Sunday, January 19, 2014

Try Some Tuck Lace

Head over to Machine Knitting Fun and take a look at this tuck lace - an often neglected stitch technique, so fancy-looking but so easy to do on the knitting machine:

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Friday, January 17, 2014

Inspiration - Do some color work!

Over at Rhythm of the Needles, she's planning a beautiful Rowan Yarns sweater with glorious color work.  Sure, it's hand knitted, but our machines do this so incredibly well and so easily, it makes me want to do some fair isle!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Inspiration at Knotty Knits & Naughty Kids

Is Christmas over?  It's never over; knitters knit for Christmas all year long!

Check out the very clever Santa hat using fun fur for the cuff:

And check out the baby Santa turban, too!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Inspiration at the Panopticon

Of course I follow Franklin's blog!  He's funny and I'm nuts for hand knitting (and especially lace) myself.

Check out the very pretty hand knitted lace scarf he's just posted, and the jokes, too:

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Does anybody know what a Brother 9000 is?

Over at Vanda's blog, she says she's looking for a Brother 9000 manual.  There's a picture there of a machine that looks about like a 940 to me and is labeled "Defendi 9000."  Since Vanda's in Italy, maybe it's the way an importer relabels a common Brother model.

I am just curious and can't help asking - Does anybody know which model is relabeled a Defendi 9000?

Monday, January 13, 2014

Thought-Provoking But Not Knitting Related

Here's an interesting little essay on marriage and economics from Megan McArdle.  I liked reading and thinking about it, because I have some background in economics and because I hate to see young folks giving up on the concept of marriage. 

I have a terrific husband, and we've been together 39 years as of last month.  I recognize how fortunate we are and I realize that marriage isn't for everyone.

On the other hand, I see Ms. McArdle's idea, and her commenters ideas about how marriage partners can benefit each other so very much in life.  Marriage has quite a few possible clear benefits, and I see them in my life and the lives of my friends and loved ones:
  • If you're tired, discouraged, or just not feeling well, it's quite likely your partner isn't having a rotten day at the same time.  You can help each other through the difficulties of life, and share the high points. 
  • You can specialize, like Megan describes, and receive significant economic benefit.  My husband enjoys fixing things, which saves us money on repairs.  I am quite happy to cook nutritious food every day, which saves us money on our food bills.  Without John, I'd have to spend time trying to fix things and trying to decide whether to pay for expensive repairs when it was too difficult; without me, he'd be eating out or forced to spend his time learning to cook and cooking. 
  • You pool your money, your housing, your skills, your family support, your creativity, even your educational background.  John has taught me quite a bit about keeping my knitting machines maintained and working. We feed each other ideas all the time.
  • In a great marriage, you can bring the best out of each other.  I can think of so many examples of my husband encouraging me to try something or do something!  For instance, John is the one who told me to put up YouTube videos to teach knitting to people who have no local lessons available.  John always thinks I can do things, and because of that, I try a lot of things that I wouldn't attempt otherwise.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

January's New Video - Good Looking Tapestry Needle Bind-Off

Have you ever wanted to do a bind-off at the end of the work that is stretchy and looks JUST LIKE your e-wrap cast-on?  Here it is, and thanks very much to Jane in San Diego!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Rhonda's Great Idea

With this cold weather (I never heard of an "arctic vortex" before, but even here in Central Texas, good grief, it's been cold!), we've had mainly orders for "Footnotes," my slipper book.  I guess this weather puts people in the mood to make warm slippers.

Rhonda's been making the No-Sew Slipper (from "Footnotes") and felting it.  Cool idea!  I haven't tried that - yet - but I will!  She is getting a very warm, super-cushioned slipper once it's felted.  She had a problem at first with it getting shorter but staying wide, but she figured out that she could put something in it to stretch it the long way and get a good fit.

Felting is a bit unpredictable.  Remember, when you felt in the washing machine, once the slippers shrink a little bit, check them every couple of minutes!  Wool shrinks faster than you might expect.  I made a pair using a different pattern for my nephew, and I made my poor husband keep trying them on sopping wet. 

Here's what Rhonda said about her husband's brown pair, the first ones she made:
"This is the pair I made by the size mens 10, made from Ragg Wool from Peter Patchis online store, he doesn't have colors listed but if you call he will tell you what he has....very nice people. I usually use Patons Classic wool which felts nice and have used Lambs pride wool with mohair which felted really nice. 

This pair came out 13 inches long and 51/2 inches wide before felting.  After felting they were 11 inches long and 5 inches wide...."

Rhonda also sent me a photo of the Ragg Wool she used - it comes on cones!  I plan to go check out that website for felting wool. 

Rhonda made herself a pair, too - a beautiful green and photographed on her very pretty homemade quilt:


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Inspiration at Tom's!

If this post doesn't inspire you, nothing will.  Look at all the great stuff Tom is knitting (and how beautiful his workmanship is)!  Then he gives us these very, very wise words:

"...I encourage all machine knitters to "just knit" - live outside the box a bit and don't worry if you make a mistake.  It's only knitting.  You can rewind the yarn and start over.  Don't fret if you end up with a row or two more/less (no one will know), don't worry if the carriage is on the wrong side, so what if you have one less stitch than you should at the end; it's only knitting and it really does not matter.
If you haven't the courage or expertise to knit something intricate, just do it.  When you are finished you will have the skills and a whole new level of courage.  Think of your family recipes that are a handful of this and a dash of that, why not do that in your knitting?  Being self taught, I've made my mistakes but I truly learned from those and they have made me a good knitter. 
What matters is for you to enjoy your knitting and produce beautiful items that you and others will cherish." 
UPDATE:  I goofed on the link, above!  Fixed it now.  Tom's blog is here: 

Monday, January 6, 2014

Memories...and an interesting project

I was digging through old photos today, and I found this photo of a sweater I machine knitted around 1982.  I have to share this with you, because this sweater was very much a hand-manipulated and hand-counted project:
If I remember correctly, this was about a child's size 8.  Back then I had a yarn shop, and I had recently gotten a Bulky 8, my first bulky machine.   I had had a Brother 830 and a Toyota 901 before that.  The Bulky 8 had no patterning, but it did have a ribbing attachment.  This sweater was made following a hand knitting pattern.

I have a clear memory of making that sweater.  It worked out that I had an evening by myself with my husband out of town.  We didn't have children yet.  There were no classes that evening, and it was after closing.  I stayed at the store and knitted the sweater in the one evening.  I was fascinated by the idea of trying to make a circular seamless sweater, except for the ribbings, almost as if I was hand knitting the sweater.  I figured I couldn't knit it from the neck down because the stitches wouldn't stretch enough.

First, I made the ribbings, then rehung them on the ribber and main bed to knit circular. I knitted the front and back as one tube and the sleeves each as a tube and took them off on waste yarn.  I had to do sleeve increases, of course, working up the arms, but that turned out to be simple.  Once I got to the yoke area, I rehung all three pieces - the body tube and the sleeve tubes, and then worked the neck, hand-picking the needles for the pattern, going around once for one color and again with the next color.  That was really fairly easy.

There are a lot of decreases in a round yoke, and of course I didn't have a garter bar (Am I wrong when I say that a Bulky 8 is not 9mm, but 8 mm?  I didn't keep it, but moved on to something newer, which is what dealers do.)  I remember sitting and moving the stitches from needle to needle using a 3-prong transfer tool, even then realizing that if it weren't such a small sweater I'd lose patience with all that stitch-transferring.  I did it, though, in the one evening.  I don't remember using any waste yarn for the yoke part of the sweater.  Because I was moving stitches around I had to look at the purl side of the work and make sure I was still counting out the colors correctly.  I remember being hugely relieved when I pulled it off the machine that I had managed to follow the graph without making mistakes.

When it came off the machine, I only had to do a little finishing.  I sewed little short seams in the ribbing and under the arms.  I believe the ribbed neckband was doubled and backstitched on the inside. 

Oh, I was such an enthusiastic young knitter!  I didn't know what I was doing half the time, but I would try things anyway, sometimes with good results like this project, and sometimes not so good.

A while later I saw Joyce Schneider teach at the Newton's Spring Fling in Garden Grove and learned the smart way to do round yokes, using a garter bar. 

This was back when Gene and Bev Newton owned the Toyota machine distributorship for the western part of the country, and I was one of their dealers.  They were wonderful.