machine knitting midgauge standard bulky machknit knit machine-knit patterns

Monday, April 1, 2019

Experiment with artwork

If you remember, I was trying my hand at converting zentangle art to a knitting pattern using DAK.  (See previous post for tips.) I finally managed to produce something.  I seem to enjoy the fooling around with the computer as much as the actual knitting.

Learned a little along the way.  One tip is this:  after you download your (free) zentangle design and open it in Paint, go "save as" and when it gives you the option of different file formats, choose monochrome bitmap.  It doesn't always completely convert it to black and white, but it does save some time in combining all the whites and blacks to 2 single colors. Ignore the "warning". Sometimes it works great. If you are proficient with another image processing program, use that.  The second is the cardinal rule, which I ignored, is to do a swatch.   A little arrogance, you know?? Not so much as to size but in my case whether the colors go together.  I loved the colors each by themselves but am not so crazy about what they look like together.  O well, was an experiment.  Finally, I think the larger design elements show up better than little tiny details.  But this may be just personal preference or this particular design.  Now that it has been knit up, I can see some improvements that could have been made.

So, anyway, here's my experiment.  I didn't want to do a time-consuming long scarf, so I opted for a cowl.
I wanted the cowl to be about 30 inches around and 10 inches high after hemming.  In order to get the 30 inches, it had to be knit lengthwise.  I used my Brother 970 standard gauge. My dimensions at a gauge of 7 st and 10 r at T9 were 140 ( 10 inches doubled)  stitches x 300 rows.  I didn't pay attention to whether any of the design matched anywhere it was to be seamed.  I did knit a few rows of waste yarn then plain rows at the beginning and end to make the kitchener stitching join easier than using the fairisle stitches. I decided I could put the join at the back of my neck so it wouldn't show.

Once off the machine I joined it into a tube with the kitchener stitch, then folded it in half to make it double, thus hiding the many long floats. I seamed with a mattress stitch.  I was careful to not skew the edges.   I didn't find the long floats an issue, but I suppose you could deal with them as you are knitting if they bother you.  They are hidden anyway, and when you block the knitting, the stitches stay put. Maybe if you were using a silky yarn, the stitches would not stay put.   I put the seam in the middle so that it wouldn't be visible, then steamed it aggressively.

Was a fun and fast project.  I think I'll do more.  I have amassed about 30 designs to keep me out of trouble for a good long while.  As always, write to me if you need help converting the design in DAK or any other issue.

April 1st!  Yea, spring is arriving.  We had a terrible winter, so the milder temps are really welcome.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

It's for the Birds

As I write this, the wind chill in Minneapolis is -66 degrees F.  Tomorrow is supposed to be lots better, but in the meantime, this old girl is staying inside.

My MK guild has a challenge this year to knit 2 charity hats per week from November to November.  That's all I have been doing---and now I have 53 done out of the 102 we're supposed to do.  UGH.  This isn't that much fun, but somehow I'm hooked.  I gotta do it!  One nice thing is that I'm using up some of my stashed cones.  I'm doing them all on the midgauge so there's a lot of doubling up yarn with my Silver Needles cone winder.  By the way, LOVE that thing and highly recommend it.

I have lots of yarn ends as a result of all this knitting.  So, I'm thinking about all these little birdies outside and wondering how in the world they survive in this below zero weather.  I have chopped up some of these yarn ends into 1" pieces and will set this paper plate full outside to see if there are any takers.  (This is just the ends from yesterday's knitting.) I am envisioning colorful nests all over the woods.  If no takers, o well, I tried.  Good intentions.
Will let you know if my good intentions have done any good.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

15 Minutes of fame!

My Tomten/Gnome pattern from November, 2018 was posted on the Craft Gossip website.  I was tickled pink!
There are lots of fun ideas on that site.  I check it often, especially when I'm plumb out of ideas.
Here's the link:

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Gnome or Tomten Ornaments for Your Tree

If your background is Scandinavian, they are Tomten elves.  If not, you can just call them gnomes.  I made several of these yesterday to put on my tree and to give away.  Must say they were really fast and fun to make (other than burning my fingers a bit...)
Here's how I made them.  
Supplies needed:
2 pieces of felt about 5” x 8” each for hat front and back~your choice of colors
Small amount of fake fur fabric for beard
Small pom poms for nose and top of the hat
Sewing machine, thread to match color of hat
Hot glue gun.
Scotch tape or painter’s tape
Ribbon to make a hanger

1.      Print and cut out the hat shape. (pattern below) If your printer shows the shape to be about half the width of the paper in landscape view, it’s about the right size. Either increase or decrease the pattern as needed.  Mine is 7” high by 4 “ wide.
2.     Lay the paper shape on your felt and draw around it. Do this on each piece of felt but cut out the back piece and leave the front piece  for now. (Makes it easier to sew the two pieces together.  Your pen markings won't show.)
3.     Embroider a snowflake or other design by hand or machine onto the front hat piece.  I did the snowflake by machine, but a name or the year would be cute either by machine or by hand.
4.     Onto the front hat, tape a 8” ribbon loop down out of the way of the seam but the ends included in the seam. Lay the cut out back hat piece onto the front hat piece. Pin around so it matches perfectly.   Sew around with a straight stitch using about a 1/8” seam leaving the bottom open.
5.     Cut out the front piece to match the back, trim and clip corners. Turn right side out. I didn’t, but you can stuff lightly with polyfil. Remove tape.
6.     Cut a piece of fur the width of the hat and as long as you want it. Glue onto the hat front (across, bottom and sides.) The dotted line can serve as a guide for placement.  Fold in the felt hat bottom and either glue or sew shut by hand.
7.     Glue nose pom pom and tip of hat pom pom.   DONE!

PS I got my miniature pom poms at a fabric store in the craft department.  You may want more of a flesh colored nose, but these colors were what I had on hand.  For the white one, I rolled up a piece of fur and glued it into a ball shape for the tip of the hat. As I mentioned, I burned my fingers a bit…   we do suffer for our art…sigh. So be careful if you are using the glue gun.

Here's my white one.  It was so cold where he lives that his nose turned blue!!!

I tried to do the whole thing with my embroidery machine, in the hoop as they say.  All went well until I tried to attach the beard.  The foot just wouldn't go across the thick fur and got caught.  Hence this method by hand with the glue gun was born.  Still fast.

Hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

By George it fits!

His name is actually Ollie.  Had to show a picture of the swatched dog sweater-  I'm surprised and glad it fits .  Cute, eh?
Below are some pictures of the construction in case you want to make one.

Of course you'll need to do a swatch for the gusset to get it the size you need. Just because I am sometimes lazy, I used a 2 x 1 mock rib. If knitting a dog sweater for a larger dog, the ordinary swatch probably isn't going to be big enough.  If you can, measure the length and width you want and knit your "swatch" / rectangle that size. Then use the gusset size to fit.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Saddle Shoulder Sweater

Another gal and I are teaching saddle shoulder sweater construction to our guild.  Since I had never knit one with this shape, I thought I better practice.  I used DAK and came up with approximately size 8 for my grandson.  You can barely see where the saddle shoulder is in the picture,  but it's there.   I faithfully did my swatch out of Piropo yarn because I had both the red and white in that brand. And red and white is my favorite color combination for a Norwegian sweater. It turned out kind of scratchy, though, and I thought a little kid wouldn't like that at all.  So I found some Tamm Sport in my stash with both blue and white, so I went with that.  Much softer.

The pattern is Dale of Norway's Nagano design.  My grandson likes dinosaurs, so I thought this was kind of close.  I just used the yoke section of the design, not the trim at the bottom and sleeves in their pattern.

However, I liked my swatch so much that I made a doggie sweater out of it. (Note the insert in the picture.)  It was really simple to do:  did mock ribs for the neck and bottom, then added a gusset for the belly. The armholes for the front legs are just holes that are not seamed to the gusset. You can add ribbing for the sleeves, but I didn't think it was necessary. My grandson's dog is little, so it was possible to make it work.  I think it will be really cute to see them walking down the street with matching "sweaters".

If you have a smallish dog, you too can use a favorite swatch for the top of the sweater.  I found a free dog sweater pattern and made the gusset to match his size in width and length.  I tried to also match the distance from neck to leg openings.  So hopefully this one will fit him ok.  Strangely enough, he likes to be warm and doesn't mind wearing sweaters.

I think autumn is really serious about showing up.  Time to think about warmer clothes.  And more knitting.

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!