Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Working Bendi Harmony on the KX 350

Working Notes on the 350 with Harmony cotton blend.

Bendigo Woollen Mills Harmony 8ply
Swatched shown is:
Crocheted edge with latch tool
T6 40R : 18S & 32R /10cm
T5 20R : 20S & 30R /10cm
T4 20R : 22S & 28R /10cm

I wanted to try the crocheted edge as described in Susan Guaglium's Hand Manipulated Stitches for Machine Knitters: 5.00mm crochet hook worked best. The latch tool was too tight and uneven.

I'm making Gathered Pullover from IK Winter 07, but flat not in the round. The beginning of the pattern says: This sweater is worked in a much larger gauge than the yarn calls for to create a fabric with drape and fluidity.

With that in mind, I went with the T5, almost the same tension as the original design. The crocheted edge, a little bit of shaping and the cable panel will add a little bit of interest while I learn how to use the machine.

Notes for the Back
Cast on 100, 6 crocheted back rows, straight for a bit, dec 1 st each side every 4th row, about 30 rows straight, inc 1 st each side every 6th row, but to 98 sts, work straight till 40cm, work armhole shaping, taking off the extra side stitch, do the decreases as written, work 64 rows, do shortrow shaping for the shoulders: hold 5 sts each end till 20 are held each side, work rows to have one complete row taken off the machine.

Notes for the Sleeves:
50, 6 crochet back rows, T5, inc ev 8 rows to 78. to RC 150, dec as written but with a few more rows in the cap, 50 incl last rows T10, which I used to cast off.

Notes for the Front.
Work as for back to RC76, where the fun started. Ok I tried to do the cables, where more experienced machiners would know better. I managed one. the came to a grinding (yes literally grinding) halt. So, off the machine it came, to see what I could do. I was all set to rip it back and redesign a simple panel - however I really liked the single cable and partial second cross I'd managed before the wheels fell of (Ok no they didn't but there was some groaning). The Plan was to knit up the panel, but with an extra stitch at the end of the panel have a purl though the whole motif, put it back on the machine knit up both sides, combine and keep going. however... the 5.00mm needles work so well, no noticeable difference between where the machine stopped and I started, so I knitted the motif on the 5.00s. The other thing I changed was to start the neck divide after the armhole shaping had been completed.

Neckband notes:
Decided to put the crotched edge around the neck. Using 5.00mm circs, picked up the stitches and knitted 4 rounds in total, on the centre front I did 3 tog each round. I put rows of crochet through the pick up row and the next 3 rows. The one on top of the pick up round was done after the event, but the other rows were done between the stitches on the circ cable, which was much quicker, but the next row was a bit tight but doable. Cast off normally.

Things I learnt:
  • it's easier to use than the Passap
  • taking off the machine with a small circ needle, fixing the problem works best
  • I can't use the latch tool and get an even stitch.
  • picking up stitches to rehanging is very easy
  • the cast on comb and claw weights are excellent and doesn't need any other weight.
  • not to lean on the plastic machine
  • make sure that the yarn doesn't get out of position when doing short rows - or it ends up in a heap on the floor.
  • when you flip the H lever cam thingy to N, it just knits up all the stitches without me having to put them back on the hooks, love this feature.
  • when ripping back, put the undone stuff in a pile and put it through the second whisker until it's taken it all back up again, then unthread and off we go. saves heaps of time.
  • T10 on the last row them crochet off make an excellent cast off.
  • You can't do more than one set of 4x4 cables and only just do one at that.
  • I don't think this machine has been used before.
Very happy with the first thing I made on this quiet little achiever.

Monday, October 19, 2009

My "New" Knitting Machine is Here

It took it's time to come by road from Perth, and arrived in excellent condition, not a problem at all with transporting the complete width of the country.

and this is the ta da:

It's a Brother KX350, a plastic mid gauge hobby machine, which will knit slubby, novelty yarn into lovely scarves and toys. It's a flat bed, no ribber, can do tuck stitch and two colours but must be selected by hand. I would really love an electronic Silver Reed SK-860, but we will see how things go on this one first. Maybe the combo and this and my Passap will be plenty.

I'm looking forward to seeing what else I can create on it.