Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Knitting Cotton with my Lace Carriage

I'm writing a bit about knitting lace with cotton so I thought I might as well blog it too.

I use commercial 4ply cotton, mostly from Bendigo Woollen Mills and but from other sources as well. I was surprised to learn “it was hard”.  Noone told me that before I started. A good thing I think.

I’ll start with the obvious. Cotton has no give, not a lot of memory and doesn’t want to bend or perhaps loop well within the needles. The more transfers in the row with a lot of stitches in work means problems with transfers.

There’s a little bit of difference between the KH lace makers and the SK’s LC 1 or 2. The brother lace carriage transfers all the stitches with the lace carriage and then two rows are knitted with the main carriage and will do fine lace. Whereas the SK’s LC is a separate complete carriage and either knit and transfers in the same row (called simple lace) or with the flipping of a lever and removal of yarn, works the same as the KH’s method – transfers all then flip the lever back, yarn back in and knit two rows. This is fully fashioned lace.

I prefer to use the LC2 lace carriage (on my SK280) simple lace for cotton lace work. I think this method best suits cotton. I’ve found the more transfers in the same row, the more opportunity for the stitches at the beginning of the row to jump off needles.  The fully fashioned method has more opportunity to slip off the needles after the stitches are transferred multiple times before being knitted off. Although some people say the angle of the ribber clamps works better, I didn't note any difference between having the main bed flat or on an angle.

Next is the logistics of getting your cotton lace project made with as few dropped stitches as possible. First thing is to make sure you have a really good sponge/retainer bar. A must. Next is to bring out all the needles that are planned to be used. I hope you can see from the photos

If a needle has a bent shaft or tip. the stitches will not transfer correctly and drop. It’s far easier to replace them. It really is. If you pinch them together you will see – one way will transfer, but the next time you ask it to transfer the opposite direction, no luck, stitch drops.

Next on the list is weights. I know, I know some people don’t use them. Well they probably don’t knit cotton lace either, because for lace, we need them. Lovely even weight evenly across all stitches to ensure they  transfer correctly, knit off and stay put.

And the yarn. It must not have ANY KNOTS, breaks in the yarn HAVE to be on the sides, I’m sorry, but knots create havoc.

On that long row – a lot of transfers in the same row on a wide piece, I always run my thumb along the needle butts. I can feel the transfers that have not gone to plan as the needle doesn’t go back all the way to same place as its neighbour, the stitch hasn’t formed correctly, so I flip the yarn off the needle, check the transfer, fix if need be, and reknit. If I don’t, this one will drop next row, whether it is knitted or not. 

It never hurts to have really good light and check the row has knitted correctly. I usually do this at the same time I’m running my thumb across the needle butts. It adds a little bit of time to the project, but the bonus is no dropped stitches, no jammed carriages. After a couple of repeats of the pattern it becomes pretty clear where the transferring is a big ask in cotton. And the less dropped stitches the quicker the work is off the machine and on to the next project.

I’ve done hand transfers on 8ply cotton blend, excellent, but again, nice even, firm weights are essential to keeping the stitches on the needles. And it only took me an afternoon to do the front panels, pretty quick really.

Lorna Roache

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Intarsia Carriage notes

For the Ravellenics this year I decided to get the intarsia carriage out and learn to use it. I like to find something new to try out. Previously it's been a project I've always wanted to find time to do, punch some more cards and so on, but this is time for the intarsia!

Prep stuff:
  • First thing run the carriage across the beds ONCE ONLY before the first row.
  • I decided to go from L to R - 1st colour, cross 2nd colour in front of 1st, cross third etc. so it goes the way of the carriage and the next row the same 1st, cross 2nd, cross 3rd.
Kniting stuff

I tried a couple of different ways of holding the yarns, but in the end I held them all together about 25-ish cm below the centre, firmly in one hand and allow them to run though my fingers

Things to look out for
  • all latches much be OPEN
  • yarn MUST lay on top of the flat latches
  • make sure the END needle is covered
  • make sure the crosses cover adjacent needles OR
  • don't miss a needle when positioning yarns
  • always cross even if at an angle
  • use weights evenly across the work
  • check to make sure that all needles have knitted, sometimes they don't
I'll add some photos tomorrow and anything else I want to add.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Dream Week 2017 and A week of Hands on with Tony Bennett

I should have posted this in September. But better late than never.

Little did Lauren and I know when we planned our Dream Week this year, it was to be the last one.

My tutors for this year were, Carol, Erica, Tony, John, Bill and Jane. Carol went over finishing for us, Erica introduced me to working with wire; Tony did  two classes, working with colour and simple squares into garment design; the delightful John took a break from his usual jacquard instructions and played with sqaures; Bill - well brilliant as always bringing his slant on how he designs knitware for a living with an amazing collection of his samples; and Jane demystifying the circular sock machine,

Selfie with Bill and me

Some of Bill's creations

Lauren hard at work
Erica's working with wire classs

This last yarn challenge from Uppingham's Nick was a simple fussy tube yarn with blobs of colourful "pills".  Owen wonderful dress he did on his E8000, embellished with the blobs of colour - won!
Hem detail of Owen's creation.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Falling Blossom Scarf

I found an LC2 punchcard on the Russian site that I thought might be good for an idea I had for a messy looking, or random placement of lace flowing into less and less holes in the middle of the scarf continuing down the other side to a messy lace..

Here is the card I found. T6 on the LC2, with some cone "100% wool" looks like it is. about 3ish ply.. Looks and feels very nice, will wash and block when it's finished.

I don't think it's actually tried and true, there were a lot of dropped stitches in the same place on each repeat, so I'd say it's not too good for the first rows, but I just reformed them anywhichway, adding to the random ness.

Not many other notes to add, and as I have a couple of posts still in draft, I'll post this one off, add better photos so it's easier for me to make some adjustments and a photo of the end.

Update. Unfortunately, the wool had been chewed by moths!! so the whole thing has been thrown and and new yarn chosen.

I didn'like Tony's figure of 8 no roll edge for the lace carriage. The needles cannot be brought out to hold - the lace carriage needles must not go further than the gateposts, sot he edges weren't as nice as I'd like. I'm going to do Diana Sulliban's idea - that will suit, but I'll leave a lace hole and not fill it.

A Ravelry friend found the pattern. It's Hanami Stole herre on Rav.

II'll put up photos when it's finished. Very happy with the idea to project.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Dear Diana

I was shocked at Diana's recent monthly vid. on her cone winder. She has mentioned my blog on occasions and now it's my turn to return the favour.

Diana's review - Silver Needles Cone Winder

Of course I recognised the family resemblance immediately I have it's great, great, great grandparent. And it comes with it's own special story - of course it does.

It goes like this. My friend gave it to me. Initially I said - Oh No! I can't just take it, I must give you something for it - Oh no, you must take it, I don't need it anymore, I bought a new one.

OKOK says me. So I take it home and rapidly going off the idea of giving money for it - and then I used it... OK that settles it, I should have been paid to take it away.

Here we have the transformer. Which is, as we all know necessary to transform our 240V into something great grand dad can use, I put it on the bathroom scales so you can get an idea of it's weight, 15.4 kg, which is about 34lbs in the old money. Very, very heavy and all care must be taken not to drop it on my toes, the tiles, the cat etc. etc.

Once over that shock, no pun intended but it does have have that lovely 1950s hum, which I'm sure you all remember - if you need a reminder - just the opening seconds of the Beatles I Feel Fine will give you the sound it makes. But for as long as it's on.

And now for the unit itself - no knot turns it off next to the switch, no that would be my toe.. and the lovely new improvement of the yarn feeder to the cone... well I did have to bend mine a little bit to get it to work, really it looks like an old bit of bent coat hanger wire..

And it's sooooooo slllloooooowwww, 30 minutes to wind (beautifully wind I might say) 100g of the 2/28 that I need to wind off for a blanket.. while holding the yarn - just so - above it, while operating the patented on/off knot detecting foot operated switch.

So while I don't envy anyone anything, I just thought I'd like to share The World's Worst Cone Winder That Winds A Very Nice Cone (Mostly). And the 15.4kg transformer that the 1950s called and wants back to operate some Cold War spying-dogoodery, but was highjacked instead into a cone winder.

Now while I have every respect for Diana, and her blog, I wasn't sure that the added bits along with her nice lightweight transformer were appreciated. Really now, aren't you all glad I shared.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Southland Seminar at Invercargill, South Is, New Zealand

 Here we go again, another trip to New Zealand to enjoy a week of machine knitting fun.

We travelled by plane, Christchurch to Invercargill in a smallish prop plane.

There were 17 Aussies this year and here we are:

Our tutors this year were
Mary Avery, who did edges, Anne Baxter who did Passapy things, Marilyn Clements who did felted fabrics and bags, Vicky Evans who did cut and sew necks and one of her patterns, Sandy Idle who did dyeing, Bronwyn Jensens, a new knitter who talked about knitting from hand knitting patterns, Margaret Ryan who did hems and edges, And lastly Carol Watson who did exploring the manual.

All in all, I had an excellent time with the variety of tutors and workshops they gave.

Mary showing us how to

Vicky doing what she does, breaking it down and keeping it simple

And as usual they have their competition in many categories. My socks got a first and my sock pattern got a second. My other entries looked good and were beaten by a lovely selection in all categories. It was a marvellous display of machine knitting and I was thrilled to have my pieces as part of the display.

Barbara, Audrey and Owen had excellent wins as well.

For everyone who couldn't go, here are a few more photos of the displays. Enjoy!

Fashion winners
Baby section

Regional displays

Regional displays

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Midgauge Merge of Two beanie designs elements into one beanie on the machine

HybridSJ's Quarter Crown Beanie idea
Okey dokey, I'm workshopping a hand knit beanie pattern, Two by Two Basic Beanie to a machine knit version. The designer, Kate Gondwana, has given me permission to use her stitches and cm, which I've converted into rows, with the understanding that I'll link them to this blog post. Thank you Kate, having your numbers makes my life easier.

2nd mock rib, 3rd size exactly

My midgauge is a KX350, but I'm sure SK860, LK150 etc users can put their own 8ply/DK yarns to good use, with the added bonus of using up some of that fluffy yarn that people seem to think I need their mistaken buys in days gone by.
T5: The sts and row measurement conversions are taken from the Two by Two pattern for overall size, with Ravelry user HybridSJ's Quarter Crown for midgauge machines. The quarter crown hat pattern will be issued by HybridSJ, but it's not yet. I'll link it when it's done.
This is straight from Kate's pattern: 
Head Size

Head Size   
40cm (16”)

older child
52cm (21”)
45cm (18”)

sm adult
55cm (22”)
younger child
50cm (20”)

lg adult
60cm (24”)

1st size: 72 sts - these were too small for the need this time
2nd size: 80 sts - not needed this time.

3rd size: 88 sts +2sts. first with hung hem and the second with mock rib

4th size: 96 sts +2sts . Pink fluffy T7 and purpley/ bluey/pinky mottle.
5th size: 104 sts +2sts. Deep pin with 16row mock rib - too wide 
6th size: 112 - olive green. Could reduce the rows before crown by 12 if no turn up is needed. A 2x1 relatched rib - hung hem would be better, not worth the bother of relatching IMO.

Cast On: all PLUS 2 for seam.. 72, 80, (88, 96), 104, 112 sts. RC000
Ribbing: If using a ribber 2/2 (not sure about these numbers: T7/7)  8, 8, (10, 10), 12, 12RC (no reset)
or double for hung hem but -1 RC, do +1 or 2MT then RC000 the either same yarn or I did an extra two rows on fluffy yarn, it didn’t seem to have the stretch - maybe do at MT+1? next time? It certainly did use up some scraps. In the end I liked the mock rib best, no extra rows needed.
Continue to RC: 28,34, (38, 42,) 50, 52 RC, where we leave Kate's pattern.
(until hat measures: 9.5, 11, (12, 13.5), 14, 14.5cm, from the cast-on edge).

HybridSJ has an interesting Quarter Crown hat idea  that I’m doing instead of the decreases in the hand knit - we all know what a pain that is: 

The Quarter Crown Hat (please see these detailed instructions for clarity- I dilute them down to suit me).

These are the needle divisions, starting from the right set (bold) and then the next section:
Size 1: 74 = 19/18/18/19 (+2 each end 1st and 4th set for seaming)
Size 2: 82 = 21/20/20/21 (+2 for seaming)
Size 3: 90 = 23/22/22/23 (+2 for seaming.) 
Size 4: 98 = 25/24/24/25 (+2 for seaming.) 
Size 5: 106 - 27/26/26/27 (+2 for seaming.)
Size 6: 114 = 29/28/28/29 (+2 for seaming)
Put all but last 19, 21, (23, 25,) 27, 29 in hold. 
-1 eee 2R with extra ONE st on outer ends. 
then till 5sts left on both ends 

Just make sure that you leave enough yarn when starting the next section to sew in both ends, I left one of the needles on that first row to make sure I didn't have 2cm, oops!!!

and 4sts left on the middle two. 
take them off with needles 
Next two sections are 18, 20, (22, 24,) 26, 28 sts, reduce and at the same time, SAYG inside seams.
Last 19, 21, (23, 25,) 27, 28 as first, but the last three sts are on the LH side.

All sizes: 18 sts remain, leave a tail to pull in remaining sts and sew seam.
Thread the 18 sts with tail end of yarn, sew seam, weave in ends.

This was the first one - not enough rows before the crown
2nd one, Hung hem, with the adjusted rows before the crown
I think the fully bit is too wide, more like a brim

1st mock rib with 16 rows - too many but
I liked the mock best