Saturday, December 17, 2011

Day 15 of Completion Challenge

My hands are gray and my face is smudged and still no worky.  What I have been doing the last couple days is trying to figure out why my Toyota KS 650 bulky machine and Toyota KR 350 will not do ribbing.  I've done a lot of ribbing on this machine.  It's always worked great.  Suddenly, it just won't work.  I can do stockinette, but I have a hat that needs ribbing.  I hate mock rib.  That's not an option for me.

This problem has gotten me really worked up and after much thought I figured it's in combination with the holidays.  Just too much on my plate.  So, I decided that I need to suspend my challenge until after the holidays.  I feel like I can do no more in regards to getting this machine up and going at this time.  It needs to simmer and I need to talk to a few expert machine knitters.

This is what I have done...

I've rechecked my ribber and carriage setting time and time again.
I've checked the needles for bent needles.
I've checked the carriage for non-working parts.
I've wiped the whole knitting machine down with oil.
I've defuzzed it.
I've wiped the machine and yarn down with a dryer sheet.
I've printed out and checked the ribber bed adjustments.

I'm feeling burned out.  So, I'm going to focus on more fun things.  My upcoming ski trip.  Christmas with my family.  Christmas with DH's family and New Years.  I've wrapping to do.  I've got crochet projects to finish.  Never without anything to do around here.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Day 14 of Completion Challenge

Getting behind on my posting of what I'm doing.  On this particular day I bought fabric for the lining of one of my machine knitted bags.  I needed to bring the bag with me to Hobby Lobby and find a fabric that would match.  During the summer I had purchased a fat quarter that I thought for sure would match and it looked terrible next to the bag.  One doesn't want to spend a lot of time making a beautiful bag only to have the lining make you not want to use it.

Day 13 of Completion Challenge

I wanted to finish the stocking challenge from my guild meeting.  I had made a pitiful stocking at the meeting, but I knew I could do better in the quiet of my home.  I don't do things well when people are talking to me.  I tend to lose my train of thought or place in a pattern in that case.  So, in the quiet of my craftroom I attempted the stocking again.  This is when I encountered trouble with doing 1X1 ribbing.  The carriage just wouldn't do it properly.  While trouble shooting I hand knitted from the left and machine knitted from the right.  I needed 12 rows, but after 6 I really wanted to move on and see if the carriage would knit stockinette in my effort to trouble shoot the problem.  Of course it knitted stockinette just fine.  Decided to finish stocking and further trouble shoot when I got it off my needles.

Here's my beautiful stocking knitted on my bulky.  Came out just the size I wanted!

Again in the quiet of my craftroom I kitchenered the toe from the purl side as I like to do and it turned out perfect.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Day 12 of Completion Challenge

I began my day finishing my donkey, pictures to come, and I'll be ending my day trouble shooting my Toyota KS 650 Bulky machine.  Thought I'd get a quick stocking done today only to find out my machine isn't working properly.  I needed 12 rows of 1X1 ribbing.  I would do the zigzag row, hang cast on comb and weights, do the slip row, and then back to stockinette and coming from the left it would stop knitting in the first 10 needles with a "conk."  Nothing would move.  I followed my manual to a T.

First thing I check am I pushing all the right buttons and levers to do 1X1 ribbing according to my manual.  Yes.  How do my needles look?  Any bent?  How are the latches?  Are they doing what they're supposed to do?  I took off both the ribber carriage and knitting carriage wiped them down and oiled them.  Everything is moving as far as I can see.  I ran the ribber carriage back and forth and things were moving fine.  Moved carriage back and started forth "CONK!"  My carriage won't move to the left.

I'm very fortunate to have a 2nd Toyota KS 650 carriage.  My next test will be to run it across and see what happens.  So, today's completion challenge is to complete my trouble shooting and get my bulky up and running.  I need at least one more hat before Christmas.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Day 11 of Completion Challenge

Find my donkey pieces!  While at my Machine Knitters Guild of the San Francisco Bay Area meeting I recalled I had the above mentioned project that I've really wanted to finish for a long time.  I've located my donkey and have been stitching up seams.  Redid a seam that I can't for the life of me figure out why I stitched it so badly years ago.  Then I had to figure out how to make my strip of machine knitting look like a donkey ear.  The instructions were great on telling one how to knit every thing.  As for putting it together it was basically... "Now put it together."  Not much help.  Most pieces are pretty self explanatory, but the ears I just couldn't envision them.  I finally think I hit on how they should be stitched.  I took the 2 toned strip of knitting.  Gather each end, folded them in half width wise and mattress stitched the side seams.  At least they are looking like ears.

These donkeys look nothing like mine, but this was the article that made me want to knit a donkey.  It pointed to a machine knitting pattern in "Machine Knitting Monthly" (pattern on page 48 of the August 2008 magazine (Issue 127)).  I had contacted them in 2010 about getting a back copy, but it took them a long time to get back to me.  By the time they had I had found out that my machine knitting buddy had this issue.  She graciously loaned me her copy.

Why would I want to knit a donkey in the first place you ask?  I have been driving by the cutest miniature fuzzy donkeys 5 days a week for almost 7 years.  They are SO CUTE!  I just want to pinch their little cheeks and chuck them under the chin.  I have a feeling the donkeys AND their owner wouldn't appreciate it that's when I thought I'd make my own.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Day 10 of Completion Challenge

Today's challenge finishing the Christmas stocking I started at the guild meeting.  I needed to kitchener the toe and sew up the side seam.  I made this on my standard gauge so lots of light and a magnifying glass was needed for me to kitchener the toe.  Then after all is said and done I did it backwards.  Oh well.  It is a scruffy little stocking and meant it to be a practice one anyways.  It may find it's way to Christmas day one way or another.  More importantly it is finished and not languishing at the bottom of my knitting bag!

Sacramento Machine Knitters Guild Meeting 12/11

Great meeting today.  Very busy meeting today.  We had 4 new knitter's come to the meeting.  3 of them brought knitting machines.  There was Sabrina and her mom Nellie.  Each had a machine that Becky helped answer questions for, because she's more acquainted with Brother machines.  There was Michelle who brought in a Studio machine she inherited from her Grandma.  Julia answered her questions since she's more familiar with Studio machines.  Then there was another gal and her name escapes me.  She and her itty bitty very patient daughter watched the goings on.  She just bought a machine and is waiting for it to come.  I hope to see everyone again in the new year.

Our knitting theme was big surprise Christmas knitting.  Marilynn brought in a pattern for mini ornaments.  She knitted a mini stocking.  I was so busy knitting a stocking of my own I never took pictures of this full room.  Every table was covered with knitting machines.  7 knitting machines in all.

I completed my stocking on the machine and just had hand work to do.  Pictures will follow in my Completion Challenge post.  Big thank you to Becky for helping me to understand what (8-11-9) meant in regards to knitting a heel.

Day 9 of Completion Challenge

I've been wanting to make a beanie on my knitting machine for a long time.  That's what my daughter wants.  "Nothing fancy just a beanie."  I wanted to make a beanie with a fitted crown.  Not the typical gathered tops I have done.  They just don't look like beanies.  This is based on a hand knit pattern in the round.  I knew I couldn't do it in the round on the machine just yet, but I knew I could do it flat.  That's OK one of my strengths is the mattress stitch.  One can hardly tell there is a seam from the outside when I do it.
I found this beanie pattern on Ravelry it's called "Regular Guy Beanie."  The first example of it I found the gal had knitted it on her knitting machine.  No written conversion, but I decided it was time to quit thinking about it and just give it a go.

I looked up how to do 2X2 ribbing in my manual.  I read the written pattern for the hand knit version to figure out when to do decreases.  What I really liked about this hat was the spiral chains on the crown created by the decreases.

With my plan written on the back of a recycled envelop I dove in.  I am very pleased with how it turned out even though there were problems.  I also forgot to so some plain knitting rows, but it still fits quite nice.
Only thing I kind of don't like, but will keep to myself when my daughter wears it is the row of holes where the ribbing attaches to the stockinet.  I've been told to next time pick up the purl bump on the stitch next to it to avoid the hole.  There were 2 set ups for doing 2X2 ribbing in my manual I'll have to try the 2nd one and see if it makes a better transition.

**Written pattern for the machine (knitted circularly) can be found here.  If you want it on the mainbed only click the link above to the hand knitted pattern.**

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Day 8 of Completion Challenge

Wow I can't believe what a big baby I can be.  I fought the urge to put off finishing several parts of this project yesterday.  My attention span I've found can be quite short the minute I want to do something else.
First it was the visor to the cap, but fought through and finished it before I started the scarf.  Next I wanted to take the scarf off on waste yarn and do something else.  I found knitting the scarf until it was 60 inches long to be kind of boring.  Again I fought the urge to move on to something else.  I did this by just knitting a few rows and then taking a break to say do laundry, cook dinner, watch a TV program, play my poodle.  Before I knew it was 60 inches long.  I wanted to add some fringe and once off the knitting machine I wanted to move on again.  I answered this urge by picking up a ruler, scissors and the scarf.  Within a half hour I was completely done with this project.

What a great feeling to have a project done well ahead of Christmas and not up on Christmas Eve hunting for scissors and weaving ends in.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Day 7 of Completion Challenge

I jumped quite a hurdle regarding the making of the hat for my mom.  I had it all done except for the stabilizer for the brim and sewing the ends closed.  I thought "ahh I'll do it after I finish the scarf."  There I was putting off something, so I could do more knitting.  I then told myself no more knitting until the cap was completely finished.

So, I not only finished the hat this morning, but drew a pattern for my smaller brim.  I have been redrawing it each time.  Not a biggie, but saves time having the pattern ready.

With cap done I began the scarf tonight.  It's easy doing the wave pattern, but doing it until my scarf measures about 5 feet is going to take some time.  I got about a foot done tonight.  Will continue tomorrow.  If anyone is interested the scarf pattern is included with the Hollywood Swag Cap pattern.  Not my pattern, but when someone makes a great pattern I want to make sure everyone knows where to get one.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Day 6 of Completion Challenge

Working on completing my Christmas gift for my mother.  I'm making her a Hollywood Swag Cap.  You've seen me do several of these already starting with this one.  The link to the pattern can be found here.

I've done a couple things different things with this hat.  Rather than e-wrap to begin I did a few rows of waste yarn and then hung my hem for the hat band.  Was it easier?  No.  Did it look any better?  No.  In fact for some reason I had the most difficult time getting my weaving cast-on to work correctly tonight for the blasted waste yarn.  E-wrapping would have been easier.
First hat I made larger brim and no slouch
I added an extra row of the wave pattern before starting the decreases.  I wanted the hat to have a little slouch to it.  I really do like the extra room it gave.

Hat with extra row to add a bit of slouch

Again I shorten the brim on this one like I did my last one.  I like the shorter brim.  You can see pictures of my last hat and the shorter brim here.

I also decided that I wanted to do another cast-off other than the latch tool bind off.  I didn't like the look of the bulky edge under the brim.  Although once the hat is on I've found it's not a factor.  It's only bugs me when it's in my hand and I can see it.  I decided to use Diana's Lesson 12 Loop Through Loop Bind Off.  I really liked the simplicity of this bind off, but it didn't necessarily give me a smaller edge between brim and hat.  The thing it did do that is going to be inconvenient is both tails of yarn are on one side.  I need these tails to sew up the ends of the brim.  Not a biggie, but something to think about.

Finally, I need a lesson in short rowing and when to wrap a needle.  I'm ending up with some bulky loops and I'm afraid it's because I just don't know when a hole will be formed and when not.  I think I'll need to experiment.  That will be a good lesson for my completion challenge.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Day 5 of Completion Challenge

I am still kitchener stitching a little each day.  What I've found is I'm really good at it.  When I complete the seam the stitches look like the knitted ones.  I'm finding it is not as difficult as I made it out to be.  Diana Sullivan says to practice it, but I'm not one to make swatches and just stitch.  Having these UFOs is proving to be great practice for me.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Day 4 of Completion Challenge

I don't have any photos yet of what I'm doing.  I've been kitchener stitching.  Also referred to as grafting or weaving, joins two sets of live stitches.  A hand knitter would sometimes have live stitches on needles.  As a machine knitter my live stitches are mostly held together with waste yarn. 

I did a purse handle, a hat and a slipper.  Originally, I was going to get started on some purse linings, but that's when I saw I hadn't kitchenered the purse handle and thought I may as well do all the kitchenering I could find.  I'm sure there is more, but that's all I've found so far.

Digging into my boxes and bags of knitted items I'm finding some real treasures.  I'm not going to kick myself for putting things off.  For the next 25 days I get a free pass.  I'm looking forward to either using them or giving them as gifts.  The recipient doesn't need to know how long I've held on to it. :D

Here is a list of links to "how to kitchener stitch" I've been looking at.  I thought I really would have to reteach myself.  I found though that I remembered more than I thought.  In Diana's video she has a chant as she stitches.  I find that I do myself and it really helps.  "New stitch, old stitch, new stitch, old stitch."  It keeps me on track.

Techniques with Theresa
The Knit Witch
Diana's Lesson 22 Kitchener Stitch Seams

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Day 3 of Completion Challenge

The scarf challenge my guild had back in October gave me a headache.  Not literally, but figuratively.  It seemed a simple enough technique, but choosing the correct yarn and plenty of it played a huge roll in being successful.  Both of which I didn't do the first time around.  Using my standard gauge Studio MOD.700 I chose a yarn that was too thick (DK) and I didn't have nearly enough of it.  This pattern you may knit about 20 rows, but you pick it up one maybe two stitches at a time and rehang it.  So it's 20 steps forward and 18 back.  It takes a long time to get a scarf long enough worth wearing.  My first attempt with the thicker yarn was very stiff and after using 4 small skeins made a scarf long enough to go from one ear around the back of my neck to the other ear.  So, disappointing.

Since it was a challenge with my guild I didn't want to give up.  This time I chose a yarn on a cone and very thin.  It was a cone given to me for free.  I had no problem using it all up if I had too.  Off I went a knitting again.  It took me about 2 hours to finish a length that would be great to wear.

Here's where the non finishing began... now I have to steam it.  The edges on both sides were curled up into a big fat mess as far as I was concerned.

My fellow guild mate had done one and said just give it a light steam.  Ugh! is all I thought.  So, perfect project for this challenge.  I began steaming and it became clear lightly steaming was not going to do the trick.  I wanted to quit after a few minutes of fighting with it.  I needed to steam and iron the edges.

I began to see some progress and it was actually looking good.  It wasn't easy, but I got into a groove and had a system... a sort of pattern of steaming and ironing the edge and working it down my ironing board.  I kept fighting the urge to put it away for another day.  I knew that "another day" would never come.  It was now or never.

After about an hour of ironing and fussing with it I was quite pleased with how really beautiful it was.

I finally had good thoughts about this scarf.  Thoughts of "I might actually wear this."  Here's a quick photo of it hanging around my neck.  When it's daylight I'll snap a photo of it around my daughter's neck to get the true beauty of this scarf.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Day 2 of Completion Challenge

Hats!  I had done some more hats.  None had the ends woven in and one needed it's brim finished.  So, that's what I did last night.  The brown hat I made using Hobby Lobby's "I Love This Yarn" Stripes in the High Sierra Stripe color.  I love the color scheme.  Thought it might be a color I would like to wear.  What I don't like is the way this pattern works there are random splotches of color.  Well, I wouldn't mind that so much, but the green splotch in my head doesn't match and I don't like it.  It may grow on me or I may send it off to charity as it is a lovely hat.

Anyhow my problem in finishing the brown hat's brim was what to put in it.  When I made the blue hat I used plastic canvas and that was a bit of a problem.  It having jaggedy edges I needed to wrap it in paper to slide it in.  Then it worked great.  The pattern says to use stiff interfacing.  I just didn't see how this would be any good.  The interfacing just didn't seem stiff enough.  I decided to just go with the stiff interfacing as the pattern suggested and finish the hat.  The interfacing turned out GREAT!  The brim is plenty stiff enough and was easy to pull into the brim.  "Trust the pattern!"  Very seldom have a found a pattern that steers me wrong.  This is what I tell a friend of mine when we work together.  I need to take my own advice.

Another thing I did differently with the brown hat was I made the brim smaller.  Instead of knitting 10 rows before short rowing I knitted 6.  I REALLY like the smaller brim.  It's just enough smaller that it doesn't stick out so far from my forehead that I have that duck billed platypus feeling. :D

I've used several different yarns.  The blue Red Heart knitted a hat that fits perfectly.  The Hobby Lobby "I Love This Yarn" knitted a hat that is slightly smaller and a bit tight.  I used a Softee Pink yarn and it knitted a hat that is looser.  All using the same tension as the pattern asked for.

These 2 hats have no brim.  I did that on purpose to make a beanie with the beautiful wave pattern.

All hats are now finished and ready for a head.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Day 1 of Completion Challenge

I had knitted a Christmas wreath in October.  It has been hanging out on my dresser waiting to be finished.

First thing I did was sew the ends together.  Nothing fancy I just overlapped them and wove the needle up and down across the ends.  Knowing this part would mostly be covered with a bow I knew I didn't need to Kitchener it.

I had the wreath siting on my dresser braided for about a month.  What I noticed was the braiding had time to relax and not look so tightly pulled as my first one.  I liked the look of this better.

Also having hung around on my dresser the bow was misplaced.  So, I quickly knitted another.  I didn't know what length it should be so I knitted until I could tie a nice bow with a little hanging.  Then I cast off.  Steamed it flat and tied it up.  I really love the look of the tuck stitch for the bow.  I used punch card number 3 on my Studio MOD. 700 standard machine.

My next trial will be to find some way suitable to back this wreath.  I tried a wire wreath frame for the first one and it didn't work out too well.  This time I tried using a wooden embroidery hoop.  It was cheap and easy to find the right size.  What I don't like though is seeing the wooden hoop from the side.  I had it hanging in my entry way last night and I didn't like that the first thing I saw was the wooded hoop. 

So, I moved it to my kitchen where I don't see the hoop as much. 
 Just my darling little wreath.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Machine Knitting Slacker

That's what I feel like I have been the past month or so.  I haven't been getting projects done like I want too.  The usual reasons... too busy... too lazy... too many other things to do.  So, decided to challenge myself again this year like I did last year for 25 Days.  I've been thinking overnight with what exactly to challenge myself.  I decided my theme would be machine knitting project completion.  I won't necessarily have to machine knit every day for the next 25 days, but I have to do something that would promote the completion of a machine knitting project.  I'm big on getting things knitted.  Not necessarily as big on doing things like lining bags, kitchnering seams or actually giving the gift to the person the gift was intended for.  I'm going to spend the next 25 days getting machine knitting projects knitted, organized and completed.  It will be 25 Days of Completion!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Punch Pin Tuck Lap Blanket

Success!  I found the section in my ribber manual that talked about using the ribber punch card to make Punch Pin Tuck. So, I set up my machine and ribber according to the chart.  I found a thinner yarn to use and it worked great.  My only problem was a bunch of dropped stitches.

I was told to use lots of weight and to keep it consistently near the top edge to avoid any dropped stitches.  This was a pain in the rear since I had to reach under the ribber to do this.  I got my head on straight about the process when I thought how much time I was saving by keeping the stitches from dropping.

To get the size I wanted (20"X30") I used needles 50-0-50 at tension 2.  I knitted 300 rows.  I did this on my bulky machine.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Lap Blanket Turned Experimental Swatch

I want to make a couple lap blankets for charity. The preemie tuck blanket turned out so nice I thought I'd do something similar. I had another idea rolling around in my head. It was using a ribber punch card. I couldn't seem to wrap my brain around how a punch would work with the ribber and yet I have 5 for that very reason. There is no card reader on the ribber. 

I found the section in my ribber manual that talked about using the ribber punch card to make Punch Pin Tuck.  So, I set up my machine and ribber according to the chart.  I did the circular cast one fine.  Once I started knitting the Punch Pin Tuck the tension was way too tight according to the chart.  Tension of 1.  I moved it up to 3 then 5 then 7 then went straight to ten.  After 12 rows of knitting and having to hold my machine in place by spreading my knees out to put pressure on the knitting stand legs I knew there would be no blanket.  After 12 rows I felt like I had taken a 30 minute aerobics class.  

After all that work I didn't want it to go to waste.  I decided to fight through at least 12 more rows to make a swatch big enough to what kind of pattern I had going.  I wanted to know if it would be worth my while to try this again with a smaller yarn.

Needless to say it would be worth my while to try again.  The swatch is just gorgeous!  It's even a good size to make a headband.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Welcome Sacramento Area Machine Knitters

Just a reminder...

This blog entry is here to assist the Sacramento Area Machine Knitter's Guild in advertising their meetings on the Internet. I hope you will stop by one of our meetings and share your latest project with us!

Meet with local Machine Knitters. Chat and discuss the art of machine knitting. All machines brands users are welcome, from the Brother, Bond to the Electronic Passap.

Sacramento Machine Knitters Guild, meets on the 2nd & 4th Thursdays 10am-noon (we meet throughout the summer at our normal days and times if there is enough interest).

We meet at St. Andrews United Methodist Church, 6201 Spruce Avenue, Sacramento, CA (off I-80 at Greenback exit, turn right at first street, up about 2 blocks, bear right at the curve and the church is straight ahead).

Contact Marilynn (pronounced Mary Lynn) Wright at 916-331-2309 for more information about the Guild and upcoming training topics.

Next meeting is November 10, 2011. Only one meeting this month and the next due to the holidays.  December's meeting is December 8, 2011.  January will resume the 2 meetings a month.

We also have a Yahoo group.  It's free.  Sign into Yahoo and find our group here.

Are you a member of Ravelry?  It's also free to join.  Our group though a quiet one gets checked my me often.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Working on a Kooky Hat

I saw this kooky hat on Ravelry and thought I just have to make one, because it looks so fun.  Will anyone actually wear it?  I don't know.

The instructions begin with the headband.  Mine per the instructions came out very tiny.  I'm not sure a newborn could put this on.  I'm not discouraged.  The yarn asked for was really too big for my standard gauge machine.  It knitted fine, but was difficult to pull the carriage back and forth.  Just doing the head band made me realize I needed smaller yarn or I needed to move to my bulky.  After consulting with my machine knitting mentors I'm moving to the bulky.

I just thought the headband looked so cool!  It is one strip with eyelets about every 18 rows.  The 2nd strip is knit plain.  Then you weave one into the other through the eyelets.  I knew it was a bust, but I was just tickled at how wonderful it looked.  My mind was full with the creative possibilities.

A completed hat can be viewed on Ravelry at "Look at this crazy"  I'm still working on mine.  I'm hoping one of my teens will wear it skiing this December.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Made Another Baby Blanket

Blanket done awaiting the edging.

It's Diana's Swirl Baby Blanket.  I use the videos to jog my memory when making it.  She also has printed instructions on how to make one too.

Blanket done edges lightly steamed.
 I made this on my Toyota KS650 Bulky machine.  Wedges end up being 60 stitches wide.  Then make 10 wedges.
I used Bernat Softee Baby yarn in blue and lilac.

I'm always surprised how easily made it is and how impressive this blanket looks when done.

Left the room to get my camera and look who thought they were the baby?

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Sweater Pattern Possible Conversion

I love this sweater set and wondered how I could make it on my knitting machine.  It has matching everything hat, sweater, gloves, socks and cellphone holder.

Or is it the hunky father and son in the picture that's attracting me?

Friday, September 16, 2011

My New Cap

I bought a pattern from Newton's Yarn Country at a recent class at my guild called the "Hollywood Swag Cap and Scarf."  I'm always looking for something my teen daughter might like.  I'm also always looking for small cool projects to do on my knitting machine.

What I liked about this pattern was the texture of the cap.  It really had an interesting look.

Again blogger won't turn my photo in the correct direction, but you get the idea of what it should look like.
To get the wavy pattern of this hat was fairly easy and the pattern really explained it well.  It sort of reminded me of the Mohair scarf patterns I really like doing.  It also reminded me of the entrelac technique in that you work with almost all the needles in hold and only work on one section at a time.

Here is the finished cap.  It is unsteamed here.  I kind of like it that way.
The cap is finished and then rehung to do the brim.  I found the brim to be kind of boxy and long.  My teen said it made her feel like a duckbill platypus (don't take it personally she hasn't liked a single hat I've made so far.)  I reshaped the brim interfacing to be smaller and curve more.  Using the mattress stitch I was able to pull in the squared off sides of the brim to a more curvy baseball hat sort of brim.  This created a lump of knitting on each side inside brim where the corners were pulled in, but it's not noticeable to the eye.

All and all I really like the hat.  I know once my machine knitting friends see it they'll want a pattern too.  I know Newton's doesn't sell them on their website, but I'm sure if you emailed them you could buy it from them.  I got to thinking maybe the designer of the pattern might sell online and she does.  Only problem is she's on vacation until the end of September.  Not a problem for her she in beautiful Costa Rica.  She sent me a picture.  WOW!  You can contact Linda Jensen through her etsy site "LindasCrafts" beginning in October if you're interested in her pattern.

**Pattern for cap is not available at the Newton's website.  I expect you need to see them in person to get the pattern.  BUT!  You can buy it from the designer at her Esty shop.  Click on "LindasCrafts" for a direct link to pattern.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Christmas Project for the Guild

Meeting before last someone in our guild asked about any Christmas ideas to knit.  I got to thinking what a great idea to get started learning something now rather than waiting for December.  I started looking through my binder of free patterns and I came across a Christmas Wreath for the Passap Duo80 or E6000 first.  It looked like something from the 70's, but I loved it.  I don't speak Passap, but it seemed like what they were doing was knitting tubes and braiding them.  Great idea, but not feasible for our meeting.  We'll bring our knitting machines, but we don't bring ribbers.  We only have 2 hours.

Then I found Heidi's Braided Christmas Wreath pattern.  This talks about making strips of knitting and letting them roll in on themselves.  Something we can totally do in our machine knitting meeting.  Comparing the two patterns I decided to do a little something of both.  I really liked the simplicity of the Braided Christmas Wreath, but loved the color combination of the Passap Christmas Wreath.

So, I picked out three punch cards that seemed from the naked eye to be completely different (I really need to do swatches.)  After I got the strips done I thought that 2 weren't as different as I would have liked.  I wasn't sure they'd even look good together, but decided to just go with it.

As I was sitting on my bed manipulating the strips to decide what order I wanted them in.  Quite frankly I was trying to remember how to braid when my son walked into the room.  He talked with me a bit about his day and then as he turned to leave and he said, "I'll leave you to play with your Christmas snakes."  OK I thought it was pretty funny.

As I started braiding I was relived to see that the patterns did actually work together. I had knit 3 strips 30 inches long. I did 335 rows at T3 on my Studio Mod.700 standard gauge. According to the pattern it would make a 13" diameter wreath. Mine was stretched to 12" and I think it is too thin.
I wanted a bow and did a 30 inch strip of tuck with punch card #3 the red yarn. 485 rows T3. I wanted to give the bow a hint of texture. I folded the strip as if tieing a regular bow.  Then I hot glued everything onto a 12 inch wreath frame from JoAnns.

Since the wreath was not looking like something I'd want to hang up or give away I decided it would be my prototype.  Things I would do differently would be not to braid it so tightly.  I would not stretch it to fit a wreath form.  I'm going to use wooden embroidery hoops since they come in many more sizes than the wreath forms.  I'm going to do swatches of my punch cards giving me a better idea of what their finished pattern will look like.

Card #3 Machine Knitting Class

Sorry about the raggedy swatch, but I was playing.  I took a class from Helen Koshak from Newton's and I had a great time.  First off she a totally fun lady.  Most importantly though she really knows her stuff in regards to knitting machines.  She was teaching a class centered around all the things one can do with Card #3 that comes with your punch card machine.  Oddly enough I had used Card #3 the night before to work on a Christmas project I'll post soon.

Starting from the bottom of my swatch is card #3 nothing fancy 2 colors.  The next section is card #3 with 3 colors.

Section number 3 of the swatch... did you know you can lock your punch card reader on one line?  I asked my friend Julia if she knew that and she did, but she said she didn't know why one would want to do it.  So, I told her why.  I'm not sure if I did it wrong or my machine doesn't like it, but the straight lines tell me I'm on the right track.  Better luck next time.

The final section of the swatch I tried a window pane technique that I clearly need more practice with.  I'm going to give it another try as it's one of my favorite looks of the class.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Machine Knitting Maintenance

I was feeling badly yesterday that I hadn't knit, but one baby blanket recently.  Then I got to thinking I have done some things to be proud of and should feel very satisfied.  While organizing I found my extra needles for my Toyota KS 650.  I went to put them with the 650 tools then thought does my machine need any needles.  I looked at my needle bed and I was missing 2 on one end and 3 on the other.  Wow have I really been stealing that many needles?  Guess so.  I pulled out my sponge bar.  It was one I refurbished not long ago, but the ribbon was coming off.  So, glued the ribbon on with some better glue.  The new needles needed some oil, so wiped down the whole machine with some oil.  That's when I thought I should be very happy that I'm taking care of my machine.  Some times a half hour of maintenance is as satisfying as a half hour of knitting.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Machine Knit Snail Blanket

Machine Knit Snail Blanket instructions with pictures.  It's translated from Russian as best as the computer could.  Wonderful pictures though make it more understandable.

I've been fascinated with a blanket on Ravelry called the 10 Stitch Blanket.  The Snail blanket is essentially the same thing.  It's been on my list of things to do for a long time.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Knitting For A Premie

I know first hand how wonderful it is to walk into the nursery to check on your premie baby and see them laying in an incubator with a hand knitted cap.  Not some prefab hospital cap.  So, when a girl scout came to our machine knitting group to ask for our help in knitting premie blankets I was excited to help.  She wanted by the beginning of school in August to have made and collected 50 premie blankets.  The goal of my machine knitting group was to have any donations done by our next meeting.  One month no problem right?

Well, as usual life gets in the way.  My teens came home from 3 weeks in Scotland.  Before I could really enjoy having them home 5 days later my daughter has pneumonia.  Off to the doctor for x-rays and an expert opinion, but it was as I thought pneumonia.

As I'm nursing her back to health I'm schedule during that time to have my gallbladder out.  Fortunately, by the time I'm home from the surgery, she's well enough I don't have to worry about her.

On the third day of my recovery my son says I really feel terrible.  I put my hand on his forehead and he's really hot.  "Surgery" mom goes to the background and "my son is really sick" mom comes to the forefront.  I take his temp and it's 103.6F.  Fortunately, my DH had taken an extra day off to take care of me.  Since I couldn't drive I put him on a new case... get our son to the doctor pronto.  I promised to not do anything wild while they were gone and to keep the cell phone close.  2 hours later I get the call that he indeed has pneumonia.

DH comes home and tucks us both into bed with our meds.  Now it's Saturday and it occurs to me that if I'm going to make a premie blanket I need to get it done by Monday night.  Fortunately, Saturday I start feeling considerably better, but don't want to over do it.  Sunday I continued to rest, because come Monday I want to try machine knitting.

I got my Studio 700 Standard machine set up with my yarn and the punch card I wanted to use. After reading through my manual regarding doing tuck I proceed. I decided to do a few rows stop and see how I feel. I felt fine. I went on to knit about 100 rows. At this time I started to feel kind of hot. So, I stopped for a few hours. I was fine. I then knitted about 50 rows at a time until I had 300 done. The tuck stitch looked wonderful. I used punch card 12A as the picture in my manual had used that one and I like the look of it.

I used lots of weight all the way across to keep the tuck stitch working properly.  I did have to keep an eye on the end stitches.  The manual even warned about it saying to pull the 2 end needles out each row.  2 times the end stitches dropped off and I was able to fix them.  Then I started pulling the end needles out each row.  That stopped the dropped end stitches.

I made this using needles 65-0-65.  I did it at T7.  I knitted 300 rows.  Measured 20"wX22"l.  After washing it came out to 19"wX19 1/2"l.

Really looks nice.  Was proud to donate it.  I wish the pictures captured the beautiful yellow color.  It's like fresh butter. 
This is the back of the knitting with tuck though this is considered the front.

This is really the front of the knitting, but being tuck it's considered the back.