Friday, October 7, 2016

the church cardi saga

I think I got over the excitement of launching the new book - I've been tidying up around my workroom and getting ready to pack stuff up for the Dallas/Forth Worth seminar and I realized I hadn't shown you the finished Church Cardi! never mind the pullover version!
Maybe I'll back up a bit... The church cardi, you say? Way back in April, I began working on a mid gauge version of my RTR Lace Cardi and I had gotten a real 6.5mm 7-prong adjustable tool - oh, what the heck! you can go back and read about it again if you've forgotten or maybe joined me since then...
Anyway, it doesn't usually take me that long to finish a project but somewhere in there, I got the inspiration to put together the new book  - that's my excuse and I'm sticking with that story! I did say at one point that I was going to make a pullover version - I did have intentions of writing up both of these as a pattern, but one step at a time! I thought the pullover version would be a nice option for people who didn't like cardigans and actually both the cardigan and pullover were planned to offer a larger size range. The pullover has a back section that is virtually all patterned and the front/side panel of mostly stockinette allows for an increased finished width fairly easily. When I got that finished, I loved the back so much, I decided to make the pullover so I could have the back in the front, if you know what I mean, even though I very rarely wear pullovers - but this did turn out so nice, I am pretty sure I will wear this one - and now I do have something brand new to take to Dallas next week! ;-) Oh, and BTW, thanks to my friend Tom the machine knitting guy for convincing me that I really hadn't made a huge mistake ( - He sent me an email and told me he thought it looked very architectural - I looked at it again, steamed it out and it's one of my favourite designs - it's on the bottom of the front and back of the pullover - AND, BTW, all of these stitch patterns are included in the new book but there is no garment pattern (yet).

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

ancient history....

I am decompressing from the pressures of getting that book ready and out - I feel like I don't even want to see a knitting machine for a while. Thanks to everyone for your support!
I'm doing a bit of sewing and my latest binge-watch is the BBC production of Shetland. It is a detective/murder mystery (my favourite), set in Scotland. It takes a bit of listening to, for that Scottish dialect, but I'm enjoying it. The most recent episode that I've watched takes place on Fair Isle which is a tiny island off Northern Scotland, between Shetland and the Orkney Islands. And I keep saying to myself (there's nobody else here to tell) 'I've been there!'. The scenery is spectacular - it is known as a bird sanctuary and as the home of fairisle knitting.
Way back, in 1991, I went on a tour called 'The Wool and Wonders of Scotland', sponsored by the Rowan Yarn company. It was a fabulous 2-week trip-of-a-lifetime where we toured by bus, boat and helicopter from Aberdeen to Stornaway and Lerwick, ending in Edinburgh. There was a ton of history, everything was defined by how long ago Bonnie Prince Charlie did whatever. We had a day with local spinners and weavers; a fashion show by a designer who produced cable knits for the Japanese market; a trip to the tartan-maker to the Queen; visited crofts/homes where Harris Tweed was made; had several trips to wool brokers where we saw wool being processed from the sheep's back to the finished skein and every step along the way; the Callanish Stones (so much better than Stonehenge!), a half day at the Glenfiddich Distillery and a lot more. There was something for everyone and the highlight for me was a helicopter ride to Fair Isle for a couple of hours.
In the community centre I found a group of machine knitters using Studio/Sliver Reed punch card machines  to knit fairisle sweaters for sale. I was the only machine knitter on the tour ( all the rest were hand knitters with a couple of husbands thrown in for good measure) so I hung out there for most of the afternoon, talking with them and figuring out what they were doing. They had a machine with a ribber attached that one lady was making the 'welts' (what they called the ribs for waistbands and cuffs) and removing them on waste yarn and then they had about 4 other punch card machines set up to do the fairisle blanks of body and sleeves. I was amazed at the huge, long punchcard they had - I didn't know then that it was available on a roll so you could have a 200 row fairisle design without having to reset the punchcard every so often. Someone had to hand graft the welt to the blanks and do the seaming. I showed them how to rehang the welts directly to the punchcard machine to knit the fairisle right off that and eliminate the grafting step - they were absolutely amazed! I was a hero for a few minutes and the hand knitters looked at me with new respect after hearing that I was able to help out the Fair Isle knitters!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

OMG!!! it's ready!!!

the book is done! and you can go to and put it in your cart and get it by Sep 23rd!! wow! once I finally finished proofreading and fixing little boo-boos, it didn't take long! I'm so excited!!!!(big sigh!!)

The HandBook For Manual Machine Knitters

List Price: $29.95
Detailed descriptions of techniques and methods for use on manual, non-patterning single bed knitting machines and frames. Cast-ons, cast-offs, increasing, decreasing, shortrow shaping, patterning, lace, tuck, slip fairisle...Examples of where, when and why to use and why not. Instructions and charts for many hand selected stitch patterns and bands, trims and edges all done on the knitting machine, no hand knitting or crochet skills required.

About the author:

Mary Anne Oger, machine knitting designer and instructor, is well-known for her classic, wearable designs and her knack for adding common sense and humour to machine knitting. She is adept in textures and great finishing techniques which can be used by all machine knitters, any gauge, all machines. With many seminar and workshop credits all over North America, her teaching skills are undisputed. As editor/publisher of 'KNITWORDS' magazine for 13 years from 1997 to 2010, Mary Anne set high industry standards for quality work in machine knitting. She makes her home in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada and can be reached through her website at where you can find her machine knitting blog 'Needles to Say...', providing hints, tips, patterns and inspiration for all machine knitters.

Publication Date:
Sep 18 2016 ISBN/EAN13: 1537755161 / 9781537755168

Page Count:120 Trim Size:8" x 10" Language: English  Printed: Black and White

Monday, September 19, 2016

panda success...

just to prove that I did get that panda sweater done! and Rhiana loves it! wow, she is growing  faster than bamboo! the sleeves are only just exactly right, good thing I didn't opt for the too-short version!  ;-)

I used the semi-jacquard technique to make the larger, single panda face on the patch pouch pocket ( say that a few times!) and then sewed it to the front of the pullover - admittedly, the pocket should have been a little smaller overall but she didn't notice and she was so proud to be part of the design process!

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

the hurry-er I go...

the behind-er I get! I got that first sleeve off the machine in about 40 minutes, feeling pretty good that I had no glitches, like dropping everything off or switching the yarns wrong or something like that. After all, that's what the yarn changer is all about! LOL!  BUT, it looks suspiciously small!!! Now, I am using my KR11/knit contour/shaping device  for the size - you program in the stitch and row count from the swatch and it shows you how many stitches to cast on, when to increase and how long to make it. Usually I also have a to-scale drawing on graph paper that I can make brief notations, like how many stitches to cast-on and the row count at the underarm and top of sleeve cap so I can be sure that the next piece matches up AND usually I use the calculator to multiply the row gauge by the length of the sleeve so I should know ahead of time close to where I should be by the time the mylar feeds through to the underarm, but somehow, yesterday, I forgot this step...Sure enough, I had plugged in 63 rows to 10 cm instead of the actual 68 rows - no wonder it looks short. I briefly entertained the idea of teaching Rhiana to push her sleeves up slightly for the 3/4 sleeve look but my heart said no, you can't cheat a granddaughter!
A few notes on the knitting...
Bring the end needle out at the carriage side, at the beginning of each row. This makes sure the end needle knits properly and that both yarns/colours go to the edge of the knitting.
Increase: when the carriage is at the right side (away from the yarn changer) you have one colour at this side - bring out the next new needle and ewrap it with that colour. At the same time, do an ewrap at the left side with the unused yarn. This way you aren't fighting both yarns at the left side.
Decreases/shaping for the sleeve cap: normally I would want to shortrow the sleeve cap and then cast them all off at the end but that means holding position which will surely cause trouble because of the yarn changer. On the bad sleeve, I did go to the old method of casting off stitch by stitch with the transfer tool on the carriage side of the work. It takes more time and is rather ugly. This time, I used the ravel cord method of shortrowing - why didn't I think of that yesterday? So much better! 
BTW, that one at the bottom - no, I did NOT knit that in the opposite colours just to see what it would look like...but check out that cast-off! ;-)

Monday, August 29, 2016

talk about pressure...

I haven't been doing too much blogging or standard gauge knitting lately - I've been working on a new book of techniques for the manual machine - more on that later!
Rhiana, my nine year old granddaughter, was over on the weekend and spotted the jade green and white cones of yarn sitting on top of my standard machine and wondered if I was getting around to her panda sweater ( and when did I think I'd have it ready? I promised her that it would be ready for her back-to-school which is the day after Labour Day. I was thinking that would give me 2 weeks but crikey! it's only a week away! I do have the swatch that I/we made back in May, but why can I not find any notes? I was going to start with that nice hem that I had on the swatch - it looks really good but I don't know what I did!
I thought I'd wing it...sat down and cast on with waste yarn on the single bed and then, thought, why would I do that? I need the ribber for the semi-jacquard so why wouldn't I use a ribber band and then I went DUH! It's a double bed circular hem! and it IS really nice! The 'fold' line at the bottom was what was puzzling me because it works so well and then the rest of the band is so even and neat - LOL! Well, lesson learned! If I write it in this blogpost, I'll always know where to find it, even if you don't care!
Circular Hem. Swing H5. Arrange for full needle rib, end ns on RB. Cast on WY. Knit several rows. Set to circular. T4/6, ravel cord, K2R. Move carriages to left without knitting. Bring ns all out. This will cancel the circular setting and make a zigzag row (without having to change the settings back and forth). MC, T2/2, K1R. Hang comb and one weight. RC000. T1/3, knit circular, grading tension by increasing one full number for each row to T8/10, RC014. Swing P. Transfer sts to needle arrangement desired - for semi Jacquard, all working on MB and only every 6th needle in work on RB. Swing H. Program pattern and use next row to read/select. T9/7, K1R. RC000. Set to slip.

And the book? I think of it as a resource manual for the manual machine so I wanted to call it 'The Manual Manual' but I'm working on that. It's full of techniques, the when, where and whys of what to do, and hand transferred stitch patterns and trims and edgings all suitable for non-punchcard or non-patterning machines. Rick (my layout guy) is calling it the 'war and peace of knitting'! We are on page 78 of the layout and still have probably another 35 to go - I was aiming for 75 total - he knows my other 'books' were all 28 pages and the magazine was 48 pages so no wonder! He thinks I need to get a life! Do I edit it down or go for broke?

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

salvage operation...

I'm working on a pullover version of the Church Cardi...(heavy sigh!) I took the sleeve of the cardi (plain stockinette with a lace hem) and measured it against the front panel, which is fully patterned, to see where I needed to start the patterning on this sleeve so it would match up at the underarm. Decided that I should begin with 2 repeats of the 'cross and triangle' and went ahead and knit the sleeve. When I got it off the machine, it looked suspiciously short...drat! What do I do now? I really hate too-short sleeves. I briefly consider ploughing ahead, telling myself that I probably won't wear this anyway - it's a pullover and I just don't wear pullovers. On the other hand, I could just always push them up and nobody would know. BTW, this yarn is beautiful (Cascade Ultra Pima) and the combined stitch patterns, I think, are really stunning.
I figure, oh well, what's another day in my life to knit another sleeve? It's not like this is the first time I've had to make an extra sleeve (or two or three! LOL!) I go ahead and make the second sleeve with 3 repeats at the bottom - it's perfection! Then I thought, huh! maybe I can salvage this! got nothing to lose in trying. I'm going to separate it just above the last 'cross and triangle' repeat - there are 2 rows of reverse stockinette separating each of my patterns. If I can pull the right thread and open up the piece I can add another repeat to the bottom portion and then graft it back together, duplicating the row of reverse stockinette that I had to destroy to get it apart! sounds easy when you say it fast!
I steamed the sleeve to set the stitches, took a deep breath, grabbed  the scissors and snipped the yarn in the middle of the bottom row of reverse stockinette. Now, pick at each side to get a big enough piece to get a grip on, and pull on it to draw it across to the edge, snip the excess from the centre and then carefully pick out to the end of the row, ending up with almost two inches at each side which will be enough to darn in. Take the top portion and rehang it, right side facing and I have the one purl row hanging on the needles! Waste yarn it and then hang the bottom section, wrong side facing me. Good so far! Go ahead and knit the missing 14 rows, measure out a 3X the width tail to be used (maybe for the grafting row if it happens to be on the correct side of the work!) and waste yarn this piece. Steam them both, grab my close-up glasses, a darning needle and set to work. OMG! It's working! I'm so happy I could just knit! Less than 45 minutes!