machine knitting midgauge standard bulky machknit knit machine-knit patterns

Friday, July 28, 2017

Wow, it's been just over a year since my last post.  No excuses, just lazy.
I thought I would share with you my latest "quicky"/"quirky" knit.  Hope you can use.

Knitted Covers for Wooden Hangers  
A project that uses up scraps of fabric and small amounts of yarn and is quick and is useful and can get you out of a knitting funk!!!  What could be better?  I have a lot of T shirts and camisoles that I’d prefer to hang up rather than fold and put in a drawer.  They always fall off regular hangers.  I don’t hang my sweaters, but these are also good for jackets where you don’t want a hanger mark on the shoulders of the garment. 

I decided to take a tip from friend Donna V and make covered hangers. She does a lot of craft fairs and when she knits a beautiful shawl, she makes a matching padded hanger for display and to go along with it.  Hers are no doubt more elegant than mine.

This is a long explanation for a quick and easy project.

What you need:

1.    Wooden hangers (without the bar for pants) are preferred.  I have also sawed off the bar if it’s wooden, discarded the bar and used the hangers that way too. (The coverings prevent any rawness to show or be felt.)
2.    I have purchased many  wooden hangers from a local thrift store for 10 to 25 cents each.  You might be able to find them cheaper.   Also had some in  my own closets.  The only ones that I couldn’t seem to saw off had an extra metal bar that resisted my attempts to remove it.  Some of the ones I have purchased were almost rusty on the hook so I had to sand them.  You  can also use heavy duty plastic hangers, but they are less desirable because they break.  And then your efforts are wasted.

3.   Fabric scraps, any color, preferably cotton so no insect critters are attracted.  I ripped or cut the scraps into 1 ½ to 3” strips, any length. You can also use leftover batting, felt, polar fleece, etc. It all ends up being cushy.

4.   Knitting machine, any gauge, and yarn leftovers, preferably acrylic or cotton, again so that no insect critters are attracted.

First, wrap fabric around the hanger, as fat as you want and fasten it with safety pins where necessary, to be removed later as you progress sewing along the seam.  I used safety pins so that the pins wouldn’t be forgotten/left into the project/stick me.  Depending on the fabric you use, you may want to go around several times in one place before moving over.  Start and end by leaving ½” of wrapped fabric hanging off so the end of the hanger gets covered.

Knit the cover on your knitting machine.  I used the purl side of the every other stitch tuck dishcloth pattern.  On the 970 standard gauge it’s #45 and I doubled the length to get more texture.  You’ll have to knit one, try it on your hanger and then adjust.  I did some in stripes and some plain.  I suppose you could do any other stitch design---this was just easy and fast.

On the standard gauge, using the tuck pattern, my covers were 40 stitches, T 7, 8, 9 or 10 depending on the thickness of the yarn and  about 240 to 270 rows.  For the ends, I ewrapped on leaving a 10 inch tail and at the other end took off the stitches with a double eyed transfer needle, also leaving a tail of about 20 inches.  Too large is not a problem, but too small you might want to adjust and start again.

Fold the piece in half to find the middle of the length and the middle of the width and slip it over the hanger’s metal loop neck.  Stretch the knitting as much as needed to cover the ends.  Cinch up the stitches that were the end of your knitting and begin sewing shut.  For the other end of the hanger, take the 10” thread and sew in and out to be able to gather the stitches closed.  Take a few stitches and secure.  Using the 20” tail, continue seaming it up doing a mattress stitch. 

The knitting is very forgiving, so if the knitted piece is too large, just fold under one edge and stretch less.  If really too short and not wide enough, try again.  The seam runs along the underside of the hanger.  
 รงunderside.   Hide your ends and voila, a nifty thing to add to your closet.

If using a midgauge or bulky machine you’ll have to experiment with your stitches and rows, but the construction will be basically the same.  For the midgauge calculate about 7/8 of the measurements here and ½ for the bulky.  You might be wondering why I didn’t cast on and end with every other needle.  It works, but the coverage of the fabric underneath isn’t as good in my opinion.  You can, of course, do whatever you want.  I also tried to use colors of yarn that would cover up the fabric underneath.  You could also tie a little bow where the neck meets the hanger, wrap yarn around the hook  or add a little sachet to make it fancier.

I confess, I have made 60 of them so far.  I plan to give some away to family for extra Christmas prezzies next holiday…..  I’m quite enamored with them and have most of my closet converted over to these.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Using DAK to Create a Quilt

I have been looking at the quilts that have offset crosses or pluses and want to make a baby quilt using this pattern.  I'm a little challenged where patterns using geometrics are concerned so thought I'd use DAK to help me out.

I knew I wanted a quilt that was about 36" x 48".  DAK presents each stitch as a rectangle so I pretended they were square.  I don't know if you can change that.  So I needed squares that measure
3 1/2" inches to allow for the 1/4" seams and that determined how many "stitches" I would fill in.
12 squares wide and 15 squares long were what was needed counting the borders.  I left all the default colors in the palette in place so I'd have enough to choose from to make the pluses stand out.  Depending on the pattern being designed, a person could choose just those colors to match the fabric that would be used.

This might sound elementary to you or maybe even stupid (!) but it helped me see where the squares need to be placed to get the off- set pluses.  Here's what I got:
DAK wouldn't let me print out the design as is because it was too many colors for fairisle. But by going Options, knitting method, intarsia and saving it that way, DAK would print.  However, I needed to use the single tool to enlarge the pattern to 200% to make it useful.  This is printable this way.   One nice thing is that DAK numbers the columns.  Another help in placing your plus blocks. After the design is printed, you could number the blocks to match the fabric being used.

The picture shown here was a screen shot of the design in DAK and copied to the Paint program.  Any image processing program could be used.  You can also copy the design to the clipboard right from DAK and paste it.  The nice thing about Paint is that it is simple to use, most all pc's have the program and you can resize the picture as large as you need it.

From this point, a person would figure out the 9 patch blocks and draw them in.  It seems to me that there's no easy way to do this... but then again, maybe it's my little "problem" rearing its head again.  You could do your 9 patches this way:

or include the border patches this way?
just pluses or horizontal strips???
I guess I should go hunting on YouTube and find out the best way to do this.  At least now I know what the crosses are supposed to look like.  Some quilt patterns are just not going to work, though. 
Especially those with half square triangles.  But lots will work.  Maybe it can help you too. 

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Prayer Shawl

A very generous friend, Bonnie in Vermont, sent our guild (the Machine Knitting Guild of Minnesota) some luscious yarn.  Lots of luscious yarn.   She's downsizing and we are upsizing!  I wanted to show guild members what one single cone  would produce.  This one was from Webs. called Crystal and is made of acrylic and nylon. 2000 yards. There were many cones of this kind of yarn and sometimes people can't think of what to do with it since it is quite thin. 

 I knit a tuck stitch prayer shawl with a built in tuck pattern, 144 stitches x 900 rows.  (Yup, not a typo.)  Then I did a kind of twirly edging and ended up with about 2 yards of yarn left!!!

It's about 7 feet long by 24" wide.  Enough, I think, to wrap around shoulders.  If you want a little more specific directions, here goes. And, just about any yarn goes.

This one done on a Standard gauge machine but the idea could be adapted for any gauge machine.
Tension 7 (or whatever works with your yarn)  Start with waste yarn and knit a few rows to get going over 144 needles.
Ewrap cast on over these 144 needles with main yarn.  RC 000.  Knit 10 plain rows.  Set up machine for tuck using any tuck pattern built in or a punch card or hand manipulate if you are patient and persistent.  Nah, that's just crazy.  Knit to RC 890, turn off tuck, knit 10 rows plain and bind off using your favorite bind off.
EDGING:   Try it on a swatch of the same type of yarn to see if you need to skip some shawl stitches as you go around, especially on the long sides.  Skipping some prevents a ruffle.  Unless you want a ruffle, that is.
Begin at the far right of your needle bed.  With the wrong side facing you=== for tuck this would be the knit side==== starting in the middle of one side of the shawl, pick up and hang 3 edge stitches of the shawl with your 3 prong tool.  Don't just pick up a loop, but a little more to make it substantial.  Knit 6 rows.  No need for weights because the shawl weighs it down.  Pick up and hang 3 stitches to the left of those in work,  K6 rows.  *Pick up and hang  3 more stitches to the left of those in work, hang the far right 3 stitches onto the 3 stitches to the left of them.  (There will be 2 stitches on each of those 3 right needles.) 6 stitches in work now. Push emptied needles out of work each time.  Knit 6 rows.*   Repeat from * to *.  When you get to a corner, knit 8 rows rather than the 6  to get around the corner without a pucker.  At the end, bind off and join to the beginning stitches, leaving a 12" yarn tail.  Tidy up by sewing by hand with the tail of the main yarn.

Note that you'll be traveling down the bed, so you will most likely have to take off stitches and move them back to the right a few times.  ok, quite a few times.  I just use a double eyed needle to put the stitches on and move them.

This edging has lots of uses, baby blankets for one,  and looks ok from both sides.  It tames the edges so they don't curl.  Don't know where I got it or what it's called.

I steamed the shawl quite aggressively and it turned out pretty nice.  I'll be donating it to a local nursing home.  Red is cheerful, don't you think?

Thank you yarn angel Bonnie---your yarn will be put to good use!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Norwegian Sweaters

Here's a picture of some of the guild members who took my Norwegian sweater class.  Actually, another gal and I taught it together over a period of 3 months.  We systematically took one step at a time.   None of the class participants had knit fairisle before, much less a whole sweater.  I'm proud of them!!! They all did the same basic pattern with slight modifications.  All were done on the standard gauge machine.   Plans to knit more are in the works.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Bitten by the Gimp Bug

It's hard these days to figure out a gift for little kids that isn't plastic or something 80 million other kids have.  So, for Christmas, I converted some relatives' images to knit stitches and made pillows.  (They are sisters.)

I used Gimp (free download) and Designaknit to create the images.  I paid attention to the number of pixels for the width but forgot to calculate length for the Ruby pillow.  Geesh.  It turned out Ok, but it's one of those little regrets when all is said and done. Her dad says she's in love with it----slept with it for a week in her little tent----so I guess that's all that matters.

For info on how to use Gimp, I followed the instructions here:  an excellent tutorial.
Then I used DAK's Graphic Studio to convert the picture to a knit design.  It's not too difficult, but I think I did mess around a bit to get the amount of shading that looked good.  I did fairisle because it's so fast and the floats are hidden inside the pillow.  The back of the pillow is just plain stockinette in the darker color, then seamed on 3 sides.   Once steamed lightly the stitches stay in place.  I'm sure if you like double bed jacquard, that would work just as nicely. Also, there are other programs that work for this, not just DAK.  Ravelry and Facebook have a lot of examples.

Kind of fun, pretty easy.  You might want to give it a try.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Machine Knit Confetti Scarf

Wow, I see that it has been more than a month since I last posted something.  I have been knitting, but have neglected posting.  Maybe in the winter months I'll be more faithful.  Here's just one of the things I've knit lately.

Confetti Scarf  by MAR HECK    September, 2015
I took this to my mk guild for show and tell.  I introduced it by saying, “You’re probably going to think I’m crazy….” when I was interrupted by a dear but wonky friend who said, “Oh!  That boat has left already!”  REALLY!  We have a lot of fun in our guild mtgs, so I didn’t take it toooooo seriously.  This was from a person who made a quilt that consisted of more than 10,000 pieces.  So who’s cray cray now?
Here’s how I made the scarf.  Take a really thin yarn that you maybe can’t think of another use for and use it as your main yarn.  I used a cone of Tamm Spirit, which I doubt is made any more, as my main yarn.  The label says it’s 97% acrylic and 3% cotton.  I wonder why bother with the cotton since it’s such a minimal amount.  It looks and feels like a dress yarn.  Anyway, for the contrast yarns I took snippets, about 6 to 9“ long of seven colors of other yarns and doubled  them. (I used red, turquoise, blue, yellow, light green, purple and hot pink.)   I had a lot of cone ends that needed to be knit up.   I randomly ewrapped these snippets onto the needles in work.  The needles are pulled all the way out for the ewrapping.  I left ½”  hanging on each end and hung onto the beginning end when I pulled the carriage across .  No need to tie a knot at the beginning and no need to work in these ends.  Knitting with the thinnest yarn and a fairly loose tension makes the fabric almost lacy looking. 
Machine: any, but a midgauge or bulky seem to work best.  I used an LK150 midgauge.
Gauge:  doesn’t matter.  I used T 3 since the main yarn is so thin.
Yarn: as described in note above.  The contrast colors were Tamm Sky, Mary Lou Solo, mystery yarn, 7 colors.  A fancy novelty yarn would be fun to try too.
Skill level:  very beginner
Finished size:  for a scarf that is long enough to go around the neck and do some fancy tying, about 14” wide and 7 feet long.  Measure as you knit.   You could also make a circle scarf by joining beginning to end.  Twist or not. I seamed mine the long way so that the fringes and purl side were the public side.
Ewrap on the number of stitches you need to get the width.  Mine was 60 stitches wide on the midgauge.  Choose a tension that knits smoothly with your yarn.  Add weight evenly distributed.  Knit 10 rows.  Grab one of your snippets, pull out some needles and ewrap the snippet doubled on as many needles as it will cover, right on top of main yarn.  If you pull out too many needles for the length of your snippet, just leave them.  Since you aren’t doing patterning, they will just knit.  If you didn’t pull out enough needles, pull out some more.  Knit 2 to 4 plain rows (or more as you wish) with the main yarn.  I knit different number of rows randomly too.   Add other snippets randomly color-wise and placement- wise across the needle bed---- as many as you wish across the row.  Don’t forget to move the weights up every 20 rows or so.  Repeat until the scarf is long enough.  The more snippets you add, the longer it will take to complete the scarf, but the more colorful it will be.  If your snippets are made of fatter yarn, you may not need to double it.
I laid out my snippets on the chair beside me so that I could make the color scheme look random.  I didn’t want too many sections of the same color. You will need a lot of them.   Trim ends so that they are basically the same length. Steam the scarf to control the edges if you’re not seaming.  It’s kinda fun to make and definitely different. 

The yarn I used:    main and fringes