machine knitting midgauge standard bulky machknit knit machine-knit patterns

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Need a stocking stuffer? Knit some Fuzzy Feet Slippers

Fuzzy Feet  by Mar Heck ©2019

 This pattern is adapted from an easy, old, hand- knit slipper pattern that for years has been passed along from grandmother to grandchild and probably has been knit a million times.   Adding three twists to the pattern:  they are done on the machine in lightening quick fashion in stockinette stitch, we are adding fun fur to tickle our fancy and we are felting them to make them extra warm. MACHINE:   9 mm Bulky or midgauge 

   Child to adult.  Adult in parenthesis.

  3 (4) skeins Lion Brand Fun Fur™ (60 yards per skein, polyester), purple used for the sample
  1 (2) skeins knitting worsted weight wool yarn (Do not use wool yarn made to resist
   felting,  called superwash.) Light blue used for the sample.   Large eyed needle for sewing up

         Skills needed:  Making a swatch and determining gauge
                                E wrap cast on.               
                                Mattress stitch for hand sewing.


1.  Determine the recipient’s foot size by taking two measurements.  Measure the foot length from heel to toe and then measure around the instep close to the ankle.  The foot length will be the finished slipper length (number of rows)  and the width will be how high the slipper comes up each side of the foot on the sides of the heel/ankle (number of stitches).  The slipper is just a plain rectangle.

2.  Make a swatch .  You will make the slipper the size of the felted gauge. With one strand of fun fur and one strand of the wool held together, e wrap cast on 20 stitches and knit 30 rows at the largest tension your machine will do.  End with waste yarn and remove from machine.  The waste yarn will tell you which direction is the rows.  If it felts really well, it’s hard to otherwise tell which direction is which.  It will feel like a big waste of yarn, but you’ll only have to do this once for a particular brand of wool.  (You might be able to later think of a use for this little swatch.)  Throw the swatch in the washing machine until the wool felts.  Depending on the yarn you choose it may take a few cycles for it to felt.  After it attains the look you want, measure the swatch to determine stitches and rows per inch or centimeters, whichever you are more comfortable with.   Multiply the stitches and rows per inch times the dimensions you want to determine how many stitches and rows you will knit for your rectangle.  (See note below for calculating.) Note that it will have shrunk more in length than in width.

***If you prefer not to make a swatch, for a rough reference:  using the largest tension, my child’s slipper turned out to be at T 10.. 44 stitches X 50 rows to fit an 7-8” foot.  My adult women’s slipper, about a size 9, turned out to be 50 stitches X 74 rows to fit a 9 -10 inch foot. Because felting is not an exact science, you’ll need to do a little experimenting with the yarn you choose.  If you use the same yarns for different sizes, you can knit a pair using your best guesses for stitches and rows then adjust for other sizes by adding or subtracting stitches and rows. This works fine if you would prefer not to waste yarn on a swatch.  (You can’t reuse yarn that’s been felted, so some people would prefer to just dive right in.)    Another thought: you will want the slipper to be a bit snug, so do not add any ease.

3.  Directions for knitting.  Knit one rectangle for each  slipper.

*  E wrap cast on loosely from left to right with one strand of each yarn held together over the number of needles  you have determined you need.  Leave a yarn tail at the beginning about 10” long to later sew up the heel seam.

*  Put the yarns together in the feeder and turn the dial to the largest tension number.  Set your row counter to zero and knit one row from right to left.  (May be a bit hard to push the carriage.)

*  Hook the cast on comb into the stitches.  Add as much weight across the knitting as you can. Use ribber weights if you have them.  For the first 2-3 rows, pull all needles out to E position each row to make the stitches knit off a little easier.  Yank the knitting down after each row so that the fur doesn’t get hung up on the gate pegs.  Knit the number of rows you have determined you need.

*  End with the carriage on the right side.  Take the yarn out of the feeder and cut a length of the two yarns about 1 ½ feet long which will be used for sewing up the top of the slipper. ( I sewed mine first then felted them. ) Thread both strands into a large eyed  needle and take the stitches off their needles, one at a time from right to left onto this thread.  When all stitches are off the machine, pull the stitches as tight as you can.  This will be the toe.  You will most likely have a little hole, so stitch across the hole from north to south and east to west a few times.  Neatness doesn’t count because the felting and the fur will hide your sewing.

* Don’t break yarn.  With this same length of yarn, sew up the top of the foot seam with a mattress stitch from the toe towards the back of the slipper.  Again, for reference, I sewed a 3 inch seam for the child’s slipper and a 4 inch seam for the adult.  Fasten off by sewing through your last stitch again and then hide the yarn tail inside the slipper by sewing through the backs of 5-6 stitches and cutting the yarn off.   You need a large enough opening to slip the foot into, but small enough to stay on snugly.

*   Thread both strands of your beginning yarn tail into a large eyed needle and sew up the heel seam. You will be folding the back of the slipper in half and sewing from top to bottom.  The stitches face each other, so you can’t do a mattress stitch.  Any seam will do. Sew twice for strength.  Hide the yarn tail as above.

*  Note:  the edge that ends up around the ankle needs no treatment.  When felted it lies perfectly flat.  No problem there!

4.  Felt both slippers at the same time in the same wash load(s) giving them the same treatment as you did your swatch.  My wool needed 3 hot/cold cycles to felt, but each yarn brand seems to behave differently as do different colors, so you just need to monitor it.  When felted to the size you need, scrunch up some plastic bags, stuff the slippers so they have a nice shape and let them dry for a day or so.  Petting them doesn’t prolong the drying period, so have at it.  It’s amazing how the wool pulls together and makes the non-felting polyester “fur” more dense.  People are kind of surprised you can do this on a machine.  Just one bit of warning, they’re slippery on smooth floors.

5.  I found this addictive and made several pairs. They are so soft and cozy! For your next pair, you can do stripes and/or embellish them with bows, eyes, ears, tails, whatever.  Baby booties would be really cute and easy.  Because of the slippery nature of the slippers  (is that how the word came about?), the pattern may not be appropriate for toddlers or older folk.  You decide.  Once you have your gauge, the next pair is a snap. They are so silly, they’re fun!

New Knitter Notes:

Ewrap Cast On:
Pull needles that are going to be in work out to E position.  Make a slip knot and hang it on first needle on the left.  Push the knot back to the needle bed.  Just as though you were writing a cursive “e”, wrap the yarn around each needle counter clockwise, from left to right up against the bed, not in the hooks of the needles.  Easy does it---don’t wrap too tightly.  No need to wrap the last needle on the right.  Just put the yarn in the yarn feeder and that stitch will knit automatically as you push the carriage from right to left.  After your first row, hang the cast-on comb.

One way to calculate the stitches and rows per inch:
This simple method works in this case since we are dealing in approximations anyway.  For a sweater, you would want to do a more extensive swatch.  In this example, you knit 20 stitches and 30 rows and then felt your swatch.  When it has felted to your liking, measure the width.  Say your swatch, after felting, measures 4 inches across.  20 stitches divided by 4 inches = 5 stitches per inch.  To get your number of stitches for the width of the slipper, multiply 5 times the number of inches you want.  Say the length ended up to be 5 inches.  30 rows divided by 5 inches = 6 rows per inch.  To get the number of rows for the length of the slipper, multiply 6 times the number of inches you want.

Hand sewing a mattress stitch: 
Have the right sides of both pieces facing you, side by side.  With your large needle, go under two bars on the right side of the first stitch of the piece on the right, then under two bars on the left side of the first stitch on the left piece.  Go back and forth repeating from side to side, pulling the yarn taut now and then.  The stitches from each side pull together making the seam invisible from the right side.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Christine Linfeld’s shawl as a poncho

ridelikethewind’s PONCHO
Check out her poncho on Ravelry in her projects.  Hers is much prettier than mine, I'm afraid.  She used worsted weight yarn on a midgauge so her gauge is larger than mine, that is less stitches and rows. She was inspired by Bill King's waterfall sweater. She kindly helped me get my head around the construction and once I caught on, it was easy and went fast,

I used mohair from Cindy Schmatz when she had a yarn sale.  I used about 10- 50 gr hand knitting skeins I think…   Wound onto cones.  Unfortunately, I lost track!  Used my  LK 150 at T 4.

There are eyelets down center front and center back only, not also over the shoulders as in the original Christine Linfeld’s shawl. Also, the original shawl has 4 points.  This has two: one in front and one in back.

Overview of construction:

Start with waste yarn several rows and 1 row ravel cord over (110) needles.  On last row of waste yarn, transfer to the needle setup of lllxlllx….  Add extra stitches at each side which will be neck and bottom edges.
 Start with straight section and knit (72) rows. CAR.

Begin short rows: Set machine to hold. At the opposite side of the carriage, Hold 3 needles, knit 4 rows.  At the same time, short row at the neck (left side) 3 additional stitches and wrap end n every 8 rows.  (didn’t do enough the first time see note at end)
Finish short rowing:  Opposite the carriage put 3 N in work, knit 4 rows until all N are in work.

Straight section: Knit the same number of rows as you did the first time.  Front (or back) completed.

Repeat the whole thing for the other side of the poncho.

End with one row of ravel cord and  then several rows of waste yarn. You will be joining at one shoulder.  Kitchener stitch the seam.  It’s kind of awkward kitchener stitching because of the needle out of work loop.  Try to stitch 3 st to three st so it looks continuous but lies flat.  Truly it takes much longer to seam this than it did to knit it,  Run in any yarn tails.

Additional comments:  I recommend using a highly contrasting waste yarn color to help you find the stitches for kitchenering.  I have put my measurements in parenthesis because you will want to use your own number of stitches, hence rows.  I am rather fluffy these days so mine is XL, which is comfy for a poncho for me.  Because I didn't short row the neck enough, the neck turned out huge!  She ended up with 22 ridges, I have 27.
 Attempt to tighten neck because I didn't want to rip out the whole thing!!!:
3.25 crochet hook, yarn DOUBLED.  Chain stitch (not sc) around starting at shoulder picking up every other knit stitch x 9 then skip 2 knit st for the 10th  chainstitch. Row 2 chain in each chain st.

Mine ended up with these measurements:

32" seems like a lot for the neck, but it really isn't.  I prefer to not have clothing tight around the neck.  This sits nicely on the shoulders.  The neck doesn’t look so puffy when worn so I’m not that unhappy about it.  Next time:  short row  # ????  Will need to experiment.  Did leave the bottom edge alone even though it curls a little.

Close up of eyelets:

 Red is super hard to photograph, especially with this cheap phone camera of mine. Plus the halo of the mohair doesn't show. As always looks much nicer in person.  I hope you have a good imagination because this pattern really is a gem.  I think it will be good to wear this in spring and fall and also in the house when temps are below zero outside. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Garter Carriage Running Again

I bought my garter carriage years and years ago.  Used it to make a few things, put it on the shelf and forgot about it.   Kind of dumb to let a piece of equipment go unused, right?  Judging from members of my mk guild, it's common to NOT use it.  People are a little intimidated.  So, not having used it for a good while,  I took a refresher class from Cindy Schmatz sponsored by our mk guild and got the thing going again.  It's an 89 version with a new motor.  She tells me it's exactly like the newer versions but will not cast on automatically like the newer models do.  I can e-wrap just fine.  So I'm happy about that.

After a couple of mishaps (the main one not getting the carriage seated properly on the bed and it made a terrible clanking sound) I had some success.  The first thing I made was a baby hat.  Not so many stitches and rows, so it went faster than some other projects I hoped to make.  I shoulda/coulda wiped out the partial stars on the seam edges, but just wanted to see if it would chug along correctly.  No dropped stitches, feeling pretty good about things.  This baby hat wouldn't be warm enough in a Minnesota winter, but under the hood of a snowsuit would be ok. 
The rib looks ok (better than the picture shows) but I coulda/shoulda done that part with the ribber in 1/10 the time.  (Next time.)  The pattern is large snowflakes from a Brother G carriage book.

So- gaining some confidence, I programmed in another Brother G carriage pattern (073) adding 2 x 2 staggered edgings so it wouldn't roll.  I love this design.  My friend Sandy I. has made gorgeous baby blankets with it.  I made it long--- the length is the width worn--- and have worn it doubled since it wouldn't be super warm with a single layer using this particular yarn.  Since this cowl is 127 stitches and 372 rows it took maybe 16 hours to knit! I kitchenered the first row to the last but that's all I had to do other than hiding 2 yarn tails.   Here's a screen shot of the DAK pattern:

And a picture of the cowl folded double:

I have read that one shouldn't steam garter carriage stuff, so I didn't.  The picture doesn't show the texture as nice as it is in person,  Nice! I like it.

I have some  wool that would be warm enough with a single layer, so I changed the middle pattern to half.  Same Brother pattern.  Haven't knit it yet, but it's on my to-do list.  This is a screen shot of that pattern:

Being 68 stitches it will go a little faster.

Here's the original 24 st punch card pattern from Brother that I manipulated in DAK.

 If you have DAK and would like any of these patterns emailed to you, write to me and I'll send. 

It's getting cold here already so the extra winter wear is welcome.

Friday, November 8, 2019

How to knit mk hats---- lightening fast

I posted this on Ravelry in the machine knitting group, but some people may not belong.  So I thought I'd repeat my post here hoping it will help someone. I should give credit to my friend, Bruce, who taught me this trick.
Some people have asked how I can make hats “in minutes” on my knitting machine. Here’s how.
  1. For my charity hats, I used a midgauge which requires less stitches and rows than a standard. Sometimes I had to double the yarn. A bulky would even be faster.
  1. The trick: Buy a metal rod that is the length of the width of your knitting machine. (Very cheap at hardware store.) Should be substantial in weight.
-Pull out every other needle for the width of the hat and knit one row main yarn. (no waste yarn)
- Hang your cast on comb BACKWARDS making sure each loop gets a tooth of the cast on comb.
-Pull out the rest of the needles so they will knit.
-Knit 2 times the length of the hem.
-Bring out every other needle all the way.
- Hang onto the cast on comb with your left hand pulling down slightly
-place the metal rod mid way, horizontally.
-Pull up the cast on comb up over the rod, hang loops so that each needle that is all the way out gets a loop. Takes some practice at first. Remove cast comb by tilting it so that the stitches land properly. If you miss some, use a single transfer tool to hang them.
-The rod is still in the hem and acts as an even weight throughout. Set the cast on comb aside.
-Knit the height of the hat and transfer every other stitch to its neighbor. Push out of work needles to out of work position so they do not knit but you don’t have to move the stitches inward.
-knit one row and take stitches off (I try to plan so the last row goes left to right because I am right handed) with a double eyed needle and enough of a yarn tail to sew the seam. Remove metal rod. It will start to fall down anyway. The stitches at the top cinch in just fine, especially if you are going to attach a pom pom which hides the opening. Seam the side.
The inside of the hem is not especially beautiful, but show me a kid who cares.
7 minutes knitting time! (Works with any machine) Sorry I don’t have pictures or a video. Hopefully my words are clear enough. Write to me if questions.  PS  I used the free pattern on my blog here and pictured below.