Wednesday, December 28, 2011

working for someone else...

Sometimes being the boss is not always the best thing...but, now, working for someone else, it’s harder when they get to say and make the rules - like, now I have to remember someone else’s abbreviations and preferred spellings, never mind the American spelling!!! Yeah, I’m working on my next article for Knit’nStyle and you know, before, I didn’t have to worry about the min/max thing - I could keep talking/writing until I decided I’d said everything I wanted to say. Now, I have to stay in their guidelines and not go on and on....I had gotten into the habit of doing articles that were 1500 to 2500 words (tell me that’s not too much!) and now I have to keep it preferably under 1000 words (not a lot, really, like barely a page) with, maybe 2 to 4 swatches or photos - apparently the powers that be say that you are not interested in anything over 800 words - they say you lose interest and won’t read any more than that anyway...they also don’t want two-part articles (the reason being that people complain that it makes them buy another issue to get the rest of the story, but I always thought that was a good thing), so I have to pick smaller topics - I am working on a new series of techniques articles, aimed at beginners - the idea is to give 3 or 4 ways of doing something (What?), and then tell you When? and Where? to use Which one , Why? and maybe, Why not? - that I’m calling W-5 -- the first one was on cast-on methods for the LK150 and will be in the next issue, #178, out in late January, I think - this is my second article but I don’t know if they even kept my title or changed it - I was going to do increases and decreases, but quickly realized that I could only address one or the other half decently, so this one is on decreases - my garment for this issue is a raglan, and as they kinda go together... and the increases will have to wait for next time...

Oh, hey, did you notice there was a survey in the last KnS (Feb’12 Issue 177)?? Did anyone fill it out and send it in? You get entered in a draw for a $200 shopping spree and you won’t even have to answer a skill-testing question! You still have until January 31, 2012 to enter - I hope they let me know what the answers are!

Friday, December 23, 2011

back story

I got this cute card from my friend Vickie and I had to share it with you - I laughed and laughed! She is a long time machine knitter who recently decided to learn to hand knit and she’s told me her tales of woe - $80 for the sock class - I think that included the yarn and maybe the needles but don’t quote me on that. I believe it was a 4 week class - she did eventually get the socks knit but also got the ‘need to learn to hand knit’ bug out of her system. She then turned to making socks on the machine from the free patterns I’ve given (LK150, see blog in September and double bed sock pattern at under freebies) and she proudly reports that the LK150 socks are the best slippers she’s ever had!! and she has several pairs under her belt! Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

more slip cord experiments....

I did some more experimenting and used some of the other Slip Cord edges from 'Knitting on the EDGE' by MAO - then I wanted to make something that I could use the original knot loop edge - it should be added to a selvedge instead of open stitches so I made a triangle and added it - the first one didn’t work very well (Berroco Boboli - leftover from KnS#177 project) because my cast-on wasn’t loose enough and it restricted the drop of the triangle and the triangle was a little small- but my second one (see below) came out perfect!!! Looks good from both sides and much easier than the pompoms I’ve seen - have fun, I did!!
Triangular Shawl/Scarf
MACHINE: LK150 mid gauge
YARN: fine alpaca (lace weight, used double stranded).
75-0-75 n’s. Cast on WY and ravel cord. This will be the outside edges of the Vee of the triangle and it needs to be very stretchy or it will shorten up the selvedges. To get a really stretchy cast-on for the main yarn use double e-wrap: Bring n’s out, CAR. Starting at left, loop last needle and take yarn under and around second needle and back into hook of first. Manually knit the stitch back, making extra large stitch. Take yarn under and around third needle, back into hook of second stitch and knit it back large. Continue across to right. Put yarn into feeder. Carefully bring n’s out to make sure everything knits. T7, K2R. ( I knit this very loosely because I wanted it thin and drapey and I knew it would 'full' somewhat when washed and alarger stitch would allow for that). Carriage at right. Set to hold. RC000. Place left side except #1 left to HP. K1R. Place right side except #1 right to HP - 2 n’s in work. Knit to right. *at side opposite carriage, return 1 needle to UWP, K1R*. Without wrapping, repeat from * to * to all n’s in work, RC152, end CAL. Cast off very loosely.
Knot and Loop Edging ( #11 from Knitting on the EDGE by MAO!)
Slip Cord: Set carriage to slip to the left and knit right - LK150, left side lever forward.
1. Cast on 3 sts with WY. Knit several rows.
2. MC, T4, K1R. Set for slip cord. K24R. CAL.
3. Pick up first row in MC and hang on same needles to make loop. Put back stitches behind latches and front set in hooks. Push back on needle butts to knit through.
4. Working from right to left, with knit side facing, pick up selvedge edge (because of the double e-wrap, this is not exact, but just push the 3 prong tool in the edge to pick up whatever, just be consistent), onto another 3 needles to right.
5. Pick up cord sts, place over edge sts and pull through so open sts of cord are in hooks. CAL, bring needles forward to ensure next row knits. Always put empty needles out of work.
6. K30R (loop).
7. Turn shawl to knit side. Poke tool into the selvedge and hang on 3 new n’s to right of cord, leaving about half an inch from last edge pick-up. Put cord sts onto edge needles and knit through. Bring needles out.
8. K24R (knot).
9. Turn shawl to purl side. Pick up cord with transfer tool.
10 . Pull the last loop made (that is already attached - the 30 rows knit in #6), open, bring forward and to the right so you are looking at the purl sts of where you joined it to the edge in #7. Pick up the same edge sts (or as close as you can) that you joined loop with - the joined loop will be under the tool as you are picking up this part - this makes the knot.
Repeat #6 to #10. Always stop with CAL and bring needles out after knitting through so that you get a row of knit stitches after the join.

You will keep moving along needle bed. Every so often, as in #9, move back toward centre of needle bed. Try this out on a solid colour first to get the hang of it and after you know what you’re doing, you’ll be able to eliminate hanging the edge on new needles. Pick up the cord, put a finger over to hold the sts on the tool and go into the edge so the edge is hung first and the sts of cord can be pulled through selvedge...

Monday, December 19, 2011

garter bar practise

I liked the knotted loops so much, I decided to go all in and make an adult scarf!
Knotted Loops Adult Scarf for Mid Gauge by Mary Anne Oger
DK yarn, scarf looks same on both sides and doesn’t curl - not so quick and easy, but fun! Knotted Loop Trim from Mid Gauge Magic by MAO!
Finished size: 6 inch wide; length, approx 44 inches.
Yarn: Misti Alpaca Tonas Silk, DK weight (83% Peruvian Cotton, 17% silk) 100g/337 yds skein
Machine: Mid gauge 6.5mm, LK150 used.
Knotted Loops Edge, 8 stitch repeat.
Make cord: WY, cast on 5 sts. K10R. CAL, break WY. Put CAR, MC, T3. *Set to slip (left side lever forward to circle, so that carriage slips to left and knits to right). Bring needles out past the latches so first row will knit. K42R. Take out MC without breaking and anchor at right side. Put CAL. Cancel slip. WY, K8R. Break WY. Put CAR, rethread MC. Pull up on yarn as you start to knit across so no loop occurs between this and last part of MC knitting*.
Repeat from * to * 4 times more for 5 knotted loops. Remove on WY. Cut MC and make second piece same.
20-0-21 n’s in work. Starting at one side, hang last end of cord, the way it came off machine, on 5 n’s. Remove WY. Make knot in that section, by pulling entire cord through. Hang other end of this 42 row section, putting edge stitch on last needle used. There are 2 stitches on the 5th needle from edge. You will be able to tell which way to turn the cord to hang as the link of yarn between the waste yarn won't allow you to hang it the wrong way. After it is all hung, remove all WY. K1R This is wrong side facing. Bring n’s out, sts behind latches to make sure all knits. MC, T3, K1R.
RC000. *K3R. RTR (remove, turn, rehang). K3R. RTR. K2R. From right, take 3rd and then every other stitch to right for EON lace, empty n’s in work. K3R. RC011*. Repeat these 11 rows for pattern. Knit 300 rows (or more for desired length), ending row 11 of pattern. RTR. K2R. Remove on WY.
To get the knotted loops sitting right for the last end of the scarf, you need to make the knots and then graft the whole thing onto the scarf:
Using second set of cords, hang and make knots same as beginning. MC, T3, K1R. Remove on WY. Putting knit side to knit side of last rows, graft together.

This is really cute!! And it didn’t really take that long, but I do have a mid gauge garter bar... I'm going to have to make another one - this isn't long enough to wrap around neck and have tails hanging in front - need another 50 rows or so for that...measurements from the hand knit pattern must be wrong...or I have a fat neck...

Thursday, December 15, 2011

last minute idea...

I received a hand knit pattern by email yesterday from I guess I’ve ordered yarn from them and they automatically put you on their mailing list and every couple of days, I get a new blurb, glance at it and then delete...anyway, this latest one had a scarf with these knitted balls as an edging. I read the instructions and thought, ‘good luck with that one!’ Although I can hand knit basics, when reading instructions, sometimes it seems like reading Greek to me. Making 7 stitches out of one stitch and knitting a few rows and then decreasing back down to one stitch, repeated across the row sounds a lot easier than it really is after I sorted through it a few times...But I was intrigued with the idea for having a different edging on a scarf. After the edging, there were 2 rows of making eyelets then 3 rows of stockinette, 3 rows of reverse stockinette and this was repeated throughout to make a scarf that was same on each side - nice idea, but I wanted something easier. I was going to make my granddaughter, Rhiana, a scarf to go with her new winter coat - the coat is grey with large, bright pink polka dots and I had some leftover yarn that would be just perfect. I know, my knotted loops edging would be cute added to a quick tube that would make it finished both sides! - Here’s a really quick last minute gift! Make it wider and twice as long, for a grown-up!!

Child’s Tube Scarf for Mid Gauge by Mary Anne Oger
The variegated or space dyed yarn adds lots of colour and the drop stitch technique makes big stitches and large colour blocks. Super easy and super fast! Knotted Loop Trim from Mid Gauge Magic by MAO!
Finished size: 3 inch wide; length, approx 40 inches. This one is child size, meant to wrap around neck once with knotted loop edges hanging in front.

Yarn: Coats & Clark Moda Dea Sassy Stripes, 100% acrylic, 1 - 135 m/50g ball.
Machine: Mid gauge 6.5mm, LK150 used.
Knotted Loops Edge, 8 stitch repeat.
Make cord: WY, cast on 5 sts. K10R. CAL, break WY. Put CAR, MC, T3. *Set to slip (left side lever forward to circle, so that carriage slips to left and knits to right). Bring needles out past the latches so first row will knit. K42R. Take out MC without breaking and anchor at right side. Put CAL. Cancel slip. WY, K8R. Break WY. Put CAR, rethread MC. Pull up on yarn as you start to knit across so no loop occurs between this and last part of MC knitting*.
Repeat from * to * 4 times more for 5 knotted loops. Remove on WY. Cut MC and make second piece same.
20-0-21 n’s in work. Starting at one side, hang last end of cord, the way it came off machine, on 5 n’s. Remove WY. Make knot in that section, by pulling entire cord through. Hang other end of this 42 row section, putting edge stitch on last needle used. There are 2 stitches on the 5th needle from edge. You will be able to tell which way to turn the cord to hang as the link of yarn between the waste yarn won't allow you to hang it the wrong way. After it is all hung, remove all WY. K1R This is wrong side facing. Bring n’s out, sts behind latches to make sure all knits. MC, T3, K1R. From right, transfer 2nd st and then every other to right. Leave empty n’s in work. RC000. Knit 150 rows or until you almost run out of yarn. Save approx 60 inch to seam with. Don’t cut it!
From right, drop second and then every other stitch. Put empty n’s out of work.
Take off on WY, turn and rehang, still on EON. Bring empty n’s to work.
Using second set of cords, hang and make knots same as beginning. T9, K1R. Chain off. Piece will be approx 20 inches long.
Pull on fabric to unladder dropped stitches down to cast-on side.
Use tails to seam fabric into a tube. I found this easiest to do from purl side, taking half outside edge of ‘knot’ stitch of one side to next ‘knot’ stitch on other side. Turn scarf to right side.
CAL (R) - carriage at left (right)
EON - every other needle
K1R - knit 1 row
MAO - Mary Anne Oger
MC - main colour
WY - waste yarn

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

it's better to give...

I feel like such a spoiled little kid - you know, the one who doesn’t want to share...I’ve finished making this ‘Let’s Swing Again’ (KW#44) for my daughter. I always say I’m not a ‘navy’ person and this is French navy wool crepe deluxe and I don’t want to give it to her!! I want to keep it and it’s not like I need it or anything - I’ve already remade it for myself 3 times, so I have the original and the black (see blog, Sep 6/09) and sand dune (see blog June 15/11) - I changed this one up a bit, made the sleeves full-length, added the cuff from ‘Rich Raglan’ and lengthened it by 3 inches and it looks totally different again! I’m going to call her and warn her it’s a limited time offer - she’d better come over and pick it up right away. (what a hard garment to photograph!!)

Thursday, December 8, 2011

time flies when you have excuses...

When I came back from the west coast, what with changing back to standard time too, it took me a long time to get over my jet lag. Then I had some tooth issues and had to go on an antibiotic which of course, I became allergic to - that was another week of grossness, itchyness, not nice. Then my daughter-in-law asked me to go to SeaWorld with her and Nate and Rhiana - I couldn't refuse - another week gone, what can I say? I did my shopping for my Christmas family (instead of stressing out over what to buy my grown-up family, I use that money and sponsor a needy family through Children’s Aid - it’s much more fun) so now, I’m back, ready to knit.
Before going out to CA for Newton’s, I did a remake of ‘Rich Raglan’ (from Serial Stuff 2) in plain black WCD - I specifically made it for my daughter, who has moved back to TBay after being away for 10 years - I have often said I was making something for her - she needs a longer sleeve length than mine, but somehow, after it was done, I never quite managed to get it packed up and sent off to her before I was tempted to wear it once or twice with the sleeves pushed up - well okay, several times, and then I felt like I couldn’t give it to her used...the really funny thing is that I’m now used to over-long sleeves and make them like that for me most of the time...
Anyway, last weekend, I did give her the black RR, unworn - she called me last night to say how much she loved it - it's perfect, fit exactly right, felt great to wear and is breathe-able!!! She likes it so much she wore it two days in a row! Well, if that wouldn’t make one feel worthwhile! The thing was, when she called, I was wearing my own red and black RR! I understand!
So, I now have 4 more projects for her in the queue and the hardest part is going to be deciding what colour to use for which! She likes true colours, more like what you’d find in the winter palette or what I call jewel tones, whereas I prefer off-colours or autumn shades but we are both good with red and black. The line-up: LSA (let’s swing again from No 44) maybe in french navy; Jazzy Jive (Serial Stuff 1) without the box pleat on the sleeve and a regular buttoned closing - I’m thinking poppy; Sophisticate (SS1) with long sleeves; and get this, Granville, just plain , maybe carob - wow, that’s easy - she likes the shape and feel and all, but doesn’t get the texture thing, wants it just plain. I’m not arguing, just plain knitting!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

wonky shoulder...

When knitting stockinette and making a set-in sleeve with shaped shoulders, here’s my tip-of-the-day - add a second row of stockinette after the shortrows. This will get rid of the wobbly line in the seam!
wonky seam
Normally when doing a shaped shoulder, it’s likely that you’re shaping on the last inch of the shoulder to create the slope, so let’s say there are 30 stitches and 6 rows to make the slope. Doing the math, I divide the 30 sts by 4 instead of 3 ( hold 8 sts, 3X = 24 with 6 remaining in work) because there will be nothing left to hold on the last row if you divide by 3. Then when the carriage is back on the appropriate side, cancel hold and knit a row over all to get rid of the wraps before taking the shoulder off on waste yarn - it will be a lot easier to rehang when there is a clean row of stitches on the last row. But, even with switching up the second shoulder and changing where the wraps are, the join or seam line will be wonky. So, I’ve been experimenting on my last few projects and I decided that adding the second row of stockinette hides the shortrows on each side and makes the shoulder line much nicer.
So, do the shortrows, stagger them on the second shoulder if you remember (or not),  and now add a second row of plain  (on both shoulders) before removing on waste. Then to join, rehang, putting right sides together. Pull the front set of stitches through the back ones to make the join and do your cast-off. Nice straight seam line!!
BTW, this only applies to stockinette - don’t do it with a pattern stitch.
For fairisle, shape the shoulder as above and at the end, knit the plain row in the background colour and remove on waste - do both front and back the same. When rehanging, the first shoulder will be knit side facing; hang the last row of stockinette. On the second shoulder, hang the last row of stockinette - it will be much easier than hanging fairisle and then rip out that last row - it will be purl side facing , so this is easy. Now, the last row will be fairisle - it gets pulled through the plain row on the first shoulder and eliminates the stripe - now, cast off... Same thing for tuck or any purl side facing fabric, knit the last row plain and rip out the row on the first side because it will be purl side...

Friday, November 11, 2011

more sleeve issues..

What happens when you don’t swatch? I have the same yarn and it’s my pattern - using the same machine...what can go wrong? Why did I get a ginormous sleeve? So, okay, let’s analyze this. The original yarn was 2.2 Softball cotton and the pattern ‘Opposite Attraction’ was in No 39 KNITWORDS Winter 2006 - the garment is a favourite of mine and I’ve worn the original continuously over the past several years, washing and drying it often. I had a cone of poppy red on my shelf that I’ve been meaning to use and pulled it out yesterday - looked over the pattern, checked my original notes and figured I was ready to go.
Took my own advice and made a sleeve to start - got it finished and think, wow, it looks huge, but the pattern does say that this yarn will shrink a lot and it recommends machine wash and dry, but whoa, this is a really BIG sleeve...since I have no deadlines anymore, I say what the hey? and toss the huge sleeve in the washer/dryer - gosh, it’s still humongous!!! The original called for 29 sts and 50 rows to the 10 cm square and from my ‘cheating at swatches’ yarn marks, this one measures 27 sts and 38 rows after the machine-wash and dry.
I look a little more - the only other time I used this yarn was in the same issue - a tunic top called ‘Hip’ - same tension on this one says the gauge for stockinette is 31 sts and 45 rows - that was a big difference, but this is more...
I check the two yarns again, side by side - it was described as 100% cotton with nylon binder - in the photo, you can see the nylon thread coming off the end of the beige yarn and notice how crinkly the beige one is compared to the red yarn - I think this is the answer...

funny, it’s a discontinued yarn...maybe that says something...anyway, gotta use it up now - second sleeve knit from cheat-swatch numbers...

Monday, October 17, 2011

button tricks

I’m finally getting around to doing the buttons for ‘Granville’ - I wanted 3 or 4 large buttons just at the top but large buttons seem to be very hard to come by unless you have access to a good button shop which I don’t - we’re down to the local Fabricland as virtually the only source for buttons - even Wal-Mart doesn’t  have them any, not much  to choose from. And, when you have an off-colour like this ‘mushroom grey’ it’s really limited. Even discounting the size I wanted, it was tough - pewter was the closest thing, but size-wise the largest I could find were 7/8"/23mm - not big enough. I did find some reasonably-priced large black ones, but they are pretty boring and black buttons would limit what I could wear with it...I had some pearly grey buttons that were big enough and sort of the right colour, but they're really ugly and cheapened the finished look...what to do?
What to do? I didn’t want to wait for my next trip out of town to maybe get lucky, so I put two buttons together! The trick - line up the holes for sewing, of course and with my trusty, hot-glue gun, put a dab of glue on the bottom button, press the top one in place and hold for a second or two...
Most buttons are not totally flat, either top or bottom and, the bit of wax/glue makes a cushion between - what I did was...on a piece of Styrofoam, pin the buttons with two darning needles to align the holes and hold the buttons in place. Angle the needles out slightly so the top button can be pulled up to apply the glue and then quickly press down to flatten and set. If you mess up, it let cool completely and use a flat blade to pry apart, pick the glue off and try again...

Thursday, October 13, 2011

told ya I was fickle...

Today, I’m test knitting the next POM for November - it’s a raglan cardigan - so my favourite tool today is the adjustable 7-prong tool. The raglan shaping is emphasized by using a wider decrease - I like the outlined 6 to 5 - yes, it is a little more work, but after all - most of us are knitting for ourselves and if you’re not going to do the best for yourself, who’s going to? And if you’re making it for someone else, you should still be doing the best!
I’m actually making this one for my daughter - yeah, I know, there’s been quite a few times when I said that and she never actually got the sweater, but now she lives here and she reads this, so she’ll know... also, she’s a bit taller than me and needs a longer sleeve, so I’m working that (but it is quite nice even with the sleeves pushed up)... making it in black WCD - I already have a new black WCD cardigan and tank - that lace remake of the cover of No 20 that I did a few weeks back, so I don’t actually need another black WCD cardigan, but this is a really nice design...
Anyway, back to the decreases and tools...the decrease is what I call ‘outlined 6 to 5' which means that from the edge, pick up #6, put on #5 and then move the last 5 in one space. The decrease is on the fifth needle from the edge and by putting the decreased stitch (#6) down first, it outlines or emphasizes the decrease. So, it is very helpful to have a 5-prong tool to move the 5 stitches in one space at one time, rather than having do it with a 3-prong and a 2-prong. I do have this 5-prong tool that someone gave me - I decided to give it a try, instead of my usual adjustable 7-prong... used it for the back and cripes! talk about feeling like I had 2 left hands or something...I kept getting hung up on one needle or worse, dropping the doubled stitch - I did not remember this being such a pain on my original red and black.
Went out to my Zumba class and thought about it - came back, got out the 7-prong tool and compared them - well, the tips of the 7-prong are nice and flat and they are relatively flexible. The 5-prong is very stable but the ends are thick and not as nicely tapered...
Changed to the 7-prong, with 2 pushed in, of course, and whipped up both the fronts, not a snag or dropped stitch in either piece!
Just a simple trick with the adjustable tool, after you select the needles or arrangement you want, press the prongs on a flat surface to even them out and holding flat, tighten the screw to hold them in place. This will align the prongs and make the transfers go much smoother!
Boy, I must have been upset - can’t find that 5-prong thing anywhere!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

one of my favourite things...

When someone asks me what my favourite of anything is, I usually say whatever I’m currently using and it changes frequently - does that make me fickle? Or indecisive? I don’t think so - I just like to like lots of different things... Anyway, I thought I’d share my current favourite tool with you and, coming off the intensely ribbed garment that ‘Granville’ turned out to be, maybe you can guess - aw, it’s okay, I’ll just tell you - it’s my special DETT - that stands for double eye transfer tool - you get one with your ribber and it’s used to transfer stitches from the main bed to the ribber or vice versa. Now, you may not know this, but not all DETTs are created equal and I don’t mean for different gauges - I have a small collection of these little gems - here’s a scan of 4 of them, all for standard gauge - check out the shapes of the tip (some are more pointed and if you happen to drop a stitch, the narrower, flatter tip makes it much easier to snag that l’il bugger before it gets away); the size of the hole and how close it is to the end ( the smaller hole closer to the end tends to hang up on the hook of the needle); some have a groove running from the tip, through the hole and out the other side; and on my favourite, notice the flat spot in the centre of the tool. I love this thing!! The others are all a round rod with the ends flattened. The flat spot on this one seems to stick in your fingers better and makes the flipping of stitches that much quicker because the tool is not rolling on you. So, next time you’re going out to a seminar where they may have Passap tools for sale, look for one of these - that’s where I got it from, a Passap dealer - Newton’s may have them - I’m going to call ahead and reserve a few extras...

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Here’s me - impressed!

I’ve almost finished up ‘Granville’ - the knitting anyway - still have to darn in a few ends, do the buttons (that was holding me up - deciding what to do or use) and give the final wash, dry and press, but speaking of press, I’m so impressed!! This thing is so pretty and the details!! Worth every second I’ve spent on it! I’ll do the final and give you a photo later in the week. This one is for me!! The current issue of Knit’nStyle finally arrived - impressed again! My ‘Cable Gal’ hoodie looks really nice - the photos in the magazine do it justice and they had enough space to put 5 photos - count ‘em, FIVE - oh wait, the one on the back page is a repeat of the large one... maybe it’s just a new format - some of the other patterns got 4 different views can check back in this blog (July 8, 2011 - a true oxymoron) and see my flat photo - the hood turned out really great and they - KnS - have a couple of good shots of it - I’m so proud - the editor just forwarded me an email she received from a reader (she did put her real name):
Subject: Mary Anne Oger's patterns
Hurray for you! I love the addition of Mary Anne Oger's machine patterns included in the magazine. Although I do knit some sweaters, I also love to interpret them onto the machine. The articles inspired me to purchase yet another machine, the LK150, which Mary Anne is so fond of. I used to get her "Knitwords" magazine and miss them, but am so happy you brought her on board. Pls include more. The pattern in this new issue of the alpaca cable sweater is fabulous!
Thanks again,
CH, Montana
The time line is still hard for me to adjust to - I am sending off my next garment today and you won’t see it until #178 which is due out late January - I promised them a beginner series but decided to add a few extra details for the more adventurous knitter - the yarn is City Tweed DK from Knit Picks and I love it - the colour (it's actually a little darker than this photo, called 'desert sage'), the tweed, the blend (55 merino wool, 25 superfine alpaca and 20 donegal tweed) good yardage (50g-123 yds) and really good value - completed the finished chest 36" garment, swatches and some left over with 10 balls - you’ve got it! I’m impressed, again!
OMG, I just realized, I think this is the first pullover I’ve made in over a year and you know it’s not for me...

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

time out!

And here’s another lesson...when do you rip out and when do you abandon ship? I was on the second front, totally big-headed and over-confident after such success - 4 pieces perfectly executed and here I am on RC037, carriage on the left and going to bring up the needles to create the loop for the cables on the next row and I look at my cheat sheet and I need to be at RC039 to be doing this, but I know I am about to knit the sixth row...something’s wrong...I drop one side of the bed and recount - yes, this will be the sixth row, but I can’t see any further. So, do I rip out 6 rows and hope for the best? No, the mistake must be below that, because it looked okay. Now, I have 20 minutes on this piece - ripping out (which I hate!!) and un-cabling 12 rows will likely be at least 20 minutes and I still won’t be at the problem...Answer - cut your losses, drop it from the machine and start over. Turns out, it was a good call, my FIRST error was 18 rows down...cabled the wrong side and then had only 4 rows to the next cable...

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

'Granville' notes

Yesterday I made the back and it’s beautiful! Even though it seems like a lot of cabling - 320 turns, actually, on the back - it went fairly quickly and I had the back done in about 3 hours with a few breaks. As I was working, I was considering whether I’d make the vertical opening front pockets. My confidence was saying, oh, yes, do it!! After I got the back off and steamed, I could hold it up and re-evaluate the situation (one of reasons for making the back before the fronts). Holding it up in front of me and looking in the mirror, I could tell that with the weight of this finished fabric, the pockets would be too much and possibly add bulk in a place that I don’t need or want it. I could see they were not needed , especially now that I’ve changed this into a indoor-weight jacket.
Some things for you to think about before it’s too late...
My braided cables are turned every 6 rows, so make a quick cheat sheet and hang it right in your face - I set mine up so that the right hand cable row number was on the right side and the left side number is for the left turn. And it is a 3X2 turn, similar to half of the cable from Dream Coat, so on the row before the cable is turned, bring up the empty rib needle that is between the 3 & 2 of the cable to make an extra loop of yarn to make the cross of the cable easier and be sure to put it out of work after you drop the loop. If, inadvertently, a not-required rib needle gets into work and stays there without you noticing, don’t just drop the stitch - it will make an elongated line of stitches that will show - you can of course rip back, but I don’t bother - get real, this is ribbed !!! I just transfer the stitch to the main bed and put the needle out of work - this will show on the back side of the knitting, but won’t affect the front...
Begin and end the cables on the 4th row of the sequence, so think about where it will end at the top, before you have to transfer sts to the main bed.
The stitch gauge for the stockinette yoke is slightly different than the cable piece, so make up the difference when doing that RTR at the top of the cables, before you set up for the yoke. Also, I used the stockinette gauge for my sleeve because it only had the one cable in it.
Weighting your pieces...On the back, I had 3 large ribber weights across the bottom, after the first 3 rows of the cast-on and I added a claw weight to each side and moved these up every 20 rows or so. For the sleeve and the front, one large ribber weight and the claw weights managed fine - most people tend to over-weight, IMO anyway...but, I do tend to babysit my rib work - I use my right hand to pass the carriage and with my left hand, I move the fabric back, beneath the rib bed, at the same time, watching for the odd tucked stitch which will happen, predominantly at one side or on the second row after the cable...

Saturday, September 24, 2011

a sleeve pandemic

I’ve got 3 sleeves done...let me explain...actually, the first one was chocolate brown and took forever! Now, the sleeve is supposed to be purl stitches background with a single, braided, knit-stitch cable running up the centre of it. For the body of the garment, on my swatches, the cables are on the main bed and the purl stitches are on the rib bed (side away is right/outside), so it made sense to do the same thing for the sleeve. Actually, let me back up a bit again.
Often, I start by making the sleeves of a garment - for a couple of reasons. First, when trying out new techniques, it is usually easier to master new stuff on the sleeve rather than the back which is a whole big, piece. The sleeve, being smaller, allows you to work out the quirks of the technique or the design without it being a major deal, like for example, figuring out how to change from one needle arrangement to the next, between the cuff area and the main part. And if it doesn’t go well, not too much is lost, time-wise. And if you do make a few changes, it will be less obtrusive on the sleeve and you can usually get away with minor stuff.
So, I was using the chocolate brown and though I did get a perfect sleeve off, it took forever. Turns out that shaping on the rib bed is much more time consuming than if you were working the other way around. My end stitches were on the ribber, so the increases and sleeve cap shaping were all ribber stitches. I did shortrow some of the sleeve cap, but it was tricky. I was going to make the second sleeve in brown, the other way, using the main bed for the purl stitches and the rib bed for the cable (side facing is right side), but when I looked at the finished chocolate brown sleeve I decided that with this much work involved, I wanted people to be able to see the detail from more than 6 inches away!
I switched back to the mushroom grey and whipped off 2 perfect sleeves with the cable done on the ribber in half the time!
Funny how things come back to haunt you - I remember once saying that I’d never turn cables on the rib bed....turns out, it was quite easy...
I know, I know...remind me later to tell you how to re-use that chocolate brown, after all, it is real wool crepe deluxe!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

caught stealing again...

 I’m back home and re-bonding with my metal bed machine - swatching madly...I saw the cutest jacket/cardigan - by the way, what’s the difference? What makes it a jacket? What makes it a cardigan? Anyway, this knitted thing that opened in the front - I tried it on and loved the style but it was made out of junk (in my opinion) but with a price tag of $79, I guess, what do you really expect? So I studied it and tried to commit to memory the details and when I got home, dashed off a sketch - I really wish I had learned to draw properly but at least I can sort of put down enough stuff to help remember the real thing - I don’t have a cell phone and I’ve never worked up enough nerve to carry my digital camera, so I have to rely on this method...


The jacket - it did seem heavy enough to be more like an outdoor-weight and with the big collar, I’ve now decided it was a jacket/coat - had tons of stuff going on, but it all came together. It was a dark charcoal tweedy yarn and I put it on with a black pencil skirt and even with bare legs, I thought I looked okay and of course, the clerk, hoping to make sales is telling me how stunning I look - who wouldn’t believe her? In my mind’s eye, I’m narrowing the bottom of the sleeve and, thinking the hem is sort of bulky - it was 1X1 rib, folded under, doubled, to add weight to it, maybe, but to someone as discerning as moi, it was crude - I could do better...and forget the outdoor version, I’m going to use Wool Crepe Deluxe and work on changing the big collar...
So, with my swatches, working first on the hem, I did full needle rib and then went to 1X1 on main bed only - now, how to get to the
9 X 8 wide rib without too much trouble? Some experimenting with bringing needles back to work quickly - I think I have it worked out by the 4th swatch...then, trying cables - Here, I chose 9 sts for the knit part where I was doing 3X3X3 braided cable, making the cables every 4 rows - too much work and too tight and with bringing up the extra needle on the rib bed on the row before, it makes too big a loop that shows...

Next swatch, change up the rib and have the 1X1 part knitting only every other row - nah, that’s not what I want -
8X7 needle arrangement works better, but 6 rows between elongates the cables out too much.
No 3 swatch:  narrowed the cast-on and went back to 1X1 look for hem, tried 3 different cables - too much going on and I lost track...

No 4 - changed colour, tried a racking cast on (yes!) , did my own braided cable 3X2X3 and by gosh I think I’ve got it!! See you in the ribber class at Newtons!!!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Heads Up...

Crochet-Look Skullcap (revised from KW#26)
If you hate the ‘c’ word or are just crochet-impaired like me, you’ll love this! Some great stuff, even if you don’t want a skull cap. Take time to do a few swatches and experiment. A little manual knitting on the machine to make different size stitches across same row; lace made with shortrows; a bit of every-other-needle tucks and eyelets; a few RTR’s (remove, turn and rehang) to get the purl side showing for a few rows and you’ll be amazed at the crochet-look your knitting machine can produce!
Machine: 6.5mm. Silver Reed LK150 was used. Finished size, head measures 55 cm/21.5 in.
Yarn: Rowan Calmer, 74% cotton, 26% polyester, 1 - 50g/175yds ball.

45-0-46 n’s to work. Using MC double stranded, loosely chain across. Anchor last loop on end needle. Single strand, T4, K1R.
Manually knit next row, one tight stitch, 5 very loose (Put yarn into hook of needle and pull needle back to A position); repeat across row, ending with one tight stitch.
The 5 big stitches now need to be gathered and put on centre needle of each group. Starting at right side, manually knit very small stitch in end needle. Next 2 n’s are empty. Bring out and wrap them one at a time. Knit small stitch through all 5 loops on next n and then another very small st again to ‘tie’ it up; wrap next 2 empty n’s, individually. Repeat across to left side.
T5, K1R. Wrong side/purl side is facing.
Tucked Eyelets: RC000. CAR.
T9, K1R. Set to hold. From second needle from left, bring EON (every other needle) to HP (hold position).
T5, K3R. Cancel hold. Carefully bring all n’s to D position (to make sure they all knit).
K1R. Beginning with third stitch from left, transfer to EON, picking up untucked stitch onto tucked stitch, empty needles in work.
T9, K1R. T5. Set to hold. Bring EON (loops) to HP.
T5, K3R. Cancel hold and bring all n’s out. K2R. RC011.
RTR (Remove, turn, rehang). Repeat 11 rows of Tucked Eyelets.
Shortrowed lace, 2 sts and 3 rows across: Set to hold. Bring all n’s to hold. At carriage side, return 3 n’s to work. K4R. Return next 2 n’s at carriage side to work. K1R. Put first 3 n’s to HP. K3R. Bring next 2 n’s to work, K1R. Put last 2 in hold. Repeat across row, doing 4 rows on last one. Cancel hold. K2R.
RTR. Outside is now facing.
Repeat 11 rows of Tucked Eyelets.
RTR. Inside is facing. Repeat 11 rows of Tucked Eyelets.
RTR. CAR K1R. Set to hold. Bring EON to HP. K3R. Cancel hold. T9, K1R. RTR. Inside of hat facing you now.
Repeat Shortrowed Lace, 2 sts and 3 rows.
RTR. K1R. Outside is now facing. Decrease 15 sts evenly spaced across row. This is every sixth stitch.
To do this:
Starting at right side, pick up 4th stitch and move to 3rd needle. Count over and pick up next 6th stitch (leaving 5 in work) and move to right, all across row. Put empty n’s out of work. MC, K1R. Remove on WY or garter bar. Bring 30-0-46 n’s to work and rehang.
RTR. Wrong side of hat facing.
Shortrow lace, 3 sts and 5 rows across the row: Set to hold. Bring all n’s to hold. At carriage side, return 4 n’s to work. K6R. Return next 3 n’s at carriage side to work. K1R. Put first 4 n’s to HP. K5R. Bring next 3 n’s to work, K1R. Put last 3 in hold. Repeat across row, doing 6 rows o last 3 n’s.. Cancel hold. K1R.
RTR. K1R. Transfer to EON. K2R. RTR.
Dec 24 sts across row. That is every third stitch to 6-0-46 n’s. K1R.
Repeat Shortrow lace 2 sts and 3 rows across sequence. K2R.
Shape Crown: transfer to EON. Put empty n’s out of work. K2R. 26 sts. Remove and rehang, decreasing every third stitch (i.e. 1 st; 2 together; 1 st; 2 together, across row) to 0-17 sts. K2R.
Transfer to EON. Put empty n’s out of work. T3, K1R. Rehang again, decreasing every other stitch. T3, K1R. Cut yarn leaving 24 inch tail for seaming. Thread tail in blunt end needle and remove remaining stitches, tie off.
Seam to form  into hat/touque/whatever. Darn in ends.
Feel free to use this pattern for personal use and maybe mention where you got it, thanks!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

baa, baa, black sheep...

On Thursday, two days ago, I went to a yarn shop here in Vancouver. My sister asked me to make her a hat like the ‘crochet-look skullcap’ from KW#26, so I figured, okay, least I can do, right? Check on the internet for LYS and find ‘threebagsfull’ not too far away. Go in and look around - the original yarn was a Debbie Bliss wool and cotton that, of course, is long gone. I found a Rowan yarn called ‘Calmer’, a cotton/polyester blend that I think will work, hoping that one ball would do it - I forgot to check the pattern before I left. Even though this one has good yardage, the sales clerk talks me into getting 2 balls, telling me I can return the second one for an in-store credit if I don’t need it. We had enough of a conversation for me to tell her I was making a lacy-type skullcap and she even let me take 3 colours out to the car for Marnie to choose which she wanted. She does choose the one I thought, sort of a plum shade, and I come back in, get the 2 balls and go to the woman at the cash register and it’s like $35 - yikes!!! Sticker shock or what! But it’s for a good cause. So I come back here and knit away and soon realize that this yarn, being much softer than the original, needs about 2-3 inches added to the depth for it to work. I have a part of the first ball left to work with and I begin again - I don’t want to unravel my first attempt just yet, because I can use it to figure where and what to add. I get it well underway and know what I need to do before I have to undo the first one to finish up - figuring I can take the other ball back and exchange it for the next colour choice and make a second one.
Now, today is Saturday. I go back to 3bagsfull and there’s something happening at the store. There’s a dude at the door handing out big green shopping bags - a sale, apparently...and a line-up around this small store, customers waiting to check out with their green bags. I say to the girl at the till that I just want to exchange this ball for another colour and she says okay - I hand her the original ball - the receipt is tucked into the ball band and I go and quickly grab the new colour. She says ‘wait a minute’ and she starts doing something on the computer and I figure she’s having to adjust for inventory so I wait and then she gives me $3.35 back in change with a new receipt and tells me it’s now on sale...I walk out of the store, saying to myself, G, someone could have told me 2 days ago that they were having a big 20% off sale today...doncha think? Or do they have enough customers already?

Friday, September 9, 2011

Freebie for mid gaugers

I was playing around with this nice sock yarn and decided that the LK-ers should have socks too - I thought they turned out pretty good - they are a little heavier (thicker) than I would wear with shoes but they are nice to wear around the house insteads of slippers or to wear with sport sandals - and there are a lot of good techniques for beginners! Try them out!
LK150 Socks
Ankle sock, knit flat, with heel and toe shortrowed. Stitches are grafted over top of toe. Seamed on one side to make a neat, one piece sock.
MACHINE: 6.5mm flat bed, sample made on Silver Reed LK150. 
Level - Beginner
YARN: Plymouth Yarns, Happy Feet DK,
90% superwash wool, 10% nylon; 100g/262 yds.
GAUGE: Stockinette, T3, 22 sts and 35 rows to 10 cm/4 inches.
SIZE: Ladies 7.5, med-wide foot. Adjust as necessary for your correct sizing.
1. 26-0-26 n’s. Cast on waste yarn. T3, knit several rows, ending carriage at right. Ravel cord, K1R.
2. RC000. MC, hold 24" tail (use to seam side later), K19R, ending CAR.
3. Shape heel. Set to hold - russell levers both to l. Bring all left of 0 to D (hold position). RC000. Working on needles at right of 0 only, at carriage side, bring 1 needle to hold, K1R, 16X to 10 needles in work. RC016.
4. Reverse shaping. At side opposite carriage, return 1 needle to C (upper working position), K1R, 16X, ending CAR. RC032.
5. Cancel hold by returning russell levers to ll. Reset RC000. At centre, pick up heel stitch (purl bump of row below) from #1 left ( the held stitch) and hang on #1 right to fill in hole from shortrowing. K1R. All needles back in work. Knit to RC050 (or desired length), ending CAR.
6. Remove left side on waste yarn: set to hold. Remove MC and set aside without cutting. Place right of 0 to hold. Thread up waste yarn and K6-8R on left side and drop from machine.
7. Place carriage at right. Rethread MC and shape toe by repeating step 3 and 4. Measure out MC 4X width of needles in work to leave tail of MC (to graft toe) and remove on waste yarn.
To finish top with stockinette roll: rehang cast-on side, purl side facing. T2, K14R. T9, K1R. Chain off stitches.
To finish top with 1X1 rib: rehang cast-on side with knit side facing, have an uneven number of stitches. T3, K14R. T9, K1R. Drop every other stitch for 15 rows -down to the beginning of the knit stitches and reform with latch tool, then chain off - this will make a ribwise cast-off.
Make sock for right foot, opposite to above, exchanging right and left, so seams face each other on inside of foot.
Graft toe stitches.
Try my modified mattress stitch to seam sock. This makes a very neat, flat, almost invisible seam with no ridge inside. Thread yarn into bodkin. Working from knit side, go into half outside edge on one side, across to corresponding row on opposite side; move up one row on same side; across into stitch one row above previous stitch on same side; up one row on same side, across, etc. Or another way to put it, go from the knot on one side to the loop on opposite, up into the knot on same side, across to loop, etc.
To adjust for size, use one or two less stitches each side for a narrower width and  add/subtract 3 to 4 rows per half size in length before making the toe part.

Sunday, August 28, 2011


The New Pattern of the Month subscription available now! See it at It's a new standard gauge set of patterns for Serial Stuff.
The subscription means that you pay $15 in advance and then each month for the next 3 months (September, October and November) you will get the new pattern with the techniques article emailed to you. The subscription can be purchased from now until September 30, 2011. It’s easy to get it from our website, using Paypal OR visa or mastercard through Paypal.
If that doesn’t work for you, you can send a check/cheque or money order, along with the order form (found at the bottom of the bookstore/back issues page - click on the appropriate icon and print out the order form).
The pattern for September is ‘Lacey Blue’ which is the standard gauge version of ‘Two Step’ that I’ve talked about previously - it is the same stitch pattern as in ‘Two Step’ but using the lace carriage to do the work instead of manually transferring the stitches. The accompanying article has lots of techniques for the lace carriage, for both Brother and Silver Reed, including shortrowing and how to deal with patterning at the edges. I made mine using Bonita from Knitcraft - it’s a 100% mercerised cotton - if you can’t find it from your local dealer or online, contact me at
For October, the pattern is ‘TuckRib Cardi’, a double bed long cardigan which is a version of my Suva Dress that I wore in Portland at Pacifically Passap Plus, with a bonus pattern for little girls , sized 4 to 10 yrs - see Rhiana’s in the post from July 5 -‘you’ll love this’. I included this because if you’ve never knit a tuck rib, it’s a nice way to ease into it before tackling the adult version and there are great, new ‘putting together on the machine’ tricks that you can try out on the small version, then decide which method to use on the good one.
November’s pattern is a raglan, another cardigan/ of course!!
Oh and we have other new stuff on the website - a new freebie - my circular sock pattern is set up as a pdf for you to download - we’ve updated a few other things - take a look around and come back often!

Friday, August 26, 2011

window shopping...

Went out for a quick look on Granville Street and saw what looked liked a fairisle machine knit sweater from the early ‘80's - back then, someone had given Princess Diana a red sweater with white sheep marching back and forth and there was one black sheep. It became all the rage and duplicate sweaters showed up all over England, both hand-knit and machine-knit. I did see some of these machine-knit in fairisle with huge, long floats all over the inside. I knew an English lady, Muriel, who used to custom knit for a ‘bloke’. She lived on a farm in England and, to earn some extra money, she did sewing, alterations and machine knitting for the man who owned the local sewing shop. He would provide her with the yarn, the punchcards and the pattern written out in whatever sizes he wanted and she’d knit up the blanks or pieces and deliver them on her next trip to town. He had someone else to do ‘the making up’ or finishing work of seaming and cut’n’sew neckline. Although she made many of these sheep pieces, she never learned to properly make a complete sweater and was afraid of necklines! He only taught her what she needed to know to do his jobs.
Anyway, back to the sweater here, it had rows of white foxes (I think) going back and forth and then, at the bustline, there was a full row of black sheep going was enough to catch my attention and make me go in to investigate. Don't get me wrong - it was pretty yuccky! It was a fine to standard gauge weight made with a harsh scratchy wool and had a cut'n sew neck with a button placket on one shoulder (making me think they didn't know how to do necklines either!) but, I was surprised to see that on  the inside, it was made like I did with Marnie’s ‘DogON’ cardigan from KNITWORDS No 44.
Marnie's had some lettering, some plain stockinette rows and some rows of fairisle with furry yarn that caused some trouble. I used a variety of tricks to deal with the long floats and particularly, I found that switching to a method I call semi-jacquard did the job for the fairisle rows - most importantly, did not alter the gauge or the thickness of the fabric.
Semi-jacquard can be introduced anywhere in the garment without too much trouble. Bring up the rib bed and use only every 5th or 6th needle on the rib bed, set to knit on every other row only, providing a good method of tying up the floats. The knit carriage is set to slip/jacquard and the rib bed is set to knit only every other row, therefore a vertical line is not made on the front of the fabric which an every row rib stitch would make. I manually changed the yarn which I felt was quicker and simpler than setting up the yarn changer. For more on this, look in No 44, ‘making a theme sweater’...
I forgot to look at the tag and see where that fox and sheep thing was made...
Anyway, if you google ‘Princess Diana’s sheep sweater’, you’ll get lots of variations...that's were I scooped the princess sweater photo...

PS. My LK made it safely, everything’s intact. The girls at Westjet in Thunder Bay got a big kick out of my gun case and they loved the ‘I (heart) Machine Knitting’ sticker. Coming soon, an LK version of socks!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Other news...

I will be at Newton’s Fall Festival in Anaheim, CA, October 28-30, 2011 - they have 3 days of classes! Keep checking their website at for the list of classes and what else is going on - and I’ll have new stuff to show off - I’ve been working hard all summer on some new Serial Stuff for the standard gauge - keep watching here for more details.
I just got an email:
Hi Mary Anne,
Thought you’d like to know about our club’s entries in the Wisconsin State Fair this August in the machine knitting garment category. Lori K won 1st for a MAO pattern from the cover of Knitwords No. 51, I won second with the pattern from the cover of KW #53 (boy, was that a challenge!) and Jean G. won 4th with a MAO pattern from your 3 patterns sold separately, I think the one called Reddyware for the mid gauge.
So, the bottom line is -- keep those patterns coming! - Mary H in WI
Congratulations Ladies! It’s a deal - you keep knitting and I’ll keep writing!
Another booking, I’ll be in Broomfield, CO, May 5, 2012 for a one day seminar for the local club - watch my website for details later.
An update with Knit’nStyle - I do have a new contract for the coming year, per issue, for an article and pattern on the LK150 - I will be working from a more beginner/techniques angle - in the last issue of Knitwords, I had the start of a series called W5 - what? when? where? which? why? - the idea was to give 3 or 4 methods of doing something, (for example cast-ons) and then tell you when and where to use which one, why and why not. The garments will reflect some of the techniques in the article. I will not be doing any mk translations of other people’s designs - I found it created more trouble and confusion for me than it was worth.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

have gun case, can travel...

I’m packing to go west and I have this nice little gun case that is perfect for my LK150 - I bought it a long time ago - they used to be available at Wal-Mart in the USA, but someone told me they are no longer there - I did check on-line and this one is still available in Canada anyway - at Canadian Tire, of course! 
This one is the perfect size for my stock LK150 - it is almost the exact size of the original box - I’m a box saver, what can I say! I’ve been pushing the envelope to see what I can really pack into this thing...getting all the essentials plus whatever else will fit in.

When I got the gun case, I cut away the ‘egg carton’ portions to make it fit (click on the photo and it will enlarge) - notice one side is almost all cut away and on the other side, I just made a slot for the width of the carriage.
So in goes the machine, the hanger combs are underneath the bed and all the little bits, like claw weights, 2 row counters, tension mast, clamps, etc are around the edges - it all looks good, but I need something to knit, so might as well see how much yarn will fit - it should compress when I attempt to close - ah! good, enough for a garment project and a couple of skeins of sock yarn from Plymouth Yarns to experiment with - the wool winder, some waste yarn and my tool kit can go into my suitcase - I’ll let you know how I make out at the airport on Monday. I have some electrical tie wraps to ‘lock’ it but I’ll see if I can do that after they check it in security...

Monday, August 8, 2011

a black hole?

I have just put the buttonHOLE band (in BLACK) on for the third time...I should say I have re-knit the entire thing with 7 - count ‘em, SEVEN!!! buttonholes - like completed one whole band, attached it with a garter bar - remember, I’m talking black at T5 - didn’t like it, picked it off; made the second one, attached it, darned in the freaking ends - still didn’t like it, unpicked it off...same problem as with the first one! My newest, totally awesome, bound-looking buttonholes have a problem with a loose thread on one side...and I couldn’t figure out what I was doing that caused it...well, finally on the third time, I realized that when I was casting off the stitches, beginning on the right, after transferring the 2nd stitch to the 3rd needle, I was wrapping the yarn, coming from the right, under the needle and then into the hook from the left side - almost like wrapping the needle first, instead of just taking the yarn from the right and putting it directly left into the hook to cast off the next stitches - this little 'faux pas' was making a looser stitch that was really noticeable (to me anyway) after it was all done and off the machine - but, the good news! - if you were actually casting off stitch by stitch and needed it a bit looser - this would work! who knew? oh, don’t answer that....

Here's the buttonhole instructions from Simple-icity:
Buttonhole band. As for button band, making 7 buttonholes spaced as desired, as follows:
Cut a 3 yd length (3X width of n’s in work) of MC and set aside. As for button band, to RC007. Bring out 4 n’s for each buttonhole (for 20mm/7/8 inch button). Make a note of needle numbers. Ravel cord, knit by hand the buttonhole sts, leaving n’s in work. K7R. RC014. Fold row, T10, K1R. Knit to RC022. Bring buttonhole n’s slightly forward. Pick up sinker loops of MC (above ravel cord - there are 5). Place on n’s above, starting one needle to right of noted n’s. With extra piece of MC, from right, knit sts on first n, leave it in place. Knit next doubled stitch, then transfer it to left, leaving empty n. Repeat on next 3 n’s, to 4 empty n’s. After last transfer, knit and leave in place to anchor end of hole. Carry extra yarn to next buttonhole and do all buttonholes in this manner. Go back to right with extra yarn, chain across empty n’s (in hooks), anchoring yarn by wrapping on either side of buttonhole. The extra strands will be encased in the band. Pick up sts below ravel cord, hang on previously empty n’s. Pull out ravel cord. Pull loops through chain. On each side of buttonhole, wrap next stitch/needle and bring all n’s out, pushing work behind latches. Knit to RC029 and finish as for button band, attaching to right side of garment.
I could show you how nice it looks in black, but you’d just have to take my word for it! I'll tell you later what the band was being attached to....

Saturday, July 30, 2011

pet peeves...

Doncha just hate it when you make a swatch with some lovely natural fibre but you’ve used an acrylic/nylon for the waste yarn and when you go to press/iron (one of the real reasons why I use said fibre) the freakin’ acrylic marker row melts onto the iron!  *#?&%*
Visible gum chewers - at a seminar - think about it - do you chew with your mouth open, gum snapping and popping and the occasional spit ball escaping? How attractive is that? I get a headache just watching you - and you’re sitting right in front, apparently hanging on every word I say and I’m trying not to stare at you, hoping you don’t choke, and still trying to concentrate on staying on topic!! arrgh!!!
Working with a variegated yarn that is supposed to be dye-lot-ed and every piece looks different....
Making something when you have 2 - 500g cones of the same colour, same dye lot and you only need like 50g of the second cone - what are you going to do with that leftover 450g???
Attempting to make something out of the 450g cone and you run out on the last sleeve - bummer!!!
People who email with a question and then don’t even acknowledge the answer, never mind say thank you....
People who email with a stupid question with not enough information for me to answer... and then wait 5 days to reply to me and don’t include the first part of the question....
Trying to be politically correct- yeah, I know, you’re laughing at that one!!!
Those automatic checkouts at the grocery store....
Shade cards/colours of yarns on websites - how useless!
Underarm deodorant that promises to be invisible - yeah, right - and then it doesn’t even do the first job properly!
People who re-use waste yarn! what the heck is that all about? I know you have more yarn than you can ever possibly use in any way...
People who call me Mary...
People who don't really get me....

Monday, July 25, 2011

what's in a number?

When I’m at a seminar, I usually advise people to purchase a new needle number strip for their machine - well, actually I tell them that I use a strip from a punch card machine - why? because I find it easier to position my stitch patterns on the machine from the punch card strip. On electronic machines, they just give you the centre and then count the 10’s out to the edges. It’s like you’re supposed to know everything. And I guess the real reason for this is that on an electronic machine, the stitch repeat can be virtually any number and it can be positioned to start anywhere you want. On a 24-st punch card machine the 24 stitch repeat is set across the needle bed, centring the 24 stitches at zero, between 12 left and 12 right and it cannot be changed. On punch card machines, the needle strip has not only the 24-st repeats laid out across the needle bed, but the halves are marked as well, so, you can very easily see where the pattern match will be at the edges or at the centre and you can decide to add a few extra stitches (or less) to make that match. It also has a nice little inverted vee above #21 on each side to remind you when making a tension swatch that’s the needle to hang the yarn mark on! It doesn’t get much better!!
The past few things I’ve made on my electronic Silver Reed, I’ve had a hard time figuring out where to put things and I realized that the ‘0’ is worn off my top strip - looking a little closer, the strip on the ribber is in tatters!! It’s not that important, but it would be nice to have an even edge on it!!
I changed mine - what a treat!
Make sure to get the proper one for your brand of machine - they differ slightly between Silver Reed and Brother - although they are interchangeable and you could use either one and it wouldn’t really matter, if you’re used to the Brother strip, the number is in a slightly different position from Silver Reed as the SR number is on the outside of the needle (away from zero) and on Brother, the number  is 2 digits, one on either side of the needle. The Brother 970 has yellow on one side and green on the other and I’ve always had a hard time reading the yellow numbers especially. As you can see, the  Silver Reed punch card strip is in this nice bright red - so easy to see! In the photo below, the red strip is for the main bed - the diamonds indicate the 24-st widths; the ‘X’ is the half pattern. Another really cool feature of this strip - you won't be able to see it here (if you click on the top photo to enlarge it, you might be able to see the space), but the outside edge is clear so it makes a line where the white starts that is about 1/8 inch from the edge and that gives me a spot that when I'm manually knitting a loose row, I pull the end of the needle back past to measure the size of stitch... The grey number strip is the electronic one and just fine for the ribber - you never really count stitches on the ribber anyway. You be the judge which one you want.
One last tip: put a tiny dab of glue under the strip at each end  and one in the centre to hold it in place, making sure you have it centred first, of course!! And I don't have to tell you to let it dry before using...

Sunday, July 24, 2011

ideas, ideas...

I just caught the tail end of an episode of ‘The Closer’ - I like the show - never seem to catch the whole thing though - not sure when it’s on - I think she wears some weird stuff sometimes... too fancy and fussy for me and I’m not sure it really suits her profession or her personality... but in the final scene, she was talking to her mom and she was wearing an awesome sweater!!! It was camel-coloured, and soft looking, like it was cashmere or at least a fine alpaca...and the stitch pattern was a fashion lace design - very pretty! It had snug-fitting, long, set-in sleeves and a shawl collar, (I love shawl collars!!) but the collar was made of the same fabric/stitch pattern as the rest of the sweater - quite unusual - mostly a collar on a sweater like that would be a ribbed thing, worked horizontal, but this was knit my gears spinning...stay tuned! I told you, I’m on a lace kick!

Thursday, July 21, 2011


The perfect black cardigan! the ultimate in knitting, right up there with that LBD thing. My LSA in black is pretty perfect (Sep 6/09 - what's happening) - I love the yarn - wool crepe deluxe from Silk City Fibers in 002, jet black - and the style, but you can never have too many of a good thing, so, my quest for the ubiquitous black cardigan persists and now that I have the perfect black yarn...
In the past, I avoided knitting with black - when making something for a pattern and publication, there is no point in using black because the detail does not show up in photos. So, I knit in other colours simply for the need for detail in photography. The thing about a black garment - you want it to stay black and, many yarns, especially with a cotton content, will become charcoal or
gray-ish, no matter how careful you launder them.
Looking at past patterns I would have liked to have in black - I’m on a lace kick right now and the cover garment of No 20, Spring 2002 - wow! my notes say I made that one on Nov 22/01...Anyway, that garment was knit in a mauve shade of sable crepe and I was doing a plus-sized series, so that particular ‘Lacy Twin’ was made for someone else. I did re-knit it at the time, in the black sable crepe in my size and loved it the first time I wore it. The love affair was short-lived...the thing about acrylic, that one did stay black, but it also became fuzzy...and fuzzier and was soon relegated to the back of my closet - not sure why I even kept it (probably to remind myself never to use that again!).
So here I am, today, knitting a black lace piece on the standard gauge electronic and then changing it up with a stockinette piece on the LK150 - really what I should be concentrating on - my next project for Knit’nStyle... the yarn is ‘Boboli’ from Berroco, so colourful!