Monday, September 30, 2013

Seminar in Asheville, North Carolina - Please Come!

This should be completely different and very, very fun!  I am going to teach at the Southeastern Animal Fiber Fair in Asheville, North Carolina. 

The fair runs October 25 to 27, and I'm teaching Saturday and Sunday, October 26 and 27.  I've got two full days of classes planned, with my usual extensive handouts.  John is coming along to help me, and we're looking forward to sightseeing in beautiful Asheville.  We'll see the Blue Ridge Mountains, and I'm told I better get a look at the Biltmore house.  Clicking around on the web, it looks like you could easily have a week's worth of fun sightseeing in Asheville.

This is a good-sized fiber fair.  I've been clicking around on their website - here - - and reading the list of workshops might make you dizzy.  They've got classes on crochet, hand knitting tatting, hairpin lace, broomstick lace, dyeing, felting, and spinning.  And lots of other stuff... I suspect the shopping alone will make for a wonderful day.

If you've wanted to go to one of my seminars, though, I'm doing two individual daylong workshops with all sorts of MK techniques and my usual extensive handouts.  I will, of course, be absolutely thrilled if we can pick up a few non-MKers to get a good taste of our magic.

You can come to one or both all-day classes - here's the lineup:

Day One,  Saturday, 10/26, 9-4 at the Blue Barn: Bulky Machine Knitting, Cost $120  I'm going to teach all Saturday on a bulky machine, which makes it easier for you to see what I'm doing, but everything here is applicable to standard and mid-gauge machines, too. 

Session 1:  Machine knitting tricks and tips - learn some terrific ways to do things better and more easily!  Better, simpler edges and hems; make a great-looking set-in sleeve the easy way.

Session 2:  Garter Bar Basics:  Learn to adjust the stopper, use garter bar to hold stitches, do garter stitch, quaker stitch, decrease evenly across a row, increase evenly across a row, and gather with your garter bar.

Session 3:  Garter Bar Dazzlers: Move only desired stitches, woven cable, and speed ripping.

Session 4: Diana’s Most Requested Bulky Projects: Circular Swirl Baby Blanket; Big, Fat Slipper Sock; Tam; and Sew As You Go Bulky Lined Slipper.

Session 5: Shaped Entrelac Hat: Yes, the knitting machine makes beautiful, easy Entrelac, and wait 'till you see this very interesting project!  The sizes of the blocks change to make the hat shape.

Day Two, Sunday, 10/27, 9-4 at the Blue Barn, Cost $120  On Sunday, I'm switching to the standard gauge machine, and we'll take advantage of some of its unique capabilities.

Session 1: Knit Leader Exploration: Here's a class on using the Knit Leader effectively!  Wouldn't you like a logical, relatively inexpensive way to make perfectly shaped and fitted items?  I'll go over   gauge swatches; using the device with the bulky machine, doing intarsia, knitting for bigger people, and using it for craft projects.

Session 2:  Of course, you can make gorgeous lace by hand knitting, but a standard gauge electronic Brother machine can make incredible scalloped-edge lace - edgings and big pieces of fabric - using ordinary Stitch World patterns.  I have a diabolically easy way to keep track of all the needle moves.

Session 3: Automatic Lace Edgings: Here’s a terrific way to make a scalloped edge lace quickly and easily, but it requires a special stitch pattern like the ones in Diana’s book “Enchanted Edgings.” These charts are designed for Brother machines with lace carriages. The scallops form like magic, and now these patterns are all available for 24-stitch punch card Brother machines with lace carriages, as well. We’ll also do a little mirror image lace.

Session 4: Ribber Fun: Let’s do some fascinating and unusual things with the ribbing attachment, for instance, quilted ribbing, mitered ribbing for bands, unusual cast-ons and easy, practical bindoffs.

Session 5: Novelty Demos: As many as we can do in the time available! Ruched heart trim, tiny idiot cord edge, Bubble Wrap stitch, floatless vertical fair isle, helix laid cable, and twisted fringe. Please note that you will not be working on your machine in this class.

Join us!  You can sign up at the website:  


Saturday, September 28, 2013

Quick Updates

Last week, I taught at the Mahoning Valley Machine Knitting Seminar in Canfield, Ohio.  I had an absolutely marvelous, but FAST, weekend, flying up on Friday and back on Sunday afternoon and evening.  Whew!  I want to blog more about that seminar and about small clubs putting together good seminars.  For now, special thanks to the organizers, who were awesome, especially Karen, with whom I stayed in lovely, peaceful comfort, and the Larry and Cathy of Michigan, who came and ran my little business for the day, selling my books and DVDs!  I didn't have to give a thought to that, just teach, which is the big idea.

Then I went to work on Monday.  It's a busy time of year at work, and I worked on a big gala fundraiser Thursday.

'Long about Wednesday, I got grouchy, wondering how I'd possibly do my little part of the fundraiser competently.  Everything was fine, though, and Friday I spent most of the day doing the bookkeeping for the fundraiser, then came home a bit early and slept.  We watched on movie last night on Netflix, then slept a long time.

The exhaustion is over, and this morning, I feel a lovely rush of creativity and energy.

So, knitters, I haven't dropped off the face of the earth!  You should see more of me in these pages in the days to come.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Inspiration from Elis Hus

Here's a very nice round yoked sweater with a traditional pattern (I love these).  Note the unusual treatment of the neck shaping.  Normally, when I have done a round yoke, I have tilted the whole yoke, making the body above the armholes shorter on the front, to get the shape to the neck.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Knit Natters Going Strong

We had a good meeting today - pretty good-sized group, great refreshments (potluck, natch), some people back now that summer's winding down, and it was just a delight to relax with my local knitting friends.  I enjoy knitters so much; this group is so pleasant, so down-to-earth, and so creative!

Sylvia brought this photo of our charity knits that she delivered to a local childrens' home.

As you can see, the ladies came through yet again!  This particular ministry is taking babies now, and can also use baby items.  They were quite pleased with our club's items, and would especially like slippers for the kids.   Hmmm.  I hadn't expected to go on yet another slipper binge, after last year's!  I guess I can break out those "Footnotes" patterns again.  

Barbara did an awesome Passap demonstration with circular knitting and vertical stripes.  I showed the easy cable join in my recent video.  I brought along the baby blanket to show the technique, but now I'm on a lap robe (we're doing some lap robes, too).  I had gone in Hobby Lobby a couple months ago and found that they were clearing odd lots of Homespun at a nice price, so I purchased every variant of purple I could find.  If I make more progress on this project in the next couple of days, I'll put up some pix.  My challenge was to mix all the different purples, dye lots of purple and different color runs.  I'm definitely in a scrappy mode, having a good time mixing up ingredients and trying to get a rich-looking effect.

One treat today was seeing some of the items the ladies have already made.  Sylvia's doing some very nice tucked lap robes, and Mary and Norma worked up some cabled ones.  

Another huge treat was the bag of her family's antique baby clothing that Joan brought, absolutely fascinating items.

Several in our group are going to the Dallas machine knitting seminar (with Diana Burns), but I have too much going on to go along, and Barbara said she can't make this one.  So, we're staying home, and we'll have a smaller group at next month's meeting.  Our lap robe knit-in has been postponed to the 2nd Saturday in November.

The next few weeks are going to be crazy for me.  I'm doing an all-day continuing education class one day this week, rushing around trying to catch up a bit at work (we converted to a new general ledger, and it slowed us down), then going to Ohio this weekend to teach a knit seminar (whoopie!), then going to Dallas the week after, but just for a day.  I take this stuff one day at a time, that's for certain.  In October, I'm going to Asheville, North Carolina, to teach a seminar.  

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Hello, Knitters In or Near Houston!

Hey, Texans, did you know there's a terrific machine knitting group in Houston?  I'm putting a link to contact their group in my links on the left-hand side of this blog.  They don't have a website, but they meet every month, and they are a bunch of extremely friendly, talented knitters:

Houston Area Machine Knitters
311 Pennsylvania
Webster, TX 
We meet the 2nd Wednesday of each month from 10:00 – 12:00

President:  Turid Olson
email her!  turidolsen  "at"

Now to keep their president from email spammers, I put the little "at" instead of  the @ symbol.   

Thursday, September 5, 2013

September's Technique Video

I'm still trying to put up a technique video each month in 2013, and so far, I've managed it.

For September, here's a simple video showing how to join two afghan panels with a small, contrasting color cable. 

Here's the photo of my finished baby blanket, and then a close-up so you can see the small pink cables that join the knitted panels.

And, here's the YouTube technique video:

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Another Entrelac Idea

Entrelac is great for scrappy projects!  Here's a picture Kristen from Germany is letting me share, showing her Entrelac beginnings, using leftover acrylic yarn.

I think this sample is using the "EZ Entrelac" method.  You could also use the waste yarn method in "Wear Your Diamonds" to make Entrelac in very wide pieces, continually using just a few needles on the machine for the single block you're currently knitting.

Monday, September 2, 2013

NOW AVAILABLE - Diana's New Book

100 Ways to Improve Your Machine Knitting

Get more knitting done while having more fun!

My new book (just a book, no DVD this time) is a large compilation of machine knitting tips and information.  I chose 100 favorite tips, ideas, and instructions that I gathered over my 35+ years of machine knitting, being a dealer, working with a club, and teaching seminars.  Some of these are little things, some are more essential, but each one is a way to improve your machine knitting skills, reduce frustration, and generally enjoy the hobby more.

This book will help you move toward mastery of machine knitting, fitting, and finishing, and make machine knitting much easier.  It's a down-to-earth book - I want you to start where you are with the equipment you already have, to be practical about yarn, supplies, and tools, and enjoy making projects more.

This book contains a wide assortment of topics!  Here are just a few examples:
  • Choosing and finding a terrific knitting machine
  • A powerful learning plan
  • Knitting machine check-up
  • Smart yarn choices
  • Upper tension unit tips
  • Yarn weights
  • Beat the yarn-looping miseries
  • Learn the "plain" techniques
  • The "practically perfect" gauge swatch
  • Gauge for bulky machines
  • Rolling edges and how to deal with them
  • Learn to estimate yarn requirements
  • Ripping Tips
  • Ways to use very thin yarn
  • Seaming on the machine
  • Punch card tips
  • Vertical knit-back Fair Isle
  • Make a doubled neckband
  • Dividing for the neck
  • Do a vertical dart
  • Kitchener, mattress and smiles and frowns finishes
  • Speedy, narrow mattress stitch
  • Be the boss of your ribber
  • The magical Brother medium ribber comb
  • And many more...
This 8.5 x 11 comb bound book is over 100 pages, and heavier than my other products.  To keep shipping costs reasonable, US orders will be mailed Media Mail.  This may add 2 or 3 days to delivery time.  You could also opt for Priority Mail (it's too heavy for First Class Mail). 

International customers:  These books go First Class International, and unfortunately, the postage is pricey.  Allow 2-3 weeks for delivery; unfortunately, some of the more distant destinations like Australia often take the full three weeks. 

All customers:  You can save a little on postage by ordering additional items in the same order.  We pay the extra postage for any items after the first one. 



A week ago, a colleague and I went on a business trip that lasted from Monday to Friday, and I've just been getting back on a routine from that.  We are converting to a new general ledger at the office, and it's been a bumpy ride.  Both of us in our little accounting department are going home worn out at the end of each day.  I joked about this; borrowing freely from the Red Green show, my pledge is, "I am old, but I can learn...if I have to." 

The little bit of knitting I managed to do on my business trip was in the hotel room on my LK150.  I used the machine a little bit to play with cable ideas. 

It's quite portable, especially if you purchase a gun case!  I bring a tote, too, with tools, yarn, and a roll of anti-slip shelf liner, which makes clamps unnecessary.  By the time my friend snapped this picture, my practice yarn had been knitted and unraveled for reuse.  (Did you know you can make perfectly wound center-pull balls using a stick, if you're traveling without a yarn winder?  I used a disposable salt shaker to rewind my yarn.) 

Here's a silly picture of it posed with my co-worker's Beanie Baby bears, Fuzzy and Groovy. 

I should have time to blog a little more now.

Here are a few general announcements:

1.  I'm proud of the new book, which was well-received at the last seminar.  Wouldn't you like a book filled with tidbits picked up over my 35 years of machine knitting?  Part of the delay was figuring out how we're going to do the shipping.  We have to send it Media Mail or Priority Mail in the United States, and we had to raise the postage internationally (again).  It's 109 pages, has no DVD, and it weighs too much for First Class mail.  Media Mail seems to add 2 or 3 days to delivery time.  I actually investigated other formats, like Kindle, but decided that the very best product to own and use as an MKer is the big, lie-flat spiral bound format. 

2.  The upcoming YouTube video demonstrates a good-looking contrasting color cable you can use to join sections of knitting.  I also have a couple of videos ready to go for future months, so maybe I can make my goal of getting one new technique video up each month in 2013! 

4.  I had the very disconcerting realization, after all these years of blogging, that some of my blog feeds had a signature with an incorrect email address, which was terribly frustrating and annoying to people.  Sorry!  It's fixed now. 

5. Need to reach me?  Simply click on the envelope icon down on the left-hand side of this page.  Asking questions at YouTube, in the comments, or in other Web places doesn't work nearly so well.  If I happen to see the question and answer it, how will you see the response?  I do try to answer email questions.  If I can figure out a fairly helpful answer, I'll give that, and if I don't know an answer, I'll say so.

6.  John and I are currently preparing for the Ohio seminar.  Last time I checked, they still had some spaces, and I seldom see such a great seminar value, especially if you live close enough to drive.  It's a one-day, and you wouldn't even need a hotel room.  We're going to have video and sound systems, a fun freebie, and good handouts.  I will have to talk very fast, though, to try to get in everything on the agenda!  We're packing up merchandise and goodies to mail ahead.  Lucky me, Cathy and Larry Reaume (who put on the wonderful, annual Monroe seminar in Michigan) are helping me at the seminar!  Come, say hi to them, take in a full day of demonstrations, and I promise to send you home itching to knit. 

7.  A note for commenters:  I love getting comments, but have to delete comments with links of any kind!  If you want to comment, please don't include a link, even a safe one.  I get lots of comments that contain very suspicious links, and if my readers click on them, they'll have problems with spam at best and viruses at worst.  I can't test links for fear of ruining my own computer.  Please clean links and email addresses out of your comments.