Saturday, October 30, 2010

DFW Seminar

If I've been a bit quiet, it's that I am engrossed in next week's seminar preparation! I'm finished with the special video for the seminar (this time my seminar special is a free video of gift ideas with any purchase), almost finished with the samples for hands-on lessons, got my handout books and paperwork together, and later today, we're going to experiment with audio ideas (my voice is soft). Then next Friday I'm taking part of the day off, after I talk to our staff at my office about annual open enrollment, and we're driving to Dallas. Friday evening, we'll take our son and his girlfriend Kelly to dinner, which we are really looking forward to doing, since hubby John hasn't met Kelly except on the phone and our son is utterly smitten. I've met her in person and think she's wonderful, and hubby John has was charmed on the phone.

Saturday morning we'll set up - can't set up early, but it won't take long - and begin with some basics, some cast-ons and bind-offs they requested, then some garter bar stuff. We plan to do kitchener and piecrust stitch hands-on. As time permits, I included the circular baby blanket and the V-neck raglan, and I may do very brief demos and discussion on those.

Then the ribber has to be put on the machine so we can look at the e-wrap ribber cast-on, the broken toe cast-on, a couple of bind-offs, including smiles and frowns. Next, release stitch lace on the ribber, quilted ribbing, some jacquard and some sock stuff. That ought to fill the first day and I'll be amazed if I get through it all, but it's all in the handouts. My friend Barbara will stop me and make me take breaks - I go into some sort of weird overdrive. I also have several ribber trims, a Jaws demo, if time permits.

Sunday: Scalloped lace, automatic scalloped lace, and mirror image lace. Fitting tips and Knitleader discussion. Some baby bootie techniques (I don't think there's time to do the whole bootie but I do think I can hit highlights and explain how the auto shaping works). Brief demo (this is hard to keep brief) of my Entrelac method. Time permitting, a single bed sock.

I know we'll have fun. This is a wonderful group of knitters, not that it's unusual for groups of knitters to be really enjoyable! I think there may be a few spaces left, but I honestly don't know. Last week there was still room. There's the DFW Seminar Site if you need information.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

New Video - Fern Lace Demo

I put a brief demo video up last weekend.  I thought this lacy braid was interesting.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Upcoming Seminar in Dallas

On November 7 and 8th, I'm teaching for two days at the DFW Machine Knitting Guild.  As of today, they do have some spaces left.

Want to come?  Here's their seminar site  where you can get more information and sign up.  Heck, I enjoy visiting the DFW Machine Knitters Guild website anyway, just to see what they're knitting!

This is going to be an excellent two days.  For starters, the DFW group has a lot of energy, activity and knitters.  The location at Stacy's Furniture (near the DFW airport) is spacious, light, and comfortable, and I already know from past DFW seminar experience that food and fun will abound.

So that we could decide on the best order of events, the DFW guild members filled out a survey for me, indicating which things they want to see demonstrated.  There is some overlap with what I taught in Houston, and some of it is entirely different.
DFW Handout Booklet

The class handouts are printed, and I'm very pleased with how they turned out.  The 26-page book certainly has more information than I can cover in class, but I do as much as I can, and the rest is just nice to take home from seminar.  My hope doing these detailed handouts make it easier to try techniques later and relieve a lot of the note-taking work.

At the seminar, my husband John  is replacing some Passap E6000 batteries and putting in some Passap chips.  He does this while I'm busy teaching.  If you are attending and need a battery replacement or a chipset upgrade, email me at diana_knits "at" sbcglobal "dot" net, and I'll get you on the list.   I'll want to know what you need, but at the link you can read all about Passap batteries and chips.

In ELIS HOUSE: Round Knitted sock on the machine.

I admire her blog, and check it out, she knitted socks using my pattern:

In ELIS HOUSE: Round Knitted sock on the machine.

This kind of blog post makes my motor run! I love that we can help each other all around the world, that I'm learning from her and she's learning from me. Obviously, she is proficient with English, or how else could English MK videos be of any value, but I don't know a word of Norwegian Bokmal. I use a translating gadget to enjoy her page.

Yes! Great Advice from Trico a Maquina

Knitting Machine Info

Irma is pointing out that your needle number strip can slide out of place! It should be positioned so 1-1 is exactly in the center and the end needles match the end markings.

I used to have one that slid out of place, and I checked it frequently, so that if a pattern said to use a certain needle setup, I got the proper setup. Each spot on your machine corresponds to a column on your punch card or your electronic patterning.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Passap E6000 Battery & Chipset Information

I'm better with the Japanese machines, but I do love my Passap E6000.

A few years ago, with no local Passap dealers in our area and Passap E6000s developing dead batteries, my husband John learned to do several things to the Passap consoles to help keep us knitting.  John's not in the knitting machine repair business, but he's doing some work for Passap knitters in my club and at the seminars, since he comes with me to help.  If you are attending the DFW seminar and want him to work on your console, please contact me.  His charges are very reasonable, but he can only do a few at seminar, so he's taking them in the order requested.

The batteries are the most urgent issue.  They are all very old now, and once the battery goes completely, the console doesn't work properly until you put a new one in.  If your console develops these problems, DON'T give up on it!  A new battery very likely can bring it back to life.  John has repaired several of "dead" ones by cleaning the contacts inside and changing the battery.

The round, flat batteries are soldiered in the front of the printed circuit board.  These are time-consuming to access and time-consuming to remove and replace, since the old soldier must be removed.  The original batteries are no longer available, but there are newer ones that make a good replacement.

You have a bad battery if, after it has been off for a few days, when you turn it on it displays "memo" and then makes you reselect the language.

Or, for those who are able to work with electronics, here's how to test your battery:  Leave the unit on for a day to fully charge it, then turn it off, wait a few days, and then check the voltage at the battery (after opening the case up). After a day, it should be at 2.9v or more.

The bad news is, the battery is soldered in on the front of the printed circuit board (PCB) which is the inaccessible far side of the board when the rear of the case is removed. Changing the battery requires the special batteries, a special tool, and it takes an hour or so to disassemble the unit, de-solder and re-solder in a new battery, and reassemble.

What Chips Were Used
Now, do you know which chips are in your console?  The more modern chipsets had additional capabilities – most importantly, the ability to download patterns from a computer into your console. There were six versions of the E6000 chipset: 03, 13, 23, 33, 43, and 53.

03 – These were the first chips supplied in the E6000.

13 – This was the second version. We don’t know what Passap changed with this version. 

23 and up: All these chips have PC download capability (you might use DAK, Creation 6, or Wincrea).

33 – This chip downloads and also works with the 4600 motor and additional C6 capabilities. Machines originally equipped with this chip had a 32K memory. If this chip was put in later, it added downloading and motor capabilities, but didn’t increase memory.
43 – This chip had all of the above, plus minor enhancements or bug fixes.

53 – This chip had all capabilities of Form 6 software, and everything in prior versions.

If You Don't Know What Chips You Have

Find Out Whether it Will Download: (chipset test for Version 23 or higher):

The console may be removed from the machine to test if it will take a download.

Turn it on and if it says PROGR then go to step 4 and start there.

If it says MEMO, then start at step 1.

The first thing is the display and the second is what button one should push, sometimes 2 buttons in sequence.

1. MEMO Enter

2. Some language not English No

Repeat step 2.

3. ENGLISH Enter

4. PROGR Enter

5. ERASE Enter

6. CAST ON 3, Enter

7. All ST PATT No

8. ST. PATT A, press unlabeled key, zero

At this point the console will display PC START if it can accept downloads from a computer (indicates Version 23 of chips or higher) or ERR 213 and loud tone if not. If it doesn't give that display, then the chips are old but can be upgraded.

Open the Console to Identify the Chipset
1.  Prepare to work inside the console by unplugging the unit and grounding yourself.
2.  Remove the 4 Phillips screws on the back of the console.

Lay the screws out so you can put them back into the same locations they came from. John says that they go back in better in the location they came out of, even though they are "all the same."

3.  Gently remove the back cover to the console. It should come off fairly easily.

4.  Towards the top right corner are a pair of chips with paper labels on them.

They will read something like:

Programm A (or E or another letter) 05.363.03.4.01 08.09.88 (numbers may vary)

Muster A 05.364.03.4.01 08.09.88 (numbers may vary)

5.  Write down your numbers exactly as you see them.

6.  8k or 32k memory identification: Look at the number on the chip above the Programm chip. If the first group of numbers on the top row end in 64, e.g. 8464A-10L it is an 8K machine. If the numbers end with 256, e.g. D43256AC -10L, it is a 32K machine.

7.  Reassemble your console reverse of above.

The 6th and 7th digits (the 03 in my example) tell you which version.

The 6 versions are 03, 13, 23, 33, 43, 53 (see above for descriptions).

The numbers on the Programm chip (digits 3, 4 and 5) indicate the languages on the chip.

Languages are also denoted by the Programm Letter: Letter A: Deutsche - Francais – English; Letter E: Portug - Espanol – English.

The Muster chip is always 05.364.xx (the xx is the version number and starts with 03 and progresses by 10s to 53, which is the last version and must match the Programm version)

05.362 has Portuguese, Spanish and English (Letter E – Americas and/or Southern Europe)

05.363 has German, French and English (Letter A – Northern Europe)

05.365 has Italian, Spanish, and Dutch

05.366 has Greek, Turkish and English

05.367 has Portuguese, African and English

05.415 has German, Russian and Bulgarian

05.416 had German, Finnish and Romanian

Console / Memory Serial number information:

On the console there will be a serial number. If it is 6025980 or higher it will download. The same number should be on the machine bed at the front right end, but it is well to check the console itself just in case. If the number is higher than 7037000 then it will have the 32K memory. Unfortunately, upgrading the memory requires circuit changes so is not as simple as just inserting a bigger memory chip.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Star Flower Dishcloth to Hand Knit

Begin by casting on 16 stitches.  If you want an invisible join, instead of an ordinary cast-on, start with several rows of contrasting waste yarn, then knit 1 row of main color, or else start by knitting in the back loops of a contrasting colored chain.  I like this second method, because when I'm all finished, I can cut the chain, unravel it, and remove it from the dishcloth.

Row 1 and all odd rows:  Slip 1, knit to end.

Row 2:  (Knit 2 together, yarn over) 4 times, knit 7, turn, leaving 1 stitch left on needle. You should still have a total of 16 stitches, 15 on one needle and 1 on the other.  The first time you knit this, count your stitches each row to make sure you still have a total of 16 stitches.

Row 4:  Knit 1, (knit 2 together, yarn over) 3 times, knit 7, turn, leaving 2 stitches left on needle.

Row 6:  (Knit 2 together, yarn over) 3 times, knit 7, turn, leaving 3 stitches left on needle.

Row 8:  Knit 1, (knit 2 together, yarn over) 2 times, knit 7, turn, leaving 4 stitches left on needle.

Row 10:  (Knit 2 together, yarn over) 2 times, knit 7, turn, leaving 5 stitches left on needle.

Row 12:  Knit 1, Knit 2 together, yarn over, knit 7, turn, leaving 6 stitches left on needle.

Row 14:  Knit 2 together, yarn over, knit 7, turn, leaving 7 stitches on needle.

Row 16:  Knit across.

Repeat these 16 rows 8 times.

If you don't want an invisible join, you can bind off and then whip the beginning to the end.

The invisible join is much more attractive.  For the invisible join, end last section with row 15.  Cut yarn, leaving about 16" to sew with.  Kitchener stitch in garter stitch, the stitches on the needle to the stitches from the cast-on chain or scrap yarn.

To close the center and end off the yarn, I draw the yarn through the loops along the inside edge.  I go around a few times and draw up the center, then hide the end.   Hide the beginning end, as well, and you're finished.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Knit Natters Meeting Last Saturday - Pictures!

 We had such a great meeting last Saturday.  There were about a dozen people, and lots and lots of great show-and-tell.  We had new members as well as the old faithful folks.

At Knit Natters, we sometimes veer away from knitting...

Pat and Sara Tittizer did an extensive lesson about "plarn," plastic yarn.  They showed us how to cut plastic bags to make strips for knitting, crocheting, and weaving.  They showed us several different ways to cut the strips.

Pat and Sara also showed us how they've made totes, baskets, and rugs out of plarn.  Pat brought her spinning wheel to show the option of twisting it and plying it.

Sara was using knitting frames to weave a basket bottom, then knit the basket sides.
The first weekend in November, I'm teaching a knit seminar at the DFW guild (probably still some space if anyone wants to go).  The second weekend in November, instead of our regular meeting, we're going to attend Kid N Ewe.  Pat and Sara are teaching there.  I'll be driving a carload down for the afternoon on Saturday.

The December meeting will be our annual holiday gift exchange and potluck at Barbara's house.  Everyone brings something handmade or something craft-related for the gift swap, and we generally feast and giggle.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

ASK DIANA: How Do I Cast On Without a Cast-On Comb?

I had this come up several times lately.  Some machines don't come with a cast-on comb.  Silver Reed machines routinely did this cast-on, using just a ravel cord:

Practice this - it's an easy cast-on, and you might like it even if you're a cast-on comb user!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Absolutely Gorgeous! Passap Shawl with Enchanted Edging

This shawl made by Ruth in New Zealand has to be one of the most beautiful projects that anybody has ever made with my patterns.

The center is a tuck stitch made on the Passap, and the edging is from Enchanted Edgings.  Ruth made about 2000 rows of edging and sewed it on - lots of sewing.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

New Video: Knit a Hair Scrunchie with Youngest Knit Natter

Some of the ladies in the Knit Natters group have taught children to machine knit.  Mary has worked with a great many kids in her classrooms and had both boys and girls machine knitting, and Barbara's granddaughter is an amazing, patient little knitter - and a patient demonstrator, as well, as yesterday we worked to film her teaching us grownups how to make hair scrunchies, one of her favorite projects.  We had to film a lot of it twice, since I was having audio problems, and she was fantastic.

You can make these scrunchies with any knitting machine and most weights of yarn.  You can vary the number of rows in the loops.  With thinner yarn, you need less than an ounce to make a nice, fat ponytail scrunchie.  Play around with beads, buttons, and contrasting scraps of yarn for variations.

If you teach a child to machine knit, do stay with him or her.  It is possible to catch your hair in the machine, to prick a finger on a needle, or to damage the machine with rough handling.  This truly is a wonderful hobby to share with a child.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

ASK DIANA: A old, idle machine found me. What shall I do?

Did you inherit a Japanese machine, or find one at a garage sale, or rediscover one in your darkest closet?  Home knitting machines were extraordinarily well-built, and chances are, you've got a treasure.  Let's create a plan of attack!

Figure out what machine you have and locate a manual.  Yes, you can find a manual!  Google the machine and model number.  Study the charts at some dealer sites to find out what machines are similar.  Ask the people on the lists for help.  Check eBay.  

Use the manual to inventory the machine and see if you have all the parts.  Make a brutally honest assessment about the condition of the machine, the actual value of the machine, and the practicality of spending time getting it working.  I personally will not spend my valuable time on a machine that is rusty or any incomplete machine built before the punchcard era.

You can find out the value of machines pretty quickly by searching completed listings in eBay.  

Replace the sponge bar.  There's no sense in trying to get a machine to work with a bad sponge bar, because it won't work correctly.  You can order one by mail or you can rebuild any sponge bar if you still have the metal plate. There's a set of detailed instructions over at 

On the fabric presser (the piece with wheels and brushes that screws on the carriage), make sure all the wheels and brushes spin freely.  If they don't, remove them with a crosspoint screwdriver (always use the tool that best fits the part), and clean under them.  They tend to clog with a chunk of fuzz or yarn, and you can't clear them well without removing the screw.

Vaccuum and brush the machine to eliminate dust and fuzz.

Check the machine carefully for bent or damaged needles, and replace any bad needles.  Check the gate pegs and straighten any that are bent.  If the machine is still grubby, clean metal parts with sewing machine oil and elbow grease.  Clean plastic parts with a rag - I like to dampen the rag with silicone spray, but use that for the plastic only, not for the needles and other metal parts.

The oil that came with the machine is fine for lubricating it, or a light sewing machine oil.  Do not use silicone spray or heavy oils.  Oil along the needle bed lightly and oil the moving parts on the underside of the carriage. Put the needles in B and run a few rows without yarn to loosen things up, then wipe off excess oil.  Remove the carriage, then push buttons and move levers while watching the underside of the carriage to make sure nothing is frozen.

Finally, spend a little time in the manual and make sure you know how to thread it correctly (this varies from machine to machine).  Run the machine with very thin yarn and start working swatches, following its manual, in order.  

Friday, October 1, 2010

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