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....