Thursday, November 30, 2017

and the saga continues...

Last Sunday, I was able to get the back panel of that thing made – it went quite quickly, no sweat. And over the next few days, I did the joining of the two panels by knitting a 4-stitch slip cord all the way around all four sides. I broke it up in several half hour sessions so it wouldn’t seem so tedious – my eyesight is not what it used to be and picking up the half edge stitch from each side – one being dark navy, same thing as black, yikes, not exactly easy or relaxing, but I got ‘er done! Darned in all the ends and put it through the washer and dryer ‘cuz that’s what Mom will be doing. Got it out of the dryer and I was shaking it out to smooth it and what the? there’s a freakin’ hole in the back in the middle of the lime green stripe! It’s not a dropped stitch, it’s a hole, like the yarn broke in the middle of the stitch. Some bad words were said, I tossed it in the corner and pouted for a few days.
After cooling off, I looked at it again and figured I could rip out the last part of the slip cord, unravel that colour and at least see if I could get into the middle and try to repair the row where the hole was. That accomplished, I calmy reknit the slip cord and finished it off.

In the middle of telling you about it, my computer crashed. I lost the story. After a cup of tea, I restarted, got the story done, photos included. Checked my email – an invitation from Karen’s family (BTW, she had a girl, 8lb 4oz, natural birth on her due date) inviting me to a ‘sip and see’ next week  – I guess this is the current version of the baby shower with a list of local and on-line baby registries and a note saying they preferred organic items…did I mention this was all acrylic crap?

Friday, November 17, 2017

ever have one of those days...

It was early  afternoon, a cold, dull day and I thought, hummm… I can go up to the workroom and knock off the front of that baby blankie for Karen, my niece. It’s her due date tomorrow and I want to commit to this before I know the baby gender (we don’t know at this point, but it shouldn’t really matter as it’s all bright crayon colours on a navy background) so I’m not second-guessing my colours after the fact. I’m figuring I can do the front in about an hour and a half, should be no problem. I already have my yarn all in place. Get cast on and yes, I’m still using the orange waste yarn. Now the blanket is a creation of Mar Heck’s from Knitwords #35 – I’ve made it before, so I think I know what I’m doing

I know I have an old system - I’m using DAK7, Windows 2000, SL4 and my Silver Reed SK580 – now, if you’ve been reading me for awhile you may have twigged to the fact that I’m not exactly the biggest fan of DAK – it’s probably my own unfriendly aura that DAK senses and the machine knitting gods do too. And I haven’t used DAK in awhile – I only use it to download large stitch files to the machine and knit-from-screen and as this particular stitch file came as a DAK file, 200 sts by 356 rows, this is really the only way to knit it other than drawing it out on 6 Mylar sheets – totally out of the question, never gonna happen. I have done some tuck patterning recently, using the built-in electronics, no DAK, and everything worked fine. 
On the blanket, there is a solid colour border, so 23 rows plain navy at the beginning – I’m not putting a name in – and there are 10 plain stitches of border at each edge – the picture is knit as a single motif and Mar has explained, on a brother machine, how to have extra yarn ready to wrap the edge stitches so there are no holes at the edge of the picture, before the border. Being the Silver Reed expert that I am (in my own mind anyway), I know this is much easier on this machine. Because the needles do not select (come out like the brother machine), you can wrap the next to the end-of-the-pattern needle with the second colour at the beginning of each row and using the yarn separators, everything works beautifully. I have learned in the past that I don’t need to use the yarn separators – they prevent the second colour from getting tangled in the background yarn until the second colour is required in the patterning of the next row – I simply wrap the needle with the second colour, leave it in B position, and with my hand, hold the second colour yarn slightly below the brushes/arm of the carriage just for the start of the row and it works well.
Back to the work at hand, knit the plain border. On row 23, set to fairisle, add in the second colour, knit the first row of patterning, everything’s fine. Knit the second row - somehow the second colour is knitting at the edge, in the border. Gosh, darney, darn, darn! Rip out the row, reset everything and try again. Same thing happens. Rip out, re-read DAK, knit, same thing. I very calmly take the carriage off, examine the undercarriage and decide that maybe it’s time for some cleaning and maintenance. Get out my tool kit, remove all the brushes and wheels and sure enough, there are a few bits of gunk and mashed up yarn and the transparent plastic round brush covers have a few marks on them, so I replace them. Wipe out the tiny dust bunny babies from the channels, oil it all, put things back on the machine, reset the pattern and I get two rows this time before the mistake. Check the end cams, here’s a thought, maybe they are not in the right position – it is kind of hard to decide it they are set at 100 or at 99…I go back into DAK and delete one stitch from each side of the file so it’s now 198 sts wide. Go through the whole deal again and same thing. I look closer and see that what is happening is that the second colour is actually knitting a row of stockinette which means that the DAK signal has dropped and there is not fairisle needle selection. Okay, this could be serious. I now realize this is an electronics issue and fortunately, I have new end cams and a new curl cord which I swap out – do that and same thing – it’s like freakin’ Groundhog Day! My two-hour window has disappeared, and I am defeated. I face the fact that my Silver Link 4 is quite old now and I am not up to replacing that. Turn everything off, drop the jinxed border from the machine – I’ll go drink my sorrows away!  I'm Netflix-ing 'This Is US' - what a show, makes you forget all your troubles!
This morning, after a good strong coffee, I go up to face reality. Turn on the computer, call up DAK and the pattern and I do a dry run – no yarn, arm off the carriage, set to fairisle, load the pattern and knit, listening to the sound of the clicking needles and watching the winking red/green light on the DAK link box. Ha! It is all working! Make 20 passes like that, all systems go! Still apprehensive, I leave the pattern on, cast-on and get the border knit to the point of row 24, first row of patterning. Re-read DAK for row 24, add in the second colour, set to fairisle, knit, check – it’s all good! Wrap the needle, hold the yarn below, take a deep breath and knit – it works! OMG! I keep going, not daring to take a break – sure enough, within the hour I have the completed front! Victory!
Moral of the story, when using DAK, when you need a re-start, always turn off everything! You know how your computer tells you this may require a restart after you add or remove a program, DAK really needs this – unplug the link, turn off your computer and restart everything before going into panic mode!  Also, Silver Reed people, if you do not have a spare new curl cord and point cams, order them today, just saying!
Have a great weekend!  XO, MAO!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

what I did...

I took my schematic from ‘Sidesteps’ and put it in the KR11. The ragg yarn is a little heavier than what I had used (4 ply wool at T7,  29 sts and 44 rows to 10 cm) and I knit the ragg at T9 (28 sts and 39 rows to 10 cm). Plugging  the new stitch and row gauge into the KR11 took care of all the new calculations. I added 10 sts at the hemline to make it the longer length I was looking for. I put the ravel cord line for the pocket opening just after the gore (on the centre front side) in the front (the gores from 'Sidesteps 'turn the sideways square body into a more flattering A-line), using the pocket technique from the old pattern.
I lowered the vee neckline and stopped knitting the front 5 cm before the actual centre front to allow for the 6 cm bands of the new version. I used the same 2X2 (2X1) ribs of the old pattern for the hem, cuffs and pocket bands. On the front band, like the old pattern, I used full needle rib, changed the circular cast-on to my newer version of the racked cast-on (so the outside edge was stretchy and didn’t have the restriction that is typical of the circular cast-on), went into the 2 working, one not, needle arrangement on rib bed only, so that it would look the same as the other bands, did the grey stripe and then the shortrowing  for the shawl collar as the final step. Now you know how too!

Monday, November 13, 2017

orange is the new waste yarn...

ROOTS kid cabin cardi
All the time I’ve been knitting this fusion cardi, I was kind of not really liking it. I thought I was forcing the issue, using the wine coloured ragg yarn instead of the grey that I maybe would have preferred but didn’t have. Once I had the body, with sleeves attached, knit, I was sorely tempted to abandon the whole thing but that’s not really my m.o. and I pressed on. After working out the pockets, I got into knitting the bands, and I began to think that either I used to know a whole lot more than I currently felt confident about or I have forgotten more than I knew I knew! I guess it’s been a while since I’ve made ribbed bands! With several gone-wrong bands littering the workroom I was regretting the decision to revive the shawl collar from my old pattern while rejoicing that I had the foresight to not go with the double-breasted look. But, as I successfully attached the final buttonhole side on the front and removed the final strip of that gawdawful orange waste yarn, it dawned on me that was the problem all along! After I sewed on the perfect dark red buttons that seemed to pull it all together, and put it on, I am ecstatic, I love my 'Nipigon Nylons Cardi'! The pockets are perfect (you know I love pockets), the length is perfect (it's been so freakin' cold here already, I'm sure I'm going to wear this thing out - it's a perfect extra layer under my black parka) and I'm so happy I could just knit!


BTW, I did add 10 extra stitches to the bottom edge and with the depth of 26 rows of the 2X2 (2X1) ribbed band, this turned out 10 cm/4 inches longer that my khaki ‘Side Steps’ – just a little extra info for the taller-than-me people!

Friday, November 10, 2017

coogi, coogi, coo...

I got an email from my nephew the other day – he is a young, up and coming lawyer and could be described as a bit flamboyant. He sent me a link to a video and asked if I knew where he could find a sweater like this guy’s?

I looked, said yikes (to myself) and sent him a message back asking how much money he had (thinking he would be asking me to make one), and sent him a link to one of my blogposts from last spring.
He replied '-amazing that you not only knew but had a BLOG POST about it! I should have known!’
Anyway, smart guy that he is, he used my information from the blogpost (after checking eBay) and has one on order from Oz! I feel like I dodged a bullet!

Monday, November 6, 2017

fusion knitting...

When in Vancouver, I did a lot of walking and probably passed a Roots store at least once every day. They have a line they call ‘cabin’ wear, themed with a grey marl yarn trimmed with bands in ivory and red and they’ve done it in everything from cardigans and pullovers to hats, scarves and home dec! I think of it as the ‘Nipigon nylons’ line [see] and it still has a great appeal to me.
I was trying to decide how I could make my own version of a cardigan and, in the airport, on the way home, I saw a girl wearing a sideway knit variation and it clicked! I could use my ‘Side Steps’ pattern and merge it with an oldie, ‘Going  Sideways' from my Cardigan Book from the mid 90s and I think it would work. I have two cones of suitably aged Jaggerspun Ragg in a red/white marl as well as some Forsell Suva in a grey/ivory mix that would be enough for the body/sleeves. I made a couple of swatches, trying to come up with the perfect combination. In the end, decided to just add ivory bands with a stripe of grey (just like the boot tops) to the red stockinette marl and forget the fairisle insert.
 The old pattern has great inside patch pockets that can easily be added into the A-line of 'Side Steps' and a narrower version of the shawl collar will be just right, I think. Hope to show you the final result soon!