Friday, November 29, 2013

KH355 Japanese NaNa Midgauge Plastic Knitting Machine

I had to go and buy one of these.

With thanks to Mitzy on Ravelry, I've manage to work out what the little mystery box is, it's a knitleader that lights up the needles to assist with shaping. And no earthy good if you can't read the Japanese instructions. Never mind it's a lovely machine.

Mystery box which is an early knit leader - all in Japanese

Brother KH355 NaNa carraige

Thanks to Mitzy again, who found the Japanese method of changing the sponge bar. Which I thought would be nice in English. So here's mine

The sponge is enclosed in plastic and is changed from above

The top comes out by pinching the ends

The tape is on one half of the machine

and rolls off

                 lift up the electronic board and carefully remove the old sponge

Brushing out the fluff then insert the new sponge

put the circuit board back into it's clips and line up the lugs at the back and roll forward

locate the white pegs into their slots, making sure it all lines up and press down
 Now my NaNa is ready for a test knit! As far as I can tell, (which means as much as Mitzy could find out for me) it was only made for the Japanese market. But I hope the pictures are interesting.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Dream Week 2013

I've just realised I didn't press the publish button on my Dream Week post. Anyways, here it is:

As my daughter is fond of saying.

There are two events in September - Dream Week and her birthday and guess which one her Mum is in the UK for? I did point out that I was there for that first one, but there were both were, having a week in Crewe and going to Dream Week at Metropolitan.

Our tutors were Tony Bennett, from Dormani Yarns in West Aust, fashion designers Iris Bishop, Carl Boyd and Bill King, Anne Smith the editor of Machine Knitting Monthly, Ann Baker doing Passap and Mike ?? who did something on DAK, but neither Lauren or I did that one.

Where possible, we asked to go to different lectures so we could get maximum experience and swap notes when we got back.
Bill King

Tony's talks were the same as he presented in Sydney, so I only went to one of them, Lauren did both and really enjoyed both. We both really loved Bill King's Master Class and his Design Workshop, we learnt a lot - different things as it happens, but that's the idea I guess. Iris was very interesting, she showed us some of her bespoke designs she makes for customers and some samples of what she is experimenting on. She did a hands on workshop, that only Lauren did, and came home with lots of things to show me. While she was off doing a hands on with Iris, I went to Carl Boyd's flower trims and jewellery. These people are amazing, that's all I can say.

Both Ann and Anne showed us samples of different settings on the machines. Anne Smith urged us to change settings on our machines, to experiment with what the machine settings produces. Actually so did Ann on the Passap.

Lauren, Jane, Angela and me
Our evenings were filled with "entertainment". The first was 'Present Wrapping' - which I have to admit, Lauren and I did PRE-presentation think this was lame. Well how wrong can two people be?? She was brilliant, a professional present wrapper (who knew this was an actual job?) who advised us (among many other things) to always put our knitwear in a box prior to wrapping. OK will do. The next night was a fashion parade of Tony's garments. Third night was Nick from Uppingham Yarns with oodles of samples of different yarn compositions. (who knew there was glow in the dark yarn?) ... And the last night fashion parade of the things Bill King things we made and... ??? well, what happens on band camp - stays on band camp - sorry, some things shouldn't be shared, no matter how hilarious!
Bill King kindly posed with Lauren wearing Beverley Big Red - for Bev

Friday, July 12, 2013

More on Cables on the Machine

There's lots of different resources for suggestions on making cables on the machine. Susan Guagliumi, Susanna Lewis, Youtube. I've seen a few different ways myself. And I've done lots of the suggestions.

But .. always one of them isn't there? Something is always missing, cause I keep mispatterning. Like a lot of other people. I've just completed a red Corona with nice cable pattern on the machine - this is try three.. after the first messy failures...

step 1:

look at the pattern

Step 2:
Can it be done on the machine - max is 3x3 with reformed stitches inbetween, extra yarn?, extra stitchsize? - what ever - work it out on a sample before you start.

Step 3:
Rewrite the pattern:

Identify which needles are going to be in work on what row number. Identification of the correct needle is the single most important thing.. either write up a cheat sheet, mark in watersoluble pencil on your machine - whatever works to make sure each cross is on the correct needles.

This is what you see when working cables
Identify which way the cables are running, holding the yarn to the front or the back doesn't do me any favours, but what did work for me was:

Remove both sets of stitches to be crossed - on separate prong tools. ie 1 + 1; 2+2; 3+3.

Ok so now you have the stitches which has to be crosses and empty needles. Now this is where I come unstuck with the hold to the back/front. No help at all.

What I want to know is which goes where..

For example I worked out that this cable pattern had - always working left to right - the first pair left and the next pair right, I have two hands with stitch/es on prongs - the key being moving stitches closest to the bed in the correct direction, so the stitches next to the needle bed are going left and they get put onto their new needles and the ones remaining in the other hand get put onto the empty needle/s. I did the left moving ones first and the right moving ones next. It was very easy to work out - from the hideous mess I made of the second attempt to get it right, that I'd not managed at all with the front and back method! And we won't mention the wrong needles at this point either will we?

And here it is getting itself made, so quick and easy, no endlessly checking I'm on the right track and popping it on and off with the deckers. Then all I had to do was relatch the 2st gutter each side. I've done a few cables and made my share of total mess and redos.. but this project was done on the third try from start to finish, no undoing, redoing on this one. So for lots of reasons, it's always worth working out what works, not everything works for everyone, that's for sure.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

How I Do Wrapped Short Rows

This is how I do short rows. Other people have their way, and this is my fav:

carriage on hold bring 1 needle out to hold - knit one row

Do the same on the other side

On this first pass I hold the second needle down

But some people just put it back - I find it will still come off the needle this way

I use the 3 prong tool instead - just under the stitches you want to knit - much better than a weight

and for sock heels, this is what I do, keep going 1 needle wrapping each end until a third of the stitches remain.

For more needles between wraps - a skirt for instance. On this one I'm doing 4 needles on one side (cause I borrowed my sleeve and I only have 50 sts), I bring out to hold 1 less needle (3 ndls), put the pong under the first needle held and the next two needles being knitted. When this row is knitted, I will keep the tool there, pull out the needle to be wrapped and knit back - this is a nice quick smooth way to ensure I get a good tight wrap, no stitches dropped or tucked to make it untidy

close up on the right side

this is the sample I knitted
this is what it looks like on the wrong side, but as I'm knitting it I can check it's going well. (and now my sleeve has done it's volunteering to be my short row sample, it's back to regular knitting and is now regular non short row sleeve.)

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Little bit on Hand Tooling Lace

I've just finished two jumpers with the same panel but one with 3 and the other with 4 repeats of the panel.

Humboldt Raglan - minus the raglan!

 First I make a template of the pattern I'm repeating, here I've marked the edges and centres of each panel by putting a piece of cardboard onto the needle bed and putting in the pencil marks on it.

Another really good idea is to mark the bed with a waterproof pencil, but I can't find my one and only - so cardboard and pencil it was:

The first three transfers were the same,  so I bring the needles forward that are to be transferred on those first three repeats - transfer, 3 x to the right; 3 x to the left, knit two rows:

Then I do the same for the rest of the pattern, I found bringing the needles out to be transferred to be the quickest and easiest way to get it done. If you have to start second guessing which is this one is the right one, it slows everything down and makes the whole process very tiring. So... put the template down, bring the needles out, (check the line up) transfer, knit.

Here is a nice close up of the lace pattern. For this one, at the end of the pattern is two rows of reverse stocking stitch. I used the put the latch tool two stitches down, pull down, relatch, reattach, pull out to hold, do the next one. Again, working quickly and steadily gets it done, using the machine's settings to help keep track of which has been done - so there's no second guessing and no mental exhaustion from doing that over and over again. That's the real trick. Do the prep, and keep working at a steady pace and take short breaks to refresh the mind and stretch the legs.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

What I've Been Doing Over at the Lace Factory

I've been busy making lace over the last couple of months with my SK280+LC2 lace carriage. Lauren suggest I get all the projects done then put the machine away and sew them up - freeing up the clutter in the loungeroom.

My over abundance of Bendigo 4ply Cotton is my focus yarn out of my stash for these projects. I still have too much, but I've made five projects from 12 x 200G at the lace factory, which is a start

So I thought I'd share my experimental successes and failures

I tried out six different ideas.

First was Wild Lavender with a lovely circle lace pattern from the Harmony book. I punched the cards all by myself too!

Lauren's next good idea was - if you make one and you like it, make another - so right on cue - Damask Rose got itself made from a slightly different circular pattern.
Wild Lavender
Damask Rose

 Then I tried out the motif bits and pieces to put part of a card on a stripe and relatched the gutter on the next project - Maritime Trellis

Maritime Trellis motif
Progress: not making any

Well that was the first three projects off the machine - then came the next three.

The White Diamonds did not go well, there were a few little piles of white Snow at the back of the machine while I worked out how to stop it dropping stitches on my next project - White Diamonds throw over cardi. But eventually with enough weight, evenly distributed across the needles - Success!

White Diamonds Throwover Cardi

Then there was the upside down punchcard to figure out where and how to copy something I'd seen on someone over at the shops.

first try was with the garter bar - and I didn't quite like it...

Knock off Version 1

Knock off Version 2


And here I am sewing it up (I'll get a better photo tomorrow)  It's a lovely colour and looking good.

Which bring me to the sixth project - loved the lace card, thought it was gorgeous, but a little bit too much over the whole garment.

Ah I forgot to say I decided to use my cone of Bramwells Savanah "knits as 4ply" cotton. a little bit thin in my opinion, however... I ran into problems which I had no luck in solving.

I had a few breaks on the large piece but it was an absolute nightmare using motif in the centre of the front. I'd done the back... sigh, but I think there was.. six breaks in the first 100 rows and I decided to give up and do it plain. It is my official fail.

I think five success where I've learnt so much, is not too bad.

So... that's the fun I've been having at the "Lace Factory" over the last couple of months.

Now I have to sew up the Knock off, White Diamonds and the plain black tee. (and Thanks Lauren, my lounge room is clear while I do it).

And I've finished sewing up the last two projects so I'm going to add them here:
Knock Off Lacey tee

Front of White Diamonds
Back of White Diamonds

Monday, April 1, 2013

Pretty Ribbons II aka Putting Stuff in Shows

 I have been banging a drum lately on changing people's attitudes into entering stuff into shows. Trying to convince people to stop worrying about being judged, and submit eyecatching stuff to appeal to the public. Let the judges have the worry of picking out one instead. Anyways here is my story

Last year I decided to put a few things into the local regional shows around the Sydney Area, Blacktown, Castle Hill and Hawkesbury. I got some ribbons.

This year I decided to put a few things into the same shows plus try my hand at a bigger show - so I decided to enter the Royal Canberra Show. I was intending to put something into Sydney, but they moved their date forward and I wasn't confident that what I had planned to do would turn out. Sometimes it doesn't. Next year I will do better.

So.. onto Canberra. It has just had it's 100th celebration, and they had the Great Scarf Competition. You had to put in why it was relevant to the centenary. I decided to combine a method popular in the late 1890s to early 1900s - pre threading beads/pearls onto the yarn and knitting it into the fabric, which I did both ends by hand, then did the middle bit by the KX350. Mixed methods were permitted. And it won first place.

Alpaca Storm Scarf
Next was a baby jacket I made as part of our Passap Model book challenge in the Passap Ravelry group, one of the girls made the baby jacket out of book 19. And it won first prize.

Passap Baby Jacket
Lastly comes another Kate Shawl, It won First prize, Non Professional Champion more than 2 yrs experience and Overall Reserve Champion which is what the two rosettes are. (I know I thought of the cows too!!) This was apparently put on and paraded around the judging area (I did say this was OK). They loved it. And it took them a while to figure out how I did it. This is exactly why people should be putting things into shows. This is a relatively new technique, but this isn't the first time they should have seen it. I do not expect to be so honoured in the future. I'm just thrilled I got this result this time.

Kate Shawl
Lastly I'll show you what DIDN'T win at Canberra, zilch, nil, nada nothing, there must have been a few things to choose from in this category - my Passap hand manipulated socks that took me a week to make! And were in cotton and I thought were brilliant - just goes to show - you just never, never know...

Passap socks

I've also put in Diana's Beret, which one a first prize in the Blacktown show, and a First for the Mohair Scarf in Castle Hill. No photos of these yet, they still have to go to into Hawkesbury and St Ives, then I'll put their photo in.

And the most wonderful feedback I got was from a brand spanking new machine knitter who saw my Kate Shawl at the Canberra show and was inspired to get herself a machine! How Good Is That?

So my fellow machine knitters - These things I have I learnt:
  • have the article made well before the closing date, so there's no pressure,
  • baby items can be donated to charity if you don't have babies to knit for
  • keep your labels - some of the big shows like them
  • don't worry about being judged
  • give the judges something to worry about instead
  • pick something that looks good to the public
  • you will always win if you are the only entry
And good luck in promoting machine knitting as a wonderful craft that's still alive and kicking..