Marzipanknits

machine knitting midgauge standard bulky machknit knit machine-knit patterns

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Garter Carriage Running Again

I bought my garter carriage years and years ago.  Used it to make a few things, put it on the shelf and forgot about it.   Kind of dumb to let a piece of equipment go unused, right?  Judging from members of my mk guild, it's common to NOT use it.  People are a little intimidated.  So, not having used it for a good while,  I took a refresher class from Cindy Schmatz sponsored by our mk guild and got the thing going again.  It's an 89 version with a new motor.  She tells me it's exactly like the newer versions but will not cast on automatically like the newer models do.  I can e-wrap just fine.  So I'm happy about that.

After a couple of mishaps (the main one not getting the carriage seated properly on the bed and it made a terrible clanking sound) I had some success.  The first thing I made was a baby hat.  Not so many stitches and rows, so it went faster than some other projects I hoped to make.  I shoulda/coulda wiped out the partial stars on the seam edges, but just wanted to see if it would chug along correctly.  No dropped stitches, feeling pretty good about things.  This baby hat wouldn't be warm enough in a Minnesota winter, but under the hood of a snowsuit would be ok. 
The rib looks ok (better than the picture shows) but I coulda/shoulda done that part with the ribber in 1/10 the time.  (Next time.)  The pattern is large snowflakes from a Brother G carriage book.

So- gaining some confidence, I programmed in another Brother G carriage pattern (073) adding 2 x 2 staggered edgings so it wouldn't roll.  I love this design.  My friend Sandy I. has made gorgeous baby blankets with it.  I made it long--- the length is the width worn--- and have worn it doubled since it wouldn't be super warm with a single layer using this particular yarn.  Since this cowl is 127 stitches and 372 rows it took maybe 16 hours to knit! I kitchenered the first row to the last but that's all I had to do other than hiding 2 yarn tails.   Here's a screen shot of the DAK pattern:

And a picture of the cowl folded double:

I have read that one shouldn't steam garter carriage stuff, so I didn't.  The picture doesn't show the texture as nice as it is in person,  Nice! I like it.

I have some  wool that would be warm enough with a single layer, so I changed the middle pattern to half.  Same Brother pattern.  Haven't knit it yet, but it's on my to-do list.  This is a screen shot of that pattern:

Being 68 stitches it will go a little faster.

Here's the original 24 st punch card pattern from Brother that I manipulated in DAK.

 If you have DAK and would like any of these patterns emailed to you, write to me and I'll send. 

It's getting cold here already so the extra winter wear is welcome.

Friday, November 8, 2019

How to knit mk hats---- lightening fast



I posted this on Ravelry in the machine knitting group, but some people may not belong.  So I thought I'd repeat my post here hoping it will help someone. I should give credit to my friend, Bruce, who taught me this trick.
Some people have asked how I can make hats “in minutes” on my knitting machine. Here’s how.
  1. For my charity hats, I used a midgauge which requires less stitches and rows than a standard. Sometimes I had to double the yarn. A bulky would even be faster.
  1. The trick: Buy a metal rod that is the length of the width of your knitting machine. (Very cheap at hardware store.) Should be substantial in weight.
-Pull out every other needle for the width of the hat and knit one row main yarn. (no waste yarn)
- Hang your cast on comb BACKWARDS making sure each loop gets a tooth of the cast on comb.
-Pull out the rest of the needles so they will knit.
-Knit 2 times the length of the hem.
-Bring out every other needle all the way.
- Hang onto the cast on comb with your left hand pulling down slightly
-place the metal rod mid way, horizontally.
-Pull up the cast on comb up over the rod, hang loops so that each needle that is all the way out gets a loop. Takes some practice at first. Remove cast comb by tilting it so that the stitches land properly. If you miss some, use a single transfer tool to hang them.
-The rod is still in the hem and acts as an even weight throughout. Set the cast on comb aside.
-Knit the height of the hat and transfer every other stitch to its neighbor. Push out of work needles to out of work position so they do not knit but you don’t have to move the stitches inward.
-knit one row and take stitches off (I try to plan so the last row goes left to right because I am right handed) with a double eyed needle and enough of a yarn tail to sew the seam. Remove metal rod. It will start to fall down anyway. The stitches at the top cinch in just fine, especially if you are going to attach a pom pom which hides the opening. Seam the side.
The inside of the hem is not especially beautiful, but show me a kid who cares.
7 minutes knitting time! (Works with any machine) Sorry I don’t have pictures or a video. Hopefully my words are clear enough. Write to me if questions.  PS  I used the free pattern on my blog here and pictured below.

Monday, October 21, 2019

Challenge Completed! 113 hats for charity

As I posted a few months back, I said I'd post pictures of my 104 hats.  They were done as a guild challenge, which was to knit 104 hats for the year, approximately 2 per week, for charity.  I finished them plus 9 more a while ago but hadn't photographed them.  Not easy to get decent pictures of so many hats.  They are mostly going to an elementary school near where we have our meetings.  Some will go to a group home.  That must be a lot of yarn used up, but why is my stash still so huge? Ha.  I used the midgauge pattern here on my blog in case you need an easy pattern. Varied the sizes from about age 5 to 16 and some for boys, some for girls.  I tried not to make the same hat more than once, but sort of ditched that idea. I got so fast at it---took me 8 minutes to knit one hat, then another 15 to do the pom pom and seam. Made our cruel winter go a little faster.

So anyway.......... voila'.  Here they are in two pictures:

and...

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Educats and Edudogs

I'm pretty proud.  Mary Ann Oger has used my Educat and Edudog baby blanket patterns a few times for gifts.  I designed it with DAK and used my Brother 970 machine to make them.  The pattern was in a Knitwords issue (can't remember which one).  I suspect her preferred machine is a Silver Reed standard gauge machine.  Somehow translating it to a SR from a Brother created some issues.  Or, it's just the way SR machines work.  I dunno.  She shows how she dealt with it on her blog:  http://knitwords.blogspot.com/    Still  pretty cute patterns, if I do say so myself!


Friday, September 6, 2019

DAK 9 update/upgrade

If you are a DAK user, no doubt you have heard that there is an update available.  Reading the description, I was not so sure about it.  But I admit, I haven't seen all the possibilities.  I'll upgrade anyway. It isn't so expensive, as software goes, to upgrade from 8 to 9. I have this feeling we should support the businesses that are involved with machine knitting or they will disappear.
One nice thing in the upgrade is that the lace module is included.  That should be fun to work with.  I opted not to purchase it last time.
If anyone already has it, I'd love to hear what you think.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

It warms the cockles of my heart

I haven't the faintest idea where that expression comes from and it's 90 degrees F here as I write so I don't need any warming.  But needless to say, I'm pleased.

The picture on the left is my grandson about 4 years ago and the picture on the right is his little friend who has a Peppa Pig themed birthday party coming up next weekend.  He passed along the Peppa Pig sweater I made him and it looks like it is in good shape still.
It probably didn't get worn much since California is not especially conducive to warm sweaters (or the other way around).  I still have the DesignaKnit pattern I worked up for the Peppa design if anyone wants it.  Just write to me.  I used an iron on nylon interfacing for the motif on the back side and it worked wonders to keep all the floats hidden and in line. It was knit on my 970 as a large motif so the patterning would be easy.

You know how many times you give yourself a B+ and wish you had done something differently?  Well, this time it was the drop shoulder.  I should have done a fitted sleeve or a raglan.  Those little 3 year old shoulders are just too small.  O well.  Live and learn.

Our knitting guild is participating in a challenge where we knit 2 hats  for charity per week ending up with 104 hats to donate for the year.  There are 9 people participating and many of us have done lots more than 2 per week so I imagine we'll end up with close to 1,000 hats.  They'll go to the charity of each person's choice.  There is a needy elementary school near where we hold our meetings so that's where mine will go.  So far I have 110 hats but haven't photo'ed them yet.  Last winter when it was so blasted cold I just stayed in and knit my little heart out.  It got kind of addictive and felt good to be getting that yarn stash down a little.  I found I could knit about 9 hats from one cone, so the stash is still there.  I mostly used the yellow hat pattern with the doubled brim, free on the right side of the blog in case you are interested. I did pom poms on all just because I like them.  Some members have made ear flap hats, some have made doubled so that there are 4 layers over the ears when the brim is folded up.  I just made sure the area over the ears was at least doubled.  Otherwise, they are useless in our extreme winter climate.

So that's all until next time. I hope to take a picture of those hats one of these days...


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.