machine knitting midgauge standard bulky machknit knit machine-knit patterns

Monday, March 22, 2010

Ah...the sweet mysteries of machine knitting

I really hate to admit it when something (knitting-wise) seems to be defeating me. I'm referring to Diana's Zig Zag Scarf.

I was determined to make it. Wrote down the instructions while watching her video, made my own spread sheet---just like hers. The pattern, or something, didn't like my machine and my machine didn't like the pattern. At first I thought it was static, then I zigged when I was supposed to zag (see picture), then I thought my machine needed oiling and I tried about 12 different yarns and tensions. The picture below is actually the best of my disasters. The question mark indicates "What was I thinking?" The result is interesting, but not interesting enough to keep, if you know what I mean. Hmmm...maybe in the future I could go twice as many rows in one direction. But a person really should get the original pattern correct before going off on a tangent. Had a friend check out my directions to see if I was doing it right. I thought that this shouldn't be so hard. I felt like I was having a heart attack trying to move the carriage back and forth. I knew there would be no way I could do 600+ rows. And, Diana didn't seem to be having any trouble pushing the carriage in her demo. Not having any joy with anything I tried, I knit a few other things in the interim to check to make sure my machine really was ok.

Finally, I broke down and wrote to Diana and asked if she had any suggestions. I was kind of embarrassed because it's not exactly like I'm a novice knitter. She was most gracious and even said she loved a puzzle! She confirmed that I was racking in the correct sequence, so that was the main thing. I was apologetic about wasting her time, but she was non-plussed about it. What a sweet person!!! She's as nice as she sounds in her videos.

Yesterday then, after getting confirmation from the expert that it should be working, I thought I would try ONE MORE YARN. Finally, it worked. It's a beautiful pattern. Then the phone rang, I ran to answer it, came back, checked my cheat sheet and off I went again only to find out A FOOT LATER that I zagged when I was supposed to zig. O well, I found a yarn and a tension that my machine would cooperate with. This is my "good" swatch. (Not showing you my wrong turn...) For now, this was enough.

Don't let my experience discourage you. You probably will fly right through it.

The question for me remains, will I have the concentration to stick with it again and not make any mistakes for 6 long feet? There really is NO room for error. It's frustrating to not be able to see what you're doing until way past the point where an error may have occurred. And, there's no way I could rip back and find the right spot in the pattern. I have a knitting friend who probably could, (hi Ellen), but not me. This is one of those all or nothing deals. Do I get to count on my knit meter the 1,000 yards of yarn I used trying to get this right???? (I guess not.) And, finally, what the heck was I doing wrong on the previous 12 or so swatches? I'm suspecting tension, but don't know for absolute sure. I guess it will have to remain a mystery.


Bella said...

You got a lot further than I did!
The tension in the Brother Ribber Manual says 5 for the main bed and 2 for the ribber. I have to wait until I can see Diana's videos to try it out again.
As for remembering the direction? I stand at my machine, and pointed my right foot right for zig and the left foot left for zag.
(I also got interruped though and lost my place!)
Your Ribber Love scarf is really nice, but I couldn't get the machine to knit off 2 notched racks!
Is it supposed to sound like a medieval instrument of torture when you knit the racked row?

Cindy/KS said...

Thar is one of the patterns that I had run across that I wanted to try this year. Just need to get my machines set back up & the ribber attached to my 930.

Mar said...

I would say to go for it. The scarf is so pretty! Most people won't have the trouble I did, so do knit it.

Mar said...

Jemajo--you made me laugh because that's exactly what my machine sounded like: some kind of medieval instrument of torture when I was using a tension my machine didn't like. (Plus the fact that I had to use an inordinate amount of force to get the carriage across.) I'm thinking more and more that the tension has to be just right for your machine and yarn. Your left and right zigs and zags is cute. The cheat sheet was really the most helpful in the end. Do you have one?

Bella said...

Mainly because I constantly loose them, or use them to quickly jot a note about something else.
I'm better now, because I just go to my blog post and there it is. A much safer idea!
I'll try this scarf again at a later date when I've nothing else on the go. I'm just so determined to do it, but I think I need Diana's video to watch, as you did.
Christmas is only 8 months away!!!

Diana L. Sullivan, CPA said...

Well, I certainly love the yarn you're using.

I'm a little amazed this scarf went so well for me - as a matter of fact, I was very tired when I made it, which normally is asking for trouble. One thing I did was count 20 out loud and only pause after a whole group of 20 rows. I had thought that if I couldn't get the whole 600 rows (or whatever ridiculous number it was) right, I better not put a video up because of the zigging when you should zag issue.

A big reason I usually put up such simple videos is to keep it fun.

You know, there's a racked sample in the KR260 book that I can't seem to make! Something about it unthreads the ribber near the beginning, and it falls off. I know I could start it on waste yarn, I have never bothered.

One more tip on the zigzag scarf: it does work out that all odd rows are at #5 and all even rows are either at 4 or 6.

Diana in Austin