machine knitting midgauge standard bulky machknit knit machine-knit patterns

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Going Green

I was on a rescue mission a couple of months ago. I bought $37 worth of 100% wool sweaters at the local Goodwill and made tons of things from them. I made 5 scarves, 2 pairs of mittens, oven mitts, slippers, some tiny teddy bears and a child's coat. The one I'm probably most proud of is a felted coat for my great niece. The sweater originally was a good quality women's size small zippered hoodie. I removed the zipper and the knitted facing it was sewn to. When I felted it, it turned out to be a perfect size 3 T. It had some ribbing texture that didn't felt as thoroughly as the plain knit, so I had some adjusting to do on the hood. I had hoped to be able to fold back the edge of the hood to make a casing but the hood had no ribbing on it so it felted more than I wanted it to. I was able to sew the zipper facing onto the hood to make the casing, inserted some elastic, and the hood stayed the size it should be. With some extra, I made faux ties to hang down. It's kind of an unusual color!

I embroidered some flowers---supposed to look like Edleweiss--- and hearts down the fronts and attached Norwegian clasps for the front closure. (I own a dandy BabyLock embroidery machine that is really fun to use.) Another interesting phenom was that the sleeves didn't felt at the same rate as the body either. So, I had to cut off some of the gorilla length and hide a joining seam under the cuff. All in all, it was a good exercise. Yesterday was the first time I was able to try it on the recipient. My niece adopted Annie from Ethiopia when she was a small baby. Annie is an incredible child---beautiful, smart, cuddly, athletic. My niece thinks that Ethiopians have a "happy gene". She does, anyway.

So, I recommend you give this sweater rescue idea a try. In the upcoming Knitwords fall issue, I wrote an article on how to go green with our craft. I'm not the best at this idea, but am at least starting to consider the impact on the environment when I'm making some knitting choices.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Men's Garter Carriage Scarf

I was taking a break from knitting this morning and browsing through the patterns I have done to date. I found this nice scarf that I could offer as a free download for you. Unfortunately, you need to have DesignaKnit and a garter carriage to knit it. I suppose a really determined person could knit this by hand, but it sounds really taxing. I made it as a gift for a friend last Christmas shortly after I purchased my garter carriage. I love that turtle! Don't use it all the time, because I figure it has a limited number of stitches in its lifetime. Makes great patterns. You'll need the .pat file for DesignaKnit. Email me and I'll send you the DAK file.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Women's Circular Sweater

I've been stewing over my adult-sized circular sweater to knit on the midgauge. I think I have my lace figured out, bought some yarn I like and have done some swatching. I'm thinking I'll make one wedge 1/2 the total diameter of the sweater, plus some ease, plus enough to overlap in the front. It's different thinking "circularly".
Can't get enough of my blooming hibiscus. Trying my macro setting on my camera and am getting slightly better results. I think I'm focusing on the stamen, but the absolute clear focus seems to lie a little behind. Click on the picture and I think you'll see what I mean. Tricky! I love the pictures anyway, even if they aren't going to win any contest.
Hope you have a nice weekend.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Perfect Pom Poms

I was paging through Ravelry this morning (is "paging" the right word?) and came upon a beautifully knit Norwegian hat with a crummy pom pom. It occurred to me that I could post directions on how to make a good one. I hope my directions are clear. It really does make a perfect one. If you click on the picture, you'll get an enlarged view that you can print out.

We are supposed to get storms today, but so far it's sunny and warm. The more sophisticated the weather forecasting technology, the less accurate....
Like so many places, they say, "If you don't like the weather, wait a minute."

Working on a felted purse. Will reserve judgment for a bit and if it turns out I'll share.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Heavenly Hibiscus

My hibiscus has just started blooming. It's really spectacular and there are lots of blooms waiting back stage. Each blossom is 8-9" in diameter. It is supposed to be hardy in zone 4 (my zone), but I planted it in a really protected place on the west side of the house to give it a little edge. Wouldn't Georgia O'Keefe have loved this blossom? Almost makes you want to crawl inside.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Elegant Scarf

When I first learned how to use my lace carriage, I knit a few scarves using patterns that came already loaded onto my machine. This is not so much a pattern, but a guide to how to put the manual's instructions to work to create something beautiful and useful. Once you determine how much weight your machine likes, you can whip these up quickly. I used some lace weight wool and my standard gauge, but a a fine gauge machine with lace capabilities would work just as well.
Look through Stitchworld's lace patterns. Download and center your pattern on your machine. Decide how many repeats you want for the width of the scarf. Do your favorite cast on, knit a few plain rows. Begin lace pattern. When you knit the lace, Push back a few needles each side every row so that they knit plain. Knit to desired length. Knit 2 rows plain and bind off loosely. My edges curled even after blocking, so I did 2 rows of single crochet around the perimeter.

We had our knit club at Cindy's in Princeton, Minnesota today. I'm always impressed with the beautiful things the members knit. Some of the gals are so expert at finishing! The lesson today was how to use the Kidoodles cable to upload brother files to the computer for saving and archiving (for use with or without DAK). A great time saver. I love being with people who share the same addiction to machine knitting. I bought some cotton yarn to make dishcloths and maybe socks. It's a robust, bright red, my favorite color. More on the personal knitting tomorrow, I hope.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Circular MK Baby Sweater Done!

I have a reputation to uphold among my mk friends. I'm the one who doesn't "do" UFO's. It's a compulsion with me that once I start something,I have to finish it. Don't know if that's good or bad, but that's the facts, madam. So here she is, laid out on the floor. Had to finish it even though I'm not 110% happy with it. Learned a lot, though.
Wish I had a toddler to try it on. Supposedly if worn one way, it fits a baby (the extra length forms a hood) and turned the other way fits a toddler. If the sleeves were placed exactly in the middle, it would only fit one size. Regardless, I do think it needs a button closure in front. You can't see the cuff very well, but I tried to mimic the scalloped border and add some lace holes. Was not happy with the hole in the middle so added an I cord flower to cover things up a bit. So now that I have the concept, I can contemplate making an adult version. Haven't found the perfect yarn yet, so it may not be soon. Isn't it amazing what you can do on a manual midgauge machine? I love mine.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Another Free Machine Knitting Pattern

The yarn I used is kind of dated, but you can use the same technique with different yarn and get a nice result. You can knit this scarf on any gauge machine.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Just for Fun...

Haven't knit anything today. Dr's appointments in the morning and gardening in the afternoon. Thought you'd enjoy this video that is on You Tube. I thought it was so clever. If you have the "fever" you'll relate. It may take a few seconds to load....

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Tutorial Brother KX 350

Replacing the Sponge Strip on a Brother KX 350

1. Study the underside of the needle bed. Notice that the needles are on top of the sponge strip from this vantage point. Peek under the braces and you will see the needles are situated exactly the same way. There is no need to unscrew the braces, though.

2. Remove the yarn mast and row counter. Push all the needles forward, and with a flat edge, close all the latches. Remove each needle by pulling up on the butt and sliding it backwards and out. If it gets stuck, it’s probably because the latch opened up. Push the needle out and close the latch again and it should come out more easily. Lay the needles out in the order they were in the machine so that when you put them back, you can rotate the outer needles to the inner part of the bed. Clean the needles with some alcohol or a soapy solution if you think they need it. Dry them well. I did a few of my needles and nothing came off them, so I skipped it.

3. Grab one end of the old sponge strip and gently pull it out.

4. Vacuum out the channels if there is any fluff evident.

5. Put some Scotch tape around the end of the new sponge strip to help guide it through the channel. Starting on the right side, coax the new sponge strip under the first bar and push it through little by little. Use a 1 or 2 prong tool and push it little by little while pulling with your left hand. After a while, I found it necessary to pull up on the right side now and then before pushing the end further.

It’s kind of a painstaking process. You need to go under each “bridge” that holds the strip in place. Going behind the metal braces is a little tricky, but do-able. When you have the sponge strip inserted the entire length, make sure the sponge strip extends a little beyond the last needle slot on the bed. The strip should be about 4 inches longer than the bed to allow for this.

6. Now return all the needles to the bed.

You’ll probably develop your own technique, but here’s how I did it. I put the needle bed on my lap vertically with the back side facing me. I leaned the bed against the table. Grasp a needle the way it will sit on the bed. Push the needle hook through the slot on the right side at a 45 degree angle. Then once it’s through and is on top of the sponge, pull back a little and insert the needle through the second hole on the back. Sometimes it helps to push down on the sponge with your left hand. The needle will softly click as it slides into place. You really can’t put it in upside down. It doesn’t fit. You have to look back and forth from front to back to get the needle into the next available slot. It’s a little tricky to get the needles inserted behind the metal braces. Maybe save those for last when you have your technique down pat.

The needles will be snug in their channels. Your knitting will go a lot more smoothly now.

Ugly duckling

Didn't get around to posting my circlular baby sweater progress yesterday. Had to go to some doctor appointments with my husband so didn't get anything done on the knitting front. Here it is straight off the machine. I did graft the beginning to the end of the circle by hand last night, but I haven't blocked it yet, nor have I run in any ends. The grafting was moderately successful considering I used a waste yarn that wasn't a very good contrast to the main yarn and I could barely see which stitches to sew. (You'd think I just started machine knitting yesterday. Dumb mistake.) I'm hoping that the trim and some judicious blocking will turn this into something prettier than it is at the present. Kind of reminds me of a half a dried apricot. If I knit this again, which I probably will, or turn it into a pattern for sale, I think I'll modify the center to be less open. Maybe do fewer transfers, a less complicated design, since they won't show up very well when worn anyway. Need to knit the sleeves today.