashmere, which would be wonderful for this project.

You could make it bigger, especially for a man. Mine came out 35" x 54" with the width on the machine actually being the longer dimension - it grew width-wise as soon as it came off the machine, and that's the long side of the rectangle. I used a whole cone of yarn that I already had on hand. I might try this with all 110 needles for a longer throw.

The video had to be divided into two parts because I couldn't show everything and bring it in under ten minutes, but still, it's not too long.

Part 1 of 2:

Part 2 of 2:

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Ribber Lesson 25 - Slipped Ribbing

In this video I show how to do slip stitch ribbing. It's a variation of the pintuck lesson, but it uses a punch card or electronic pattern. I did full needle rib, so I used a fairly thin yarn. You could do this in 1x1 ribbing by using a double-width button.

I also lengthened the pattern (by pushing the double-height button, or on a punch card machine, you could change the setting on the card advance) to make deeper tucks.

A Treat From Oz

Feast for the eyes:

Talented Australian knitter Ludmilla has a marvelous knitting blog, and I hope she doesn't mind my linking to it! She does wonderful machine knitting pattern work and has lots of terrific pictures of different techniques. She also has a handknitter's sensibilities and does conversion from hk to mk.

Ludmilla loves lace, as do I, and she has a great lace work on the blog as well as all kinds of other pattern work, including garter carriage, ribber textures and double jacquard work.

Ludmilla commented on the basic drop stitch lace video I just put up this week, so off I went to check out her knitting, and really, it's a treat, a "don't miss!"