Tuesday, April 23, 2024

done and dusted...

 every thing's finished up! Looks good to me!



Tuesday, April 16, 2024

second chance…

Yay! Completed the sleeve, no problem, at least 5gs left! So happy, I jumped right in to get that neckband done! My memory is not quite what it used to be but even though I think I know what I’m doing, it has been a few weeks since I made all those swatches. I did what I thought was going to work with the English rib happening on the rib bed and, almost holding my breath, hung the neckline. I’ll admit, even though I’m usually telling you to get rid of the waste yarn once you’ve got every thing hung, I left it on the neckline, just in case! Ha! Didn’t need it! Looks good! Can hardly wait to get this all finished up, and washed and dried, to show you!

In case you're really following along (I can only hope), here's what I did:

1. 75-0-75 ns. Swing P5. Arrange for 1X1 rib. Manual wrap cast on.

2. RC000.T5/5, K1R. Hang comb and weights. Bring ns out to make sure that all is well.

3. T4/4. K8R. T7/7, K1R (fold row). T4/4. K8R.

4. CAR. Set for English rib, tuck on RB. K2R.

5. Swung English rib: Rack to P7, K2R, rack to P5, K2R for 8 rows. You should be back at P5.

6. On MB, bring empty ns to work. Transfer all to MB.

7. Hang neck edge sts from WY with RIGHT side facing you. There will be 2 sets of sts on needles.

8. Stockinette, garment tension, K3R. Remove on WY. Join other shoulder and seam neckband. Backstitch the 3 rows of plain knitting to front of garment, stitching through open loops of last row of main yarn.

9. Fold cast-on edge to inside and handstitch with running stitch, loosely to last row of 1X1 above racking.

Tuesday, April 9, 2024


That’s running-out-of-yarn-anxiety! 

Just to recap, I had a small cone of 70g and an almost full cone, 490g, both ‘surf’ but turns out they’re different dye lots! They look the same on the cone but we’ve all been there - that line when you add the next one in tells the tale! What I’m doing to disguise it is using the small cone for the ribbed bands - 10 rows of 1X1 on the body, just enough to hem it and hold it down, and, 30 rows of 2X2(2X1) industrial rib for the cuff, giving it a little more oomph and body for a man-cuff -  the line created by the variance in the stitches between the rib and the 1RT will be enough to hide the dye lot differences. 

Back is done, it weighs 160g; Front, 158g. First sleeve done and there’s 74g left on the larger cone. Do the math and the first sleeve took 74g…oh, man that’s gonna be close! Normally, after the back and front, I’d join one shoulder and do the neckband especially after all those practises but I don’t dare, even though I’m using a different yarn for the neckband…gotta make sure to get the second sleeve before putting it all together, just in case!

Friday, April 5, 2024


After the second neckband swatch, added to the opposite side of the tension swatch, I noticed there was something weird happening after the RTR (remove, turn, rehang).  Maybe it wasn’t a mistake - possibly it just showed up more in the cotton because there’s better stitch definition than the wool used in the NBT sample. And then I thought, what the heck! Why am I doing that RTR? 

Actually it’s because for this neckband technique to work properly, you need to have the wrong side of the neckband facing you when the right side of the neckline is hung on top. But I meant, why? If I switch the tucks of the English rib to the bottom bed, making the side facing the wrong side, there won’t be any need for that RTR! Why didn’t I think of that before? 

After the third swatch which didn’t really work - I forgot that for the swung English rib to form properly you needed to rack after the tucks and, when that was sorted, on the 5th neckband swatch I decided maybe it would be nice to double under the 1X1 rib because, in the cannele cotton, which is slightly thinner than the Bonita cotton, the 1X1 rib cast-on was looking a bit wimpy…would the wash and dry sort that out? 

Omigosh! And I thought making a pullover would be quick and easy! 

Wednesday, April 3, 2024

shades of...

Back to the Suva situation, I had already made a couple of swatches, with the ‘surf’ a pale blue/gray and cream combination-it’s hard to tell what colour is predominant and it seems to change with the lighting. In my mind I wanted to use a contrast colour for the neckband at least - couple of reasons - manfriend has a very harsh beard/stubble, even though he shaves daily - it’s almost like a wire brush and I’ve noticed if he has a close-fitting neckline and a softer fabric, it gets abraded and brushed-looking so I hoped using a mercerized cotton, like Bonita or Cannele would make a harder-wearing neckband than the Suva which is quite soft. 

In my first swatch, I used light blue on one side and did the contrast rows in the ivory/cream shade.  After the wash and dry, decided I didn’t like the light blue - too different - so went with the ivory/cream/ecru colour for the swatch of the neckband. 

That seemed to have a peachy tint next to the Suva! And, of course, there’s that ROYA (running out of yarn anxiety) - my Pebbles used only 350g of the Suva but I’m doing this on T8 which will take more yarn so it’s always good to have a plan B!

BTW, the T9 swatch (pebbles), after wash and dry was 25 sts and 42 rows. This one, at T8, same pattern, is 28 sts and 54 rows - wow! That one number tighter makes a big difference!

I picked one of those ‘fancy ribs’ neckband from NBT, the one with the swung English rib…

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

what the...

Omigosh! you guys! I love all these comments on that last post especially! tells me you’re reading! 

Thanks, Tom - you’re way too nice! You didn’t see the 98 deleted photos! ;)

No, no actual pattern! I’m past that - too many issues to consider in what yarn, etc and no one is buying anyway! 

What I have been trying to do is provide you with the inspiration and resources (my books, and more specifically here, my The Handbook for Manual Machine Knitters - HMMK) to make your own design - how to use the information you already have and spin it into a great garment! 

And then, what the heck is a ‘needle bettle’? No worries, I googled it and seems it’s a knock-off of the old Silver Reed needle selector - but it did say that it brings the needles to D rather than C which is what the LS6 (which had the built-in option of being converted for use on the 9mm hobby knitter) did and you then had to use the flat side of the needle selector to put them in D position for tuck or fairisle. 

But the big thing is they all only select an 8-stitch repeat. So, it’s handy for that but considering the price as opposed to the number of patterns you could use it on…

My NP diamonds repeat was a 10-st repeat and you could redesign the diamonds to an 8-st…so, yes you can use that thingy to select the needles for an 8-st repeat lace pattern or a 4-st or a 2-st…except the needle is in D position and for me at least, to try and hook your transfer tool onto it when it's stuck way out like that, not so much!

I have had that LS6 for at least 30 years  - it retailed for $24! and I did use it a couple of times but that 8-st repeat is quite limiting and it was only available for a very short time, probably why I haven't talked about it before.

Saturday, March 23, 2024


Remember that NP pullover I was making around Christmas time - on the LK150, with that tweedy Forsell - here’s the start of the story and it went on and on…http://knitwords.blogspot.com/2023/12/hand-knit-or.html 

I never did post a photo because even my plan B didn’t really work - it still looked dorky! The length was all wrong!

Buoyed by my victory of lengthening manfriend’s plain pullover, I was wondering how I could knit down on the NP sweater. Obviously, more rib, the ‘easiest’ way, wasn’t working. Could I pull off the rib, rehang it and maybe add another section of patterning and then rib again? I know stockinette works knitting down but what happens with a lace transfer? Should I try a different stitch pattern? I could play around with the tension swatch but why bother? ‘Just jump right in’ could be my middle name!

If you remember, I made the Back 

with the plain diamond pattern only,  so I figured, may as well start with that - if I mess it up, oh well, I wasn’t going to wear it anyway and the plain lace was easier. 

Omigosh! It worked! A very close, trained eye could notice the difference but not enough to bother me! Got the Front done, with the two-step transfer and again, there is a slight difference but no one would notice when the garment is on a body and the neckline and shoulders detail look so great!

One tip, when I did the ribs originally, I hung the stitches and said to leave the waste yarn in as a marker row for where to drop the stitches down to. 

No waste yarn here, so to make a marker row, bring all needles out and manually, with a smooth, good-contrast colour, like the ravel cord, weave up and down (over one and under the next) across the row.  When you knit the next row, that strand is woven across to mark the row - easily pulled out after!

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

knitting down…

After that outstanding success with Pebbles, I wanted to use Suva again and go with another neckline from NBT - more on that later, because I also figured I’d make it for manfriend - he hasn’t had a new sweater in some time so I went looking for one of his old ones to measure and figure out what to do. I came across one from 2012 - it was totally plain, (so plain, I never even told you about it) standard gauge stockinette, hems and all, in a really nice tweedy, burgundy/ivory Jagger Bros cotton/wool yarn that I totally recall thinking I should never have used for him - could have kept it for moi! He hasn’t worn it in forever and I wondered why. 

When he came by, turns out it’s a wee bit too short to wear comfortably. Not sure why. Was it always? did it shrink? what? who knows but, weirdly, I still had the remainder of the leftover yarn/cone, about 330g. Actually found my original schematic with stitch/row and tension details - what an incredible filing system - it was the only thing under miscellaneous! - and you know how I love a challenge. 

It was originally knit bottom to top, regular-like, beginning with a hung stockinette hem. I carefully unpicked the bottom of the side seams and to get rid of the hem, the easiest thing to do was pull the strand above the hem to take off the entire hem.  I know you’re kinda panicking and saying what the? But, knitting doesn’t unravel from the bottom - you have to work at it to lose a stitch. Rehung the stitches, easy enough, T8, knit 20 rows, transfer to 1X1 rib,  T7/7, (didn’t want the hem to pull in, just stay the same width and stop it from curling up)10 rows, ending carriage at right. Dialled up T10/10, knit a very loose row, transferred it all up and chain cast-off for a total of about 8 new  cm. Repeat for second piece, stitch the sides back up and Bob’s your uncle! 

You can’t even tell it wasn’t born that way!

Heh-heh, now he doesn’t need another new one!

Thursday, March 14, 2024


undefeated…determined…intrepid…steadfast…relentless… All words that I think apply to me! No quitting here! 

I made a sleeve just to prove to myself that I could concentrate long enough to get that trim to work properly. Got the cuff done perfectly and made the sleeve while contemplating my options.

I recalled using that trim in a design way back in Knitwords #6, Laced With Diamonds and then remembered using a stripped-down version in KW#12,  Sampler Lace

I had every book out! Decided to use the abridged version for the body hems at least. 

The rib for the body piece - need 80-0-80 ns for width. Change up the centre of the triangular rib - instead of using #1 right as the centre which worked nicely for the cuff (30-0-30 ns), pull #10 right  and go from there so there will be a nicer match at the side seams. 

Oh, I still got it! even if I don’t always remember where I put it! ;)

Wednesday, March 6, 2024

fancy, schmancy...

Had my plan - using the 'pebble' Suva in that 1RT at T9 (for a thinner fabric) with fancy ribs ('Tuck & Triangle Rib' from The Neck's Best Thing) for the bands, using a plain, smooth yarn in a  contrast colour - 'paper bag tan' (my all-time favourite yarn-colour name!) cotton, because I figured all the fanciness of the tuck and transfers and outlines would show up so much nicer in the solid colour, with the added benefit that my main yarn would go farther and I wouldn't be concerned about running short.

Sat down with such hopes and aspirations of success, armed with the NBT instructions, began my swatch. I did cast on with waste yarn - learned my lesson on that one! Did the manual wrap cast-on and the 4 rows of tuck. I admit, I did not fully read the entire instructions ahead of time, thinking I knew it all. Got to row 7 and thought who the heck thought this up? Oh yeah, it was me! duh!

I was right, all that detail does show up well in the solid colour!
A little more concentration required!

Friday, March 1, 2024

on repeat…

Stoked with the success of the denim Tennessee Tunic - I wore it for three days straight! I’m going with those ideas to make another one. The cuddly yarn - have some Forsell Suva, a wool/cotton thick/thin, slubby blend that should do the trick.  In the tweedy Suva, I have a full cone and partial, same dyelot in ‘surf’ a cream/pale blue/gray combo, total of 550g and a single cone, 500g, ‘pebble’, a tan/ivory combo. I seem to recall this yarn goes a long way, but ya never know! 

Really like the shape of that tunic so my next attempt is the same but different.  A bit shorter and not quite as wide at the hemline, with contrast bands maybe, you know that ‘running-out-of-yarn anxiety’!

I want to knit the 1RT (one-row-tuck) loosely again to create a thinner fabric and I go back to one of my  favourite Knitwords patterns, ‘Caped Wrapper’ from #43 https://knitwords.blogspot.com/2013/01/hybrid-knitting.html  - that’s my second favourite 1RT stitch pattern!

Looking through ‘The Neck’s Best Thing’, there are some fancy ribbed combos that should work - oh, my ! This could keep me with knitting ideas for a quite bit!

Sunday, February 25, 2024


Omigosh! this thing is adorable! It’s comfy, cuddly, cozy, cute!

No, Tom, the neckline backstitching can’t be done on the machine, sorry! This method gives a nice, close-fitting finish that is snug but still everything is stretchy enough to go over your head without damaging your ears! So worth the extra effort! And the detail is priceless!

I love the texture added in by the 1RT.  The colour play, even though there is really only  3 to 4 shades of the denim colours, is quite interesting - note the little zigzagging across the top just under the neckline, almost like a yoke effect. 

The hem treatment is beautiful and maybe there’s more work than the multicoloured yarn shows, but I know it’s there!

And it came out to the exact size I planned!

Thursday, February 22, 2024

pushing boundaries…

The ribbed cuff is so nice!  Glad I went with the 2X2 (2X1) arrangement - it really fills out nicely and adds that extra  bit of firmness for this relatively thin yarn. Kind of excited to translate this to the neckline! 

I pulled booklets and swatches and settled on a ribbed band with that little stockinette border that’s hand stitched...yeah, it’s in ‘The Neck’s Best Thing’, #24, called 1x1 rib with casing…but I’m sticking with the 2X2. 

Notice, in the photo, the top green waste yarn was for the cast-on edge of the rib, then you see the rib in the denimy yarn. Transfer all sts up to main bed. Hang neckline sts. Knit 3 rows on the main yarn and then a bunch of rows waste yarn, which you see curving below the rib. Now the tricky part - hand stitching that little 3-row trim onto the garment with a backstitch…

Tuesday, February 20, 2024


I’ve really enjoyed this knit! When I got over the trauma of having to remake that chain cast-on and admitting it, I got energized! Quickly made both body pieces and thought, I haven’t made a ribbed neckband since forever! Except for that last NP sweater and that doesn’t really count - it was hand-latched, not really ribbed!

For the sleeves, although I wanted long, it seems I always end up either rolling them up or just pushing up, you know, when you’re in the kitchen…so I opted for a ribbed cuff - this way I could test out the rib without really making another swatch! 

Just to recap, this yarn is relatively fine, even though I’m using T9 for the one-row-tuck, in plain stockinette it would be more like T5 stockinette,  so 1X1 rib would be kind of flimsy, not much body to it. I’m going with 2x2 rib in the 2X1 needle arrangement with the manual wrap cast-on - it has more stretch and firmness  (more stitches actualy) than 1X1. 

After that ‘wake up call’ with the yarn breaking on the first row, I wouldn’t dream of doing anything other than casting on with waste yarn for the rib. https://knitwords.blogspot.com/2010/08/dream-coat-notes-day-1.html

Thursday, February 15, 2024

good thing…

I trust my swatch. This thing is huge! But it will shrink a lot! At least according to my swatch! 

Refreshed my memory by reading up on that curved hemline. 


My sponge bar is okay, but after that faux pas on the cast-on, I feel like I need all the help I can get!

While knitting the Back and Front, I was considering the possibilities for the neck…more research required!

Saturday, February 3, 2024

good memory…

but it’s short!

Love the look of the swatch - going with the T9 option. Examining the chain and picot knots in the hem, I decided it needed a bit of beefing up so used three strands for the chain, without really thinking it through but you know how I am when I get going! Threaded up and knit the first row…halfway across, I knew I was in trouble! Rats, crap and goop!! The yarn broke several times - couldn’t handle going over the picot knots! Gosh, darn! Why didn’t I know that? 

Ha! My younger self did!


If I could only remember to read my own stories!

Handknit the first row after the picot knots…

The shaded tones here make it a little hard to see and I found it helped to put a yarn mark on row 4,  on the centre needles for the bottom of the tuck rib to prevent unladdering too far. The tuck rib doesn’t show up that much but it does help to widen out the hem so it’s worth doing…

Monday, January 29, 2024

the situation…

Checking my first swatch, if you remember, it was 21-0-21 stsThe reason for that was I could measure it with the green gauge to see what sort of stitch count would result from the stockinette. Hopefully you can see, even on the T9 part, it was 32 sts to 10 cm. The design I want to use is that ‘swing-style tunic’ that is quite wide at the hemline, like finished circumference of 150 cm/59 in. and the 32 st count would at best get about 128 cm/50 in. To get a wider fabric that still has the look (flat front, nothing too exotic) and simplicity of stockinette (single bed knitting), I like to use that one-row-tuck (1RT) https://knitwords.blogspot.com/2023/05/egg-on-my-face.html

that I’ve used many times before. If you need more reading, put 1RT in the search box at the top left of this blog page and it will bring up a ton of stuff that I’ve posted in the past and by the way, using the standard gauge electronic machine here but can be done on a punchcard machine - see above link!;)

Made real swatch - going with that HodgePodge trim, https://knitwords.blogspot.com/2020/07/half-cocked.html

With my favourite 1RT, at T8 and T9. Measured the swatches, hot off the machine, then wash and dry, measure final - this way you can get a feel for the amount of shrinkage, maybe for future reference, but also note, the majority of shrinkage is in the length. T8,  27 sts and 46 rows, became 28 sts and 52 rows. T9, 25 sts and 42 rows, ended at 26 sts and 46 rows.

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

mystery yarn…

I mean yarn that I am unfamiliar with! ‘Found’ this large cone (750g) of denimy shades of cotton on my shelf - the label says ‘Astro Dye Works, 6/2 K/P cotton’ (also has a ‘BTYarns’ label), so yeah, it’s pretty old. I think I inherited it a couple of years ago when a m/k friend sent me a big box of her stash that she knew she would never use. I’m sure I paid it no attention at the time because there was several cones of wool crepe deluxe that I was swooning over. 

I’m looking for some inspiration for a new project and thought this might fit the bill - I love that Tennessee Tunic  https://knitwords.blogspot.com/2023/03/tennessee-re-visited.html

from last year and think I’d like a more ‘everyday’ version of it - I have no idea what the 6/2 means- I know it’s something relating to the yards per pound but that 6/2 doesn’t tell me what stitch size to use or what gauge to expect. It’s a bit thicker than Yeomans Brittany (3/14) or Bramwell Montana but not quite what those would be double stranded which I would use at T7 or so.


Didn’t want to double strand it, that would make it thicker than I would like for that tunic and it would change the little ‘camo’ shading that is happening. 

Here’s what I do: cast on 21-0-21 ns, and knit about 10 rows at T5 to get the feel of it; seems kind of tight, so go up/bigger stitch size. Then using 2 rows of T10 to separate,  knit 20 rows at T6, T7, T8 and T9 - it’s looking rather airy by now so end it. Because this is cotton, some shrinkage is expected and since it is such a large cone, I’ll wash and dry this piece before I decide on what stitch size to use for the real swatch using one of those 1RTs that I like.

P.S. Showing the purl side of the swatch because the higher stitch size dividing rows show up better in the photo.

Friday, January 19, 2024


 Part 3

Was so happy that the dish cloth worked out, made a couple without turning off the machine, afraid to lose my ‘spot’ on the needle bed. While doing that and all the other things running through my brain, I decided to use red Bonita (100% mercerized cotton - NLA of course) - I have two full, untouched cones of 500g each and a part cone of 210g which I hoped would be enough for d-i-l, Agnieszka’s, range cover. She’s such a sweetie, she deserves to have red! 
Had a small, partial cone of Bonita in tan and quickly made a 4X3 repeat dish cloth (36-0-42 ns, 132 rows, 38g) to use as a swatch. From that, determined the size required for the range cover,  (10 wide X 7 high plus 10 checkerboard rows for top border - 90-0-96 ns, 290 rows). I could try to sound pretty smart here and tell you I figured this out mathematically but really what I did was place the dishcloth in the corner of the range top and guesstimated it would need 2.5X wide by 2.5X high…it worked, but had to go into a new full cone by a few grams to get ‘er done! Final weight, 230g!

While doing those things, and inspired by the fact I got DAK8 on the new computer, decided to try something. Fired up the old laptop and on the second try managed to pull my stitch pattern files off on a flash drive! Ha! I got Janet’s dishcloth files back along with my saved ovencover file (and tons of real stuff!)! Also, in my rummaging, found this old 4 part usb thingy so now I could hook everything up!

Sent a request for new lock number - had to wait for Monday, but got it! 

Tried out the SL4 - it worked!

Loaded my oven cover file without worrying about where it was centred!

Knit another green one for me, a backup is always good!

Only lost the signal three times…

Friday, January 12, 2024

how far…

does one go to prove a point? Even if just to oneself? 

Part 2. I penciled in that stitch pattern, thinking how easy it would be with DesignaKnit, to be able  see it on-screen and check the repeat visually, before having to actually test-knit it to see if it works. Determined to not admit defeat kept me invested. As I concentrated on making the dots in those small, little squares, I vaguely recalled having a conversation with my friend Dee who said she had her DAK8 on windows 11. I didn’t really take that to heart at the time because she has a brother machine and all the cables are different and it’s the Silver SL4 that had been causing my grief in the past. She said you could use DAK by leaving the cd in the disc drive. Now, I’m thinking, do I even have a cd of DAK8? A little rummaging and I found it. Gosh, new computer, do I have a disc drive? Yeah! Unopened box! Figured it out, pretty easy, really. I sent an email to my buddy Mike.  https://knitwords.blogspot.com/2019/09/its-raining.html

He said yes, DAK8 can be used with windows 11 and check Softbyte’s website for any updates. Did that and downloaded an update because my copy was pretty old, like pre-2011. It seemed to work, but then, I got an application error message tab that said 'memory could not be read. Click ok to terminate the program. Did that, yes, everything closed. Tried again, got the same message but the DesignaKnit logo/program opener was behind it. Instead of ‘ok’, I just moved it aside, clicked on stitch pattern and it finally opened!!

Need to back up a bit here and tell/remind you about my ‘new’ knitting machine - here’s the full story https://knitwords.blogspot.com/2019/04/new-to-me-machine.html

Short version, I have an SK840 knit carriage on the SK580 machine because the 580 has the built-in electronics that still work for the needle bed - I could use it without DAK and knit-from-screen - for patterning which I’ve always found so much easier. Only problem, my 840 carriage does not recognize the N1 cam so positioning the pattern is either totally random or requires you to figure out where the pattern is happening - I probably knew this back in the day, like at the edge of the first point cam but - air knitting is my new fav! https://knitwords.blogspot.com/2023/04/air-knittibg.html

In the meanwhile, between waiting for emails and searching for random stuff,  I did get a couple of dishcloths made! My stitch pattern worked!

Tuesday, January 9, 2024


Part 1

You’re probably thinking, so what’s the big deal, M A? Make her the stove top cover - it’s nothing more than a tuck stitch rectangle - why are you being such a diva?

Actually, my first instinct was to say no, I can’t make that anymore. She doesn’t realize that my computer died and along with it DesignaKnit and Janet’s stitch pattern for those dishrags. But I was sort of noncommittal, didn’t want to admit I couldn’t do something - I have this reputation to uphold - also, turned out she wants red and I’m telling you, red is at a premium here at my house. It really should be cotton, so it IS a big deal!

My electronic silver reed machine has a 50 st repeat but that isn’t wide enough for the basic dishrag  which is about 67 sts x 170 rows and I’d never get the mylar made without several mistakes and damn, I didn’t want to go there!

I had a few sleepless nights, thinking it through. In my mind, I figured because I would be knitting this without DAK, I’d need to come up with a small stitch pattern, like a punchcard width or less (this one’s 18 sts and I’d use the double length button) and have the checkerboard outline repeat on the second edge, by positioning it on the needle bed, like the pattern wouldn’t be centred, there would be,,, 


To take my mind off the dishrag issue, fixed up a few pairs of holey socks and thought some more…

Saturday, January 6, 2024

happy 2024…

It’s the new year and I’m reporting on that NP pullover…got it ‘finished’ on the 23rd, tried it on and it was too short, even with a shirttail under…darn! It just looked dorky. Plan B, after Christmas of course, pulled out  the side seams and the cast-off row of rib, rehung it and added another 20 rows of rib. It’s good now but didn’t get a wearing photo, sorry.

My company over the holidays, mostly family, wouldn’t you know, noticed my lovely range top coverup.http://knitwords.blogspot.com/2023/04/slippery-slope.html

 My favourite d-i-l is so cute, she says, so innocently, ‘my range top is the same size as yours, isn’t it?’ Wink, wink…