Wednesday, December 20, 2023

could you tell…

the difference? 

I’m always anxious to see the final product - on the Back, I opted to knit the plain lace from the first orange swatch, figuring it would save time over the two-step transfers of the outlined diamonds. Timed myself, 20 minutes for 101 sts wide by one 20-row repeat. Seemed pretty quick, got the Back completed in no time. Hung the cast-on row, knit 18 rows as  MAO instructions for the hand-latched rib and got ‘er done!

Now, you might think I’m spending continuous hours at the machine, but no! I’ve learned to pace myself! Break it up - I do one repeat (20 rows) and take a breather, even if it’s just to get a fresh glass of water, or take a photo or a real break and make a batch of cookie dough or whatever! 

For the Front, went back to the two-step transfers and what do you know, that 20-row repeat took 25 minutes, whoop-de-do! Used the stopwatch timer on the iPod and the Front was done in 2 hrs, 15 min! Was it worth the time-saving for the Back? No, but even if I didn’t tell you, not likely you’d have noticed, and my Christmas company sure won’t and I proved a point in my own mind anyway!

Just a few reminders, Cindy! 

At the top of the sleeve cap, shortrowed of course, after the RTR (remove, turn, rehang), knit a row for that garter stitch ridge and then, measure off 5X the width of the work to have enough yarn to make the loose row for the final cast-off after joining the sleeve.

You may have noticed the shoulder seams-used the outside seaming technique that has become my favourite method - I like the way it defines the shoulder when you have a good-fitting set-in sleeve but here, I also used it to cover up the fact that I forgot to flip the pattern for the second piece, the Front, and have the extra stitch at the left instead of the right, so the pattern doesn’t match at the shoulder…;))  Might be a good idea to read page 64 of HMMK which explains ‘flipping the pattern’!

I’m almost done, just the bottom rib on the Front and the final seaming, planning to wear this for my open house on Christmas Eve - hope I can get someone to take an on-person photo!

PS. What I’ve been watching and liking - in case you need some down time, The Bear, Hijack, Slow Horses, I Know This Much is True…

Wednesday, December 13, 2023


Hey Cindy, I’m glad you asked, I was going to tell you anyway, but it’s good to know you’re on board!

Back to that stitch pattern I mentioned earlier, ‘Outlined Diamonds, horizontal’, page 60 from The Handbook for Manual Machine Knitters - HMMK -  to make that an all-over pattern, you need to delete the last two rows and the 20-row repeat gives you the all-over repeat

Something I never mentioned, the top half of the inside of the diamond on the NP’s sweater was reverse stockinette which, on a flat bed knitting machine is a nightmare!

It means you are reforming every stitch! I changed it to garter stitch ridges so only reform on every other row - much easier and quicker! And I felt it was only needed at the top of the pieces. Sometimes less is better.

The ribbing, go to HMMK, page 95 and read the section on ‘Machine Ribbed Bands’. I chose ‘K2,P1 with rib wise cast off’. The ribbed bands are added to the bottom and knit down. The first cuff, I did on the LK and relatched 50 rows…it can be done if you need to. Key word, need! The second one, I hung on the standard gauge, set it up for K2, P1, and at T10/T10, no tension on the yarn (like you’re hand-feeding the yarn for looser stitches) got the job done! I’m not even going to tell you about that starter-sleeve that, only as I was shortrowing the cap did I notice there were 15 more stitches at the left side!!!

Monday, December 11, 2023

master plan…

 If I’m committing to a new design, what are the steps? I have the stitch pattern but the shape? I go to the cupboard and drag out the pullovers I’ve made recently…and if you’ve been following me, you know, I’m not much for pullovers. As you can see, they are mostly tunics. I try them all on, turning this way and that and I want something different! Virtually everything I’ve made for myself in the last ten years, except for the sleeveless tops have been below the hip - what does that say about my wardrobe? I’m old-school - when wearing leggings or yoga pants, I want the crotch covered! 

I even went downstairs and dug up some of the old mid gauge  stuff - wow! Here’s a tip - if you have a cardigan or even a vee neck and want to see what it looks like as a pullover, put it on backwards!

Another quirk, I haven’t used ribbing on any sweater for eons, so here, out of the blue, I’m going short, not quite cropped but, wide body and hig-hip, a deep ribbed cuff, inspired by the NP’s sweater, a diamond lace hand-transferred stitch with rib at the wide hem and round neck…

Oh, and the yarn, one I’ve used before, Forsell Yarns, Touch of Silk, a DK weight, 90 wool, 10 silk.

Thursday, December 7, 2023

mystery solved…

On the first swatch, at the bottom, I did a plain lace transfer where you simply take the stitch from the needle where you want the hole and move it left or right. Because I was trying for a machine knit transfer, I did it on every other row, like a lace carriage would do

Normally, when I’m doing a hand transferred design on any knitting machine, I try to plan it so there are two plain rows between transfers - easier to remember (when carriage is at the right, time to transfer) and if you only have to stop every second row, it’s faster and that’s what machine knitting is all about, right? 

I based it on a 10 stitch repeat, like ‘Outlined diamonds’ page 60 from my book, The Handbook for Manual Machine Knitters, but instead of the two-step transfer that makes the outline, just picked up the hole stitch and moved it the one space, doing each side of the diamond on every other row so I had a transfer on every row. 

 I knew this wasn’t what was on the blue NP sweater from yesterday, but I needed a reference point. On about the last row, it dawned on me - hah, the actual pattern in that garment was transferring the stitch the wrong way, or what happens when you start a lace carriage pattern with the lace carriage on the wrong side! See top swatch!

Now, what to do? Is this enough to spur me on? I have sock knitting going on on the standard gauge, I have Christmas baking to do, I have company coming to stay over Christmas…

Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Hand knit or….

I was out the other day - manfriend had an appointment and asked me to go with - second ears and all that! He’s having his second hip replacement, not a big deal, but I’m happy to be called on to support. We met with a young nurse practitioner, probably in her late thirties/early forties, tall, slim, blonde, casual-like and I’m only telling you this for background. She was wearing this sweater that, during the appointment, I became obsessed with. It was pretty, medium blue, mid-weight yarn, in a simple lace diamond stitch pattern and it looked very nice on her. What really attracted me was the size of the holes of the lace - she had a black cami under it and maybe that made the holes seem larger? and I honestly couldn’t tell if it was a plain, old-school hand-knit with a repeated mistake or if it was a ‘bought’ sweater. I was eyeballing the neckline, the seaming, checking the deep ribbed cuffs, the set-in sleeves, noting the details, looking for clues! 

Halfway through her questions, I caught myself re-designing the stitch pattern, the way I thought it should be! At the end of the meeting, I did ask her if she’d made the sweater. Oh no, she could never do anything like that and she gave me the details of where she bought it. I told her how nice she looked in it and strangely, I could hardly wait to get home to try it out! LK150, here I come!

You can probably tell, I don’t get out much!