I decided to do a straight (as in no shaping just knit back and forth - straight) piece to acclimatise myself with AX patterns. I want to make Henley Perfected from my Interweave Knits mag, but I'm fairly certain to do it all on the machine is just a little beyond my reach. So... what else to do but an easier version with an AX auto or semi auto pattern. As a preproject I decided to make Jana Trent's Passap DM80 Tuck Lace Shawl/Scarf as a practice piece.
Caston: I tried several methods, firstly in main yarn; 1:1 rib, transferred stitches, adding various weights as per the original instructions. Well I think my main problem with this is I don't have a cast on comb and couldn't come up with any way to add weight without pulling the whole thing to blahhdom. Next was scrap yarn, again 1:1 rib, transferred (then got sick of that and just dropped them) started with lace yarn and problems again with weights. Next idea, set up needles for pattern, using waste yarn again, and not worrying about the quality of the caston, T5, N/N, 1R; rack 1 nd to left, 1R; rack 1 nd to right; keep knitting and eventually knits all sts and long enough to attach weights. Success (and a really rotten first couple of cast on rows).
Weights: Problem: no cast on comb. After successfully casting on with waste yarn, and before I finished knitting with it, I attached my weights. Using silver crochet hook, picked up paperclip with lock attached and evenly spaced them across the work, until work is exposed and then can be hooked into fabric. I did manage to hook the heel grips at the end. Padlocks work remarkably well.
Knitting 2ply lace on T7: problem: dropped stitches. Constant weight must be applied at all times. On the first couple of runs, I moved the weight but allowed the live stitches to be weightless, resulting in too many dropped stitches. I tried several types of weights I have on hand and the smooth padlocks, directly hooked in the fabric, worked best, no pulling or overstretching. The heel grips went on the very end, as I could get them higher up inside the machine and that eliminated edge problems.
Dropped stitches: Cause: not keeping weight on live stitches at all times. On the final attempt, I managed to keep pressure on the live stitches as I repositioned the weights over 700 rows, and about halfway through I dropped 2 stitches, which I dropped back and relatched when I finished knitting. (crochet hook v latch tool: use the latch tool). I initially stopped, flipped levers and repositioned weight on row 6, but ... so many dropped stitches later, trialled and thought better, to knit row 1 then stop. I think this helped and if not, no harm done either way.
Undoing rows: Successfully and carefully done, making sure there were no dropped stitches, keeping weight on needles and using red tool where necessary. (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, STOP flip levers. NOT keep on knittin' and countin' to 10).
Cast off: no dramas. N/N on scrap.
Finish: All scrap now removed, after - best guess - over 2000 rows to knit a 700 row shawl/scarf. I now know how the AX tuck stitch works! Now to decide whether to put in some glass bead on the ends, (after I finish my cotton top, of course!).
Beaded Cast off, both ends. I used the method in the Swallowtail Shawl, but with beads; make a point with PVA glue, wait till dry; thread about 100 beads; knit first stitch, with a bead in the centre of the new stitch, ie draw the first loop over the bead; *knit one, knit both sts through back of loop, with the bead in the centre, a bit of a fiddle - pass both loops over the bead, drawing it up between the loops * , repeat to end. Took me a while to do.. but worth it.
I'm looking at the pattern books to see which pattern I'll put on the Henley and do a sampler.