I have felt rather bad, almost like I’ve been dissing the brother machine unnecessarily after that thread lace thing - I felt that I should give it another chance. Lace knitting is one of my favourite looks and I love coming up with something that looks crochet-like. I had this idea in mind to make a mesh-like canvas and then have random spots or squares or whatever, similar to filet-crochet without the picture thing. I began swatching on the brother - it was really easy, once I came up with my mesh fabric, to simply push back some needles after passing the lace carriage, to de-select some of the mesh and get a spot of knit stitches here and there. After looking at the results, I went to Designaknit and made a large swatch of the mesh and then used the ‘eraser’ to make spots similar to my swatch, so it would be automatic. Back to the brother and knit 2 swatches at differing stitch sizes to find the optimum. Turned out tighter was better, because of the openness of the stitch pattern.
Now, to knit lace on the brother, it means at least 4 passes of the lace carriage and then knit 2 rows with the main carriage; the yarn stays threaded up in the main carriage. Not really a big deal, once you get into the rhythm, but as I was swatching, I kept dreaming of my Silver Reed, with which I can simply knit plain lace as quickly as stockinette. I couldn’t resist. I re-designed the stitch pattern for the Silver Reed and made a swatch. Hummm...interesting! What I thought was plain lace really wasn’t and the swatch did look better from the brother than the plain lace on the Silver Reed. Might look the same to the casual observer, but the holes stay more square on the brother swatch. To get exactly the same thing on the Silver Reed, I would need to knit it as fashion lace: take out the yarn, change the cam to fashion lace, pass 2 rows, re-thread the carriage, change the cam back to stockinette, K2R and repeat throughout. The re-threading of the carriage can be tricky and if not careful, you can easily dump everything. I decided to stick with the brother.
Cast on 80-0-81 needles. Now, I forgot to say, with this mesh knitting, I found that I liked the edges to have at least 2 plain stitches for seaming, so, while knitting this, on two of the rows of the lace carriage, I need to be watching the end needles and push back any that are selected on the 2nd needle from each side. I have already programmed my shape file into the box, but it’s a fairly simple body, just straight to the underarm. I knit a couple of rows and I realize the pattern has not advanced like it should. Reset to the proper row, pass the lace carriage and I get this error message, something like ‘No 48 error, carriage has not passed row tripper’. Sigh. Go find the manual to see what the answer is - there isn’t one that applies to the lace carriage. I changed the sponge bar, thinking maybe the lace carriage is sitting lower than the regular carriage or something. Try again, no difference. It’s after 5pm, so I won’t find any tech support anywhere right then, so I manually clicked the row tripper after passing the lace carriage and it worked, advancing the pattern to the next row. So feature this - pass lace carriage, check end needles, click row tripper, lace, watch end needles, push one back, click row tripper, lace, end needles, row tripper, lace, end needles, row tripper, knit 2 rows! I’ve got a mantra going - lace ends trip, lace ends trip, lace ends trip, lace ends trip, knit 2 rows. I’m concentrating so hard on keeping all this straight, I’ve got about 40 rows done and the box is indicating that I should be decreasing stitches. The darn thing thinks I’m at the underarm already!! I realize my tripping the row counter is racking up garment rows which the lace carriage does not usually do. Fortunately, I do have a manual row counter on this machine that I use faithfully, as well as the one in the box and I have charted out my shape on graph paper, so can follow that. I manage to complete the garment - somewhere around the middle of the front, the row tripper decides to get back in the game so I never did find out what went wrong, but my finished garment is beautiful and just what I had imagined!!! See KNITWORDS No 50, coming soon!! The yarn is Cannelé from Yeoman Yarns and the edging is from ‘Band Practise’, perfect with the filet-knit!
My working title for this was Testing, 1, 2, 3... but you never would have known what that meant!!
PS - yesterday, I went back to the brother. I wanted to make one of those shopping bags (Take an Old Bag Shopping - KW No 44 and see previous blogs) for a gift and, still high on my success with ‘Spots in Dots’, remembering I had thought doing the bag on the brother might be quicker because of being able to use the lace carriage for the transfers to every other needle....NOT!! (for me anyway!)