Monday, April 26, 2010

The Enchantment

Once upon a time, far away in the Southern Kingdom of Fruits and Nuts, there lived a happy princess.  She was a lovely - well, an okay-looking princess who was very nice and kind of a Number Nerd.  The Princess happened to meet a wonderful handsome Prince.

The Princess' mother, Queen Louise, said that the handsome Prince was a catch because he was trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent - a regular Boy Scout. Also, he could repair almost anything, and Queen Louise had an appreciation for men who actually have useful skills.  The Princess thought he was an exceptional catch because he actually loved her, so she snagged him.  They got married in a lovely little Christmastime wedding and lived happily ever after until...

They lived happily ever after until along came an evil, wicked witch.  Nobody remembers what the witch looked like or what her name was, because she was a such formidable stealthy, slippery type.  Nobody even remembers how this evil creature came to be so offended as to cast the evil spell.  Certainly, she was not invited to the lovely Christmastime wedding, which was a small affair and attended only by Very Nice People.  Maybe that was the issue; anyway, she came along and placed an Enchantment on the poor Princess.

This Princess already had a marked weakness for needlework of all kinds, but the wicked, horrible, awful, very bad witch cursed her with an enchantment for knitting machines.  The Prince, an unwitting accomplice to the evil witch, who had his own weakness for mechanical objects, promptly purchased one for his Princess bride, and the rest is history.

Years went by, and that Princess was constantly playing with the thing, figuring out more and more things it could do, and generally neglecting everyone.  On some evil day, she started recruiting more machine knitting victims, and things went downhill from there..

One day when the Princess was sort of a rickety old thing herself, she put a spell on the son of the son of that knitting machine and made it make round doilies using electronic programming, and part buttons and a lace carriage.  She made dozens of Enchanted Doilies until she began to dream in lace circles.

Now the Rather Rickety Number Nerd Princess has coaxed the machine into making lace Enchanted Edgings - and they're extremely fast and easily - almost mindless.  Sneak peek here.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Miscellaneous Updates

Here I go - another post about anything and everything.

"Beautiful Ribber Scarves," my new scarf book and video, are finished and ready for duplication.   The scarf videos use up almost a whole disk, since I elected to show the steps for each scarf, even though that meant I'm showing the loop-through-a-loop bind-off and the circular cast-on several times.  I figured you'd pick out a scarf to do and then watch that video, and you wouldn't want to skip around.  This book will be more like the sock book with the coil binding - there are so many diagrams and illustrations, yarn requirements, and so forth, that it's quite a few pages.

Editing video is so slow and tedious that I lose patience every few days!  Editing enormous HD video files just wipes out all computer resources, and the lockups and crashes are regular.  I seem to have settled down with Adobe Premiere, although I do have one more video editor to learn and try out.  The conventional advice for video editing is to buy two super-fast computers and use them both at the same time to keep from going utterly mad with the slowness.  However, I only have my husband's computer, and I read a book or sew knits while I edit.  I'd love to hear wisdom about this, as long as it doesn't involve buying yet another computer.

Weight Watchers is paying off.  I dislike shopping, but my clothes were just too loose, so I stopped at a plus-size store this afternoon and learned that almost nothing in there is small enough for me!  I lose weight very slowly, but I feel terrific.

Exciting news, I am teaching a Machine Knitting Seminar near the Dallas-Ft. Worth airport in early November. It's a two-day seminar coordinated by the DFW guild, with a dirt-cheap price, an excellent location, but space is very limited.  The DFW knitters helped me by doing a survey of which of my techniques they'd like to see, and the resulting list is just wonderful.  Contact me by email for more information.  (Do not contact me in the comments.  I need you to email so I can email back.)

It's quiet on the May Day Contest.  Remember, you have 'till May 1 to send a great picture of something you knitted.  I'm not giving any more specific guidance - surprise me!

I have quite a list of fascinating lessons and projects to do, and can't tell you exactly which is next.  It does appear that I need to do some lace videos.

Mother's Day Shoppers:  The "EZ Entrelac" booklet and video are available for $15; "Garter Bar Course" are in stock at $25, and the "Knitting a Sock on the Standard Machine" books and videos are $25.

In Austin, there's been a heartbreaking nonprofit scandal.  Two not-for-profits lost a tremendous amount of money, apparently duped by an individual who even forged audit reports.  One organization is out of business, its employees are out of work, the families it helped have lost services, and its board of directors will face legal and financial consequences.  I volunteer with the Austin Chapter of the Texas Society of CPAs, and we do free financial governance classes specifically for nonprofit board members, volunteers and employees.  Drop me an email if you want information on those classes.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

MayDay Contest

Other blogs have giveaway contests, and I'm jealous!.  Best photo of your machine knitted item wins a DVD set - you choose, either the garter bar course, sock DVD and book, or the Entrelac DVD and booklet.  Email your photos as .jpgs to me by May 1, 2010.  I'll find an objective judge who doesn't know y'all, so I can weasel out of responsibility.

Make sure it's a photo you don't mind my posting.  I want to put some of them on the blog and "brag on you," as we say in Texas.  Besides, a blog without pictures is like a dessert without chocolate.

My email is diana_knits AT (AT = @).

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Downloadable Brother Machine Manuals

Lost a manual?  Trying to understand instructions written for a different machine?  Check this out!

Can somebody send me links (that work) to Studio/Singer manuals or Toyota manuals?

Friday, April 16, 2010

Now Available - Entrelac DVD

Here it is - the EZ Entrelac DVD and booklet!

We musn't let the hand knitters have a monopoly on Entrelac, a versatile, three-dimensional and fascinating knitting pattern!  It's very practical for machine knitting.  This method, which uses short-rowing and a circular hand knitting needle, boils down to a simple, clear routine.  Why, after a while, you can sit there like me and listen to an audio book...(just finished The Woman in White, bless those Librivox readers).

On the hi-def DVD, the first order of business is to demonstrate the Entrelac knitting, piece by piece and step by step.  Learn how to start Entrelac, learn the two repeating rows, and learn how to finish Entrelac off.  But let's not settle for a mere sample, let's have a nice, eye-poppin', roomy tote to flaunt, so here's the additional knitting for that - gussets, handles, edging, and sewing.  Finally, at the sewing machine, I show how to make the cotton calico lining with lots of inside pockets.  The video is my usual approach - five clumsy thumbs on each hand (if I can machine knit, anyone can) and my usual detailed descriptions, nose-to-the-machine closeups, and breaking everything down into simple steps.

I managed to get the price down to $15!  I crammed all the video onto one DVD, and then realized we better have written instructions, so I added this cute widdy-bitty little booklet (12 colorful 5-1/2" x 8-1/2" pages) with the instructions and lots of diagrams.

Shipping cost is reasonable, even for international buyers, and I don't charge extra shipping if you order two items at once.  I guess that bears mentioning since I actually have three products now!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

New - Entrelac DVD & Project

Entrelac, the fascinating basketweave knitting technique, can be made on the knitting machine.  There are a number of variations and different techniques for doing Entrelac, and I've filmed a method I find practical.

This Entrelac was knitted with a short-rowing and using a hand knitter's circular needle as a stitch holder on the knitting machine.  Here's the video sample, which I made into a tote bag.

I was fairly happy with the video of making the Entrelac - it had to be very systematic, showing the foundation row, then the squares and triangles in the order you make them - and I felt that it was logical and clear enough.

It just seemed like I ought to include a project, as well, so the tote bag with a cloth lining is explained as well.  This was my first attempt to create a video showing work at the sewing machine.  This is a great little project and nice gift idea.  It required only 2 skeins of yarn and less than a yard of cotton fabrics for the lining and pockets.

You can do Entrelac on any machine.  It only requires a main bed - no ribber - and no patterning is necessary.  My tote was done on the bulky machine (to film with the big needles and big stitches), but you could do yours on a standard or mid-gauge.  I do love the way it turned out, chunky, funky and bright.

I just have a little more editing to do on the written instructions, and then I'll put a DVD and booklet up for sale.

Scarf book is also coming soon.

Knit Natters Meeting Saturday

Knit Natters met on Saturday at Sylvia's house.  I'm having a hard time getting photos up and aligned in any kind of tidy way - but here's the club report.

Barbara told us about her experience attending the impressive ceremony that Ft. Hood holds for soldiers returning from Iraq.  She had gone to welcome her son-in-law home from a deployment.

Pat brought a beautiful shawl (see the closeup) and she was making a very pretty handknit pinwheel project.  She also showed us how her vest was made.

I had my scarves (all over me) and my Entrelac tote (DVD coming, kids).  I did a circular swirl demo on Sylvia's Toyota.

Mary had handspun yarn made from her alpacas.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Inspiration - Beautiful Socks

Didn't these turn out beautifully?  You can read more about them at the blog, My Brother and I.

Look closely at the toe of Mary's sock - she has avoided grafting by doing a decreased toe. Lots of details at her blog!

Mary's a great example to everyone who hesitates to invest the time necessary to master the ribber.  If you work at it, one day you discover that you love your ribber and you're finding lots of wonderful ways to improve your knitted items by using the ribber intelligently.

Knit Natters Meeting This Morning

We're meeting at 10 at Sylvia's house.  She's made snickerdoodles.

Later in the day, some of us are going to the heritage festival in Cedar Park.  I'm taking an antique circular sock knitting machine, and Pat's  taking her spinning wheel to demonstrate.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Inspiration - Beautiful Socks

Check out these beautiful socks:

Wow, what pretty yarn!  She's doing a decrease toe instead of grafting, and has included her pattern.

Terrific New Gadget

Look down the left-hand column of my blog and check out the



I have seen this on other blogs and I just go nuts!  I've tried it on Norwegian and Portugese blogs, and it works well enough for me to understand the material.  After a great deal of searching, I have finally found the gadget and added it to my blog.  It's so much run to find a great blog in another country and be able to read it all!

Okay, so I am rather pleased with myself...

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Tucked Ribbing Ideas

A lot of knitters do full-needle-rib tucked patterns, and generally, any pattern that will work in single bed tuck will work in FNR tuck, but you'll need a thin thread.  

Here's something a little different.
Go through your tuck lace patterns and look at where the empty needles are.  Those might just work as ribber stitches - for instance, on Stitch World Pattern 284, the third and 7th needles are empty.  They work beautifully as ribber needles.

Once in a while, this doesn't work, but it often does work quite well.  You must knit samples with the yarn you want to use!

Avoid the really extreme ones - for instance, 286 in the photo, with 4 tucks in a column, will work in some yarns and give you heartburn in others.

See those vertical white stripes in the Stitch World diagrams?  Those absolutely have to be either an empty needle or a ribber needle.  The machine cannot tuck on every row.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Closeup of the wavy tucked design on this scarf.

This is a bright red - not as bright as the closeup and not as dark as the folded scarf photo.  It's difficult to photograph and show the very pronounced, dimensional pattern.

And, how the finished scarf looks.  Plain 1x1 rib on the ends.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Full-Needle Rib Tucked Scarf

Nothing new about this idea...

Another great gift scarf, generous-sized, and wonderful for small amounts of industrial yarn.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Knitting Machine Dealer Wanted: In Or Near Poland

I have a correspondent in Poland who would like to find a European dealer.  She has a Brother 970.  Please email me or drop a comment on this post recommending a dealer.


Honeycomb Ribbed Scarf

Honecomb ribbed scarf made on bulky machine using sport-weight variegated yarn.

It's almost plaid...

Pattern shows up much better in person.

These are WARM scarves.  They'd made good holiday gifts.  Made bigger, they'd make great afghans or shawls.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Tucked Ribbing

A lacy tucked ribbing stitch on the bulky machine, using ivory colored sport yarn.

Closeup of a scarf in the new ribber scarf project.

Friday, April 2, 2010

"Quilting" Stitch

Knitted circular, "quilted" lines are knitted through both layers.

Part of upcoming scarf book & DVD.

Thursday, April 1, 2010


I have decided to acknowledge that I have a problem, which alone, I am powerless to overcome.  I realized, at long last, that my knitting was interfering with my ability to lead a normal life.  From now on, when my husband speaks, I will listen instead of daydreaming about my next project, and when my grown children show up for a holiday, I'll be able to feed them at the table without moving a pile of half-sewn knitted items.  I'll have rooms with a little space instead of great piles of books, patterns, cones of yarn, equipment, and half-made things.

My poor family will receive gifts that were actually purchased in the stores instead of an endless parade of socks and blankets.  When I attend meetings, I will not be Kitchenering sock toes.

Eventually, when I am truly recovered, I hope to sleep through the night and not wake up with ideas.  And, I should manage to go about my business peaceably without sudden compulsions to knit-test those ideas.  I will actually watch television (instead of listening while doing handwork and annoyingly, asking John what just happened).

I will walk right past yarn shops and yarn aisles, and never again will my loved ones say, "uh-oh, there she goes into the yarn aisle..."

Just as I would have to discard all bottles of alcohol if I were in recovery from alcoholism, or sever all criminal associations if I were on probation, I am eliminating all machine knitting equipment and yarn from my home and disassociating myself from other addicted unfortunates.  Instead, I will faithfully attend MKA meetings and embark on this journey one day at a time.

April Fools!  Have a fun day!


What's Diana up to?

Some of my ribber scarves are shown, from the top:

1.  Light blue, super warm scarf in my "quilted" technique
2.  Ivory bulky scarf in a tucked ribber "lace"
3.  Honeycomb scarf in variegated sport yarn
4.  English Rib scarf in a very thin, fussy green/multi yarn
5.  Zigzag racked scarf (I have a video on YouTube for this one)
6.  Red standard gauge wavy tucked scarf
7.  Purple FNR tucked scarf
8.  Not shown, burgundy mohair tucked lace scarf

I'm about half finished with the DVD and written instructions.

Too many knitters don't get a lot of use out of their ribbing attachments.  We don't want to knit endless samples to learn - we want to actually make something!  My whole objective in creating these scarves and making a book and videos is to actually get folks using those ribbers, which do wonderful, fancy stitch patterns.