machine knitting midgauge standard bulky machknit knit machine-knit patterns

Sunday, December 28, 2014

What a difference a day makes!

Got the snow.  Luca is overjoyed!
The hat and mittens worked well.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

It fits!

The pirate sweater fits.  It's always a big guess but I hit the mark this time.  We live kind of on the edge of the woods and you can see that we have no snow.  Very unusual for Minnesota this time of year.  Many are disappointed.  But to the California people, it's not such a big discrepancy from what they are used to.  Having a wonderful Christmas with the family.  Hope you are too!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Christmas Cowls

Sounds like "Christmas Carols" pronounced by a 2-3 year old!

  I knit these for my niece, who wanted cowls for her skiing parents as a Christmas present.  The man's cowl (black one) is 23" around by 10" high.  The woman's is 21" around by 9" high.  They gave the measurements to her, so I'm hoping they fit ok and don't feel like they are choking.  They're doubled, so even though they're acrylic, they should be warm.  I think these will cover the nose and ears.  Or, could be worn kind of bunched down.

Easy to knit---after I got gauge, I figured out how many stitches and rows I needed to get the measurements they wanted.  Then in DAK I designed filler, snowflakes, the skier and initials.  I started with waste yarn, then the plain stockinette at a click or two tighter than the tension for the fairisle and knit the same number of rows that the fairisle design is.  After the inside of the cowl was completed, I knit the fairisle without removing it from the machine.  The top is just a hung hem and a gate peg bind off, so all floats are hidden.  The seam was planned to go up the back.

 If you have some kind of program to download designs to your machine, it's a quick knit. Or, if not, you could just knit it plain or in tuck or knitweave.   Might make one for myself, probably looser though. 

Monday, December 1, 2014

Machine knitting/ DesignaKnit Experiment

I've been admiring some of the things on Ravelry that were knit with Img2track, a computer aided program that works with some Brother electronic knitting machines.  Many are knit in double bed jacquard, which I haven't mastered yet, but I thought I could try the same thing with Photoshop, DesignaKnit and fairisle.

Here's my result.  The photo inset on the right is what I worked with.

Here are the steps I did in case you want to try it too.

1.  I use Photoshop Elements 10.  Changed a color photo to black and white (must be just two colors for our purposes.)  There are numerous applications out there to manipulate photos.  Some are free.

2.  The program has a feature where you can "dither" the photo.  I tried different settings to get something workable.  "Dither" means the computer program decides if something is black, white or gray.  If gray, it puts both colors in to imitate gray, kind of stipples it. Wikipedia describes it this way---

Dither is an intentionally applied form of noise used to randomize quantization error, preventing large-scale patterns such as color banding in images. Dither is routinely used in processing of both digital audio and digital video data, and is often one of the last analog stages of audio production to compact disc.

A typical use of dither is: given an image in grey-scale, convert it to black and white, such that the density of black dots in the new image approximates the average level of grey in the original image.


3.  I resized the photo's pixels to the size I wanted to make the pillow and the size that was knittable on the machine.  Mine happens to be 190 stitches by 234 rows.  About 27" by 24".  Saved the dithered photo in DAK's graphics studio folder.

4.  In DAK's graphics studio, I converted this dithered photo to a stitch design.  In the conversion, I made sure the stitch pattern would be the same number of pixels (width wise and length wise) as the photo.  DAK duplicated it exactly since there were only two colors and the stitches and rows matched.

5.  In DAK's Stitch Designer, I added a white stitch here and there to help with the lonnnnnnnnnnnnng floats.  I also added his name to the inside brim of his hat.

6.  Downloaded the stitch design to my knitting machine and knit the front.  The back is plain white, the same number of stitches and rows.

There are still tons of long floats on the back side, some of which I tried to hang on a same colored stitch a few rows up as it was being knit, but there were so many, I lost patience.  Instead, after it was off the machine, I gave it a good steam to set the stitches and now, a few days later, they have stayed put.  The one thing that I wasn't too happy about was the teeth.  The finished product looks a little jack-o-lantern-ish. But in order to have teeth and not a straight block of white, there had to be one stitch column between teeth.  I think the rest is a pretty good representation.

7.  I used the knitting to make a template for an inner pillow, stuffed and closed it.  Seamed the knitting on 3 sides, inserted the pillow, then seamed the 4th side.

This child has so many toys that it's hard to think of something unusual that will catch his interest.  I thought this would be nifty on his bed.  The heather blue and white are the colors of his bedroom.  And, after all!  How many people have their mug knit into a pillow???

So, anyway, give it a try.  It's fun, unusual and doesn't take a lot of skill, but makes you look a bit of a genius.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Dreaded Static

Recently I've had a couple of inquiries concerning what to do about the awful static that can attack our machines this time of year.  I know I've listed some remedies before, but it bears repeating. 

I usually do contract this dreaded static disease  right about now when my furnace is going full blast and the house is dry.  I have to employ most of the tactics listed below---- all at the same time---- to get it under control.  My craft room is carpeted so I think that makes the situation worse.

1.  Buy a humidifier and keep it running in your craft room.
2.  Put 2-3 small magnets (mine are disks about 1" in diameter) on the mast.  Keep them attached with a clothes pin if necessary.  I contacted Sean at Knit and Sew World to make sure this wouldn't negatively affect the electronics and he said it was a safe thing to do because the mast is far enough away from the electronic part of the machine,
3.  Oil the machine bed, needles, rail and underside of the carriage with a fine layer using a paint brush.  Not too much, tho.
4.  Put your yarn in the freezer overnight.  If you can plan ahead, that is.
5.  If you still have some Lori Lyn yarn spray, use that.  If not, Distinctive Knits has a new brand to purchase to help eliminate static and make the yarn slide through more smoothly.  I spray the cone several times during a project.
6.  There is a commercial anti static spray you can purchase.  I can't remember the name now.  Spray your yarn (if you don't have the stuff in #5)  and spray a cloth to wipe over the needle bed. Or use dryer sheets.
7.  Purchase an anti-static mat  (try an office supply place), cut it up so the yarn can sit on one piece and you can put your feet on the other.
9.  Lather up your hands with lotion every 15 minutes of knitting.
10.  Try  copper grounding wire.  I bought some, but I didn't notice it helping.  Could have had it attached wrong.  Maybe you or someone who understands what is happening could help.
11.  LIGHTLY mist the floor with a spray bottle mixture of one part fabric softener or hair conditioner to 20 parts water.  Shake well.
12.  Purchase and wear one of those anti static bracelets used by computer repair people.

This is all I can come up with right now.  Hopefully some of these tips will help you.  I know how frustrating it can be.  First you can't believe it's happening, could my machine be broken????,  then it gets worse, everything comes to a halt and then you search for answers.  If you have some suggestions that worked for you and I haven't mentioned, please let me know.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Machine Knit Flower Hats

My friend, Bonnie, sent me two pictures of hats she has made with the flower top technique (I guess you would call it that.)  The purple one follows the pattern.
  And here's what she has to say about the pink one:
I was going to make another one of your Flower hats the other day and ended up turning it into this hat. I knit up to where I make the eyelets for the cord, knitted the extra rows after the eyelets and started to make my curly things. Pulled all the needles into hold except for 4 of them and I was having an awful time. I was not using the best yarn and it kept getting caught on the needles in hold. Fooled around with it for a while and decided to give up but hated to give up on the hat as I had gotten that far with it. Guess I am cheap and hate to throw out yarn. So I just knitted several more rows (next time I think I would knit a few more) and then bound it off. Sewed up the side of my hat, ran a cord through the eyelets and just gathered it up. I think it is kind of cute so I thought I would share it with you. Cute hat that knits up fast.

I like the pink one too and it would be much faster than the petals.  One tip about the petals:  as you knit each one, hold it down with one finger while you run the carriage with the other hand.  That way it stays out of the way and won't get hung up on the gate pegs or get snagged.

We are experiencing an early winter here in Minnesota.  A lot of groaning going on about it.  Only 6 months to go before we have warmth again....  I guess it's great for knitting anyway.  Oh, and if you missed the instructions on how to knit the flower top, they are here:

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Machine Knit Dead Fish Hat

At a machine knitting retreat earlier this fall, my friend Sheri knit some fish hats.  She knit them on the bulky machine, which I no longer own, so I needed to re-calculate stitches and rows for a standard gauge machine.  I haven't tried this hat on a human, so I'll have to wait for Christmas when my grandson comes.  Feel free to adjust anything I did.  You can try one with these directions and modify from that.  All credit for the design idea goes to Thelma Egberts, who first came up with it.

My Machine Knit Version of the Dead Fish Hat by As featured in Knitty, Winter 2008.

MACHINE  standard gauge

GAUGE  for body of hat T7 7 st and 10 r = 1”
YARN  Tamm Bebe and similar weight yarns
FINISHED SIZE for age 3 (so far)  15” circumference; 13” from nose to beginning of tail 

As usual, I was lazy and just stuck the hat under the lid of my scanner.  Better pictures I coulda had.



For Body of the fish   Knit two pieces the same

Lips...Cast on 56 stitches (28-0-28) with waste yarn and knit a few rows, one row ravel cord. (I started with waste yarn because the tension was tight for my machine and yarn.)   Change to lip color (main yarn). Ewrap cast on over the ravel cord.   At T5 knit 14 rows. 
Nose...Change to T7 and fish color.  Machine to hold.  Put 10 stitches in the center to work, the rest in hold.  Knit across, wrap N closest to carriage and push 1 N opposite carriage into work.  Repeat until 10 N are in work each side of zero.  Now knit across, wrap N closest to carriage, put 2 in work opposite the carriage until 40 N are in work.  Repeat the same method now with pushing 3 into work until all are in work.  Take machine off hold.  “Nose” is done.

Body...RC000 Knit 60 rows.  Change colors as desired (I did every 20 rows).  If doing stripes, leave a long tail of each new color for seaming so that you seam with the same color as the stripe.  Decrease 1 stitch full fashioned both sides, K 4 rows.  Repeat until you have 30 stitches left.  Take off on waste yarn or garter bar and decrease to 15 stitches.  Knit 2 rows and decrease to 8 stitches, k 2 R.  Bind off around the gate pegs.

Seam sides from lips to tail.  Hide yarn ends if you have any.

Top Fin  Knit one

Cast on in 1 x  1 rib, T 4/4 , 35 stitches.  A loose cast on is good, for a change.  18 on main bed and 17 on ribber.  Knit 10 rows.   Transfer rib st to main bed.  Knit one row with main carriage, take off on waste yarn and decrease to half.  Knit one row and bind off tightly.  Sew to the top of the hat, in the middle, about 6 inches back from the lips.

Side Fins  Knit two

Same as top fin except do 27 stitches and 14 rows.  Sew into the side seams about 4 inches back from the lips.

Tail   knit two pieces

T7  Ewrap cast on 20 stitches with tail color.  K one row.  *Increase one st both sides, k 2 rows* 3 times.  Increase one stitch both sides knit 10 rows.  Increase one st both sides K 2 rows.  Transfer every 4th st to its neighbor and move stitches in so there are no empty needles.  Knit 2 rows. * Transfer every 3rd stitch to neighbor, fill in empty needles, k 2 rows.* twice.  Knit 2 rows, decrease 1 stitch each side, knit one row.  Bind off.  Fold each tail piece in half and seam shut.  Seam pieces to tail end of the fish.

Eyes  make two

Out of felt, cut two eyes about the size of a silver dollar.  Sew onto the hat with matching thread using tiny stitches.  Embroider x’s with black yarn to make it look like the poor creature is dead.

Notes:  At 112 stitches this should fit the average 3 year old.  So, I’m thinking to make the hat larger or smaller, you could adjust with this in mind.  For example, an adult typically needs about 21 inches so at this gauge, 7 x 21 =147  stitches.  Maybe subtract an inch so it fits snugly, then don’t start decreases until row 80. 140 stitches sounds large to me for an adult hat, so you'll need to use your own judgement.  Using a tight tension for the lips will hopefully help the hat stay on, but it also makes the nose puff out a tad.  Probably when worn it will smooth out.  I love how it looks from the side--- like the fish is eating the person's head.  Ha ha.  Another fun aspect of this hat is that you can use any design you want for the body of the hat from snowflakes to scales to stripes.

Thelma's hats: