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