machine knitting midgauge standard bulky machknit knit machine-knit patterns

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Cloth Baby Shoes - Repurposed Stuff

I should be cleaning house and/or planting stuff. Company is coming on Thursday and there really is a lot I should do to get the house in order. I've only been able to plant 13 of my 100 dahlias, and those I planted in the rain. What a crummy spring. it was 89 degrees F yesterday---a fluke. But I'm not doing either and am involved in baby shoes!

This is the pattern I'm using:

I downloaded it ages ago and can't find/can't remember whose pattern it is, regrettably, or I'd give credit where credit is due. Of course I couldn't just make them out of the material recommended by the pattern. Have to put my own spin on them.

I spent yesterday afternoon embroidering the instep pieces. I had reduced the size to fit the piece using my embroidery software. Supposedly if you hold the ctrl key while making the design smaller, the program is supposed to adjust the density accordingly. It did not, to my disappointment. Some of the tops turned out to be bulletproof. So I had to toss those. Here's an example.
Is cute, but is so dense it doesn't even bend. A lot of time wasted, but I learned a lesson that I have to use designs that are originally sized to be tiny. Or, I need to digitize my own designs.

These turned out ok. So I have enough for three pairs, size 6 months. Have cut out the linings (another shirt) and the other pieces (old jeans) so today I'm ready to put them together. If I can figure it out, that is. Will post tomorrow if they turn out.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Machine Knit Tuck Baby Blanket

Knit a charity blanket yesterday using a kind of boring tuck pattern:

I'm not so happy with the side edges.
I guess I'll have to crochet around them so they look decent before donating it.
I had wanted to avoid the extra work. I think I know what I did wrong. In DAK, I put one plain row on the border on both sides rather than extending the pattern to the edges. Will have to change it and try a small swatch to see if it makes a difference. .

I made a pale green cotton tuck baby blanket last year for charity and the edges looked fine on that one.

My friend, Sandy, taught me a trick you might like to try with acrylic. When done, wash the blanket. Before you put it in the dryer, fold it twice and baste the edges together really close to the edge. When it comes out of the dryer, the edges lie pretty flat. I steamed all the borders just a tad being careful not to melt the yarn. So that part went ok, it's just the stitches that don't look very even.

Guess I'll have to get out my garter carriage and see if I like that better. Just goes to show, doesn't matter how long you've been knitting, not everything turns out to be wonderful.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Presto Chango!

It always has bothered me that people put their babies on those Koala Bear changing stations with all the germs that must be lurking. So, I thought a changing pad would be nice to take along then wash when needed. As I usually do, I checked out on the internet what others had done to make such an item, then went ahead and did my own thing. Mainly, I wanted to see what size people usually made.

Another shirt repurposed! I cut out a rectangle 13" wide x 24" long out of the shirt back. Then used some polar fleece for the other side. Since the shirt material had lines on it I was able to quilt the two pieces together easily.
Then I put 3/4" bias tape around the edges. I made a pocket and sewed a closure with velcro. The pocket is sewn to the inside. It holds baby wipes, hand sanitizer, butt paste, whatever.
Then I got the bright idea to stick a teddy bear in the pocket for the baby to hang on to while being changed. I knit two 6 x 8" pieces of stockinette and sewed a teddy bear shape, stuffed him and turned him right side out.

I made a 42 inch tie out of the rest of the bias tape and sewed it onthe end of the thing on the outside. It's easy to roll up, tie and everything stays in place.
The "package" ends up to be 13" wide x 8" deep, depending on how much stuff you put in the pocket.
Am I proud of myself, or what?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Cutest so far

Here's the latest project. It's supposed to look like a baseball jersey. The father is crazy about baseball, so I thought he might like this. I looked at some of the store-bought outfits I've purchased to get the proportions and drew up a pattern in DAK. I also checked out Glenda Overman's Baby Gift Catalog to get an idea of how she shaped the panties. I used two strands of some mystery cotton yarns a friend gave me. The white has a little bit of slubbiness and the blue is smooth.
Here are my notes about the dimensions prewash:

I think it went from about a size 6 months to 3 months--- But the baby sizes are so arbitrary and dependent on the baby as to when the outfit will be wearable. At least now it's all preshrunk and they can throw the stuff in the washer and dryer.
Here are some closeups:

I have no idea about the wasteband as to whether it will fit. DAK says a baby's waist measurement is 17" for this size, so that's what I went with. Diapers will take up some room, for sure.
Fun when something turns out exactly like you wanted it. That doesn't always happen!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Baby Fix for the Day

Just for kicks, yesterday I made some bibs, newborn size. Cost: $0.00 for 5.
I used one of my husband's shirts. It is new-ish, but he got some kind of paint on one front shirt-tail, so it's not something that I'd want to donate. But the material is nice and boyish. For the backing I used old jeans. Two of the bibs have a pocket (the shirt's pockets), making kind of a decorative thing. Both the shirt and jeans have been washed many times, so they're done shrinking. I think they're pretty cute. So tiny! As of today, we're half way to the due date!

If you have need of some bibs, here's a pattern for you:

(Click to get a larger view.)
Cut a front and a back, two ties about 3/4" wide. Fold over the raw edges of the ties to the center and sew. Tuck the ties inside between the top and bottom pieces. Sew around the bib with a 1/2" seam, being careful to catch only the end of the ties in the seam. Leave a 3" opening either at the side or bottom. Clip the seams generously. Turn right side out. Press, fold in the 3" opening, top stitch all around. Done.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Machine Knit Baby Sweater Using Sock Yarn

More baby things! I was inspired by this sideways knit sweater, a free pattern by Opal yarns, using a yarn called Opal Brazil Sock Yarn. I had saved it a couple of years ago and now when I search the internet, I can't find the pattern anymore. The yarn isn't available either, as far as I can tell. To make it on my standard gauge machine, I crafted it up in DesignaKnit, with my own gauge.
This is what I came up with. When I put the images here, they get a little blurry, so if you want the actual numbers, click on the image and it will enlarge with more legible numbers :


Knitting a sideways sweater is a little confusing, so you'll need to think it through a little and make a cheat sheet for yourself as to when to put stitches on waste yarn, when to pick up the whole thing again, when to bind off a section. Maybe it wouldn't be as tricky for you as it was for me to visualize. I think once it's on the machine, it makes more sense. Sorry, I didn't actually write out the steps or I'd provide that here.
So, this is what the sweater looks like. I used some sock yarn (lost the label)that gave a 7st x 10 row gauge at T 10 on the standard gauge machine.

After I got the piece off the machine, I noticed that the fronts matched---were mirror images of each other. I didn't try to get it that way! And, I'm sure if I had tried, I would have screwed it up. Funny!!!
To do the collar, I left live stitches on the front neck on waste yarn and picked up stitches on the back neck. I knit a few rows stockinette and a few rows ribbing so the collar wouldn't roll. Picked up the front plackets and cuffs to do 1 x 1 rib on these as well.

I can't decide whether I love this sweater or not. For some odd reason, it reminds me of a 1970's leisure suit! And the colors are pretty shocking/strong for a baby. Fortunately, this baby will probably, most likely, undoubtedly have lots of things to choose from in his wardrobe!!!
PS It's supposed to be about a size 12 months.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Sewing a little baby quilt

I thought I'd try my hand at a "raggy" baby quilt. I can't say it's the most favorite thing I've ever made, although it did only take me two days, maybe 6-7 hrs to make. I bought 3 different flannels that were 42 inches wide and 42 inches long. Then I cut them up to 7" squares, nothing wasted. I arranged them so that one print was the same on all the pieces (the back side) and the top would be a checkerboard of the other two fabrics. Sewed a squiggly X across each piece and sewed the patches together using a one inch seam allowance with all seams on the right side of the blanket.

I sat outside in the glorious spring sun and cut little snips every 3/4" across all seams. Took me about an hour and a half. I loved this fabric---very soft and very sweet prints.

Ok, now the part I'm not so happy about. I washed and dried the thing to get the raggy/chenille effect on the seams. Checked the washer, then the dryer often to clean out the threads. The final effect: to me, it looks used and old. The fabric is still soft, but sort of wrinkly. I am told this is how it is supposed to look, but I'm not that enthused about the look of it. O well, had to try it.

Here's a closeup of one of the prints:

And, here's what the backside looks like, a bunch of little cowboys and cowgirls:

Not my proudest day, but I think it will be a good blanket to use on the floor or in the car because it's a little heavy. On to the next baby project...

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Debbie Bliss' Ribbed Baby Jacket Converted to Machine Knit

This pattern has captured my attention 3 times now. The first two times I knit it on the midgauge.

This time I converted it to the standard gauge machine. (Yes, lazy. It's squished under the lid of my scanner.) I used cotton and made a size larger than I wanted the finished size to be. Then I threw it in the washer and dryer so that it would do all its shrinking before I give it away. The cotton turned out so soft, I'm really pleased with it. And the variegated blues look kind of like jeans. Boyish, anyway.
I'm not too sure about the buttons, though. What do you think? I can always change it. The "button holes" are just crocheted loops. I guess my thinking was that the big buttons would be kind of trendy/funky.
You can find the pattern here: The baby model is so adorable. But there are a couple of things I don't like about the pattern. The bottom curls like crazy with no edge treatment and the sleeves do as well. So, I added the 2 x 2 ribbings and I think it's a big improvement. Besides, when the baby grows, the sleeve cuffs can be shortened and then rolled down. If you knit this on a midgauge, you can pretty much just follow the pattern as is. I suspect the prototype was machine knitted anyway by the way the pattern is written. But, if you want to knit it on the standard gauge machine, you need to do a tiny bit of math.

A friend and I worked on this together, did a schematic and adapted it. Here's what the schematic looks like for 12 months. If you'd want a different size or different gauge, first download the pattern from the website and then use the measurements to come up with your own stitches and rows. If you click on the picture it will enlarge and you'll be able to see the numbers more clearly.

Yes, she's getting obsessed with baby stuff....

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Every moral has a story...

What a crazy last two days!!! Long story, you can't buy DAK at a computer store, sadly.

My son's car needed an oil change. The car dealership said they'd have his car for several hours. So, he called and asked if I'd pick him up at a nearby computer store that he could walk to. If I could pick him up, he could be at home while the car was being worked on. Since I'm such a good mom, I said sure. Keep in mind, this store is about 11 miles from my house.

Trip 1, going to pick up the son from the computer store. The drama begins. I can't resist looking at stuff in a computer store and noticed they had some refurbished laptops with WINDOWS XP on them!!!! Since DAK works great with XP, I don't own a laptop and kind of think I need one, Windows XP is a rare dinosaur, it was a reasonable price, I thought this would be good insurance/backup for when I no longer have a computer that works with DAK. So went my fairly reasonable thought process. As a result, I happily took an IBM Thinkpad home with me. Took me a couple of hours to get connected to the internet, download and install Norton anti-virus, download updates for the anti-virus, upgrade the XP stuff from Microsoft, stuck in DAK to see if it liked its new home, etc. etc. etc. I was minding my own business, surfing, etc. and suddenly the blue screen of death came up and said "Hardware failure. Return computer to administrator/seller" or something like that. These laptops were used by businesses and then (supposedly) refurbished. So, even though I couldn't turn the d*** thing off, I could get the disk out. I put everything back together and returned the laptop to the store and got an exchange. Trip 2. No problem.

Did all the preparation as described above with the Thinkpad laptop replacement. Something niggled at me and I finally realized there was no sound on this computer. Went to every place on the computer that deals with sound and increased the volume to the max. Went to the website and downloaded a new driver. Nothing worked. Getting disgusted now! Too many hours invested. So I uninstalled DAK, packed everything up and returned to the store for a REFUND. Trip 3. Done with this nonsense!

They were really nice about it at the store and I was feeling pretty good about my decision to quit messing around with a refurbished computer. I'll take my chances with the two computers I have at home that work fine with DAK.

When I got home, I thought I would convert a Dale of Norway baby graph to a stitch pattern and start working on a sweater for the little guy. YIKES!!! no DAK disk. (I always run DAK from the disk.) Absolute panic when I realized I returned the disk to the store, still in the laptop's cd drive. I called the store and the employee (John the phone guy) sounded a bit irritated but said he'd look for the computer and see if the disk was still there, then call me back. This is a big computer store, a national chain, and I thought there was a possibility that the computer was already on a truck ready to be transported somewhere. Had already rationalized in my head the purchase of a replacement DAK disk. I was almost in tears when...........brinnnnnnnnng! The phone rang, he had it, I could come pick it up. Geeze Louise!!! I think if I hadn't wanted to work on DAK right away, the computer and disk would have been gone. Thanked my lucky stars. 4 round trips in two days. Don't even care about the wasted, expensive gas anymore.

Moral of the story: USE YOUR DAK EVERY DAY!

PS Car got its oil change. On one of those trips, the son got transported to his car. I was so focused on the DAK and the stubborn laptop, I can't even remember where in the sequence I took him to the car place. After all, first things first.