machine knitting midgauge standard bulky machknit knit machine-knit patterns

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Sarah Bradberry's Feather and Fan Comfort Shawl

I finally finished the Comfort Shawl. Usually I don't let projects go this long. I started it at the end of August and it languished in my closet for a while. Had to spend some time in the hospital waiting for my husband's treatment last week, so it was a good time to finally get it done.

Spring seemed to be on its way but it snowed overnight and turned cold. So, I'm sitting at the computer with this comforting shawl over my shoulders. There's nothing like 100% wool to do the job. I used a few skeins of Noro Kureyon and mixed it with some worsted that I needed to get rid of. The four skeins of Noro were a gift from my daughter. They were color #211, I think it was, and couldn't find more of that number so that's why the hybrid-ness. I like it anyway, even if the purist probably wouldn't. I used a size 8 circular needle to accommodate the width, but knit back and forth.The pattern can be found for free here:

There are almost 600 examples of this shawl on Ravelry. Pretty popular, I'd say!

Hard to take a picture without assistance. Looks like it would fit the shoulders of a football player. O well, you get the idea.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Going tubular!

Not referring to the ribber this time. But---how cool is this?! My husband, ever the faithful consumer, bought some shelves for his antique record albums (from the 50's) from Room and Board. They came in heavy cardboard tubes that are about 8" in diameter and 6 feet long. I asked one of the workmen who are remodeling a room for us to cut these two tubes in half. Their nice saws make a clean cut. Then I nabbed some leftover pieces of lumber and glued them onto the boards with "liquid nails" for stability. It took a few days for them to dry, but now they're like one of a piece. It would take a lot to dislodge them. Yesterday, I got the inspiration to paint them with some old leftover acrylics from some other dumb project---- and voila' I have storage tubes for my long knitting machine paraphernalia, like cast on combs, ribber combs and garter bars. They can sit right next to my machine(s) and the contents won't get bent just sitting around. And, I'm a proud repurposer!!!

I used this technique I saw on a painting show once. You take a fat (1") brush. Put a blob of one color on your palette, and another color next to it. Brush back and forth a few times so that the left and right sides are the original colors, but the middle is a blend of the two. Kind of looks like hand painted yarn, doesn't it?

I have been reminded, though, with this project that I have a weird thing going with my creativity. I can't seem to think through what I want the finished project to be. I just start out hoping that the muse hits me. I don't admire this habit of mine and wish I could change it. It actually wastes a lot of time in the long run. In this example, I'd try something, decide I didn't like it and ended up painting over it. O well, it's not a big deal, but I do that with so many things. Picasso in the blood? o ya.

These will come in handy, I think. I have two more---one is promised to my friend, Sandy. The other, I don't know. It might hit me one of these days.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Not so bahhhhhhhhhd

I saw this on Knitman's blog and thought it was soooooo cool, I had to nab it. I'm off to see if there are any more like this on Youtube.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Knitting more charity hats...

I can't believe it's March 11 and it's -2F at my house as I type. Where is global warming when you need it most? Just kidding. Spring has surely taken its time coming to Minnesota. I practically had to take out a second mortgage to pay the heating bill this month. Guess I shouldn't complain, because at least I could pay it. We were supposed to have a major blizzard yesterday, but the snow only amounted to a dusting. Weather surely takes up a lot of our thinking and ruminating time. Kind of dumb when you can't do a thing about it.

We are still in the throes of major remodeling here so it's hard to undertake a very big knitting project that needs concentration. There's a lot of comings and goings to get materials in the trucks, or to go purchase some forgotten part, etc. So, it's more charity hat knitting time and more using up yarn time for me. This has got to be one of the quickest knits ever. Just cast on 136 st with some lovely acrylic yarn and did 1 x 1 (yes!) rib for an inch. Then upped the tension a few numbers, did stockinette for 50 rows. I made eyelets then knit 2 inches more and bound off. When you thread an I cord through the top it gathers in and doesn't take any extra decreasing. The topknot is kind of cute. Once again, squished under my scanner cover:
This color reminds me of bubble gum. When will that cone be gone?????????????

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Swatching with a purpose

After doing all those little learning swatches, I felt the need to make something usable. I have some pink acrylic that's on my list to disappear. I think some little 10 year old might like the color. At least I hope so. So, this makes hat #5 and scarf #1 for the guild's charity drive. Always amazes me how slowly the yarn gets eaten up when you really want it to be gone. The scarf is the English rib racked. Mind numbingly boring to knit, but the edges don't curl. If you make a scarf, it is a good idea to start with waste yarn, then at the end make a hung hem on both ends. Otherwise I can't see a way to make both ends of the scarf look the same.

This little flower comes in handy to embellish things. It takes just a few minutes to knit. Here's how. Ewrap cast on 3 or 4 stitches. Knit one row and hang onto the yarn tail with your left hand. Push in one part button so that the carriage knits one way and slips the other to make the I Cord. Knit 30 rows (which is actually 15 rows of knit). Pick up row one and hang on the middle of the stitches in work. Repeat, making 5 "petals". Bind off. When you attach it to a hat or scarf, use the yarn ends to tidy up the flower. Sew to the back and out to the front again. Make a French knot for the middle of the flower and knot again on the back side. Hide the yarn end. Made larger, this flower looks good felted too.

Next up is to practice Mary Anne Oger's WarmUp SOX from issue #39. Hope I can make a sock without dropping any stitches this time.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Rolling on the ribber!

More swatches!

First I tried a racking pattern. You rack from zero to 10 and back again. I don't know if it was my yarn or what, but when I got to the 10 extreme side, the ribber stitch fell off. A friend tried it and had more success racking to just 8, so if I use this again that's what I'll do. I like it. I think it would make a cool scarf if I could figure out what to do with the curling edges.

Next I tried a tube. Ugly yarn, but got the concept. Need that for circular socks.

I really really like the English rib racking pattern. It lies perfectly flat. Interesting on both sides. Would make a great shawl or scarf.

I think I did something wrong when doing the 5 x 5 pattern. The knit stitch at the far right in each group doesn't look right. Will try that one again.

Spurred on by my meager successes, I tried doing a circular sock. Very good practice, and the thing even fits me. Looks like it belongs to Bigfoot, doesn't it? I did a short rowed heel, a circular foot and decreases for the toe, which I really liked. Just one small problem. I dropped 3 stitches when transferring to circular after the heel.You can't see the whole thing because it's squished under the lid of my scanner, but you can see where I lost my stitches. Using this as a prototype, I now have kind of an idea what size to make the socks. Now if I can just get that transfer right. I have a feeling I hung too much weight. Not going to bother grafting the toe stitches together. Here's another view of the toe. Looks better in person, honest.

Amazingly, I'm having a good time with this. Just hope I get better at it with practice. Sure helps that the static is gone!!! I realize this is a boring post, but somehow reporting on my ribber progress helps keep me on track. I might even make something with one of these patterns. Soon.

Friday, March 6, 2009

New Year's Resolution: Overcome Ribber Revulsion

Actually, I made two New Year's resolutions this year in regard to machine knitting. The first was to use up yarn, donate items made from it, throw some away, whatever was needed to reduce the stash. The second, which is the topic of this post, was to learn my ribber better. When I first got my 970 +ribber, I tried various cast on techniques and didn't get attached to any of them. So, my usual thing was to start my piece with waste yarn, finish the piece, turn it upside down and knit the rib downwards. I liked the cast- off look when going between the beds better than any cast- on I found. I purchased a garter carriage about a year ago and used that a lot too---making the ribber even less enticing. But, that is how I got "ribber challenged".

So, I got my ribber out the other day and proceeded to set it up. To my consternation, I found that I was missing the setting screws that fit into the setting plates to attach the ribber to the main bed. They are very distinctive---flat but nice looking, if a screw can be nice looking. (NO SNICKERS, please.) I looked everywhere, searched every conceivable nook and cranny in my knitting room --- to no avail. I must have put them in a safe place, so safe the FBI couldn't find them. I went to the local, old-fashioned hardware store and had a nice young man help me find the right metric screw size. $.17 each. Put them on, attached the ribber and ouch. Didn't fit exactly right so the ribber wasn't adjusted the way it was supposed to be adjusted. No ribbing that day.

Thinking these setting screws for the Brother ribber would be easily obtained, I emailed several Brother dealers. Not so easily obtained, I found out. Did manage to snag four of them. Two for now and two for good measure. It appears that they are as scarce as hens' teeth. Bought all four so that I'd be less likely to find myself in this pickle in the future. Lo and behold, I screwed them in, attached the ribber, and the setup looks exactly like the picture in the manual. Moral of the story, don't hide things in such remote safe places. Or something like that. My friend Sandy screws hers to the setting plates when she takes the ribber off. Makes a ton of sense. They are at least bigger and not as likely to get lost. As for me, however, it's unlikely I will ever remove this ribber again in this lifetime.

That hurdle over, I decided I would begin my ribber journey. A friend gave me this book. If you are ribber challenged, but want to get better, I would recommend it. I decided to go through each example, one at a time and not proceed until each came out fairly well. Meticulously following directions, I thought surely victory would be mine. ICK! Nothing was turning out. Had random stitches tucking in the middle of the swatch, all on the ribber. So, I took the center 20 ribber needles and exchanged them for the 10 end ribber needles both sides. I see a big truckload of shiny new ribber needles coming to my house in the near future. Anyway, no more tucking, so onward and forward I went.

Here are the first two techniques in the book: a 1 x 1 with the manual's cast on. The edge fluted a bit at first, but after it sat for a while it shaped up. And then I did a 2 x 2 rib with the manual's cast on. Boy, that was not easy getting the weighted comb in the right spot. So, I ewrapped on, knit a row, transferred stitches to the ribber and knit away. Easier and looked ok.
Gathering courage, I was ready to move on to the next one when the dreaded static monster struck. Having had this before, I recognized that awful grating sound when moving the carriage in one direction. I misted the room, rubbed down the beds with dryer fabric sheets, oiled everything in sight, had a gin and tonic (to eliminate the possibility of the static coming from my body of course), used Cathie Sanders' copper mesh and wire, misted the room some more, sprayed the yarn and beds with anti-static spray and NOTHING WORKED! Really bummed out, I had to quit for the night. Didn't want to wreck my machine, doncha know.

Thinking there must be valid reasons for my ribber avoidance syndrome that shouldn't be ignored, I was actually thinking maybe I'd forget about this resolution of mine. Then I happened to be talking to Amanda at Knit and Sew World in St. Peter about a yarn order when I mentioned my frustration with the static. She said, "Have you tried putting your yarn on a piece of rubber?" Long story short, I hadn't, I did and now all is heavenly.

Next two swatches: English rib and Fisherman's rib, knit one after the other.
and after that, full needle rib.

Not wanting to tempt fate, I'm quitting the ribbing for the day. Thanks for hanging in with me to this point. Can you tell it has been a bit traumatic? Will move on tomorrow to bigger and better things.