machine knitting midgauge standard bulky machknit knit machine-knit patterns

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Personalized scarf - Machine knit

It's hard to find gifts for men--I think---so I decided to knit my nephew a scarf with some things pertaining to him on it.  I'm lazy so the pictures are from my scanner, which is easier to get to than my camera and download cord.

 It's fun to design things like this in DesignaKnit.  It took a couple of hours to decide what the design should be but also only 2 hours to knit it start to finish.  It's 9" wide and 7 feet long, doubled.  He doesn't like wool, so it's plain ol' Mary Lou's Symphony (acrylic) yarn.The front side has the St. Olaf lion, the college he graduated from,  and the words "um ya ya", which is one of the college songs.  The other side of the front is our family cabin called "Biorn Bakken" with a fish on it because he is an avid fisherman.
The back has his initials, the words Norske, his high school, a skier and the word "uffda"
 Maybe you'd have to be Norwegian-American to get most of this, but he will.  
This is what the center of the scarf looks like, both sides.  Was relieved when the seaming came out ok!  This is maybe an idea for you if you have DesignaKnit and can whip one out in short order.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Take off your pants and knit, er sew, some swants

So goes the "ad".  Check this out:

Some people are so clever!  I love the look of the fairisle legs, but methinks the crotch shaping could use some help.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Machine Knit Fingerless Mitts

In addition to warm, felted mitts, I've machine knit two pairs of not-so-warm fingerless mitts.

 First, I did Diana Sullivan's fingerless mitts: 
My yarn was not as thick as hers, so after a couple of tries, I found I needed to add stitches and rows.  But the basic idea is good. I like the stretchiness of the English rib.  I made the top ribbing (toward the fingers and top of the thumb) tighter so they wouldn't flare out.   A friend suggested to buy some of those cheapo stretchy gloves and wear them underneath the fingerless mitts.  Then they'd go up on the warmth scale.  They are really fast to make.  Nice to have a quickie project like that.  Isn't it funny, though, how we machine knitters almost always have to adjust and tinker with a pattern ostensibly to make it better?

And the other ones----shield your eyes if you are a sensitive soul----contain the image of deer doing their thing.  I borrowed the idea from here:   on Ravelry and (once again) changed the position of the deer so they'd be in the center of the mitt and fit my gauge.   I put the pattern into DAK.  The male needed to look a little more male in the antlers too.  I added a lot of snowflakes so there wouldn't be so many long floats on the inside.  Compared to the original, my deer look like they've spent a winter in Minnesota with not enough food.  If there's a next time, I'll make them a little heftier.    They are a stocking stuffer gift for a niece who will get a kick out of them.  The two mitts are identical, so she can always turn them so the palm side  is the public side...(the palm pattern is like the thumb)

How does she get such a nice cast on you ask?  I do the e-wrap thing.  Pull every other needle on the main bed all the way out and the opposite needles on the ribber.  The end needles are both on the main bed.  Then I start with a slip knot and loop for the first needle and e-wrap going back and forth between the beds.  Remember to e-wrap in the same direction you always do on the main bed and on the ribber go in front of the needle sticking up and around it.  After you get to the end, hang the cast on comb and weights.  Takes a little practice at first, but after a while is pretty automatic.  Just don't e-wrap too tightly or the first row will be hard to push.  I remember in the beginning when I first started using this method, my eyes would get kind of mesmerized/confused but now it's quick and easy.  Give it a try if you don't already use it and see if you like it better than the manual's method.  Looks a little more like a hand knit cast on and behaves better, in my opinion.  For the last row, I knit one loose row and did a loop through loop bind off.  Kind of matches the cast on.

If you'd like the pattern for the Oh Deer mitts, send me an email and I'll write it up for you.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Felted Embroidered Mittens

It's been soooooooooo cold here, a person doesn't want to go outside unless absolutely necessary.  Thank heavens the electricity and gas haven't quit on us.  So, rather than totally hibernating, thoughts are turning to knitting and making things to keep warm.  In addition, the next guild meeting has mittens for the program.  So, rather than plain ol' mittens, I'm trying something different.

Here's my first attempt at embroidered, felted mittens.
I was inspired by EvaL8's mitt on Ravelry:
  Hers are much more elegant than mine and look much more traditional. (She's Swedish.) I'm not so great at embroidery but I went back and got some tips from her description.  She uses the disappearing ink pen, like quilters use, to map out her design.  That would help a lot to get things in proportion and to get the two mitts to match, no easy feat.  She used a finer wool embroidery thread too.  I used yarn doubled, so mine look a lot more crude. I like the looks of the wide cuff, but the narrower one fits in my winter jacket better.  Hers are gorgeous.  Mine, not quite as much. O  well, first attempts are not always the greatest.

Her website is
Even if you don't speak Swedish, it's fun to see what she has knit.  She's really talented and prolific!!!

Anyway, back to my project.  I used an old mitten pattern meant for felting, but I see that I will need to adjust it too.  I like them roomy all together.   I especially like roomy thumbs and I think they are warmer than when the knitting hugs the thumb.  But it could be a few stitches narrower and a few rows shorter.  I might put them through one more wash and see what that does.  Every wool yarn felts differently, so sometimes it's necessary to knit things more than once to get them right.   I'll use the same yarn and try again.

With that all said, these will be perfect for taking the dog out.  She doesn't realize that the temps are cruel.  Being a keeshond, she LOVES the cold.  The colder, the better, silly thing.  And, whether it's cold or not, she still has to do her biz.  Have you ever seen so much fur?

Friday, December 6, 2013

Melissa and Doug

You may not have heard of this brand, but it's a company that makes adorable and durable kids' toys.  Wanted to show what I've cooked up :-) for my 2 yr old grandson for Christmas.  This is the kitchen;
It even has an oven, a little timer and a sink.  All pretend, of course.  I also got some pots and pans, utinsels and wooden food to go with it.  Then I made these:

I sewed a  2 year old sized chef's apron out of one of my husband's old shirts... guessed at the shape and size.  Then I knitted a cotton hot pad and little dish cloth.  My daughter said he's crazy about cooking at his pre-school, so I thought this bunch of stuff would be good.  Amazon ships the kitchen for free and I'll put the rest in my suitcase when I fly there for Christmas.  Just wanted to show off.  I think these things are sooooooooooooo cute.  And I hope he loves it all.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Yea for Baby Ballet Charity Sweaters

It's always rewarding to see that one's patterns are being used.  One of my readers, Andrea, wrote to me a few days ago and said: 
A great charity sweater. These were knit on a Brother 350 mid gauge for the Salvation
 Army in Venice FL. Two in Paton's Pearl and the other in Hayfield Brushed DK. I have also knit many of your Child's Earflap hats and charity baby blankets. Thank you for the inspiration and the great patterns. Andrea
I especially like the purple one. Might be the heart buttons that attract me to it.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Dryer balls

First, let me say that this is certainly not my original idea.  Lots of my friends make, use and love them.  What are they, you ask?  They are balls made out of wool, felted and used in the clothes dryer.  They beat up your clothes a bit so you don't have to use chemical fabric softeners.  And, for people who don't do well with the perfume in fabric softeners, they are a great substitute.  Claims have been made that they reduce the drying time, thereby saving energy and money. They also take care of static.  They probably last for years.  Any color wool will do.

One of the machine knitting guilds in Minnesota makes them and sells two at a time in a nice mesh bag to earn money to buy yarn for charity projects.  Nifty idea.

How to make:  you will find slightly different versions on the internet.  Here's how I did mine.  I used 100%  wool throughout.  First I wound a ball by hand, about 3-4 inches in diameter.  They shrink quite a bit when felted.  I  tacked down the yarn around the ball so that it wouldn't come unraveled in the wash.  The bottom ball shows how I hand sewed/tacked down the yarn.  (Not a very good picture, but you get the idea.)   I then wrapped the ball with wool roving, poking it into the ball with a needle felting needle in a few places.  Lots of people put the ball in an old nylon stocking and tie the ends for felting.  I tried that, and the roving grabbed onto the nylon as tight as can be. The roving and the nylon became one! It took a week, a little at a time pulling, coaxing, ripping the nylon off, inch by inch.  Lots of the roving came along with the nylon.  No fun!

So for the next ones, I was trying to come up with a solution to this issue.  I had purchased a bag of apples and they came in a nylon-ish, slippery, holey, woven bag.  Voila!  I used that, one dryer ball to the bag with lots of room around it and tied the ends before throwing into the washing machine for felting.  Worked like a charm.  No sticking.  So, that little hint will save you hours of frustration.  

You might want to felt your balls a few times so that they are sort of heavy, tight and dense.  (In case you were wondering, I don't think acrylic centers would work at all, nor would super wash wool.)  The ball pictured at the top will go through a few more washings before I use it regularly in the dryer.  Use them, 2 or more at a time,  with each load and see if they don't work well for you.  Maybe do your laundry when you don't need peace and quiet in the house because there will be some banging around in the dryer.

Why did I call them "spheroids"?  I can hardly believe this, but Blogger wouldn't upload the picture of the  "dryer balls" but would upload the  same picture re-named "dryer spheroids".   Hmmmm.......

Wednesday, November 6, 2013


Spelling error..........  I didn't think it looked right.  SO, I'm going to sashay into my knitting room and knit scented sachets.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Stocking Stuffer

Our  machine knitting guild has an annual holiday newsletter that has lots of ideas for gift giving or just for fun.  This is my contribution this year.  Easy and quick.  You could probably get a lot more creative with the idea, but it's a starting point anyway.  Great for using up bits of yarn that you don't know what else to do with.

Stocking Stuffer Idea:  Scented Sashays for Closets
Package(s) of scented  filler  (I got mine at Michaels)
Lace trims that are already ruffled and ribbons, other decorative items;  Any yarn, a few ounces; Sewing machine
Any knitting machine

Guestimate your gauge so that you arrive at about 4” x 4” for the square and large enough for any shapes you might use.  Knit two sides separately with a closed cast on and a permanent bind off. For the heart, cut a template out of cardboard. Trace the heart onto one of the knit pieces.  (Ok to use any writing implement if you sew inside of the lines.)  Pin lace extending toward the center around the perimeter of the square/outline of the heart.  (See diagram below) Sew with sewing machine close to the edge.  Put the other side on top leaving a space to turn right side out.  Knit a little I cord for a hanger or use ribbon, again tucked to the interior. Machine sew the front to the back remembering to leave a space to turn right side out.  For the heart, sew just inside your tracing so the ink doesn’t show.  It is easier to cut off the excess knit fabric after you’ve sewn your shape.  Turn right side out.  Stuff with the scented filler.  Sew the opening shut by hand.

Other ideas:  use a fairisle pattern, tuck stitches, lace, words or names. Use different shapes.

Monday, September 30, 2013

2013 Charity Goal Reached

Finished my charity knitting for 2013.  I did 67 items plus one for good luck.  Actually, I did more than that because I lost count at one point.  But, I'll save the extras for next year.  This was a guild challenge----knit the same number of items as you are years old.  I didn't take a picture---forgot.

I checked the number of yards in my cones, added up the number of cones used (16 approx.) and found I had knitted almost 23 miles of yarn.  This doesn't count the mistakes, the waste yarn, the little pieces tossed for one reason or another.   That's a lot of miles, isn't it???  The baby items go to the Minnesota Visiting Nurses and the hats, scarves and mitts go to the Salvation Army.  Someone in the guild mentioned that the SA is giving 70,000 local needy children warm winter duds this year.  Wow! I didn't realize there were so many in need here.  The guild knit an awfully lot of hats, mitts, gloves, and scarves.  Don't know the total yet, but we maybe made a small dent in what is needed.  Lots of other guilds do the same. Hope our gal in charge of collecting the items does take a picture.

Have to admit, doing that many items put me off knitting for a few months.  Am just now getting my mojo back for machine knitting.  Good timing.  Winter is surely not that far off!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Tame those curling edges!

I got this idea from my friend, Sandy, who is a fantastic knitter and is very creative as well as practical.  You can see her web page at

I'm on my second to the last charity item for the year and decided to knit one of Charlene Schafer's tuck baby blankets.  All turned out well except the edges curled more than I liked.  Enter Sandy's fix.  She folds and bastes the edges together with a contrasting color yarn.  Then she puts the blanket in the washing machine for a fairly gentle cycle and also in the dryer for a bit (not drying the blanket all the way.)  She lets the blanket air dry the rest of the way with the basting still in place.  Voila', the edges behave.  She says if you have some really stubborn edges, she refolds the opposite direction, bastes and repeats the wash/dry process.

Here are my before and after pics.  I guess I should have taken a pic of the curling edges, not just the edges basted.
 When dry:

  Worked like a charm.  Next time you have that problem with the curling edges, try Sandy's trick. It only takes about 10 minutes more to do the basting.

PS She said she usually does a running stitch as close to the edge as possible (rather than the kind of basting I did), but it appears that it doesn't matter when all is said and done.

Monday, July 15, 2013

A beautiful first time machine knit garment

Lynne, one of my readers, has knit her first garment on her LK 150 using the Baby Ballet pattern.  Isn't it beautiful?
I love the yarn colors.  Here's what she had to say about it:

Well after a lot of trial and error I have completed the ballerina cardigan - see photo attached. My very first machine knitted garment! I followed most of your pattern except that when it came to binding off for the sleeves once they were attached to the body, I used the back stitch bind off as it was too tight doing the bind off with the latch tool.

I had to redo a lot of things but am pleased with the result. I only used one ball of yarn and am wondering if you have a machine pattern for baby leggings that I can make to match the sweater?

I'd say she did a fantastic job.  One of the frustrations, if you want to call it that, of the plastic bed machines is that they have no gate pegs.  So, it's a little more complicated binding off around the gate pegs.  Do-able when you use a machine needle as a substitute for a gate peg, but might be cumbersome for a new knitter.  Definitely something to learn at some point, though.  If you do want to use the latch tool to pull the next stitch through the previous to bind off--- one trick is to hand knit the last row and pull the needle butt all the way back to make a large stitch.  Then when you pull the next stitch through the one on the latch tool, it should be the right size and not pull in.

Does anyone have a pattern for baby leggings?  Would be nice to help her out.

Would love to see any other Baby Ballets that have been knit from this pattern.