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.