machine knitting midgauge standard bulky machknit knit machine-knit patterns

Tuesday, September 18, 2018


  I just finished this cotton hoodie for my grandson's 7th birthday which is in October. I'm lucky enough to be able to fly to CA to help him celebrate.  Can't believe how fast these 7 years have flown by.  I almost wish he would not get any older, but I realize that's a bad wish.
  I've had some cones of Conshohocken cotton on hand for a long time.  It's nice yarn, but I knit a sweater for a nephew out of it  before and it shrank terribly.  So this time, I knit a giant rectangle, abused it as much as possible in the washer and dryer to pre-shrink it.  Because it's a cotton core with some other fiber wrapped around it, not plied, a lot of the cotton came off in the dryer. Was still nice though, soft and fluffy. No problems rewinding it.
  I used DAK to come up with a pattern for the midgauge LK 150.  I don't know about you, but I have a hard time judging what the sizes for kids are in DAK.  Have to find measurements for the typical American kid and try to match it up with DAK.  Nothing really matches but I think I got close to a size 8.  It's a tad big and he's a skinny kid, but he'll grow into it. Did a dropped shoulder in standard garment styling then took it into pattern drafting to make adjustments.  Made a hood, a placket for the front and changed the armhole shaping a la Elizabeth Zimmerman.
  The placket turned out really nice, although the picture doesn't do it justice. 
  Some take-aways you might get out of this are as follows.  First, I made the armhole shapings of the front and back larger. Instead of binding off 5 stitches, I bound off 9.  That's the Elizabeth Zimmerman thing as in her Tomten jacket, if you are familiar with that pattern.  This helps reduce the bulk in the underarm and shoulder. This 1 1/2 inches were then added to the sleeve length. 
  For the cord that goes through the front of the hood, I cast on 5 stitches and just knit the length to go around the face and enough to hang down each side.  I used to always knit an I cord, but this goes twice as fast and looks just as nice as an I cord because the edges automatically curl in on themselves.
  My hems are different than I usually do.  I started all pieces with waste yarn and started right in with the main yarn.  To make the hems, I crochet cast on over the number of needles in the piece minus a few stitches.  Then I pushed these stitches back and hung the bottom of the piece into the hooks of the needles, wrong side facing and doubling up as needed.  Using a straight edge (the mean cast on comb) I pushed the hung stitches through the crocheted ones.  You know they are through ok when you hear a little popping noise.  Knit the first half of the hem at garment tension.  Then I tightened the tension one whole number for the second half of the hem minus one row, hung the first hem stitches, hand knit one really loose row and did a loop through loop bind off.  The hem lies wonderfully flat and the crochet cast on makes a nice decorative line on the front of the garment.
  The other thing I did was make  a little vent on each side of the body.  It was easy in that I just stopped hemming when I got to the doubled hem and hand stitched the sides of the vent closed.
  I thought this sweater took longer than usual, but it was because I had a gazillion yarn ends to work in. 
  The pictures don't show details very well because of the design of the yarn, but the design of the yarn also hides any irregularities that might be present.  Irregularities ?  Me? no way.
  You know how lots of times your knitting doesn't come out exactly as you would have liked?  This time, which is actually rare for me, I had no "regrets" and wouldn't have done anything differently. 
  I also knit a saddle shoulder sweater for him as practice for a class another woman and I are teaching to my guild.  I couldn't bear to part with the swatch, so I made a doggie sweater out of it to match.  Once I take some pictures, I'll do another blog post.
Happy knitting!

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Zentangle and DAK

I hadn't heard of the term "zentangle" before and happened upon it by accident.  I thought many of the designs would make terrific scarves.  Maybe other things too, pillows?,but I started with scarves.  Here's how I did it:
1.  Google 'free zentangle' or 'free adult coloring book pages'.  There are so many, it's a little overwhelming.  You'll want black and white images that are not copyrighted.
2.  Pick an image you like and click on it to enlarge it.  Right click on it and choose Save image as.  Give it a name and save as a jpg or bmp.  I like to save to my desktop temporarily so it's easily accessible.
3. Open the Paint program (or other image processing program that you are familiar with).  Open the image.
4.  Paint will tell you how many pixels the image is in both directions.  You can resize the image in Paint or in DAK.  I find that resizing it first then putting into DAK works better.  Resize the image so that the width is compatible with the number of needles on your machine.  Write those numbers down. The original was 211 by 288 pixels.  By removing some of the width and doubling the length I got it to the size I wanted.
5.  Open DAK.  Now there are at least two ways you can convert this image to a knitting pattern.  I'll tell you the easiest way, in my opinion.  You can use either stitch designer or the graphics studio.  I used  stitch designer.  When you open the stitch designer part of the program, choose  Specify the number of stitches and rows from #4.  Now go Edit...paste.  Voila, you have a stitch pattern.  You may need to fool around a little in terms of cleanup or deleting stitches and rows. 

The biggest obstacle is that black and white images aren't really black and white.  You typically will get lots of whites and lots of blacks.  Replace all the whites until you have just one shade of white.  Do the same with the blacks and grays.
Left click on the color you want and right click on the one you want to change, then click on the arrow marked in red. This is what I got when I converted the sunflower image.  Took a little time, but not too bad. Make sure you have one main and one contrast color.

I made a folder called Zentangle designs and saved all of the conversions in that folder.

It's fun to vary the colors keeping just two colors in work.  (You may want to do dbj, in which case you could do more than one color in a row.)  I chose to use fairisle, because on a scarf that I'm going to fold over and seam the long side, long floats won't matter.  The floats will be hidden inside the scarf.

Some designs are not rectangular and I wanted to add some length so in addition to doubling the image, I chose to knit several inches on both ends in plain stockinette.  I think it's fun to fool around in the program--- call me geeky, I guess. Some colors I thought were interesting:
If you try this and have some difficulties, write to me and I'll try to help.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Update on the Gryffindor Scarf

New front teeth almost all the way in and the
new scarf.  My son-in-law said it was 90 degrees when the scarf arrived and he wore it for 2 days straight.  It's fun to knit for someone who appreciates your work!!!

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Lots Accomplished

  Our machine knitting guild had an "in-town knit camp" this past weekend.  There were 11 of us in a nice room usually used by quilters at a quilt shop.  We all like to go home to our own beds, hence the "in-town" aspect.  My personal goal was to use up some yarn.  I did manage to get 13 hats done.  Not as much yarn used up as you might think. Eating the fantastic potlucks took up some time, don't you know.  Lots of laughs too.   I used the LK 150 for all. (Click picture on right side here for pattern .)
  Here's a good tip.  A guild member's technique for hanging the hem made quick work of it.  He pulls out to d position every other needle, knits one row with main yarn, hangs the metal cast on comb that has the wicked teeth, backwards. (no waste yarn or ravel cord.)   Then he brings the alternate needles to work and knits twice the length of the hem.  Then he brings out every other needle again, puts a weighted metal dowel onto (on top of, across) the knitting and brings up the beginning stitches and hangs all stitches in one fell swoop.  When you tip the cast on bar, the stitches slip onto the needles you have pulled out.  Remove cast on comb.  It requires a little practice, but I love how much time it saves.  It is NOT as pretty as a regular hung hem, but I doubt kids are going to check out the inside of the hat.  Another advantage is that the dowel weights the knitting evenly for the duration.  Try it.  You may agree. You can purchase a metal rod at the hardware store for cheap.  It is nearly impossible to do this if a ribber is attached because you can't get to the bottom of the knitting to grab the cast on comb without dumping the stitches prematurely.  Just a warning.
I also knit a Gryffindor scarf for my grandson.  He's currently a fan of Harry Potter.  It's 7 inches across doubled and seamed up the back, about 5 1/2 feet long.  Gauge was about 5 st and 6 r to the inch.  I didn't write it down, but I think it was 70 st by 280 rows, each stripe was 20 rows.  T 9.  Usually I'm religious about writing these things down, but I guess I thought I'd never knit another one.  I used less than 2 skeins of sport weight hand knitting yarn, 100 gr each and I bought 4.  O dear, more charity hats with U of M colors.
  I found a free machine embroidery patch that is the Gryffindor shield and did that at home ahead of time, glued it on with a hot glue gun.  Only problem was that the guy who designed it spelled Griffindor wrong.  So I had to use some emb software to change it to a "Y".  Hard to work on someone else's design but I managed ok. Not perfect, but ok.  Since grandson lives in CA, it's just going to be part of his Harry costume, not really utilitarian.  Too hot.  I think he'll like it, though.
  When he was here a few weeks ago I gave him the robe, glasses and the rep tie.  Pretty cute.  So now he should be all set.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Baby Pants to accompany Baby Ballet Sweater

This might be turning out to be a once in a year submission.  Don't you hate it when people do that?  I'll try to be better, but no promises.

Today I'm posting a pattern that you can make to accompany the Baby Ballet sweater.  The sweater turned out to be popular with beginning knitters.  It didn't require a lot of fancy footwork and when the directions were followed, you ended up with a nice product.  That pattern can be accessed by clicking on the picture on the right side of the blog. To complete an outfit, you can knit these pants also.

Machine:  kx350,  LK 150, Silver Reed 860  MIDGAUGE MACHINE
Yarn:  Sport to lt.worsted, acrylic.  If you want to use cotton, knit it into a large rectangle, wash and dry to pre-shrink and wind again.
Other:  19 (20) inches of one inch wide elastic (allowing for seaming into a circle)
Gauge:  T 5  ----5 stitches and 6 rows to 1 inch
Finished sizes:  6 (12) months.  Width at seamed tummy area 24 (26) inches around.    Length after cuff and before waistband 17 (18) inches, width of ankle area 9.2 (10) inches, length after cuff to crotch 10 (10.5) inches, length from crotch to top before hem 7 (7.5) inches. If you think you need longer pants for a particular baby, you could knit more rows on the straight knitting between the crotch and waistband and/or after the increases and before the crotch bind off.

Directions: Knit two legs the same directions 1 through 3.

1     Hem.  Ewrap Cast on 46 (50 ) stitches every other needle, leaving a long tail for seaming.  Hang your cast on comb and some weights.  Leave out of work N out of work for the length of the cuff.  Knit 18 (18) rows at T 2.  Take the cast on comb and weights so you can hang a hem on the empty needles. (Using your one prong tool, hang the beginning stitches onto the empty needles across the bed.)
2    Leg. Hang 2 claw weights again.  Bring all needles to work, change to T 5.  Start the chart for the size needed.  See note below if you need help reading this kind of chart.
3    Waistband[Hint:  If you find it difficult to see which loop to hang, when you start the waistband, run a different colored yarn along with the main yarn for just this first row of the waistband.  To hang, look for the horizontal loops that have this extra color.  Remove the extra yarn later.]  After you complete the length of the leg indicated by the chart, transfer every other needle to neighbor and put the emptied needles out of work for the length of the waistband.  T2 knit 20 rows.  Hang a hem from the loops formed when you switched to every other needle and bind off really loosely.  Take a ruler or a hand knitting needle and pull out the mock hem stitches to set them.   Now knit the other leg.
4    Seam.   Seam the inner leg (including cuff) with a mattress stitch, both legs.  Match crotch seams and sew up one tummy seam then the butt seam, including waistband except for back side of one side of the waistband.  You need this open to be able to insert the elastic.
5    Elastic waistband.  Don’t cut yarn tail yet. Insert elastic with a large safety pin, overlap by ½ inch when you get it all the way around and remove safety pin.  Sew securely.  Finish seaming the knitted back side of waist band with yarn tail.  Hide any yarn tails remaining. 

How to read the DAK-style chart:
                       Example following the size 6 months.   For this particular pattern,  first you knit the cuff. Then, 0(46) means you haven’t knit any rows yet of the leg.   Here you'll already have every other needle across left 23 to right 23.   Once the cuff is completed, all needles are brought into work.  Begin following the shaping directions.  Another Example 31:+1S 4 X 7 means at row counter 31, increase 1 stitch every 4 rows 7 times.  (For this pattern, do a full fashioned increase)  so you would increase both sides one stitch on row counter 31, 35, 39, 43, 47, 51, 55.  When the piece is a mirror image left to right, I just read the one side.  If you want, you can write down the row numbers and check off the decreases or increases on the pattern to help you remember where you are.  Crotch numbers (rows 59 and 60) should be done opposite of what the chart says because for odd numbers your carriage is on the left and for even numbers it’s on the right.  You need the carriage on the same side as you are binding off.  I don’t know why my DAK program does it that way.

Six months:

12 months:

The directions for a full fashioned increase are in the sweater pattern.  Do this so that the edges are easy to seam.  
Pretty easy, yes?  This is a good pattern for charity or a gift.  Sell the finished product if you are so inclined.  Hope you find this as satisfying as the sweater.

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.