Tuesday, November 25, 2008


I just have to tell you, I finally figured out how to use the ribber comb for a single bed cast-on!! ‘Why would you want to do that?’ you say. Well, I’m working on some lace things for No 48 and I’ve always found one of the most important things with lace knitting is to have the work evenly weighted and most times, I like to start out with a double bed hem, just to have the ribber comb in the cast-on which gives me the even weight. See, I work on a Silver Reed machine and there is no single bed hanger comb - you don’t need one, because it usually casts on fine with the weaving cast-on or a ravel cord cast-on, but for lace, you need to knit several rows of waste yarn and then hang weights in that and it can be rather awkward.
After several experiments, I couldn’t come up with a double bed hem that I liked with my fashion lace pattern, but did come up with a single bed one that was just the thing. Now, to knit lace - I have my rib bed on - it’s always there - I never take it off - the work has to come out over the front of the rib bed for the lace carriage to transfer stitches successfully without them dropping. So, to begin lace knitting, you need to have enough waste yarn on there to have it over the front, before you even start. I was contemplating casting on with 1X1 rib in the waste yarn, just to get that hanger comb in there and then transfer all to the main bed - which I have done in the past, but it suddenly struck me there should be an easier way. And what do you know, it worked!! Now before you all start emailing me and saying to buy a Brother cast-on comb, I already have one and I hate it. It’s always tipping off when you least want it and it’s a p.i.t.a. (think about it).
So, here’s how I did it. Bring out the width of needles you want, every other needle only. With waste yarn, T10 (as loose as you can get), knit one row. Move the carriage out of the way, take the ribber comb, with the wire out and insert it from below, 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 8 or 9, and knit 10-12 rows. TIP: and here's an oxymoron for you, knitting the waste yarn at a higher stitch size will get you there faster, wasting less waste yarn!!! Now, go down to what ever your waste yarn tension would be and knit a few more rows. That will be enough to bring the comb up and over the ribber. Hang two small claw weights at each end of the comb and get ready to lace knit!!! This is my first front (it's a cardigan)- I already did the back and hung the ribber comb in 82-0-82 needles just fine, added one bar weight at the centre of the comb, knit the entire back, 202 rows of fashion lace without one single dropped stitch. Life is good!!!

Thursday, November 20, 2008


oh rats!! I’m having one of those days!!! I think Cindy jinxed me!! I’m knitting for No 48, knocked off a couple of designs already and a couple more are percolating... I spent most of yesterday swatching for a tuck rib design in another wide wale corduroy look that I was going to make using a handknitting ‘balled’ yarn - in a real pretty sage green (I don’t care whether you’re sick of green or not, I still have some to use, so there! It’s either a few more green things or make the next issue in all red!!) Anyway, I used red for my practise swatches and came up with my final product, made up my gauge swatch in the sage green, washed and dried it overnight, all set to start this morning. Now, this yarn is a lace weight alpaca, 437 yds in each 2 oz ball. Thanks to my ‘Silver Needles’ electric wool winder, not a problem. Did I mention I have 10 balls of the sage green? Sounds like plenty to me. I’ve used this yarn before and made a tuck stitch maternity tunic (No 35, Make Room For Baby) that only took less than 6 balls. My plan is a cardigan/jacket with the tuck rib on the body, changing to pintucks for a yoke above the bust, with the tuck rib also on the long sleeves.
I wound three balls into one cone and began knitting the back. After 2 false starts, what the heck is going on?? On the first piece, at row 70, the yarn inexplicably broke when I was half way across. Talk about dropped stitches! Well, never mind, it’s quicker to start again than try and rehang double bed tuck... my second attempt, I forgot to transfer to every other needle on the rib bed after the cast-on...I noticed about row 14. Okay, so third time’s a charm. I’m up to row 300 and I realize there is no conceivable way that I’ll have enough yarn to complete my original design, but maybe if I make it shorter... I take 8 cm out of the length because I haven’t begun shaping the underarm yet. But, after beginning the pintucks, in which the yarn is double stranded to maintain the same width as the tuck rib, I know I have to change something else - and I’m not a vest person. I’m getting stubborn now. I've got too much time in this already to abandon it now! I’m not going to give up...
That darn Cindy!! She never starts anything unless she has 2 full cones of the yarn the pattern calls for, even if it says she only needs one. And all her questions about what to do if you run out of yarn and how you could stretch it and on and on... well, take this, Cindy! Here’s a lesson on how to salvage a run-short-of-yarn project but you’re going to have to wait for No 48 for all the details!!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Groovy Re-do

From last week...
I told you my daughter wanted her own version of our cover garment from No 47. I had worn it to Winnipeg in mid-September, the last time we met. I left Thunder Bay on the noon flight - it was lovely and warm, the perfect fall day! I wore ‘Groovy’ with dark wash jeans, my ‘Rocket Dog’ wedge sandals that have the cutest black/red/grey print and my charcoal ‘Namaste’ bag as a carry-on over my shoulder. I thought I was looking quite fine if you know what I mean. Laura did too, because when she saw me, she gave me one of those turnaround-lookovers and then said, ‘I want a top just like that!’ She’s a chemical engineer, works in Northern Alberta, says she’s always cold at work and needs to wear a sweater or jacket all the time, even in the office. She thought this would ‘up’ her game a little too, instead of always being very casual. But - and here’s the thing, there’s always a catch - she wanted the same red - no problem, I had a second cone of the same thing - most of the time I like to have two cones of whatever, just in case - and, she would rather have long sleeves - it was totally cute with the short ones, but for her work situation, long sleeves would be better and she would like the buttons/closure to come down a little lower. Hey, that’s no big deal - I even got the same buttons. We are basically the same size, though she is a bit taller than me (like the rest of the world) and her arms are longer.
Now, you might wonder where I get the time to do stuff like this - everyone is always saying they are just so busy, blah, blah, blah. Well, considering this really would be ‘recreational’ knitting for me, it’s not like I would take an entire day to make it although there are probably 6 to 7 hours worth of work in remaking this. I fit in bits and pieces here and there. Because I didn’t have to do any of the experimenting and swatching that usually goes with creating from scratch, on Wednesday afternoon, while I was hanging around waiting for the printers to call back, I cast on for the back and made the hem, thinking I’d have that ready to start next morning. They still hadn’t called back by the time I had finished, so I turned on the laptop, fired up DAK, downloaded the stitch pattern and began knitting the back, exactly same as my original. Sure enough, 35 minutes later, I was removing the first shoulder when they called and I didn’t mind the wait because I had accomplished something.
Next morning, before heading out to my exercise class at 10 am, I made one front, adding the extra stitches for the overlap at RC070, splitting the distance from the original. When I returned, I made the second front, then went off to do mail, bank and run errands. We had an extremely gorgeous day - it got up to about 18C/64F by 3 pm and I couldn’t resist getting in one more cycle for the year.
I had planned to make the long sleeves using the tuck pattern, recharting the sleeve to be a closer fit overall, thinking it would be warmer, but discarded that idea when I realized it might look too bulky. To have a bit of tuck in the sleeve, I made a cuff of 21 rows with the tuck pattern (same as the bottom of the original) which would only be a slight flare at the wrist and made the rest of it in reverse stockinette. Both the sleeves and collar were made yesterday, between exercise class, updating the subscription list, other office work and handing out Hallowe’en treats. Today all that needed to be done was finishing the front edges, seaming sides and underarm, and stitching down the neckband facing - easy, peasy!
Oh, I love the long sleeves!!! It’s too cold here now to wear the original as an outdoor thing... Do I give it to her now or save it for Christmas???she probably forgot all about it - I could wear it, except, I purposely made sure the sleeves would be too long for me...