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.