Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Cupcake Hat Was A Hit

Here's my 6 year old little friend wearing the hat I made on day 18 of my "25 Days of Diana".  I mailed it to Portland, OR for Christmas.  Her mother said that she put on her hat and coat the next day and was standing by the door ready to run errands.  Normally, she needs prompting to get ready to go.  Hey anything I can do to make a mother's job a tad easier I'm willing to do.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Day 25 "25 Days of Diana"

Machine knitting for 25 days has really been great for me in I became more comfortable with my machine.  I gained a lot of confidence.  I'm more familar where the yarn is and where the needles are when I'm in a pattern.  In the past if I lost my concentration for any reason I would wonder where I was in the pattern.  Now I know.

Today's pattern is Diana's Bulky Lined Slipper.  I've had to stop in  mid pattern for phone calls and such.  First time I got back I thought "OH NO did I put the needle out or not."  I calmed down and said let's think about this.  Yarn is wrapped around this needle so yes indeed needle is out and I'm ready to knit a row.

I'm not saying I don't have more to learn, but I like Diana's idea about doing a little knitting everyday.  If not every day don't let too many days go by without doing something on your knitting machine.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Day 24 "25 Days of Diana"

Well, finally a break in the chain.  I spent 6 1/2 hours driving in the snow to get the girls up to the skiing trip.  Unfortunately, I didn't have the energy to machine knit.  Didn't have time before we left, because they were packing.  When I arrived home at 8:30 pm I just wanted a quick dinner and then some quiet time.

I may extend my 25 days by a day.  Tomorrow I'm not going any where.  We'll see as Christmas fast approaches.

Isn't it gorgeous!

Day 23 "25 Days of Diana"

Well, my daughter got out of school for winter break and all my time got sucked up into Christmas festivities.

One fortunately involved machine knitting.  My daughter and her best friend were invited to go on a skiing trip.  First thing *Neighbor said to my daughter was, "We should make matching hats!!"  Then she turns to me, "Neighbor, can we make matching hats?"  I said sure lets go get some yarn.  I love that they think they can knit at a moments notice.  In this day and age of computers and cell phones I really enjoy getting them into something like machine knitting.

They decided to make the hats match, but have their own unique stripe.  Again we learned threading up the machine, weaving cast-on, hanging a hem, taking knitted fabric off on a double eyed needle, and mattress stitch.

After all was said and done they had 2 hats that they truly loved.  2 hats they had made themselves.

I made them smile sweetly for this picture.

Originally, they were smiling like this.

*Affectionate nickname that my daughter and her friend call each other and all of us seeing as we are neighbors.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Day 22 "25 Days of Diana"

I'm still working on circular knitting and trying to make a Puff Daddy.  First one shrunk up and doesn't fit around an adult neck.  Not sure one would want to put it around a child's neck.  Because I don't have a written pattern for the machine I'm having to experiment.  After it's knitted there is some shrinkage.  Something I'm learning to account for.  I'm going to get one an adult can wear if it kills me.  Without Diana's videos I wouldn't have the confidence to doodle around.  Normally, I find a pattern and I follow it to a tee.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Day 21 "25 Days of Diana"

I feel like I've learned so much in the past 20 days.  Forcing myself to take some time every day to knit has been so much fun.

Today's project was all about teaching the next generation.  My daughter has been doing some machine knitting, but not a lot.  I help her a lot and today I when she asked to make a hat for her Secret Santa person I thought she's going to do it herself.

We started out watching Diana's threading the machine video.  We moved on to watch the Open Cast on video and Diana's cast-on.  I thought it would be good for her to see that she's not just doing what Mom says, but what other's say on how to operate a knitting machine.

My daughter wanted to make a reversible hat.  I made one a while back and it was really nice.  This pattern is from Knittsings website.

 She did a great job making this hat.  Only had a couple "Mom I don't know what happened here" moments that were easily fixed.  She came out with a hat to be proud to give as a gift.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Day 20 "25 Days of Diana"

The project I'm working on stemmed from my learning how to circular knit with Diana's video.  The videos I've found have given me the confidence to try new things.  Since Diana knits with a Brother machine I sometimes need to consult my Studio and Toyota manuals to figure out which levers need to be moved on my machines.  To do circular knitting on my Toyota KS 650 and ribber I needed to also us my P-carriage.  It's this little plastic thingie that's been hanging around and I finally got to use it.

It was used on my ribber to move my ribber needles to C position before I moved the carriage to the right.  This note was an asterisk in my instructions.  I wondered why something so important was a foot note.  It made all the difference in the world to circular knitting on my machine.

I wanted to circular knit so I could make a hand knit project on my knitting machine.  The project is call a Puff Daddy.  Someone wore one to our December machine knitting meeting.  I just thought it was adorable.  She said it was super easy 16 needles in the round and then 8 needles of i-cord.  Graft the i-cord to the scarf and add a pom pom.

She was SO adorable in this scarf.
Here is my attempt.  Why I picked a really nice yarn to make my first one I don't know.  I don't usually do that, but the excitement got the better of me.

 Here it is in it's rough state.  I took the edge off the ribber on scrap yarn.  I then knitted the remaining 8 stitches in i-cord.  I then took the i-cord off the needles with scrap yarn.  Next step is to kitchener it together and make a pom pom.

 I-cord portion of the Puff Daddy.

The reason why I wish I had used some junky yarn to make my first Puff Daddy (hand knit patter here.)  Loops!  I only have 2 thank goodness, but why o why do I get them.  Is this my curse?  Or do any of you other machine knitters have this problem?  Usually I see the loop and unknit a few rows to fix it.  This was behind the ribber and I didn't see it until it hung out the bottom.  Do I need to keep a small mirror next to my machine and periodically look at the work behind the ribber.  Sometimes the surprise is not a good one when it reveals itself from the bottom of the ribber.

I'm off to Kitchener and make a pom pom.

Day 19 "25 Days of Diana"

Today's lesson is circular knitting.  Very confusing for me.  I watched Diana's video on circular knitting.  She uses a Brother machine.  Combining what I learned from Diana and using the manual to my Toyota KS 650 bulky machine I began experimenting with circular knitting.  What I found out was my Toyota manual wasn't that helpful.  I couldn't get circular knitting or tubular knitting as they call it in the book to work.  The knitting would make kind of an i- cord and then fall off the ribber needles.  So aggravating.

After consulting with my machine knitting friend Julia she said she'd take a look at her Studio manual when she got home and call me back.   Since I've found Toyotas and Studios to be very similar in the way they work.  Then I thought ...duh... I have a Studio and it's manual.  I followed the circular knitting instructions in the Studio manual and it was a bit different than the Toyota manual.  I got the Toyota to do circular knitting with the Studio instructions!  Well, sort of.  The Studio manual said to push the end 2 needles into D position for each row. 
What I got was a pocket, but not a tube.  The end 2 needles do stockinette and seal the sides up.  Then I forgot to push the end needles on the ribber up on one row and all the stitches fell off the needles on the ribber.  Time to go to bed and try again tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Day 18 "25 Days of Diana"

Today I finished my Fisherman's rib scarf.  Using Diana's Warm Ribbed Scarf Video.  Again I just love the pattern and the yarn.  The 2 make the the perfect pair.  The yarn is Angel Hair Stripes by Sensation at Joann's.
I love this scarf so much it's going to be hard to part with it.  I see it as a gift.  Now who?  hmmmm.

I did one small change from Diana's video in that I used 12 needles instead of 15.  I think I'd like to reduce the width a tad more.  I'm going to play with this pattern a bit more.

I also made last night the most adorable hat.  The pattern isn't Diana's but her ribber lesson videos have given me the confidence to try new things.  I used Diana's Circular Cast-on video for this pattern.  I made Arlene's Bulky Baby Cupcake Hat.  I can't believe how cute this hat is.  I'm going to make more of these too. 

It is definitely a little kid's size, but a big thank you to my son for modeling it for me.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Day 17 "25 Days of Diana"

Well, I'm hooked on Diana's Warm Ribbed Scarf video.  I'm madly in love with the look of the Fisherman's Rib and the yarn I'm using.  It is so rich and luscious and I'm not exaggerating.  I must have said I was in love with the Fisherman's Rib swatch I did enough that my son asked jokingly, "Really mom how much in love with it are you?"  I said, "Why yes I'd marry it if I wasn't already married.  That's how much I love it."  We had a good laugh.

So, as you know from Day 16 I started a Fisherman's Rib scarf.  I made this one starting on needle 12 on the ribber on the left and needle 12 starting on the right with the knitting machine.  I felt like I would want a scarf to be a tad thinner.  Maybe if I lived in Minnesota I'd need the full thickness, but I'm in California and it was 70 degrees on Friday.  I just want to wrap a gorgeous scarf around my neck for show.

(See stitch marker to the left above cast on comb)

Also on Day 16 I had some dropped stitches.  I put a stitch marker on that spot and waited for it to drop below the ribber so I could get a good look.  After spending 4 hours knitting with teenagers I finally got some time to work on my scarf again.  What I found was I did a great job getting the scarf back on track... or... err... needles.  Once I take the marker off even I won't know where the mishap was.  I knitted until I had to add another skein.  I got it started and then figured with my coughing and hacking I better get to bed at a decent hour.

I can see myself making 3 or 4 of these before Christmas.  I hope I don't bore you to tears.

Evil Plan Times 5

I got a text message on Friday asking if the CCP (Caring for Cancer Patients) group could meet and make more hats.  I said how about Sunday.  So, today at 1:30pm 5 members came.  I was delighted to see some young men too.  I had full confidence that once they saw the knitting machines they'd want to try them out and they did.  It wasn't so much the knitting part, but that a machine was doing the knitting.

Today's session wasn't quite as fruitful as the first meeting.  It wasn't the kid's fault.  I had brought out my most reliable standard gauge machine this time as my extra bulky is now hooked up to my ribber.  My friend Julia and I discussed at the last meeting that it would be easier for them to work on bulkies.  I didn't have the sponge bar finished on the donated machine that is a bulky.  I'm kicking myself for not getting it done in time.  So, we had one standard and one bulky with which to work.  I wasn't worried as this standard machine works great and people are amazed when I bring it to class how well it works.

My reliable standard machine gave us nothing, but trouble today.  Within the first half hour I had 3 bent needles and 2 bent gate pegs.  It was easy to get it all fixed up, but why was my most reliable machine causing such havoc.  When it got to knitting it dropped stitches, looped yarn and just generally made a mess.  I'm so hoping they didn't get discourage.  I finally said we're not going to use this machine as it obviously needed some private time with me to whip it back into shape.

The bulky was working great and 3 hats were made on it.  Working with teenagers is both a joy and aggravation.  I don't know how many times I told the guys to quit putting their hands on the needles when the carriage was moving.  It wasn't until I jokingly said, "Watch out that carriage might saw your fingers right off" that any concern was shown.  I guess because they do kind of make a sawing sound it seem possible.  They like to flip levers, tilt handles and I just use it as a teaching moment.  Like don't pull out the russell levers unless you're planning on doing short rowing.  I asked, "Are you making socks today?"  

The kids worked with making pom poms with the pom pom makers.  They wound yarn with my yarn winder.  There was plenty for them to do.

On top of it all the Yearbook photographer came out and took a few photos.  We all thought that was pretty exciting.  Me, because maybe machine knitting will show up in the yearbook!

Next time 2 bulky machines!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Day 16 "25 Days of Diana"

What a rigmarole!  I started my 2nd Fisherman's Rib scarf using Diana's video when some how I dropped a couple stitches on the ribber.  Moving the carriage out of the way I dropped a couple more.  My first thought... I'm going to have to unravel this whole thing.  My 2nd thought.... what would it hurt to try and pick up the stitches.  Well, I couldn't grab them.  Some had unraveled a bit.  Undeterred I continued on.  I began unraveling slowly myself to see if I could see the pattern and fix things.  Then I realized I could drop the ribber quite a bit to get a good look without disturbing things too much.  After unraveling about 6 rows I figured out the stitch pattern and got all stitches back to their rightful needles.  What this scarf is going to look like right there .... I don't know.  I'm putting a stitch marker in that spot.  When it drops below the ribber I'll be able to judge whether I'm unraveling the whole thing and starting over or continuing on.... tomorrow that is.   I'm putting my sicky self to bed.

Here's what I have so far...
I'm using Angel Hair Stripes by Sensation purchased at Joanns.

Day 15 "25 Days of Diana"

Well, I was having problems today in one way or another.  After successfully knitting Fisherman's rib on Thursday my knitting machine wouldn't work on Friday.  I couldn't for the life of me figure out why I would run the carriage across and it would get stuck with 4 needles sticking out.  It worked great the day before.  After much examining and slowing moving it across I decided to just do a cleaning.  Nothing much to clean, but I hadn't done it in a while.  I took a soft cloth put some oil on it and rub down the working parts of my machine and carriage.  Lots of black color came off.  I pulled a small fuzzy out here and there nothing too alarming.  Then I went to put the carriage back on and it slide across like nothing was every wrong.  Did I fix it?  Apparently so.  I don't know what I did, but something wasn't moving the needles back and now it was.

I've also been fighting a cold this week.  Well, denying I have a cold is more like it, but yesterday it really dawned on me that I was sick.  After "fixing" my machine for an hour or so I was feeling really tired and run down.  Dear Daughter said, "Mom why don't you go to bed early."  It was a little after nine and I thought that sounds like a great idea.

I feel like I didn't let my Diana challenge down as she suggests we all spend some time at our knitting machines every day.  Today ended up being a maintenance day.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Day 14 "25 Days of Diana"

I did it!  Fisherman's Rib using Diana's Warm Ribbed Scarf Video!  Last night I wasn't sure I did it.  I wasn't sure how to do it.  Today was the meeting of the Sacramento Machine Knitter's Guild and I talked to one of the more experienced ladies and she set me straight.  I knew from Diana's videos that Fisherman's Rib was Double English Rib.  I was pretty sure slip meant the carriage wasn't knitting.  I knew that the Russell levers could achieve this.  So, I had my terms correct as I asked questions on how to get a Toyota set up for Fisherman's Rib.

After confirming my suspicions I came home to give it another try.  I found out that Homespun or Red Heart's Light and Lofty are just too knobbly for my machine.  Just too much work and too much worry I'm doing the machine some harm.  I dug around in my stash looking for something thick, but not bumpy and I found one of my favorite yarns.  Sensations Angel Hair from Joanns.  Only problem I only had one skein.  I decided that learning Fisherman's Rib would be a great sacrifice for this beautiful yarn.

Once the project started peaking out below the ribber I knew immediately I had gotten it right.  This mini scarf is so thick and luscious I may have to go on the search for more of this yarn.  I don't even know if Joann sells it anymore.  A quick search of the Joanns web site and I found it on sale there.  May have to check out the store tomorrow for a quick fix.

Follow Diana's video instructions.  She has great tips like pull down on the yarn after each row, and put lots of weight on the yarn.  The lighting is not that great to get the true beauty of this project.  You'll just have to do it yourself.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Day 13 "25 Days of Diana"

The reason I got my bulky and ribber up and working yesterday was I wanted to try Diana's Warm Ribbed Scarf video.  It is supposed to be Fisherman's Rib.  I'm not exactly sure I understand what it is.  She said in her Fisherman's Rib ribber lesson that it is Double English rib.  My books do talk about English rib.  Diana is working on I believe a Brother knitting machine.  I have a Studio and a Toyota, which have different buttons and levers.  Most of the time with her explanations I can figure out how it applies to my machine.  Sometimes I even pull out the manuals to compare.  This lesson was a little above my head.  Or maybe I'm just foggy with what still feels like a cold coming on.

I was able to get the above done and it was looking really nice.  It turned into a swatch when I realized there was a problem.  My cast-on comb got hung up on the legs of my knitting machine and therefore the weight wasn't pulling down on the yarn like it should.  This obviously caused a stitch to drop.  I had reached under the ribber to see why my yarn was bunching up and realized the comb was caught.  I pulled it and the scarf down and could feel the run.  I probably caused the run not knowing a stitch had dropped.

Oh well, I learned a couple of things today.  Check to make sure your comb doesn't get hung up.  Cast-on comb is very sharp if you drop it and catch it in mid air.  (No blood, but sure felt like there should be some.)  Homespun is kind of persnickety, but worth the extra effort.

Day 12 "25 Days of Diana"

Today's project was to get my bulky machine and ribber working.  I just got them set up less than a month ago.  I bought a new sponge bar for the ribber.  Installed it and there it has sat.  I wiped the working parts of the ribber down with an oily rag.  Everything was moving great.

I did a practice cast on of 1X1 ribbing using Diana's circular cast-on video.  I did a swatch with great success.

Satisfied that the ribber was working I was thrilled with my swatch.  It amazes me that it's so wide on the machine and the ribbing pulls it together off the machine.  Like a little kid I can't help pulling it in and out and enjoying my new found skill.

I didn't do much more than that, because I felt a cold coming on and wanted to go to bed.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Fortune Cookies

On Friday DH, daughter and I went out to eat Chinese at our favorite restaurant Silver Dragon.  At the end of the meal I opened my fortune cookie and it read "You will receive a gift given freely and gladly."  I thought what a great time for this fortune to come as the next day I was going to a sort of Machine Knitting yard sale at my guild.

I had sort of forgotten about my fortune as the sale went on.  I really didn't see much I wanted to buy as I'm saving my pennies for Christmas gifts.  I bought a $1 cone of some beautiful acrylic yarn.  I bought a linker for $5 for a friend in the Sacramento Machine Knitting Guild.  He had mentioned he wanted a linker at the last meeting.  I bought a couple MK magazines and a cone of beautiful forest green wool from Scotland.  All total I spent about $20.

Where I was sitting and there was a knitting machine that many people were looking at.  It was kind of pitiful.  No tools, no row counter, missing it's cast on comb.  Many of the experienced machine knitters were brought over to consult on whether it would be a good starter machine.  It was getting high praise from everyone.  Still it just sat there.  The sale was pretty much over when the owner of the machine and other things on the table asked if anyone wanted the box on the table.  No one spoke up and she looked at me.  I thought she meant the knitting machine, but she was referring to the knit leader.  She said I don't know if it works, but you're welcome to have it.  I said OK.  Then she pointed to the knit leader.  I thought well it will be interesting to see what this thing is and if it works.

When I went to retrieve the knit leader she then asked what I would do with it.  I told her that I am working with a teenage group at my daughter's school called Caring for Cancer Patients.  That I was teaching these teenagers how to machine knit to make hats for donation to their charities.  Then she said, "Here take the knitting machine too.  Are you really going to use it for charity?"  I told her that I already have pictures on my blog of the teenagers making hats using my machines.  That I thought it would be nice to get a machine for the group to clean and refurbish.  So, they can learn how to take care of a knitting machine and have a machine of their own.

She was happy to donate the machine and not to have to cart it back home.  I was very excited for the group.  Then it occurred to me that my fortune cookie prediction had come true.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Day 11 "25 Days of Diana"

Today I wanted to finish my sock, but that was not to be.  There were so many mistakes in my sock that once I got just passed the half way mark I thought I really need to redo this sock.  I really want to wear this sock; therefore it really needs to look like a sock.  Not some sad excuse for a sock.

What was encouraging as I took it off the machine resigned to the fact that I had to redo it is that it did definitely look like a real sock.  Well, the beginnings of one.  I think someone who didn't knit wouldn't notice the mistakes.  To me they were blaring.

I decided to try on my half of sock and see if it was any where near the size I needed.  To my great surprise it fit great!  I was very excited, because it fit AND it looked like a sock!  Well, half a sock.  I am encouraged to try this again tomorrow.  Tonight I'll rewind the yarn into a neat ball again and be ready for tomorrow.

Day 10 "25 Days of Diana"

Today I returned home from Rough and Ready, CA.  That's where my folks live.  We celebrated mama's birthday this weekend.  I still had time to do a little machine knitting.

I started with Diana's Single Bed Sew-As-You-Go Sock.  I thought I needed to know how to do 2X2 ribbing, but a mock rib is used here.  I found out that one can not be distracted while making this projected.  Well that's probably true with most projects. LOL  The video is great.  Twinkle fingers here was having some problems.  I'd end up with an extra needle obviously I forgot to push one into work or out of work.  Then for some unknown reason my whole toe dropped off the needles in one swipe of the carriage.  After rehanging it, reknitting stitches manually I'd had enough knitting for the day.

Day 9 "25 Days of Diana"

Saturday, December 9th was the Machine Knitting Guild of the San Francisco Bay Area's monthly meeting.  It's about an hour and half away from my house, but well worth the journey once a month.  There were 4 of us all together that carpooled.

Today's meeting was a fashion show of machine knit fashions, a catered luncheon and show and tell.  For the first time since I started machine knitting I really felt like I could do these items that were being shown in the fashion show.  Having a ribber has really opened up a whole new world of knitting options.  Though I don't use it for everything probably only half of what I've been doing lately.  I have it and it's not a worry.  I didn't realize how much I worried about not having a ribber up and working.

What was I worried about?  I guess not being a complete machine knitter.  Not that I'm any where near being one, but the possibilities are there now.

Today's Diana project was merely just showing off my Tam done with Diana's video.  It was a big hit.  Once again I was giving out the location of Diana's blog.  I tell them to google "Diana natters on" and they'll go right to it.  Honestly, I should print out some business cards with her name and address on them.  Every meeting I'm asked where I got the patterns I use and most of the time they are Diana's.  I'm only too happy to report to them about this great resource.

Day 8 "25 Days of Diana"

Today I worked on making 2X2 ribbing using Diana's video and the book that came with my machine.

I did some very nice swatches.  Making sure all the buttons and levers are pushed in the correct directions can be a challenge.  I kept trying to get my zig zag row and it wasn't happening.  So, again I'd go over the chart.  It seemed as careful as I thought I was something would be out of place.  Finally, I swiped the carriage and a beautiful zig zig row was formed.

Something I that had been ingrained in my brain from watching Diana's ribber videos was to make sure the needles didn't collide.  I was very proud of myself when I knew to turn my ribber from P to H without any prompting.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Day 7 "25 Days of Diana"

Day 7 was spent with me working on my kitchener stitch.  I used Diana's video specifically about the kitchener stitch.  I also found a little more helpful in that I could see what was going on a little better the Short Rowed Hat video.  At the end of the 2nd video she shows you how to kitchener stitch again.  We all need to find ways that help us learn and I don't know maybe it was the video angle, but it just made more sense to me.

So, I'm stitching up the baby hat and I'm stitching up a pair of slippers I made last December.  Yes, I did say last December.  The first one didn't fit me after I sewed it up.  The 2nd one was a great example displayed with the completed slipper of what the slipper looked like right off the machine.  I just never got around to sewing up the 2nd slipper.  I found out they'll fit my sister-in-law.  Since we don't exchange gifts guess what she'll find in her stocking.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Day 6 "25 Days of Diana"

Today I decided to make Diana's adorable Short-Rowed Baby Hat.  Mine came out equally adorable.  It's really good practice for short rowing.  I'll need that talent for my sock DVD when it shows up.  :)

The 10 wedges were easy to do.  Things I had problems with were my yarn mast and making sure the weights got moved.  My yarn mast I think is having tensioning problems on the left side.  It kept tightening up the yarn, getting tangled and generally making me say "What the f*#@" toward the end of the 10 wedges.  Every time I looked up it found a new way to get tangled and intertwined upon itself.  I made it through though and the adorableness of the way the yarn patterned made me very happy.
After I hung the hat to start the hat band I threaded the yarn through the right side of the mast.  No problems with tensioning there.  I'll definitely be looking into what's going on with the left side.

I don't have a lace carriage for my Studio 700.  I don't even know if it comes with one.  Something to look into.  I did my picot edge the old fashion way with a transfer tool.  Moving every other stitch to the needle beside it.  The picot edging is so simple and yet looks so nice.
I was so excited to finish this hat tonight seeing how cute it was turning out. I started around 8pm and finished around 11pm. I'm hoping to do it quite a bit faster when I'm not fighting my yarn mast.

Day 5 "25 Days of Diana"

Well, day five took a completely different turn on my challenge.  I was all set up and ready to do the online videos of Diana sock videos using the ribber.  The day before I watched every video she had regarding the ribber.  I listened to the lessons and the projects.  A bit of over kill since it took hours.  I thoroughly enjoyed it though.

When day 5 hit I clicked on the video and didn't realize that it's a basic sock making video.  One needs to know how many needles to cast on.  I didn't realize that it was a basic lesson since I watched so many videos I guess they all blended together.  Also I didn't realize that I was so burned out on videos that after replaying video one 3 times I had no desire to play the other 2.  I wanted to know how many needles I needed to cast on.

This is when I remembered that earlier in the year I had bought her Sock DVD.  I was trying to get my ribber up and working at the time.  It took me about 9 months of asking around to find someone who could get it adjusted properly.  I lost sight of the fact that I had the Sock DVD. 

Day 5 of my "25 Days of Diana" turned into organize your craft room and find the sock DVD.  I found Diana's Garter Bar DVD and her Entrelac DVD, but I can't find the Sock DVD the very one I need.  Diana is so helpful I may email her and ask her how many needles until the Sock DVD shows up.

I highly recommend the purchase of her DVDs.  She does a really good job explaining and showing how to do the techniques.  I'm waiting on her "How to Organize a Craftroom" DVD.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Day 4 "25 Days of Diana"

Today I decided to take the time and watch Diana's Ribber Course.  They are fascinating.  I am anxious to start practicing and making my swatches.  What I enjoyed is the fact that since I've been practicing the circular cast-on with my machine none of the videos seemed like a foreign language.

Watching all these videos is quite an endeavor all it's own.  Diana has generously made 25 lessons.  They are all approximately 10 minutes long.  That is about 4 hours of lessons.  She offers these all for free.  We are truly blessed to have someone as experienced as Diana to take the time and make us these videos.

The Ribber Course covers several different cast-ons.  There are many different ribbing options and quite a few different cast-offs.  Toward the end of the series she does a few specialty techniques.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Day 3 "25 Days of Diana"

I just got through untangling the biggest rat's nest from my ribber and knitting machine.  OH MY GOSH!  I couldn't even move my carriage off the needles.  After using my tools and removing the yarn from the needles was I able to move the needles enough to get the carriage off the machine and really work on untangling the yarn.  Whew.

I finished the hat part of the Tam and everything went smoothly.  First hat was definitely good practice.  The hat band is another story.  Going to begin band number 3.  I think it's a whole tension thing.  The zero tension is too tight for this yarn.

OK this yarn is just a pain in the butt on the standard.  Even  tension 6 was tight.  I don't know what this band is going to look like.  One thing about the ribber is your knitting is a surprise.  I knitted 16 rows and just hoped and prayed it was doing OK.  Without a ribber I can catch mistakes early and fix them.  My ribbed band may be a big mess, but I won't know for a while yet.

Which brings me to the double eyed needle.  I just LOVE it.  A couple came with my machine, but I didn't use it.  Since setting up the ribber I decided to get it out.  Wow it sure makes life easy.
Another thing I did today was provided a Orthodontic treatments to my machine weights.  When I got them their teeth were bent.  Some weights more than others.  I always have trouble getting them to hook on.  Well used my one eye transfer knitting tool probably not smart as I was a little afraid I'd break it, but it worked great straightening the teeth on my weights.  What really amazed me was how much easier the weights hooked on to my knitting.  I can't believe I let myself suffer for so long knowing the teeth were crooked.

Well, once the ribber came down the band was not so good.  Mainly, because of my choice of yarn.  I picked a cotton yarn that matched the Tam I made.  I ran out of yarn at the end of the 6th wedge.  The cotton yarn made a very stiff scratchy band.  Not something one wants on their head.

I'm done knitting today.  Very successful though.  I got another Tam done easily. I straighten the snaggle teeth of my weights.  And I caught up on my Glee episodes on

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Day 2 "25 Days of Diana"

In keeping with my new rule that I don't have to complete a Diana project every day.  I just need to work on a Diana project every day I started another Tam.  When DH came back to my craft room and asked if I wanted to watch a movie with him I didn't grit my teeth and say, "No!  I have to finish this hat!"... like I did last night.

Today is nothing fancy.  I'm making another Tam, but I've loosened up the tension.  My first hat the Tam seemed a bit on the small size.  The knitted fabric was so tight I could barely get a weight hung on it.  This time the weights push on nicely.  My daughter and I thought it should have a bit more slouch to it.

I told her she could do better, because this picture looked like an Irish mug shot.

That made her smile.

Pictures tomorrow of the looser tension Tam.

Day One of My "25 Days of Diana"

I have to admit I wasn't really ready to start today. I was out at a Black Friday sale Thursday night at midnight, but was home by 1am WITH my item. Yahoo! I also woke up with a headache stemming from my finicky neck. Did a little too much something on Thanksgiving.

Anyhow that's what having a challenge is all about. One feels compelled to move forward and complete their challenge. I do anyhow. I have been thinking about Diana's Machine Knit Tam since I first saw her video. I didn't know how to do ribbing at the time. I do now. So, that's the first thing I wanted to make.

(First wedge done.  See middle weight not in good place.  Need to keep it high.)
I must clarify any problems I had with working with Diana's video is due to my own dorky machine knitting skills and working with my own machine.  Diana's video is great and teaches well.  I'm just kind of a clutsy machine knitter.  I seem to get my yarn wrapped around the gate pegs in one giant loop on a regular basis.  It is my own doing not Diana's. 

I started the video and I had 2 problems. One is the end stitch the one put back into work each time I don't believe knits every time. It doesn't skip often maybe 2 or 3 times a triangle, but it's something I'm keeping an eye on. I'm not sure if I forget to put the needle into work. Don't think that is it. OR I've notice that needle gets pulled forward and maybe the stitch isn't knitting properly. SO I'm making sure that it is pulled back even with the other needles. We'll see if that solves my problem.

(Such a pretty color.  Wishing now I had practiced on something else.)
My 2nd problem is I'm not moving my middle weight up often enough. If I don't the middle section of my triangle won't knit. First time I noticed it I had 2 rows to fix. I've had to fix it 2 more time, but only one row. I can hear my carriage sounding different when it happens. That draws my attention to where the weight is. Then my attention goes up to the needles and sure enough about 10-20 needles are not knitted. It's a pretty easy fix. Also easy to avoid if one keeps their weights moving up!

With the 2 above observations and corrections it did solve my problems.

My next challenge was doing 199 needles of ribbing.  I've never used my full bed on any machine for any reason.  I was a bit nervous, but dove right in.  What I found out is my bad habit of stealing needles off the ends of my machines finally came back to bite me in the butt.  I was short 3 needles.  I do have replacements just had to quit being lazy, get them out and install them.  Done.

The tension for the ribbing was really tight.  Very hard to push across.  Next one I'll loosen that up.  I forced it across and somehow my ribbing turned out fine.  Next learning curve was attaching the hat to the band.  Turned out I had more stitches on my hat than my band.  I discovered it when I got to the middle and wedge three was going to overlap it by quite a bit.  So, I decided from this point on I'd hang the beginning and end of each wedge on 1/6th of the needles.  This worked out well.  I had to hang 2 stitches on one needle here and there.

Next I needed a refresher on the Kitchener Stitch.  Time for the Beginner Lessons Diana has made.  I watched Diana's video and a few others to stitch up the side seam.  It's not perfect, but I have to say it looks a lot better than I thought it would.  I do still need a lot of practice.

(My daughter always a good sport about modeling my creations.)

It took me 5 hours, but I completed the Tam and it is being blocked on a plate as I type.  What I decided on my "25 Days of Diana" challenge is I don't have to complete a project every day.  This project had many lessons in it that would probably do well to spread over a day or two.

Tam was blocked over a dinner plate.  Worked out quite well.