Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Guest Article by Abby Holt

I don't run a lot of guest articles, but Abby Holt hunted down some interesting links and ideas, and it's so timely during the holidays!

Made with Love: DIY Holiday Crafting That Won't Bust Your Budget

 With the holidays approaching, it’s easy to get sucked into feeling like you have to spend a lot to show how much you care. But who says gifts have to come from a store? There are plenty of  DIY ideas for presents and decor that don’t bust your budget. From zeroing in on the best gift ideas to finding deals on crafts and supplies, Diana Natters has the resources to help you get started.

 Crafting Gift Ideas

 Here are some fun and budget-friendly crafting gift suggestions:

           Visit Diana Natters’ Blog About Machine Knitting

      30 DIY Christmas Card Ideas to Send Out This Season

      20 Inexpensive Homemade Gift Ideas

 Shopping and Saving Tips

 Learn how you can save on craft and art supplies:

            15 Super Places to Buy Art and Craft Supplies Online

      Find Local Art Supplies & Craft Stores

Crafting Supplies

 Here are some supplies you may need for your next crafting project:

            Craft Supply Checklist

      Versatile Crafting Supplies for Multiple Crafts

      The 16 Tools Every Crafter Must Have

 Starting a Crafting Business

 As you improve your crafting, you may want to start a side hustle or even your own business.

           How to Start an In-Home Craft Business

      How to Sell Online: The Complete Guide

      Learn the best way to start an LLC for Your Crafting Business

 It’s important to note that creating gifts shouldn’t be a stress inducer but a stress reliever. Make sure you don’t overextend yourself or attempt a project you might not finish. This is supposed to bring a smile to your face and the giftee!

 So without further ado, roll up your sleeves, crank up those holiday tunes and get into the spirit of the season.

 Diana Natters is your ultimate blog resource on machine knitting. Read more informative articles today!

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Needle Beetle Madness

 I can hardly call these Needle Beetle videos reviews at this point - I think the device is awesome and am now quite biased!  I don't have a financial arrangement with Kris Basta, but she has given me some Beetles to demonstrate with videos, and I certainly had fun doing that.

I put up two more Needle Beetle videos today because my husband John pointed out that they would make GREAT Christmas presents, and maybe if I got the videos up, people would buy them for gifts.  So, if you want to give a machine knitter with a plastic bed machine (Brother 350, Brother Convertible, Studio LK-150), they will be absolutely wowed.  You can purchase them at www.kriskrafter.com.  You will need to know the model number the person has so you can choose the correct model.  Sorry, these are NOT for metal bed machines.  They're for the most popular plastic bed ones.

I'm not the only one doing Needle Beetle videos.  Kris has some good ones on YouTube and other people, do too.  

Here are my two latest videos:

This first video is using the Brother convertible 395 as a standard gauge machine.  My friend Angelika has one of these, and she brought it over to my house, then we played with it all morning using the Needle Beetle and getting a decent Fair Isle routine.  Here's the amazing thing - as a standard gauge machine, you can get 16 stitch pattern repeats!  Wow - look at the fancy star I was able to knit after I finally got the hang of it.

If you use it as a bulky machine by swapping out the striker combs, then you get 8-stitch repeats, as usual.

Next video:

Now this is the 8-stitch repeats on the Brother 350.  I have one of those - it's very similar to the LK-150 except that it is a 7 mm machine, rather an odd duck size, but quite good for many weights of yarn.  It has 132 needles.  I was able to do Fair Isle quite quickly using the trick where you pull the needles (using the Beetle) but then you set the carriage to knit B-position needles only going to the left and knit held needles only going back.  Sometimes this isn't so good - the floats are on top of the held needles - but it was fantastic with this machine and I'm glad I did it that way.  Try it on YOUR machine, since it will save you time.  I also showed how to deal with the end needles to avoid messy edges.

Here's an older video, my first one with the Needle Beetle, and using the LK-150.  I was doing tuck and slip patterns, because they're quite easy with the Beetle and look great:

And here's the last one, also using the LK-150 and another great Kris Krafter goodie, the Weave-R.  It's a little weaving arm for the LK, and I had a great time with it.

Do you need some 8-stitch pattern charts?  I have them in my FREE Facebook knitting-only group, "Knitting with Diana Sullivan," which you can join here.  Look in the files after you join.  It's a big .pdf file.  There isn't a lot of content over there, but you can join at pretty much the beginning of the group and watch it develop.  

Friday, December 3, 2021

NEW YouTube Video - Elf Hat

 I am having more digital patterns to keep the cost and shipping down and to reach different people.  

The problem with this is that I have always believed that an important part of my work was the companion videos showing all the techniques.  People who couldn't follow other patterns could follow mine!  Now I have the idea of putting up a free video showing the techniques that go into a pattern I am selling.  This kills two birds with one stone - it teaches techniques for free and helps sell a pattern and keep me in business.

I put up this Elf Hat (which I featured in Joy of Machine Knitting - if you were in that seminar, you already have this pattern in the private group and on your USB).  I love this one because it has a very interesting hem and lots of easy garter bar work.  Maybe if I can get folks to try the garter bar doing something easy but super useful, like even decreases, they'll use the bar more.  I have the Elf Hat pattern in five sizes for standard, mid-gauge and bulky machines.

I also put up an Etsy page where you can get a digital pattern much faster.  My regular shopping site doesn't support this, but Etsy does.  If you order at my regular site, I email you your pattern when I see the order the next morning.  At Etsy, you download it right away.  So that's new - I am old but I can learn!  Click here to see my new (very small) Etsy store.

I'm also suggesting to people that they join my new Facebook group.  I now have a free group that is knitting-related only and is going to be a very nice community.  I am not crazy about Facebook, but if you limit content to a topic and have sensible group rules, it's got some great features, including the ability to post videos and files and interact so easily.  I have already posted a bunch of 8-stitch patterns because I have been making Needle Beetle videos (they're not all up yet - just a little more to do).  Here is the link to the Facebook group, and I hope you'll consider joining.

Here's the new video:

Monday, November 29, 2021

New - I have a free Facebook Group

 I have a new Facebook group for all knitters - Knitting with Diana Sullivan.  Click here to get there!  

Please join my Facebook group - I promise, there is already some some good content.  For instance, I just put up a big file of original 8-stitch Fair Isle patterns for those of us using the Needle Beetle on our plastic bed machines.  More about that later, as I will have two more videos to put up about the Needle Beetle, one on the Brother 350 and one on the Brother 395.

This is a public, free Facebook group, unlike my private seminar groups.  I've been advised to use Facebook for a lot of the same things I do here, so, hey I'm diving in now that so much machine knitting content is on Facebook.   The other reason that I wanted my own permanent, free Facebook group is that people share their projects and photos and I love to look at that content.  

I learned, using Facebook for virtual seminars, that it can be a very happy experience.  We simply stick to knitting topics only!  Therefore, this new page is another encouraging space for those of us who need a respite from the divisive, click-bait, edgy, cranky internet.  

We knitters have an awful lot in common and really enjoy each other's company.  Aren't we lucky to have such a wonderful hobby community!

Lately, there's such a lot of new MK stuff going on with me.

I just finished another big virtual seminar, Joy of Machine Knitting.  This time, it was holiday-themed, and I did more patterns than ever.  I just mailed out the USB drives to members today, and they have over 58GB of patterns and videos on their USBs!  While I am teaching, I record the classes.  Since there were SO many patterns, I also made detailed, edited videos of most of the patterns.  And then there are all the written-out patterns included.  Yep, I know I need to offer the USBs for sale to non-members on my regular site.  I'll do it soon, I hope.  December can be overwhelming...

I think those of you who attended Joy of Machine Knitting who live in the US will see your USB drive by the end of this week.  Those of you who live in other countries, well, I just don't know.  Mailings during Covid are slow enough that we expect at least three weeks transit time to most countries.  

Another new thing - my shopping cart store doesn't do automatic digital download patterns.  Consequently, I've just started (like 30 minutes ago) a new Etsy store, not fully loaded.  Want to go look?  It's here:  https://www.etsy.com/shop/DianaKnitsDesigns?ref=search_shop_redirect

I put up a new elf hat over there, as shown in the pic.  This pattern has five sizes (babies to grownups) and all three common gauges.  No ribber, but a garter bar is very helpful.  I have a YouTube I will put up that teaches the hat with the baby size, and then you'll be all set to make the other sizes and gauges as you need them.

If you order digital patterns at the usual place, www.dianaknits.com, I email them to you.  At Etsy, you get them immediately, even if I'm sleeping!  Anyway, we'll see how it goes.  I won't use Etsy for my other products until I've learned it a bit more.

Monday, October 18, 2021

Virtual Seminar VERY SOON

 I have been knitting and planning for months to get ready for the new seminar I am teaching in a couple weeks!

The Joy of Machine Knitting 2021 is a 4-session virtual seminar, in early November. This seminar is based on specific projects, great knits that your friends and family will love. You can watch the classes live or water later on Facebook. There will be detailed handouts, interesting patterns, surprises, and lots of interesting techniques taught along the way.

This is another virtual seminar based in a Facebook group. Too many commitments? Well, you can watch the classes live, or they are posted in the group so you can watch them later, or watch them again, or watch just selected bits. The private group will be open through 12/31.

Registration is limited and will close soon.

You can register or just look at all the details of the seminar by going to www.dianaknits.com and then clicking on Joy of Machine Knitting. Or, just click HERE.

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Inspiration at Knotty Knits and Naughty Kids

 I don't see a lot of fun knitting blog activity these days - but here's a super cute one - Tracy is knitting a gnome!


Saturday, August 7, 2021

New Video Today!

 Hi, all, it's August and here's my new video, a garter stitch button band:

Not a lot to say today - headed off to Knit Natters, where we're doing a yarn swap and I have a demo of a wriggle lace scarf.

Friday, August 6, 2021

Yarn Weights - Guest Blog from Margit Tritt

 Margit is a Silver Reed (Studio) knitting machine dealer in Colorado.  Her business is www.pacaknits.com.  

I greatly appreciate active dealers like Margit who are knowledgeable and provide services for machine knitters.  Margit has classes and parts.  Margit is now the Silver Needles Cone Winder dealer.  I have one of these wonderful machines, which I keep out and use regularly.

Margit recently wrote a useful essay about yarn weights which follows.  I have a previous essay about yarn weights here:  https://diananatters.blogspot.com/search?q=yarn+weight  If you want to have an enjoyable, productive experience in machine knitting, choosing the right yarn is critical!

Yarn Weight Categories 

Compiled by Margit Tritt, www.PacaKnits.com

Updated January 2020 

ARGH! Everyone seems to call yarn by different names using a confusing set of units! Hand knit and crochet, EU (Europe) vs. US, machine knit, weaving WPP (wraps per inch), YPP (yards per pound), nm (meters per 1 gram – metric yarns number), … depending on the system you’re using, 16/2 = 2/24 = 6720 yds / lb (cotton count vs worsted count) 

BTW, the basic conversions I know off the top of my head are: • 2.54 cm = 1 inch • 453.6 grams = 1 pound • 1 kilogram (kg) = 2.2 pounds 

Thank goodness for Google (and other search engines) and built in conversion computations. In the “old” days when I got my bachelor’s degree in mathematics, we used the CRC Standard Mathematical Tables and Formulae. I don’t remember what version I used but much of this info is available on calculators now. 

What works with what machine? I’ve combined info from various web sites to provide basic guidelines. Please go to the sources listed below and do your own research. When all else fails – SWATCH!! (I’m kidding – always always always make a gauge swatch for a knit item that requires specific dimensions.) Note: Silver Reed manuals have photos to correlate actual sizes of yarn to stitch dial settings and of course, the different gauge machines will support different sizes of yarn. Yet more sets of numbers that have no relationship to the table below! 

 I did not include #6 (Super Bulky) and #7 (Jumbo) yarns as these generally cannot be used as main yarns in any machine. However, they may work for weaving so keep your yarn stash! 

3/11 = Sport Weight 

4/8 = Worsted Weight 

2/11and 3/15 = Fingering Weight 

2/20 and 2/24 = Fine weight 

2 strands of 2/24 together = Fingering Weight. 

Here are some pertinent links:

Craft Yarn Council Standard Weight System

Swicofil Yarn Conversion

Wikipedia Units of Textile Measurement

One nm equals 1,000 meters of yarn per kilogram (1,000 m/kg). This equals 50 meters per 50 grams. A 1/8 nm yarn (usually just called 1/8, without the nm) tells you that the yarn has been spun 8 times longer than the standard and is therefore finer. You will get 8,000 meters per kilogram if your yarn is a 1/8. The first number in the name, or the 1 in 1/8 indicates the number of plies in the yarn. A 1/8 yarn has one ply, a 2/8 yarn has 2 plies, etc. A 2/8 yarn indicates the yarn was spun to 8,000 meters per kilogram, but then plied into a two-ply yarn. The finished yarn will therefore measure 4,000 meters per kilogram. 

A 3/8 yarn will have 2,666 meters/kilogram, or 8000 divided by 3. 

How does the general numeric system compare to the CYCA chart? From thick to thin: 

  • 4/8 yarn yields 1,120 yards per pound and is closest to what hand knitters consider a DK weight yarn or #4. 
  • 3/8 yarn yields 1,490 yards per pound, or sport weight yarn. Similar to a DK weight, but slightly thinner or #3. 
  • 2/8 yarn yields 2,240 yards per pound, for a fingering weight yarn or #2. 
  • 2/18 yarn yields 5,040 yards per pound and is considered laceweight or #0 - #1. 
  • 2/20 yarn yields 5,600 yards per pound and is also considered laceweight. The difference between 2/18 and 2/20 is slight for a hand knitter, akin to the difference between 4/8 and 3/8. 
  • 2/24 yarn yields 5,960 yards per pound, and again, is considered laceweight.  

Saturday, July 10, 2021

New Video - How to use the Weave-R on your LK150

Kris at Kris Krafter has a new goodie - it's a weaving arm for LK150 (also LK100 and LK140).  This is for these Studio plastic bed machines, only.

I have a new video showing how to use it.  It's a very nice accessory.  Kris has them available at www.kriskrafter.com.  

I think you'll enjoy weaving!  For one thing, it makes a wider piece of knitting than plain stockinette.  It has a really different look.  It eliminates most curl along the sides.  Also, it's a more substantial, warmer piece of fabric.

In the video, I promised to share some weaving charts that use just 8 stitches in width.  Why 8 stitches?  Well, the Needle Beetle does 8-stitch pattern needle section on these machines, and in the video, I'm using it for some cute counted patterns.  I've tested these charts and tweaked them until I am satisfied that they make attractive designs.  Two of the charts, Pull Up 1 and Pull Up 2, are pull-up designs, and I show how to do that in the video.  On the chart, the X marks the spot (well, the needle) you'll put the loops onto before you knit the pull-up row.  

Note that I'm numbering the stitches from right to left, because the Needle Beetle goes from right to left and we pick out the first 8 needles on the right.  Why not count from right to left every time?

I numbered the rows from bottom to top, and of course, you'll knit them from bottom to top, repeating the marked number of rows.  I keep my place with a Post-It note.

Check out books and magazines for more weaving designs and ideas. 

In the video, I demonstrate the first, second, third and fourth designs, working down the left-hand side of the charts.  After you play with these, you'll probably have ideas for more designs.  

Tips about weaving:

1. Swatch first!  I know, I always say this... but it works out that some yarns work great for weaving yarns and others simply don't cooperate.  There are lots of yarns that work for weaving and won't go through your machine as regular knit stitches, but some yarns just don't weave well.  Besides, you'll want to inspect the color contrast and see how puffy the yarn is against the background yarn.
2.  Pull the weaving yarn down a little as you begin across with the weaving tool.
3.  Do you need to rip out?  It rips out like regular stockinette.  First work the weaving yarn out of the needles, then rip the row of knitting.
4.  Do you need to re-weave the row because the Weave-R didn't catch every spot?  This happens to me when I forget to pull down.  First, make sure all the stitches are in the latches, and then do the needle selection and weaving again.

Saturday, June 26, 2021

Synnove's teddy bears!

 I think these photos on Synnove's blog of knitted items using her teddy bear charts is not to be missed!


I especially enjoy her baby designs.  

Sunday, June 20, 2021

Inspiration from Lorna

 Lorna (Ozlorna blog) is an expert, creative and prolific knitter, and during my recent seminars, I got to know her and enjoy her very much, as we did Zoom social times.

She has dyed with jelly beans and I just have to share this with you:


Thursday, June 17, 2021

Inspiration from Knotty Knits

 I sure do like this hand knitted stitch pattern -


Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Inspiration from Synnove

 Check out Synnove's charity baby hats:


They're handknitted.  We can do something similar on the machine - love the vertical stripes as well as the opportunity to use bits of what I already have.  You could use this video for a sideways short-rowed baby hat:

I realize I don't have the cute little points on top of the head.  I'd have to think about that...

Saturday, June 12, 2021

Inspiration at Marzipan Knits

 I've had pot holders on the brain lately, and apparently, Mar has, too!  Check out her wonderful use for thinner cotton with striking Fair Isle designs:


And bless her, she's provided the instructions!

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Inspiration at Yet Another Canadian Artisan

 I really like this tuck stitch - such deep texture!


Monday, June 7, 2021

NEW VIDEO! Cluster Edging

 I am absolutely crazy about this edging!  It is fantastic around blankets, it's easy to do, and it looks great.

Tuesday, January 12, 2021


Strings 2 Things 2021

Machine Knitting Seminar with Diana Sullivan

Get fired up and knitting in 2021!  

I'm having another high-value, content-rich online machine knitting seminar with something for every machine knitter, from beginner to adventurer.  

The emphasis in this seminar is on habit-forming projects that your friends and family will love.  There will be lots of interesting techniques taught along the way! 

The seminar is in February, and registrations are limited! Please sign up early to ensure your place. 

Register or see details:


Tuesday, January 5, 2021

First Video of 2021 - Five Stitch Braided Cable

Happy New Year!  Alright already, let's knit!

I just love braided cables!  Here's one for almost any machine:

Friday, January 1, 2021

Inspiration - Socks from Tom C.

 Sometimes I get a wonderful finished project email from a knitter with photos.

Tom C. emailed me these pictures of his socks, and, well, wow!

Here are some clever details on these socks:

  • The fair isle is under a hem so there are no floats inside.
  • The sock bottoms have every-other-needle fair isle for padding and looks
  • The pictures that personalize them are original! Tom drew the charts using a PPD and uploaded them,