Friday, November 17, 2017

ever have one of those days...

It was early  afternoon, a cold, dull day and I thought, hummm… I can go up to the workroom and knock off the front of that baby blankie for Karen, my niece. It’s her due date tomorrow and I want to commit to this before I know the baby gender (we don’t know at this point, but it shouldn’t really matter as it’s all bright crayon colours on a navy background) so I’m not second-guessing my colours after the fact. I’m figuring I can do the front in about an hour and a half, should be no problem. I already have my yarn all in place. Get cast on and yes, I’m still using the orange waste yarn. Now the blanket is a creation of Mar Heck’s from Knitwords #35 – I’ve made it before, so I think I know what I’m doing

I know I have an old system - I’m using DAK7, Windows 2000, SL4 and my Silver Reed SK580 – now, if you’ve been reading me for awhile you may have twigged to the fact that I’m not exactly the biggest fan of DAK – it’s probably my own unfriendly aura that DAK senses and the machine knitting gods do too. And I haven’t used DAK in awhile – I only use it to download large stitch files to the machine and knit-from-screen and as this particular stitch file came as a DAK file, 200 sts by 356 rows, this is really the only way to knit it other than drawing it out on 6 Mylar sheets – totally out of the question, never gonna happen. I have done some tuck patterning recently, using the built-in electronics, no DAK, and everything worked fine. 
On the blanket, there is a solid colour border, so 23 rows plain navy at the beginning – I’m not putting a name in – and there are 10 plain stitches of border at each edge – the picture is knit as a single motif and Mar has explained, on a brother machine, how to have extra yarn ready to wrap the edge stitches so there are no holes at the edge of the picture, before the border. Being the Silver Reed expert that I am (in my own mind anyway), I know this is much easier on this machine. Because the needles do not select (come out like the brother machine), you can wrap the next to the end-of-the-pattern needle with the second colour at the beginning of each row and using the yarn separators, everything works beautifully. I have learned in the past that I don’t need to use the yarn separators – they prevent the second colour from getting tangled in the background yarn until the second colour is required in the patterning of the next row – I simply wrap the needle with the second colour, leave it in B position, and with my hand, hold the second colour yarn slightly below the brushes/arm of the carriage just for the start of the row and it works well.
Back to the work at hand, knit the plain border. On row 23, set to fairisle, add in the second colour, knit the first row of patterning, everything’s fine. Knit the second row - somehow the second colour is knitting at the edge, in the border. Gosh, darney, darn, darn! Rip out the row, reset everything and try again. Same thing happens. Rip out, re-read DAK, knit, same thing. I very calmly take the carriage off, examine the undercarriage and decide that maybe it’s time for some cleaning and maintenance. Get out my tool kit, remove all the brushes and wheels and sure enough, there are a few bits of gunk and mashed up yarn and the transparent plastic round brush covers have a few marks on them, so I replace them. Wipe out the tiny dust bunny babies from the channels, oil it all, put things back on the machine, reset the pattern and I get two rows this time before the mistake. Check the end cams, here’s a thought, maybe they are not in the right position – it is kind of hard to decide it they are set at 100 or at 99…I go back into DAK and delete one stitch from each side of the file so it’s now 198 sts wide. Go through the whole deal again and same thing. I look closer and see that what is happening is that the second colour is actually knitting a row of stockinette which means that the DAK signal has dropped and there is not fairisle needle selection. Okay, this could be serious. I now realize this is an electronics issue and fortunately, I have new end cams and a new curl cord which I swap out – do that and same thing – it’s like freakin’ Groundhog Day! My two-hour window has disappeared, and I am defeated. I face the fact that my Silver Link 4 is quite old now and I am not up to replacing that. Turn everything off, drop the jinxed border from the machine – I’ll go drink my sorrows away!  I'm Netflix-ing 'This Is US' - what a show, makes you forget all your troubles!
This morning, after a good strong coffee, I go up to face reality. Turn on the computer, call up DAK and the pattern and I do a dry run – no yarn, arm off the carriage, set to fairisle, load the pattern and knit, listening to the sound of the clicking needles and watching the winking red/green light on the DAK link box. Ha! It is all working! Make 20 passes like that, all systems go! Still apprehensive, I leave the pattern on, cast-on and get the border knit to the point of row 24, first row of patterning. Re-read DAK for row 24, add in the second colour, set to fairisle, knit, check – it’s all good! Wrap the needle, hold the yarn below, take a deep breath and knit – it works! OMG! I keep going, not daring to take a break – sure enough, within the hour I have the completed front! Victory!
Moral of the story, when using DAK, when you need a re-start, always turn off everything! You know how your computer tells you this may require a restart after you add or remove a program, DAK really needs this – unplug the link, turn off your computer and restart everything before going into panic mode!  Also, Silver Reed people, if you do not have a spare new curl cord and point cams, order them today, just saying!
Have a great weekend!  XO, MAO!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

what I did...

I took my schematic from ‘Sidesteps’ and put it in the KR11. The ragg yarn is a little heavier than what I had used (4 ply wool at T7,  29 sts and 44 rows to 10 cm) and I knit the ragg at T9 (28 sts and 39 rows to 10 cm). Plugging  the new stitch and row gauge into the KR11 took care of all the new calculations. I added 10 sts at the hemline to make it the longer length I was looking for. I put the ravel cord line for the pocket opening just after the gore (on the centre front side) in the front (the gores from 'Sidesteps 'turn the sideways square body into a more flattering A-line), using the pocket technique from the old pattern.
I lowered the vee neckline and stopped knitting the front 5 cm before the actual centre front to allow for the 6 cm bands of the new version. I used the same 2X2 (2X1) ribs of the old pattern for the hem, cuffs and pocket bands. On the front band, like the old pattern, I used full needle rib, changed the circular cast-on to my newer version of the racked cast-on (so the outside edge was stretchy and didn’t have the restriction that is typical of the circular cast-on), went into the 2 working, one not, needle arrangement on rib bed only, so that it would look the same as the other bands, did the grey stripe and then the shortrowing  for the shawl collar as the final step. Now you know how too!

Monday, November 13, 2017

orange is the new waste yarn...

ROOTS kid cabin cardi
All the time I’ve been knitting this fusion cardi, I was kind of not really liking it. I thought I was forcing the issue, using the wine coloured ragg yarn instead of the grey that I maybe would have preferred but didn’t have. Once I had the body, with sleeves attached, knit, I was sorely tempted to abandon the whole thing but that’s not really my m.o. and I pressed on. After working out the pockets, I got into knitting the bands, and I began to think that either I used to know a whole lot more than I currently felt confident about or I have forgotten more than I knew I knew! I guess it’s been a while since I’ve made ribbed bands! With several gone-wrong bands littering the workroom I was regretting the decision to revive the shawl collar from my old pattern while rejoicing that I had the foresight to not go with the double-breasted look. But, as I successfully attached the final buttonhole side on the front and removed the final strip of that gawdawful orange waste yarn, it dawned on me that was the problem all along! After I sewed on the perfect dark red buttons that seemed to pull it all together, and put it on, I am ecstatic, I love my 'Nipigon Nylons Cardi'! The pockets are perfect (you know I love pockets), the length is perfect (it's been so freakin' cold here already, I'm sure I'm going to wear this thing out - it's a perfect extra layer under my black parka) and I'm so happy I could just knit!


BTW, I did add 10 extra stitches to the bottom edge and with the depth of 26 rows of the 2X2 (2X1) ribbed band, this turned out 10 cm/4 inches longer that my khaki ‘Side Steps’ – just a little extra info for the taller-than-me people!

Friday, November 10, 2017

coogi, coogi, coo...

I got an email from my nephew the other day – he is a young, up and coming lawyer and could be described as a bit flamboyant. He sent me a link to a video and asked if I knew where he could find a sweater like this guy’s?

I looked, said yikes (to myself) and sent him a message back asking how much money he had (thinking he would be asking me to make one), and sent him a link to one of my blogposts from last spring.
He replied '-amazing that you not only knew but had a BLOG POST about it! I should have known!’
Anyway, smart guy that he is, he used my information from the blogpost (after checking eBay) and has one on order from Oz! I feel like I dodged a bullet!

Monday, November 6, 2017

fusion knitting...

When in Vancouver, I did a lot of walking and probably passed a Roots store at least once every day. They have a line they call ‘cabin’ wear, themed with a grey marl yarn trimmed with bands in ivory and red and they’ve done it in everything from cardigans and pullovers to hats, scarves and home dec! I think of it as the ‘Nipigon nylons’ line [see] and it still has a great appeal to me.
I was trying to decide how I could make my own version of a cardigan and, in the airport, on the way home, I saw a girl wearing a sideway knit variation and it clicked! I could use my ‘Side Steps’ pattern and merge it with an oldie, ‘Going  Sideways' from my Cardigan Book from the mid 90s and I think it would work. I have two cones of suitably aged Jaggerspun Ragg in a red/white marl as well as some Forsell Suva in a grey/ivory mix that would be enough for the body/sleeves. I made a couple of swatches, trying to come up with the perfect combination. In the end, decided to just add ivory bands with a stripe of grey (just like the boot tops) to the red stockinette marl and forget the fairisle insert.
 The old pattern has great inside patch pockets that can easily be added into the A-line of 'Side Steps' and a narrower version of the shawl collar will be just right, I think. Hope to show you the final result soon!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

you know what time of year this is getting to be....

Yeah, we had snow. Already! Enough to hang around for a few days! I was in line at the post office the other day and the girl (anyone  looking more than 10 years younger than me now falls in that category!) in front of me was wearing a cute knitted headband. I struck up a conversation with her to pass the time and she had hand knit it herself and in fact, was mailing a package to a friend with another one she had knit. It was garter stitch in a heavier-looking, earth-tones yarn that I figured to be alpaca – she did tell me the yarn and that it was quite expensive but it went over my head. It was about 4-5 inches wide and it had what I thought was ruching at the front. Turned out to be a simple cable twist and it got me thinking, I could make something like that on the LK. Of course I ruled out the garter stitch, as it was knitted widthwise (stitches were the width, rows the length) – she did tell me she knit 9 inches, made the twist – she didn’t even realize it was a cable until I mentioned that word – and knit another 9 inches. I then said oh and you grafted it at the back? She looked at me like I was from outer space and said no,  just seamed it – I couldn’t tell because she had a high pony tail that covered the back seam. 
Back at home, I did a tuck stitch swatch, trying to come up with the texture of the garter stitch but it didn't go what I wanted - I tried a 3X3 cable, it was difficult to do and looked ugly anyway. Then, I remembered the supercable from 'Knit Big or Go Home' from KW#36. Actually, this spring a new-ish machine knitter contacted me about that pattern - she had tried it out and was having a problem - I checked it over and there was an error! I was devastated! Obviously no one else tried this or even worse, they tried, it didn't work and they never asked! The really sad thing is, I did make this sweater a few times and I never caught the mistake! yikes!

Anyway, here is the correction:
Supercable: 16 stitch shortrowed cable, positioned at 8-0-8 ns. CAR. RC000. Set to hold. Bring left of 0 to hold. K1R.
Remove/turn off row counter. Bring all right of 0, except 1-8 to HP.
Put a claw weight under the 8 working sts.
K6R on these sts only, ending CAL. There are 7 rows on right side of cable.
Put all to HP. Break yarn, leaving 3 inch tail at centre – this will end up on left side of cable later.
Place CAR. Bring 8-1 left of 0 to UWP. With new yarn, K6R, ending CAR.
Do not break yarn, but remove from feeder (it will be easier to move cable).
Pick up the 8 sts at left and the 8 sts at right.
Put the right hand side down to left first and then place the left side to the right of 0.
Bring ns out to D. Return all cable sts and left side to UWP.
Put yarn in feeder and knit row. This completes the row at the left side so there are the same number of rows on the garment piece on either side of the cable.
Replace row counter, cancel hold. K19R. RC020. Repeat these 20 rows for pattern.
There will be two ends of yarn at either side of cable. Use these ends to close up gap at sides of cable while darning them in.
YARN: Plymouth Yarns Baby Alpaca Grande, finished weight, 60g/2.1 oz.
11-0-11 ns to work. Cast on waste yarn, knit several rows. Ravel cord, K1R. CAR. RC000.  MC, T9, K2R. At each side, drop 2nd st from edge and reform to purl st. Drop 3rd st, reform. Do this every time CAR to make garter stitch border – no need to do on outside edge stitch.
Knit to RC010. *Make Supercable as above. K20R.* Repeat 5X in all and end with 10 rows stockinette. Remove on waste yarn. Graft ends to join or as desired.
It makes a great neck warmer if you don’t want it on your head!


Monday, October 23, 2017


I was out visiting little sis, Marnie – we were celebrating her 20th year cancer survivor (see KW#44, 'making a theme sweater' and 'Dog-On' - she has since had two stem cell transplants!) and this was the first time in several years that I’ve been out there when she hasn’t been sick, so it was really nice (and the dogs are fine!). She was also getting a 25-year service award for her job and we had an invitation to an evening at Government House in Victoria, BC – that’s where they entertained the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on their last visit to Canada and is the official residence of the Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia. La-di-dah!
Marnie had an extra ticket, her friends were fighting over it and I won because a sister has dibs on things like that! She had received an invitation that outlined what was happening, when and where and a note of what to wear – it said, ‘wear your best, time to show off!’ Now, this has different meanings – she just wanted to be comfortable and her idea of dressing up is clean jeans and maybe a better pair of sneakers and I was kind of worrying about what she would pull out. When I was packing in Thunder Bay, I had resigned myself to wearing pants – no point in me dressing to the nines if she wasn’t, so I figured my red lace ‘Canada. Eh?’ would be fine with black underneath and just to be on the safe side, I packed the Church Pullover just in case she might wear it. I didn’t want to be too big-sister bossy, but I wanted to be prepared. Anyway, when we were in the hotel in Victoria getting ready, she put her outfit on, I pulled rank and made her put on the pullover. It looked great and she didn’t even fuss! Her co-workers (also getting awards) were amazed and impressed. We all were comfortable and had a fun time!
Why am I’m telling you? I wanted to show off my design and tell you the pattern is ready! And, my sis and I are basically opposite shapes – I’m always saying that I like the A-line shape because it balances off my top-heavy figure and hides the fact that I have no hips. The ‘Church Pullover’ is quite A-line and it was perfect for Marnie too, where she needs the extra volume in the hip/tummy area. And wouldn’t you know, they had a Canada 150 frame for us to stand behind for our photo!
If you missed it (or forgot), find the stories behind the 'Church Cardi', put 'church cardi' in the search box at the top of the blog page!
So, in case you hadn’t noticed, the ‘Church Cardi and Pullover’ pattern is now for sale. It is done on the mid gauge machine (I used the LK150), no ribber required and there is a fair amount of hand-transferred lace patterning.

High-hip length, open front cardigan, long, set-in sleeve, roll collar, knit in hand transferred lace with purl stitch ridges. Back lace inset is A-line shaped. The front is combined with side panel, wider at hem and shaped at back side to add to the A-line. The Pullover version, a little more A-line, with a wider hip measurement, is made with a back and front panel of lace with underarm/side panels in stockinette with the lace border at the hemline. The sleeve can be knit in stockinette or lace, your choice and either fits either the cardigan or the pullover. Knit in Cascade Yarns Ultra Pima cotton.
FINISHED SIZES, Width, underarm at bust,
84 (96, 120, 144) cm/33 (38, 47, 57) in.
Back Length, 61 (62.5, 65, 67) cm/24 (24.5, 25.5, 26.5) in.

Circumference at hem: 124 (136, 160, 184) cm/48 (53, 73, 72) in.

The PDF comes with written pattern for both cardigan and pullover, with schematics, stitch charts and written instructions for all the lace patterning. Cost is $12 – see the button at top right of this blog – and I will email the files to you! Thanks for your support and interest!