Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Silver words of wisdom....

So, I’m back at my knitting - actually I already have 3 garments ready for the next issue - I’ll tell you about them maybe another time. Today, I’m working on a light green top with a gathered neckline to wear under a jacket or cardy, using Bambu7. It’s quite thin and to make a wider stitch gauge - stockinette at T4 gives 37 sts to 10 cm which restricts the finished width you can get from 200 needles - I’m using a one-row-tuck, what I call a tuck pattern with a row of stockinette on every other row that gives a nice, subtle texture on the knit side, similar to a garter carriage look. The tuck on every other row is enough to add extra width (stitch gauge at T4 is now 29 sts/10 cm) and the every other row stockinette takes the ‘bubbly-ness’ out of the tuck.
I have the Silverlink4 with DAK7 and my standard gauge Silver Reed machine. I’ve been using this system to knit all my garments for the past 4 years and I love knit-from-screen because it shows exactly what needle is doing what on which row - you can’t go wrong!! Before that, I used the SK580 with built-in electronics and the PE1.
The curl cord can get blown out with improper use. Also, I hate to say how old some of my curl cords are and not surprisingly, I have had 2 burn out recently. When this happens, nothing else does, meaning you can program and re-read till the cows come home and no signal goes to the machine and DAK will keep telling you you’re on the wrong side.
How do you know it’s burned out??
Okay, so I have replaced a couple of curl cords and I am pretty careful (I think) about hooking up the electric to everything - I always make sure my SilverLink4 is unplugged from the power source whenever I’m not using it - in between pieces of knitting, even if I’m only taking a break to grab a cup of whatever, I unplug it from the power bar. If I am not using the patterning for a garment, I unplug the curl cord from the carriage, and I park the end in an old pill bottle attached to one of the antennae, to protect the prongs inside from inadvertently coming in contact with anything.
Now, I use this stuff often enough that it comes second-nature and I’m a big short-cutter and when on auto-pilot, may forget to check something - you know what I mean. So. I’m putting in a pattern and everything’s cool and working fine. On row 8, I’ve hung the hem and then go back to knitting in pattern. I usually watch the red/green flash of lights on the end of the SilverLink to make sure the pattern is continuing properly and I’ve also become attuned to the sound the needles patterning make, so I noticed right away on row 12 that the tuck pattern hadn’t happened by the sound or rather, lack of it. So, rip out a row... re-read the pattern and begin again. I get 4 rows knit and again, the familiar little click-click-click was not there. Sure enough, a pattern-less row! At least it has the courtesy to actually knit the row when you are doing tuck and the signal is lost - if I was using the lace carriage, there would be major drama happening!! When the signal is lost with the lace carriage, all stitches act as a selected stitch and transfer off, resulting with everything on the floor!!! Also, it occurs to me that I did not get a signal from ‘Matthew’ (that’s what I call my DAK screen in honour of Matthew Bragg, the creator of DAK)telling me I'm on the wrong side. So, third time is a charm, but I decided to investigate first. I checked my curl cord - I had put a tag with the date on it up near the top, out of the way and yes, it’s a new one. Remembering that my last garment was stockinette, I checked my connection into the carriage and wouldn’t you know, I had not pushed it down fully, probably resulting in a weak connection. Re-read one more time and zip-zam-zoom, in no time, I’m shaping the underarm and then finishing off the shoulder, 357 rows, no lost pattern once!!
So, here are some Silver Reed/SilverLink/DAK/knit-from-screen safety rules from me for you.
1. Always unplug the link from the power source when not in use. Leaving it plugged for an extended period of time creates a constant heat and can cause the wires to burn out in the SilverLink or the curl cord. Do not leave it plugged into a power bar unless you are turning off the power bar each time.
2. When making connections between the SilverLink and the carriage (which is your curl cord), make sure there is no power to the SilverLink - it can be connected to your computer, but not the direct power source. If you have the USB connection, this protects the SilverLink and the computer and allows you to connect those two things without unplugging everything, but it does not protect the curl cord.
3. No need to unplug the SilverLink from the curl cord each time.
4. To prevent the curl cord from stretching out unnecessarily, unplug it from the carriage when not in use and protect end (see above) or park carriage in the middle of the needle bed.
5. It’s a good idea to have an extra curl cord on hand.
Oh, and the Bambu7 top turned out great - look for it in the next issue!!

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