Tuesday, June 11, 2019

graduation alert...

or should that be ‘Grama alert’? It kind of snuck up on me! Rhiana, 12 years old (already!), is graduating from Grade 6 at the end of the month. She will be changing schools and going into a Junior High so they make a big deal out of it – there’s a fancy luncheon and ceremonies. She showed me a picture of her dress, ordered from the internet – it’s sleeveless with a white-eyelet yoke and a printed fabric skirt (large multi-blues flowers on a white background) in two layers, kind of her fanciest dress yet and I’m sure it will look great. 
Leafy Lace, KW#53
The ‘Grama (and knitter)’ in me thinks she should have a cardigan to go with just in case the weather is cool – this is Thunder Bay after all and so far our spring has been kind of miserable! I have two weeks so it’s not like panic city, but I can’t really afford to waste a lot of time.
Between us,we decide on a light blue (I have a partial cone of periwinkle blue in a fuzzy-look yarn from way back that will be enough) and I quickly come up with a plan – you know I do love lace  and it brings to mind a really cute girl’s cardigan that Ev McNabb did for our final issue of Knitwords, #53 – called "Leafy Lace", a smock-style cardy with lace skirt, made in two pieces without side seams, buttoned at centre back and front, just perfect for Rhiana's tween-age! The bodice is a raglan with vee neck in stockinette. I'm changing that to a set-in sleeve because that will be quicker to make than the full-fashioned raglan.
Swatching now so I can get started tomorrow!

Friday, June 7, 2019

a bucket list?...

I don’t really have one but if I did, at the top of the list would be a cruise to Alaska! You can imagine my excitement when I got an email from Morgan Hicks/All Points Yarn from Seattle, WA entitled ‘Cruise Alert - ALASKA 2020’!
Check it out!

“Along with the great adventure of cruising, fine dining, gorgeous views, exciting ports of call, and the many ways to enjoy and relax on board, you will have the opportunity to socialize and learn with fellow knitters and crocheters.  The class schedule will follow in the coming months.
You can travel with your knitting and crochet buddies, or fiber-friendly family members and get the best of both worlds, Entertainment, and Instruction!”

I love it! But wait, how about some machine knitting? Hey Morgan! I’ll come, bring an LK150! We’ll do a bunch of basics and demo some techniques like shortrowing, neckline shaping and sleeve caps. Throw in MAO’s exciting trunk show and do some trims and edgings! Put on your joggers and we’ll talk mk-ing design as we do laps on the Lido deck – just kidding (about the jogging, but it could be an option! Work off that fabulous food!)! But really, doesn’t it sound like a great time! Call or email me or Morgan! Let’s make this happen!

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

how long has it been...

since you had a new machine? Oh my! Some getting used to! The stitch dial on my old carriage, it was so loose, I could turn it with the side of one finger. This new one, I almost feel like it needs two hands! Switching from stockinette to tuck, pay attention! Say nothing of the extra elbow grease to pass the carriage back and forth! Oh well, enough whining! It works! Did I mention that Mike’s yarn spray is my new best friend?
You may remember my problems with patterning and what I tried  - here’s the link if you want the story from mid February - https://knitwords.blogspot.com/2019/02/peanut-butter.html
In the end, I have a new, slightly-used demo machine, an SK840 (Studio) carriage that works on my old SK580 (Singer) needle bed and the electronics on the old bed (they were built-in) work with the ‘new’ carriage.
To get DesignaKnit to work, I was told by the North American distributor that I would need to purchase a new cable because my old SL4 would not work with DAK8. I do have DAK8 on my Windows7 laptop and was not really wanting to spend the money to get the new cable, mostly because all the old stuff works and I don’t really need DAK unless I want to download a large stitch pattern and knit-from-screen (last time I did that was for a picture baby blanket and I’m so over that! https://knitwords.blogspot.com/2017/11/ever-have-one-of-those-days.html).
When I was chatting to Mike at dknits.com and giving him my tale of woe, he told me he had a software upgrade that would allow the SL4 to be used with DAK8. OMGG! He mailed it to me, I did the install, easy-peasy! It worked! Mike is my new best friend!
Seriously folks, if you need help or are considering Designaknit or cables for whatever reason, call him!

Monday, May 13, 2019

as I was struggling...

to knit with this reclaimed Wool Crepe Deluxe, I thought back to another time. The following is my editorial from KNITWORDS  #13, March 2000:
In January, I went to London, England and participated in the 'Knit, Stitch and Creative Crafts Show'. It was a lot of fun and very different from our North American knitting machine seminars in that it was mostly a selling show, not a lot of teaching like we normally have here. I had a booth next to Elaine Cater and I gave a 25 minute 'talk' once a day for the four days. It was a bit different without a knitting machine to hide behind, but it was kind of cool to have people come up to me and tell me they liked my Canadian accent. The first few times, I tried to tell them I didn't have an accent, but soon realized I was fighting a losing battle. One of the best things, I was in charge of what they call the 'knitting clinic'. It was twice a day for about an hour each time. It would be announced over the sound system that “Mary Anne Oger from Thunder Bay Canada, blah-blah blah would be in 'stand' 78” and anyone who had questions, problems or whatever about machine knitting could come and talk to me and it was my duty to either solve the problem or offer suggestions as to where the knitter might go to get help. By far, the most interesting lady was an 83-year-old, smartly-dressed machine knitter who told me a lengthy story about how she had knit a skirt from one designer's pattern. It had turned out so nicely that she chose a different designer's pattern and made a 'blouse' to go with the skirt but wasn't happy with the result. The fit wasn't quite right. She had knit it using 3 strands of a very fine bright acrylic (Bramwell’s Silky). I was politely listening to her story, waiting for the moment I could jump in and solve her dilemma. She began relating how she 'unpicked' this thing and put it into hanks. She then washed it and hung it to dry, adding weights to it to remove the kinks. Much to her dismay, when dry, it was still crinkly. By this time, my eyes began to glaze over, and I was clamping my teeth in an attempt not to scream out, 'throw it in the 'dust bin'!'. I managed to retain my composure and sanity as she then went on to say how a friend asked her if she had tried the microwave. My mind was gone! Gripping the edge of the table, hoping she couldn't see my white knuckles, I faintly asked, 'huh?' Anyhow, dubious herself, she then wound the used, crinkled yarn onto plastic cones, which she assured me, she fully expected to melt in the microwave (they didn't); added a cup of water and stuck in the 'mike' for 8 minutes. It worked out beautifully! Did I have any suggestions on what she could now knit with this reclaimed acrylic?
She then purchased one of my books and, finally able to speak, I asked her if she subscribed to the magazine. She, very politely, told me that she had seen a copy or two and didn't like it as there was nothing in it that was of any use to her.
After she walked away, I realized I hadn't found out whether the recycled yarn was still triple stranded or not.
Oh, by the way, the topic of my speech was 'The benefits of working with natural fibres.'

Friday, May 10, 2019

even i had my doubts...

LBD, new neckline!
I mentioned re-making that EFK from a pre-knit project that I didn’t like. To get myself in the proper frame of mind, I did redo my LBD. I took some photos but as you may know, black does not show up well but it was a very successful, relatively easy project and I now have a new LBD! (happy, happy!)

knotted yarn
With that under my belt, I bravely jumped into undoing the silver-gray Wool Crepe Deluxe. Now, don’t get me wrong – the ONLY reason I’m re-knitting this used yarn is because it is very expensive and rather than trash the whole thing, I’m opting for this salvage operation.
hole appears -yarn break
Re-using yarn that was knit in stockinette is one thing, but if it was knit in tuck or lace, and blocked or pressed, there is likely to be thin, possibly damaged spots in the yarn so this is not something to attempt if you’re short on patience and it’s not exactly foolproof. I’m offering a few tips to help you out if you need to do this. And, planning to re-knit in pattern is just asking for more issues so be sure of your skills!
Rewinding/unravelling yarn – put a little pressure on it to stretch the yarn out as you’re winding, to sort of straighten the yarn, (don't worry about the kinks, they will press out after the piece is knit) but also if there’s a weak spot in the yarn, you’ll want it to break now rather than halfway across the row as you’re knitting. If it does break while winding, I just tie a granny knot, leaving about an inch and a half ends, and then deal with it after the row is knit. I let the knot knit through and then un-pick the couple of stitches where the tails of the knot knit in, fix up those stitches, omitting the tails and then darn in those ends after.
Front and Back, fresh off machine
Knit slowly! Trust me! The yarn is likely to break somewhere and if youre moving slowly there’s a chance you can save the piece before it all drops off…like here (above), where it knit fine across the row and then the yarn broke and opened out. I was able to rehang the dropped stitches, rip back five rows, reprogram and re-knit again.
Pressed Back and Front
If you’ve stopped or paused, maybe to increase or decrease, pull up on the yarn at the beginning of the row so the kinky part doesn’t get caught in the brushes and cause a loop at the side or worse…
I knit the Back with the pre-used yarn and had enough un-used yarn to make the Front. This photo (above) shows each piece as it looked coming off the machine, no pressing on either piece. I’ll admit, the Back did look like a nightmare!
This photo (at left) shows the two pieces after pressing to size, shoulder line joined, and Sleeve made with pre-knit yarn.

Monday, May 6, 2019

when good gets better...

The new and improved pump spray for dknits.com ‘s Super Industrial Yarn Spray!

I forgot to tell you – when we were driving to Pigeon Forge, TN, back in March, I realized that a small detour would take us to Mike Becker’s shop in Aurora, Indiana. I had never been so called Mike to make sure he’d be there and made an appointment to stop by. It was fun, should have got a photo but didn’t think about it until we were back on the road. But anyway, we had a great visit, caught up on the news and as we went to leave, Mike said he had a gift for me. I felt a bit bad because I had nothing for him but quickly got over that feeling when he gave me a new bottle of his SIYS - I was so excited to see that it has a new pump button instead of the pistol grip trigger one. I could hardly wait to get home to try it out.
Finally got around to it last week ;-), made a pair of socks for nephew’s birthday – I use the yarn spray on the 2X2 ribbed section where you are grading the tension tighter to make sure the ankle fits snuggly, and this makes it knit like warm butter. Oh man, that little press-down button makes such a difference – it’s so easy to use, I love it – thanks Mike! https://knitwords.blogspot.com/2013/02/addicted-to-yarn-spray.html


Tuesday, April 23, 2019


The Waynesboro, PA thing was great – I came home on a big high! Everyone was so nice, and we had a lot of fun! Thanks to Susan and Elizabeth, the shop owners at The Knitting Cottage, for bringing me there and thanks to all who came! It was great to see some faces from the past and it was awesome to see so many younger, newer knitters! Paula took great care of me and her husband gets special mention – now, I think I have everything! Look at this! It’s a toilet paper roll holder for ravel cord! OMG! It sits on your table; you just grab the end and it just reels off! Hope you’re green with envy!
Spring is here, the snow’s gone and I’m having a hard time getting into the knitting rhythm so thought a list might help…
My friend Vickie heard about my Juxtapose hoodies and she wants one with just the small stripes on the sleeves and hood, with solid colour body – I’ve knit for her before so it’s ok, I can do that but what do I have in Bonita? That hot pink colour that she likes but do I have enough navy for the stripes? Will that ivory look ok or maybe the light blue? Oh gosh, I may have to swatch a bit…I did drop by the fabric store to check out zippers and they have plastic-tooth separating in the pink…
UFO cold shoulder
The Waynesboro people liked my E Fisher Knockoff and want the pattern so I could work on that. I have a UFO of light gray WCD that I could re-use. I only have dark colours and don’t want to waste good stuff on another prototype. The reason this is a UFO, I think, is the colour. I could always over-dye it...I was making that cold shoulder top on the standard gauge, like the one I made for Rhiana, https://knitwords.blogspot.com/2017/12/photoshoot.html. Hers was Yeomans Panama and I had decided to try it in the gray WCD. Had made it for myself previously in a marsh print WCD, loved it and wore it a lot.
https://knitwords.blogspot.com/2016/05/it-really-wasnt-secret.html. People wanted the pattern. Had it almost done in my size and hated it. Hence the UFO. This could be a teaching moment - how to knit with used WCD…
Well, before I get to that, maybe I’ll practise on something else. Before going to PA, I tried on my LBD from Knitwords #52. Haven’t had much opportunity to wear it and I thought I might put it on with Becca but I don’t like the neckline now, so didn’t take it with me. I’m thinking maybe give that a revamp. Rip it back to the underarm and reknit with a higher, closer-fitting jewel neckline…

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

odds 'n ends...

Got the E Fisher Knock-off done, washed and dried and it fits! Funny thing, I made a new swatch after the fact! Ha! you say! What good is that? The first one with the old 580 carriage read 26 sts and 50 rows to 10 cm. With the 840 carriage (same stitch dial number, same overhead tension, same weights) it says 26 sts and 56 rows to 10 cm! Let it rest overnight and it was the same as the first one. The pieces looked big when I steamed them  (they always do before it gets a chance to relax), fresh off the machine, and it was a little big after the putting together because I couldn't wait. Washed and tossed in dryer for 15 minutes - it was perfect, no steaming necessary! Love the shape of it and the way sideways knitting and the one-row-tuck patterning controlled the colour distribution of this 'variegated' yarn.
The point of making the second swatch was to have a baseline for future use.
Now I have something brand new to take to Waynesboro, PA for this weekend!
This really was a super-quick project, virtually no finishing - I'll have to make another in a solid, light colour when I come back and explain a few more of the details. 
Before that project, while I was still pondering the fact the lace carriage still worked, I dashed off a couple of pockets for Uptown. Used my ‘patch pocket with chained edge method’, washed and dried them several times, just tossing them in with my vacation laundry loads, pressing them in-between to add some wear and patina. Pinned the pockets in place and tried it on. Because I couldn’t get the placement with matching the pattern, angled them slightly – works for me! Stitched them in place with the sewing machine.
Finished off the second Juxtapose Hoodie – switched back to the 580 carriage just in case – just needs a wash before sewing in the zipper.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

new-to-me machine...

You might have been able to read between the lines and see that I was in a pickle – my beloved SK580 that I purchased brand new back in 1989 – yeah, like 30 years ago! and it has like the equivalent of a hundred thousand million miles on it, gave up the ghost. Tried everything I could think of but, finally, reality sucks! What to do? what to do? I could just continue knitting stockinette and stripes and the lace carriage still works but I will really miss that one-row-tuck technique that I used for the E Fisher knockoff and for many other lightweight garments.
Made some calls and there is no cheap fix, but long-story short, finally settled on a used SK840 which is the same machine as mine, without the built-in electronics. I thought what that means is I have to go back to knitting with DesignaKnit for patterning, I think and, that means purchasing a new cable…
I’ll be honest here. Before I left, in one last attempt to figure out what was wrong, I actually knit a swatch (you hear that, I did make a swatch!) for my own E Fisher knockoff (Wool Crepe Deluxe in Tacoma – love the fabric and the colours, sort of camo-ish), everything worked fine. I made the sleeves (no longstitch, just main bed patterning), everything worked fine. When I set up to knit the Back, and engaged the rib bed, nada! Tried that several times, ate half a jar of peanut butter. Changed up and was going to use different edgings that did not require the rib bed. Several more attempts, the rest of the PB, and had to face the fact the carriage was dead.
Back to yesterday and I have this ‘new’ machine. My mind is telling me that the 840 carriage will work on my old 580 bed but I can’t find anything in print that says that. I reasoned that the LC580 lace carriage works on both beds so why would the knit carriages not be interchangeable.

Plug your nose and jump in! That’s what I did. Rather than take the time to dismantle the whole 580, I just took the ‘new’ carriage, plugged it into the 580 bed and began knitting! It worked! OMGG! Got both the Back and Front made, no problem! I had briefly considered making a new swatch but in the excitement, tossed caution to the wind! As I was putting the pieces altogether, it did seem a tad bigger than I thought but oh well, nothing ventured, nothing gained…it’s knitting in pattern! So happy!

Sunday, March 31, 2019

mileage thoughts...

There was a lot of driving/riding…It’s like 1500 miles, one way to Pigeon Forge and although manfriend did the driving, I feel like I did but worse, if you know what I mean. That’s a lot of thinking time! So many things and ideas, like why didn’t I ever try putting a longstitch self-facing for the sloped edge of a pouch pocket? Will the carriage from the SK840 work on the SK580 needle bed? I need pockets on that Uptown long duster. Will the patch pocket technique work for lace? Will the dye-lot show? Oh wait, it was never dye-lot-ed…will that make a difference? The age of the yarn, the number of times the original had been laundered? Where it’s been pressed/ironed? Why do some drivers think they own the left lane? Oh gosh, I never told them about angling the latch tool to get a larger stitch for that chained edge…should I sew up the vent at the bottom of the sleeves on the Juxtapose Hoodie?
Big thanks to the Tennessee Valley Machine Knitters! The venue was great; attendance was superb (they came from all over); lots of great questions and feed back! Becky, the AV lady was fabulous; shout out to Eloise, my timekeeper, and Sonia for taking care of my sales; to Margy and the rest of the TVMK organizers, thanks to all! The food and the weather, pretty awesome but it’s great to be home!

Sunday, March 17, 2019

couldn't help it...

Wanted so badly to wear this!

Not to worry, I made another so I could demo the zipper for the Tennessee Valley Machine Knitters!

How to choose what colours? By the proper zipper? I have quite a stockpile...Works for me!
My new strategy for yarn consumption for 2019 is one for me, one for another person. I can’t possibly make everything for me and I do have a raft of sisters, nieces and girlfriends! That way I can also use the colours I’m not really crazy about and give it away!
Road trip – talk to you in a couple of weeks!

Sunday, March 10, 2019

juxtapose hoodie...

Just finishing up the hood. I changed it up a little from the Manfriend Hoodie pattern. Because I decided the hood would be nicer in the 4-row, narrow stripe sequence, I thought the front edge would look neat with a narrow stockinette band around the face instead of the folded-inside hem which forms the casing for the drawstring.
The stockinette band would enclose the edge where the second colour is carried up the stripe and made a little smaller to naturally draw in the hood, so no drawstring is required, like Omega  (from Serial Stuff #4) http://www.knitwords.com/bookstore.html
is done and like you’d do for a child since drawstrings around the neck are now frowned upon. Also grafted the shortrowed top of the hood and managed to get it looking just like the 4-row repeat!
Attached the hood according to my original instructions.
ready for the wash
The ends are all sewn in and it’s ready for the wash, just one final thing.
done except for sewing zipper
with the sewing machine
The centre front edges have had no finishing because that’s where the zipper goes (it all needs to be laundered to get the shrinkage out of the way before that) and the pocket isn’t joined at that side.I do a running basting stitch through the two edges to ‘attach‘ the pocket – I find this makes it a bit easier to deal with after the wash/dry process when you have to hang that edge.

This is so cute! And I’m so proud of it! Wish you could see it! Oh, yeah, you could! Come to Pigeon Forge! I’ll have it there, showing you how to sew in the zipper!!

Friday, March 8, 2019

no yarn marks...

hang 2nd side, matching stripes
One of the bonuses of knitting matching stripes!
 You know I do everything I can on the machine – it makes a much better job than trying to mattress stitch seams by hand. Notice, the ends are mostly sewn before this. To do the underarm/side seam, it’s too long to hang the whole thing at one time. Hang the side from hem to underarm seam. Pick up the whole outside edge stitch, hanging evenly without stretching. Hang second side, matching stripes and filling in between.
close latches, knit tight row
 Now, basically I want a really tight row to make the seam and close it up snug, so the second colour isn’t peeking through the seam at any point. Carriage at left – going to knit a tight row (T0 – told you, tight!).

chain off loose row
The trick here is to bring the needles out and close the latches before knitting across. With the latches closed, they won’t catch into the closed/selvedge edge and cause a jam. But, first, measure out about 3 yards of the yarn and leaving that tail at the left, knit tightly to the right. Manually knit a loose row over this (don’t cut the yarn) and chain off, right to left to last stitch.

hang 2nd section without cutting yarn
Holding the last stitch on the latch tool, move it to the right end of the needle bed, along with main yarn. Now hang the sleeve underarm seam from right to left, matching stripes. Knit the tight row from right to left with the tail you reserved at the beginning, remembering to close the latches. Now, manually knit the loose row, again from right to left with the threaded-up yarn. Chain off and look at that beautiful seam!

Thursday, March 7, 2019

note to self...

armhole wrong side facing
Stripes may not look so great with the outside seaming!
Left Front is done and with this outside seaming, you can just leave the shaped shoulder right there and take the corresponding back shoulder and, putting wrong sides together, hang on top, pull the Back stitches through, knit a semi-loose row and chain it off – don’t go real loose here because you want that row to stabilize the shoulder.
outside seam - uggghh!
redone, much better!
Then, without thinking it through, I hung the armhole, wrong side facing, going for that outside seam again. This looks kind of bunchy here but remember this is cotton that shrinks quite a bit, and I’m allowing for that, based on my swatch numbers. Hung the open stitches of the sleeve cap and completed that seam. Yikes! not sure I like this with the mixed tan and navy edges. Experience tells me to bite the bullet and take it out. Sometimes I might try to convince myself it will look better after the wash and yes, a lot of things do, but this one won’t change – it’s like the edge of that first pocket!
Good thing I know how to rehang open stitches!

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

slopes and hacks...

Let’s talk about the pockets. They are made first, and the top of the pocket is attached to the Front as you’re knitting it, so this is a committed deal. You can’t just take them off like a patch pocket and readjust. Made one, following the stripe sequence for the Back, same as I’ll use on the Fronts, using the shortrowed decrease hack https://knitwords.blogspot.com/2018/02/decreasing-hack.html
(which I LOVE!) for the slope of the pocket and did the cast-off in tan because it made the most sense – there was tan at the bottom and top of the slope, so I naturally had the tan in work at the point of the cast off. I wasn’t crazy about the tan going across the navy because I had in my mind that navy should be the main colour but then navy would be interrupting the tan…yada, yada, yada. It’s probably time to go back to the original 3-stitch outlined decrease.
Look at me, making all these swatches ;)!!

Tuesday, March 5, 2019


Girlfriend Hoodie
Forgot to tell you something else – I think I mentioned hoodie back there but that may change too! Actually last year I made that ‘noodie’ https://knitwords.blogspot.com/2018/05/what-do-you-call-hoodless-hoodie.html – it started to be like my Girlfriend Hoodie

but I ran out of yarn – anyway, I wore that quite a bit, especially at Christmas time and it was great for looking good but you/I could still work in the kitchen – no bottom sleeve/snug cuff that can’t be easily pulled up, to get in the way! I liked the narrow bands for the hem of the body and it’s just a trifle longer that the GFH, so I’m aiming for that shape/body-wise here but wanted a long sleeve that I could roll up out of the way if I had to get my hands dirty, if you know what I mean! Am going with the sleeve from Tumbleweed (Knitwords #53) a little fitted, a little longer, with a slit at the bottom so it opens up to roll back easily to a 3/4 look, but the sleeve cap is done the same way as the GFH. Hope I didn’t lose you on all those little changes!

Monday, March 4, 2019

23 and me...

shortrowing underarm
Not really, it just worked out that way! For the body, I wanted about 5 cm/ 4-inch stripes with navy at the bottom and at the top of the garment. The overall length is 56 cm/ 240 rows, give or take one or two. The only thing to worry about matching is the side seam between back and front, easy enough if you start the same on each piece and make the stripes equal. I have this thing in my head that at the shoulder, to have the 5 cm stripe of navy with the shoulder seam half way, so ending each piece with half a stripe of navy. I juggled around the numbers and think I can achieve that with 23 row stripes, starting with navy a little less, like 4 rows less because I will add the border trim in navy to make up the difference. Did I say I wasn’t using the yarn changer for this?
manually knit loose row in current colour
chained off loose row, nice curve!
No reason to, mostly because of the odd number of rows in the stripe, and, to run the second colour up the side of the stripe to avoid having to darn in a whole bunch of extra ends wherever possible without compromising the edge where it might show.

To keep on track for the 23 row stripes, I made a little cheat list of the row numbers to change colours. At the underarm, still wanted to use shortrowing for the decreases – it makes a much neater curve to seam to, so what I did was knit so far in the navy. (oh yeah, I didn’t carry the tan up and into the curve – too much trouble and what’s two more ends at that point?) Finished the navy stripe and carrying it up the edge, completed the underarm decreases, still shortrowing and then cast off the whole bunch of held stitches with tan and continued!
I’m liking this! Made the Back so I could look at the wide stripes and put the narrow stripe of the sleeve up to it to decide what to use for the front pouch pockets – I didn’t really think I’d want them narrow, but I was open to the possibility. Held it all up in front of the mirror and confirmed! did not want to alter the pocket stripes! :) 

Thursday, February 28, 2019

moving on...

Forget patterning altogether! I’m going to knit plain! Haven’t made a hoodie for myself yet this year! My inspiration? My newest ‘vogs! I’ve noticed some striped garments lately that remind me of a twinset I did for Lindsay way back in Knitwords #41, called Juxta-pose! Always liked the mix of narrow stripes and then wider stripes. This is new Cotton Tale 8 I’m using – the navy is part of that 6 pack of blues I got (and didn’t like) and the tan is actually called ‘vanilla’ – what’s that all about? I have only one cone of the navy so it will be my predominant colour, I think and with two cones of the tan, hopefully I’ll have enough leftover for a whole garment of that. Notice, I did make a swatch!
The sleeves are going to be the narrow stripe, 4 rows of each colour so I’m using the single bed yarn changer for that. You know how I like to shortrow the sleeve cap so need to use the ravel cord method here because holding position doesn’t work with the yarn changer arm on.
end of shortrowed sleeve cap
At the top, I wanted to end with navy, so stopped at row 3, brought the left side back to work, knit the partial row, brought the right side back to work and knit it.
pull out ravel cord one side at a time
Then did an RTR (remove, turn, rehang) and knit a full row. This way I have a nice navy border across the sleeve cap as well as that garter stitch ridge which will look nice for the outside seam, same as on the Manfriend/Girlfriend Hoodie. The stripes for the back and fronts are going to be much wider so they won’t match anyway but I think the navy border between will look good.

Tested out my edging (#33, XOXO Trim from Band Practise) - thought I could just add it to the bottom and I could but don't like the way the tan colour peeps through when you pick up the stitches with the right side facing - that is rehung from the cast-on waste yarn and the edging is knit down and cast off. On the second sleeve, I rehung the bottom of the first navy stripe and then unravelled the tan - easy to do for 4 rows but not much more!

Friday, February 22, 2019


Got the back knit, row by row, watching carefully that I had a knit row and then a tuck row. It seemed to be dropping the signal more at the right side which was okay because it would knit the tuck row and then I just needed to manually advance the pattern row and it would knit plain to the left. It took some time, but I managed it, going on pure determination, still not too sure what was going wrong. The only thing that saved me here was the fact the stitch pattern was a 20-row repeat and I could use that multiple of ten to match the garment row counter easily. Had to do the same on the front. Sometimes I’d get lucky and it would knit 15 to 20 rows without losing the pattern, but I persevered and got it done over the weekend. The patterning is quite subtle anyway, especially in this darker colour.
The hemline looks great. I stuck with the 5 sts of longstitch just for the extra weight, to ensure the hem wouldn’t roll up. The neckline looks really good too - I am so impressed! I changed it to only 3 stitches on the rib bed, with the end needle on the ribber, because it doesn’t need the extra weight as it fits around the neck, just needs to lay flat and I wanted it to be narrow. It did the job and looks fabulous! It’s kind of what I’d call a bateau/boat neckline – there is very little shaping – the back neck is 3 cm deep and the front, 6 cm, with the width at 24 cm across. It is not stretchy but just fits over my head with a wee bit to spare, looks neat and so easy, with no extra finishing!
Time for the sleeves. I could knit them plain and no one would think anything of it, but I have this thing about giving up – can’t do it, and I go for the tuck patterning. Don’t need the ribber here because there is no longstitch. Hang the open stitches, purl side facing, because the knit side is the right/outside. Set up the patterning and, taking a deep breath, begin. It’s patterning flawlessly! I can’t believe it! I begin knitting quickly, thinking the stars are aligned and I’d better get this done while things are good. Get the whole sleeve done, not one single error or dropped signal. Then it dawns on me! The mis-patterning was only when I had the ribber linked up for the longstitch! Could it be that was just pulling the carriage slightly forward, causing the patterning faults? Maybe all I needed to do was adjust the ribber? Right now, I don’t care, just super ecstatic to get this finished up! Thanks for the inspiration, Eileen Fisher! Happy Birthday, Janet!

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

peanut butter...

Did I upset the machine knitting gods? Is there a black hole in my knitting room? Was it because I flaunted the no-swatching bit? Why, why, why? Don’t mean to sound so disjointed, here’s the back story!
Got back to my E Fisher project, made the dart and, happily, blissfully, completed the back, feeling like I was setting the mk-ing world on fire. Sadly, when I took the piece off, it was riddled with mis-patterning and random, plain rows. What the hay? Trying to convince myself that it was maybe a static issue, I tried everything. Switched out the N1 and point cams, the curl cord, cleaned and oiled, even put in a new sponge bar. Turned everything off, left it to cool for a hour or so, came back, tried it all again. Ripped out row 13 so many times, sure I’d worn out the yarn! Nothing worked. Went and pouted for a bit, came back and tried it all again. Started over at least 4 times and I’d get maybe 50 rows done fine and then it would start dropping the signal and I would get a plain row instead of the tuck. Rip it out, re-program and same thing over and over, like a Groundhog Day nightmare! Got tired of ripping out the row so took it all off on the garter bar. Concluded that my electronics were compromised but wasn’t sure if it was the carriage or the machine bed/panel.
I had a brainwave and got out my lace carriage to see if it would work and yes, it did! switched over to the knit carriage and the tuck pattern and everything worked fine. I even did a sample dart and it knit perfectly. Holding onto the thought that it was just mk-gremlins at work, I took the evening to think good thoughts, planning to get a new start in the morning.
Did a bit of air knitting (take the arm off so you can see the needles coming out and in) and things were looking good, the pattern was advancing properly, so I rehung the piece and started on the dart. Rats! same thing, no patterning!
Things went from bad to worse. I couldn’t get it to even knit one row correctly. Thought if I could hook up DesignaKnit and get it to work that would sort out which was the problem, the carriage or the knitting bed. You might remember last July, [https://knitwords.blogspot.com/2018/07/drama-queen.html] my DAK laptop quit and I was left with a long cord that would reach my old desktop, which doesn’t have a USB port – too old, like everything else in this room! I had a little adaptor thingy plugged into a port in the back that added 4 USB ports. I made the mistake of unplugging this thing just to look and now it does not work.
I remembered another old laptop, dug it out and thought I could use it with DAK7. Got it all hooked up, downloaded my stitch pattern, knit  two rows and the blessed computer blue-screened on me and started this awful clanking noise. Unplugged and closed up, it was still annoyingly boinking away. The noise continued – I couldn’t shut it off. To save my sanity, stuffed it back in the bag and took it down two flights to the basement and left it chattering away.
I tried installing DAK7 on the Windows 7 laptop and it’s not compatible – I’m sure I did this before, but I have a short memory for bad things. Tried DAK8 with the cable and it wouldn’t find the SL4. I even sent an email to Ms. Help at Knitcraft, explaining the situation and what could be done? The answer, 8 hours later was, ‘likely bad cable’. Yeah, heard that before!
Seeking solace, I went for a spoonful of peanut butter (Jif extra crunchy – it’s a little early for wine!). I keep it in the basement pantry for a couple of reasons. I hope the inaccessibility will prevent me from consuming the whole jar. I have a rule that I can only take a teaspoonful and must go back up to eat it. I hope that, as sometimes happens, by the time I get downstairs, I will have forgotten why I went there and, if that doesn’t work, at least I feel justified in that I had a couple of up and downs to counter-balance the calories. Anyway, that freakin’ computer was still faintly rattling away!
To be continued…

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

tempting fate...

Am going to try the shortrowed dart, in pattern, down the middle of the front of this sweater – I can hear you, ‘are you crazy, MAO?’  Well, my theory is, the stitch pattern is 20 rows so if I make the gore over 20 rows, I should be back at the same row of the pattern when I get everything back to work and those every-other-stockinette rows between will help hide the change. I’m going to work it to begin at the under bust area, down to the hem, which will hopefully diminish the impact…the original instructions from Side Steps are as follows:
Shortrowed dart: Carriage at hem side. Turn off row counter. Bring all ns to hold. Set to hold. At carriage side, return 15 ns to UWP, KWK, 4X. Carriage again at hem side. At side opposite, hold 15 ns, KWK, 3X. When carriage is back at hemline, cancel hold, turn on row counter or reset to what it was and continue. This is adding 14 rows for each dart at hip. When carriage is back at hemline, cancel hold, reset row counter and continue.
My change is:
Carriage at hem side.  RC060. Turn off KR11/shaping device. Set to hold. Bring all ns except 15 at carriage side to hold. KWK.  At carriage side, return 15 ns to UWP (fork them back to B so pattern will be read if necessary – I don’t have to because this is the plain row, so it doesn’t matter), KWK, 4X (that’s 5X in all). RC070. Carriage again at hem side. At side opposite, hold 12 ns, KWK, 4X. When carriage is back at hemline, cancel hold, turn on KR11 (cancel hold) and fork all sts back to B position. K1R. RC079. Reset RC060 and continue. This is adding 20 rows for each dart at hip. When carriage is back at hemline, cancel hold, reset row counter and continue.
Make sure when you’re shortrowing with tuck patterning that you don’t have a tuck on the last held needle (the one you will wrap). Knit it through manually before holding the needle or it could cause an extra bump that may show up. Also make sure the first needle after the wrap knits off too!
Feeling so self-righteous!

Friday, February 15, 2019

geek alert...

technical ingredients follow, this is not just reading entertainment!
Having printed out a page of the Side Steps pattern – I thought it might be prudent to note any changes I made because you never know – I could forget what I did by the time I may get around to trying again? Who knows? But did I read it? no! of course not! I always think I know what I’m doing! The machine was set up for double bed work and as I put my hand on the carriage, I felt so good because it dawned on me, I was actually going to be knitting single bed, except for the 5 stitches at the hem side that would be the longstitch facing there. Those could be added next, but I wanted a plain row of stockinette for the initial row. Almost as though you were watching, I quickly changed to the knit arm as if I intended to do that all along and cast-on – I need two sections here, one for the sleeve stitches and the rest for the side seam. Duh! how about some weight, particularly as I would be using the double bed. I quit and wrote yesterday’s story – see what I mean? any excuse!
Fresh this morning, here I am at the machine even before my workout (I can do that anytime). Just to refresh your memory (and mine but I can use you as the excuse!) the one-row-tuck is set up so every other row is plain and that’s when we want the longstitch to do the work on the rib bed so there are clean stitches opposite, no tucks on the main bed, that would interfere with making neat stitches on every other row on the rib bed, right? Right!
Cast on each section separately, using the single bed ribber comb method, https://knitwords.blogspot.com/2008/11/i-just-have-to-tell-you-i-finally.html
here’s how I did it: Bring out the needles you want, every other needle only. If using the knit carriage, obviously you don’t have the ribber up. If the ribber arm is on, you need to have the ribber engaged. With waste yarn, T10 (as loose as you can get), knit one row. Move the carriage out of the way (drop the rib bed to make it easier), take the ribber comb, with the wire out and insert it from below, same way as always, poking the fingers between the sinker loops. When it is successfully in there, with the sinker loops on your side of the prongs, tip the bottom of the comb back so the prongs come forward, allowing you to insert the wire, without catching the needles or sinker posts. Drop the comb. It falls below everything. Bring all needles to work, set stitch size to main tension, and knit 10-12 rows.
What I did this time: using the half width comb for the side seam portion (#75-0-10 ns) first, and then the small comb for the sleeve section (#11-60 ns) but leave everything between/behind the beds (add a row of ravel cord on each section to make it easier when rehanging later). With the carriage at the left, T8, stockinette, knit 1 row. Change to rib arm (read/program your row here) and add 5 sts at left on ribber for the facing, end needle on ribber (less than my usual seven because that’s what E Fisher did). Fingers crossed – that’s what swatches are for! Set to tuck (you added weights, didn’t you?) and knit row. The rib needles have a loop on them, which is enough to cast them on - don't worry, no one is going to see them anyway and we don't want a difficult, complicated join between the Back and Front! This row was the tuck row. Back at the right side, now, set the ribber to knit those facing stitches only on every other row which in this case is 0-1, same as in Rectangles.
Everything is knitting beautifully, shaping/increasing at right edge for the shoulder slope and life is good! UH-oh, the shortrowed dart/gore is coming up – probably a good time to take a break and get that workout in! ;)