Monday, October 8, 2012

A Demo for Knit Natters

I've been a busy bee, but not necessarily machine knitting.  However, this weekend, the haze finally cleared, with my taxes done and our club website mostly fixed, and I got to knit.  I needed a demo for knit club next weekend.

Feeling rather blank-brained about what to demonstrate next, I went flipping through my knitting magazines and found something interesting in Machine Knitting Monthly's January 2012 edition.  The magazine calls it "Magic Fairisle," but it is hand-manipulated and a little slow going.  All the same, I went off and practiced and found it quite cool.

The first sample on the left looks like the pattern in the magazine.  Basically, you cut a length of contrasting color and fold it in half.  You hang the middle of that piece of yarn on the stitch that you want for the bottom of the diamond and knit it through.  Then you push the needle all the way back to out of work position, knit 2 rows.  After the 2 rows, you bring the needle back into work, pulling the yarn a little to adjust the stitch so it isn't too loose.  Then you take the yarn to the right and knit it through the next needle to the right and knit the needle to the left with the yarn hanging on the left, push 'em both all the way back out of work, and knit 2 rows.  You bring those needles back into work and adjust the contrast stitches, then do the next two to the left and right.  And so on...

The magazine cautions that you should practice before you do a project, and I very much agree.  The writer warned against getting the stitches too loose, but I was making them too tight at first. 
Look, no floats to snag anything!   Have a look at the closeups, front and back of the work.  You're carrying a thread vertically, and if the design works with that, you don't have floats.

I played around with different kinds of patterns.  It's great to get to use several colors vertically, not so easy with conventional fair isle.  I found I could make a vertical line, but wasn't crazy about how it looked.  It seemed to help to use a heavier yarn than the background yarn for things like a vertical bar.

I could make a horizontal line, but that gives a float.  Sometimes you do need a horizontal line in a design, but it's tedious to adjust the tension of the stitches when you put the needles back in work.  Go experiment and see what you like!
I decided it works very well with skip-one kinds of designs and diagonal lines.  Since it's hand-manipulated, I liked it best with the bulky and mid-gauge machines, because bigger stitches work up faster. 

Saturday, I promptly got busy making a crib blanket with the technique.  I had some leftover sport weight pale pink and some white, and some rose colored worsted weight yarn.  I did horizontal rows of the pink and then the white, and zigzag columns of the hand-manipulated fair isle technique. 

I put a picture frame edging around the blanket.  I have done these for years, but haven't seeen other people doing them.  It's doubled with mitred corners, a fold on the outside edge and sewed to the inside. 

Here's a picture showing a little of the back.  It looks very nice on both sides, eliminates all rolling, and squares up the blanket, but you have to do a lot of sewing, around all four sides on the knit side of the blanket and then all around the purl side as well.  You have to kitchener the beginning to the end of the edging, too.  I spent far more time sewing up than knitting, but I like to sew and I like how it looks!

I like this generous-sized blanket a lot, and now I have my demonstration for Knit Natters this weekend.  I'll do the demo on the LK-150, which is so nicely portable.

1 comment:

  1. I can't think of a single word to say except WOW. Wish I could move to Texas and join your group. *sigh*