Friday, February 27, 2015

Health Benefits of Knitting

A hat tip to Canadian Artisan, who linked over to this article on the health benefits of knitting:

I got a kick out of the article.  I read the part about "higher cognitive functioning" to my husband, and he said we probably have higher cognitive functioning than dead people! 

Of course, the article is about hand knitting, but most of us MKers hand knit, too, and we sew things together by hand.  I find knitting incredibly soothing, especially hand knitting, and especially if the yarn is a yummy color and texture.

Oh - while you're over at Canadian Living, check out their  hand knitting patterns!  I've never seen this online mag before, and I like what I'm seeing.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Monday, February 16, 2015

Inspiration at Knitting Up a Storm - Extra-Warm Mittens

When you click on this interesting mitten post, be sure and scroll down and see that she used roving for all the rainbow dots and left chunks of the roving on the side of the mittens for warmth.  She calls them "thrums," which is a new word for me.

There's a photo of the mittens inside-out.

My original reaction to these mittens was that they look big, like oven mitts.  Well, that roving is the reason why. 

Yes, I think we can easily do this on the machine.  Hmm.  So many ideas, so little time!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Ways to Shape a Beanie Top

I had a rather good question today, a very common issue.  How can you machine knit a hat without having lumpy gathers on top?  It's not easy to decrease evenly across a knitting machine's needles, because each one is on its own needle.
Here are some thoughts about how to solve this problem:
For a perfect finish, check out my golf club covers – done exactly like a hat top, using a garter bar to make nicely even decreases, here: 

That’s part one, and then YouTube will offer you part 2 – it’ll pop up in the suggested videos on the right. 
Although my photo has them lying on a table, so there are some wrinkles, they're smooth with the proper circular decreases for a fitted hat.  No gathers!

This is a lot of stitches to move, though.  By the time you finish a golf club cover, you're have had a garter bar workout.
The other way to do the same job is to take it all off on waste knitting, then put the stitches back on with the necessary spaced decreases, unravel the waste yarn, knit a bit, take it off on waste yarn again, etc.  Tedious but you can get that same perfect shaping.

There are other ways to do this, as well – none quite so perfect as the method I show in the golf club covers – 

1.      I did a watch cap in the Goldilocks Book that shapes beautifully at the top of the head because I disguise the decreases in among some latched cables. 

2.      You can transfer every fourth stitch to its neighbor, take the empty needles out of work, tighten the tension some, knit a few rows, then transfer every second stitch to its neighbor and take those needles out of work, tighten the tension as much as you can, knit a few rows and sew the stitches off and gather up.  This is smoother but not as pretty.  This is how I did the monkey hats in the KnitLeader course.  They're still a little gathered, but not much.

3.     You can make the whole hat ribbing, which gathers better than stockinette stitch, especially if you gather the knit stitches and then gather the purl stitches.  Here's a ribbed hat that I think looks very professional:

4.  You can make your hat sideways and short-row the crown, as I did in this short-rowed baby hat, pictured in shades of light blue and green.


A Milestone on "Finishing School"

Starting last fall, I've been working on a 2-DVD set about how to finish knits.  It's for machine knitters and hand knitters, and includes things like beautiful seams and grafts, blocking, and a number of other details that make your knits look expert, and maybe win a blue ribbon.

Well, I went wandered right off my plan.  I had a seminar or two to do, and then a wonderful trip to Israel, and then the flu, then the holidays, and then year-end close at work.

So, this week I went back and took stock of where I was on the project.  I scarcely recalled the work I did, ending back in October, but there was about an hour and a half of finished, edited video showing a ridiculous number of seams and grafts, in addition to a bunch of other video lessons that weren't yet edited when I got interrupted.  I was editing them and adding them to the course in a sort of logical order, and then next logical thing was grafting (Kitchener stitch) for knit two, purl two ribbing.

I had endless video showing that, and I watched them and saw why I kept re-filming.  Some of the videos had a bad picture - too-dark yarn, maybe, or a poor contrast between main and waste yarn.  In addition, those days that I was filming, I made every possible speech mistake and finger fumble.  But, if at first you don't succeed, try about fifteen more times and you'll get there.  After watching all this terrible dreck, I decided I don't like any of it, so I knitted new samples and re-filmed it.  Tonight I finished editing that technique demonstration, plus another one showing knit three, purl three ribbing, illustrating how you can graft any ribbing invisibly if you graft the beginning live stitches of one piece to the ending live stitches of another. 

And that fills disk one, putting me at the halfway point in the process!   Now, on to the second disk, starting by going through the video I filmed in the fall.  This project gets the award for the most goofy-looking little samples, lots of little squares sewed together various ways.

Also, recently, I've come up with a couple new demos for this year's YouTube videos and my local knit club.  I've also knitted, but not assembled, two new sweaters for myself.  I've got a different way to do an industrial neckband, which I tried on one of my sweater projects and find quite satisfactory. 

Knit a little every day, that's my motto.  Or, how about this one - any day is better, if I can just get a little while to knit. 

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Video for February - Zigzag Panel Join

In the February video, I demonstrate an easy way to join panels on the knitting machine.  I think it's pretty and quite tidy - doesn't it look almost like a braided cable?

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Look at what Tom's up to!

Over at Tom's blog, have a look at his work with img2trk.  This is something I haven't played with - I've used DAK to manipulate images and get them into the machine, but here's another way.

BTW, I'm getting February's video uploaded.  It's a very interesting panel join that almost looks braided, but is kind of like doing worm edging.  I'll embed the video, as usual, as soon as it's up.