machine knitting midgauge standard bulky machknit knit machine-knit patterns

Thursday, August 21, 2014

To Wrap, or not to wrap. That is the question

I have been doing some charity knitting lately, mostly ear flap hats.  When I make them on the standard gauge machine, I don't wrap the edges of the ear flap because it goes more quickly and the holes are small.  They look ok.  But when I tried this on the midgauge machine, I got a totally different look.  It's not objectionable, could be called a design feature, but wrapping the edges gives a smooth look.  Compare these below:

I used my free pattern---- check out the right side of the blog and scroll down.  Thought I'd give another option in case you are using that pattern.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Time to Knit!

Clock Cozy
Machine:   I used 4.5 Standard (but any could be used)
Gauge:  Doesn’t matter as long as you measure what is needed
Yarn:  Coordinating colors abt the same wt.  You might be looking at it a long time, so use your faves.
Clock:  purchased very economically at Target—Clock circumference 31 ½ inches; rim abt 2 ½ inches.  Comes in red, turquoise and black; takes one AA battery. 

Cast on with waste yarn and knit a few rows.  I used 23 stitches, T6.  My gauge was roughly 7 st and 10 rows to the inch.
Knit 29 ½ inches, about one to two inches shorter than the circumference, alternating colors randomly. It’s important to make the cozy snug, but not so short that the stitches are stretched and distorted.

 Leave a yarn tail of the main color either at the beginning or the end of the strip to seam with. Always change colors on the right side of the bed and knot the old with the new so it doesn’t unravel.  This will be on the back of the clock so it won’t show.
Start and end with the same color after (at the beginning)  and before the waste yarn (at the end).  Measure frequently while the strip is on the machine, without weights.  When it’s the correct size, take off on several rows of waste yarn.

No need to run in the yarn ends, (except maybe on your kitchener row, but make sure they are secure.  Trim ends to abt 2 inches.  
 Kitchener stitch the beginning to the end.  Don’t twist the circle.  Fit over the clock rim with knots on the back side and situated so it stays put.  The stockinette naturally rolls, making a nice edge.  You can tuck the ends inside the band if they bother you. I used the non-hook end of a crochet hook to gently urge them into hiding once the seaming was done and the cozy was placed onto the clock.  (Of course, they bothered me!)
Remove waste yarns.  I love the color red, so I let part of the rim of the clock show.   A dab of glue here and there wouldn’t hurt if you’re having trouble getting the cozy to stay put.  Actually, once you get the cozy on and hung on the wall, it’s not going anywhere so it doesn’t have to be fitting so precisely.
 Voila’, an original, funky clock that makes a statement about how you spend your time!
Some examples I have seen do a single color chain stitch, crocheted, around the front inside of the circle, presumably to make it fit better.  I liked mine plain.

I wish I could say that this was my original idea.  I saw it on Ravelry (hand knit)
by Inger
Check out the examples on Ravelry for design ideas.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Mar’s Spherical Dryer Helpers Revisited

    I have seen quite a few patterns for hand knitted dryer balls and didn’t find myself attracted to any of them---mostly because they are knit on double pointed needles. They start with just a few stitches and increase every other or every row to get to the middle of the ball. That’s one thing the knitting machine doesn’t do easily.  We can knit in the round with the ribber, but sharp, even increases to get a round ball would be difficult, if not impossible. Decreases yes, increases so fast, no.

When one of the gals in my guild did a program on felted knits, she showed some dryer balls she had made.  She wound a ball of wool yarn and then needle felted some roving on to it.  She felted them in the washing machine inside a nylon stocking.  I tried that and had to spend days pulling off little pieces of nylon and lost most of the roving.  I evidently missed a trick somewhere.  (Ball on the left.)  Then I tried just rolling a wool ball and hand sewing down in 7 million places so it wouldn’t unravel.  (Ball in the middle.)  It works but doesn’t look so elegant and you can see the individual threads.  Then I came up with the ball and jacket idea.  (Ball on the right.)  It fills the bill, as far as I’m concerned .

 So, why make these things anyway ????   Some reasons:   The balls bounce around in your dryer and pound the clothes taking out wrinkles and static.  (No more expensive dryer sheets.)  They also reduce the drying time significantly.  I usually use 4 at a time.  The only downside I can think of is that they are noisy. 

Here’s my recipe.  A ball and a jacket.  Done from middle to end, twice, because decreasing every couple of rows is easy.

Standard ( Midgauge, bulky)

100% Wool yarn that works with your machine.  No superwash.

1.     Wrap a ball of wool yarn to the size you want. Color shouldn’t matter.   Mine are about 4 inches in diameter.  Set aside.

2.    Cast on over 46 (40, 34) needles with waste yarn.  Knit 6 rows. Loosest possible tension throughout.

3.    Knit with main yarn 10 (8, 6) rows. (Don’t do a permanent cast on, just knit)

4.    Remove on waste yarn and rehang main yarn doubling up stitches across leaving no empty needles, knit 2 rows.  Repeat this step until you have 6-8 stitches left.  (or use your garter bar if you have one.)

5.    Take stitches off on a 10” yarn tail with your double eyed transfer tool.  Don’t cinch up yet.

6.    Turn around the knitting and pick up the main yarn stitches at the center of the ball, all the way across with purl side facing you.  Remove waste yarn now or later.  Repeat steps 3, 4 and 5.

7.    Slip your ball into your unfinished jacket to see if it’s the right size.  Add a little, remove a little until the ball sits snugly into its jacket.  Because the "jacket" will shrink, it's better to leave a tad of shrinking room.  Now you can cinch up the ends and use one of the yarn tails to seam the ball shut.  Hide the yarn tail from the other end into the ball after you cinch up that end.

8.     Throw into the wash a time or two until the stitches are obliterated and any dye that wants to run has run its course.  (Your yarn may not run at all.)  Then into the dryer for many happy tumbles.

I made mine on the LK 150 midgauge with Mary Lou’s Schuss Plus.  The white didn’t felt as nicely as the colored yarn.  The colored yarn did not run in the wash or the dryer. I admit I had to try a few different combinations of stitches and rows to get a nice round jacket for the ball. (Forget the math!  I wouldn’t know where to start.) So, if you’re using a standard or a bulky, you may have to do a little experimenting too.  

 I’m guessing at the correct number of stitches and rows to get a nice ball for the other two machines.  These go so fast once you get the right ratio---they would make nice little stocking stuffers for the people in your life who do the laundry. 

  OH, and by the way.  Don’t be tempted to use acrylic for the ball.  The gizmo just won’t work very well.

*********************************************************** Curious and curiouser----- once again, Blogger wouldn't save my post unless I omitted the word "balls" in the title.  



Sunday, July 6, 2014

Mar's Magnificent Minnesota Midgauge Felted Mitts

"Magnificent" if I do say so myself.  I have tried a zillion mitten patterns and have been disappointed in all for various reasons.  I finally came up with a pattern that is easy, quick, warm and looks great.

It's supposed to get up to 90 degrees F today and I'm knitting wool mittens. Go figure. 

  These will go to the local Salvation Army for their coat drive and distribution.  I'm debating whether I should knit I cord strings for them---hate to think they'll get lost, but wondering if the kids will think they're cheezy.  I think I'll do it and if they hate the strings, they can cut them off.  Anyway, here they are with the disclaimer that, if you use different yarn, you may need to experiment and then adjust stitches and rows.  

Mar’s Magnificent Minnesota Midgauge Felted Mittens   ©2014

Machine:  LK150, SR 860, no ribber required
Yarn:  Mary Lou’s Schuss Plus or any 100% wool that knits to the same gauge (If you use a different yarn and gauge I can’t guarantee they’ll come out to the same size as mine did). And felting adds another variable.  Schuss Plus is about the size of hand knitting sport weight yarn or light worsted.
Gauge:  At T10.. (loosest possible) 4.5 st and 6 r = 1” before felting
Other materials needed:  Size F crochet hook (or use the one that came with your machine), large eyed needle for seaming
Finished size:  Average women’s hand or older child, large in parenthesis

Directions:  (Both mittens are knit the same)

      1.  Ewrap cast on over 21-0-21 (24-0-24) needles.  T10..  RC000.  Knit to RC18 (22) and put a yarn marker on both sides.  Knit to RC 34 (40) and put a yarn marker on both sides.  (This is the thumb placement.) 
     2.  Knit to RC 56 (62). Starting the tip of the mitt.   CAR.  Set machine to hold.  Put left 21 (24) stitches in hold position. 
3      3.  Decrease one stitch both sides, knit one row.*  Repeat  from * to * 7 (8) more times. 7 (8) stitches left in work.  Take the 7 (8) st off on several rows of waste yarn.  Note, it is not necessary to do a full fashioned or fancy decrease, because once felted, the stitches disappear. 
4      4.  Take machine off hold.  On the other half of the mitt, repeat #3.

1.     Locate the bottom yarn markers both sides.  With purl side facing you and the cuff down, pointy tops up, hang this stitch on needle #1. Locate the same spot on the other side and hang the stitch on the same needle #1.  Two stitches are now on needle 1 and the mitt is a tube.  You can tell if you've hung it correctly when purl stitches are toward you/ on the inside of the tube and purls are what are about to be knit.  Confession;  i knit two thumbs upside down until I got a grip on myself...SO double check.  Twice!!!  Air was as blue as the mitt.
2.    Splay the sides of the mitt out, With your 3 prong tool pick up 9 (10)  more whole stitches to the right, up to the top yarn marker and do the same for the left side.  You now have 19 (21) stitches in work.  You may need to skip a few stitches as you hang because you are matching up rows to stitches.
3.    Set the machine to hold.  All needles except the center doubled one are in hold.  Hang a claw weight under the doubled stitch.  Knit one row.  Push a needle opposite the carriage in the middle, next to the stitch that just knit, into working position. Knit one row.  Continue putting a needle opposite the carriage into work one at a time, knit one row, until all needles are working.  (No need to wrap, but work slowly and check each row to make sure the new needle did knit.  If necessary, knit the stitch through by hand.) 
4.    All thumb stitches in work now.  Knit 8 (10) rows even on all 19 (21) stitches.
5.    Decrease for thumb tip:  Transfer every other stitch to its neighbor and move all the stitches in so there are no empties.  Knit one row.  Repeat once more.   Leave an 8" yarn tail for sewing. Take the remaining stitches off on a large eyed needle and cinch up.  Don’t seam yet.

1.     With right side (stockinette side) facing you, hang the top 7 (8) stitches on waste yarn of one side and then picking up whole stitches using your 3 prong tool as a gauge, pick up stitches down the curve.  Pick up the same number on the other side curve.  Hang claw weights.  Push stitches to the back of the bed, needles all the way out with latches open.  Remove waste yarn.  Hint:Write down the number of stitches you picked up so that when you knit the second side and second mitt, it will be identical.
2.    Fold over so the purl side is facing you and hang the same stitches as you did on the other side but into the hooks of the needles.  Hang more claw weights so the stitches don't jump off.
3.     Close latches.  With a straight edge that is at least as wide as the stitches you are working with, push the front stitches through the back in one fell swoop.  Don’t be timid.
4.    Pull needles all the way out and push the stitches back at the same time to make it easier to bind off.  Bind off loosely with your favorite technique. (It won’t show.)
             Before felting...

1.     Seam all open seams from the right side by whip stitching just half of each stitch loosely.  The seam won’t show after felting, but picking up just half a stitch each side reduces bulk.  You could also mattress stitch from the right side taking just half a stitch.
2.    Secure yarn ends and cut about 2 inches. (Can trim after the felting process.)
3.    Crochet cuff edge:
a.      Single crochet into each stitch around
b.    Secure to beginning stitch and chain one.
c.     Single crochet in each of 3 stitches, then  4 chains.  Secure bottom of chain into same stitch.  Repeat around. (Picots made)
d.    Secure to beginning stitch then single crochet in each stitch but do 2 sc into the picot point.  This makes the edge a little firmer.
e.    Pull points out hard.  A lot of the nice stitches will get obliterated, however, after felting.
4.     Put through as many hot/cold washes with a little bit of detergent as needed and some jeans.  Keep an eye out so that they don’t get too small.  I checked mine half way through a hot wash and to my surprise they were done!  You can shape them a little and pull out the picots while they are drying flat.

NOTE:  If you don’t want to do the crochet edge, knit extra rows for the cuff, as you might for a male.  Once you do that, you can turn the row counter to 18 (22) and follow the pattern.  When felted, the edge won’t roll.  Nice! Just make sure you do the exact same thing for mitten #2.
NOTE #2:  I have been searching for a long time for the “perfect” felted mitten.  Tried lots, was disappointed lots.  Finally, I believe I have crafted up the perfect felted mitten.  In Minnesota, acrylic mittens don’t fill the bill.  Even doubled.  Our winters are just too cold.
The felted ones will keep you toasty, however, even in below zero weather. They seem to be warmer if they aren't skin tight.  There's a little room for insulation. 

 You can do all sorts of things with these mitts as far as decorating if you are moved to do so.  Embroidery, ribbons, fairisle, more crochet, lace cuff, cotton lining, etc.  I have to say, they are actually fast and fun to do.