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!!!


Heather Thompson said...

Mary Anne,
Thank you for this post! It let me come out and admit that I have done this to! Albeit without your experience backing me and your finesse with the machine.

Mary Anne Oger said...

why the heck didn't you tell us??? you're not supposed to keep good secrets like this!!;}

Cerita said...

I too hate that Brother cast-on comb! The darn thing never stays in the knitting. I never used it to cast on when I had my Brother, the first time was enough. After that, I just used the Singer weaving cast-on, knitted really slowly for the first couple of rows, and it worked like a charm.

Brenda said...

I've always preferred the Studio/Silver/Singer/White cast-on combs to any other type of weights I've used and it never occurred to me do do this. My triangle weights just got demoted to the storage drawer.

apenneyrose said...

Mary Anne, As promised to myself, I am starting at the beginning of your blog and working my way through. I met you this past weekend in Truro NS, where you gave a jam packed seminar. I loved it. I knit alone. But just today, I might have encouraged someone to buy a machine and she will only be 40 min away. Nothing like having someone else to vivit to push me to get things done.
Thanks so much for the work you did for the seminar. I can see why the group asks you back! Angela...have fun with the submissions!

Ann said...


I've just tried this...and tried...and tried!! I followed the instructions exactly, but the first row of stitches which the comb goes through seems too tight, even though I've got the tention at the loosest the dial can do - past 10 in fact - and the top tension on loosest too. The first pass of the carriage is very hard to do and just chews up the yarn, I think because the comb can't drop far enough.

I can't think of anything I'm doing wrong, but there must be something!! if there are any ideas out there, I'd be very grateful!

Mnay thanks,