Thursday, November 1, 2012

My 2012 Winter Hat Project

I decided to try out some different ideas for a hat while I made some hats to send to the Grand Rapids Machine Knitting Club for their Winter Hat project.    Then  I bought myself a new jacket for winter (purple) and of course didn't have a matching hat so I had to get some purple yarn to match the jacket and make a hat for myself while I was in the hat mode.

The first hat (the one on top was woven with a boucle yarn and I wondered if it would even work as a weaving yarn, I had to double it but I loved the results.  The second hat used the same pattern only I wanted a wider band, this is the purple to match my coat.   Both hats have a flat crocheted flower on top with a tiny pompom on top of the flat flower to hide the hole at the top. 
 Beware, when you get the hat off the machine you're going to think it won't fit.   Here's a picture of the purple woven hat fresh off the machine.  Have faith, it stretches when you put it on your head.

You can try out different techniques with this pattern.  You could  put a fairisle band instead of weaving or leave the band off altogether or even slip stitch a few rows or tuck or not tuck.  My head measures 21 inches, the hat is only 19 inches around but that's because I live in cold country and need a hat that keeps my head warm when I walk the dog so I like it snug.   If you want to rechart yours to make it wider, just measure your head and cast on enough stitches to make you happy.  Since there's no shaping until you get to the very top, you could rechart it for the standard gauge machine with a different yarn or even the bulky machine.    Another note before you start, I have just discovered this yarn.  Its soft acrylic and knits nicely on the  LK 150.  Its very inexpensive and no dye lot.  I think its perfect for winter hats.

MACHINE:  LK 150 Mid Gauge 
YARN:  Red Heart Soft Baby Steps, #4 Worsted Acrylic (no dye lot)
Tension:  5
Fits 21 inch woman’s head snug
Gauge:   5 sts per inch, 7.5 rows per inch (using 2  LK cast on combs with weights or a metal rod* inserted in hem and 3 weights)
E-wrap cast on 90 stitches, every other needle,  (needles 45 – 45) hang cast on comb and weights
Knit across and bring out of work needles into work.
RC 0   Knit 60 rows
Hang hem on every other needle using the beginning cast on loops.  I used a metal rod to hold the folded work down as I  bring the cast on comb up to put the loops on my needles.  Leave the metal rod in the hem as a weight..  If you prefer to use your cast on combs, return them to the bottom.
Turn row counter back to 0
Knit 8 rows and turn work (knit side facing you)  
Knit 2 rows plain
Weave a contrast color yarn over and under every other stitch across then knit the weaving row and 1 more row (2 rows knitted)
Weave on the opposite every other stitch over and under the needles and knit the weaving row and 1 more row (2 rows knitted).

You can knit plain now or continue weaving but remember weaving won't stretch as well as plain knitting.   I liked 4 rows of weaving which looks like a hat band but its up to you. 

After weaving, knit 2 rows plain.

Turn work (purl side facing you)
Continue knitting to row 35 then turn work again (knit side facing)
Bring forward every 4th needle to D position and set Russel Levers to tuck “I”  Side levers stay on triangle.
K 4.   Set Russell levers back to normal  (“II”)  K 2 Rows. 
Carefully turn work, you can easily lose your tuck stitches here, I suggest not using a garter bar unless you are confident using it, I prefer to use a contrast color yarn and knitting at least 4 rows before turning.   (purl side now facing you again)
Knit 10 rows.
Transfer every other stitch to the right, put empty needles back to A position,  turn tension to 3 and knit 2 rows. 
Cut long piece of yarn (2X width of work) and take stitches off onto the yarn with a tapestry needle.
Sew seam with the excess yarn.
Finish with a flat crocheted flower or a knitted flower with a small pompom on top 
I don’t normally crochet but found an easy crochet flower that even I could make here:
I found the perfect, very easy, tiny pompom directions using a table fork here:
*I have 3 metal rods that i think came with the Incredible Sweater Machine.  You can buy metal rods at a hardware store.   I suggest since you have to have them cut  you get one that fits across half your machine bed and another one that fits all the way across.  My 3 are all 21 inches long and weigh 7 1/2 ounces each.  .
Copyright:  Rosalind Porter, 2012.  
Feel free to make these hats and sell them if you wish but don't sell the pattern.  

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Here's Biscuit walking at the park in his new Lion Brand Amazing sweater.   The sweater picture I uploaded  few days ago is made out of the same yarn so I put buttons on mine to match Biscuit's.   So much fun, I can't wait for it to warm up enough to walk without a jacket so I can wear my sweater when he wears his.   Everyone admired him the day he wore his.      
Below is a picture of mine and his together.   I almost wish I had put cables on mine, his cables are so pretty.   To be honest, the picture of him in the park shows the colors the best, it was taken outside, the other 2 pictures were taken inside and the lighting is NOT good!   Oh well, you get the idea.  
The buttons were made out of ash twigs, directions are on this blog.  

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Visiting the Grand Rapids Area Machine Knitters Club

Tomorrow I'm going down to visit with the GRAMKC at the Kentwood (MI) Senior Center.  On the agenda is  ‘HAT SEW UP DAY” for the Kniting for Christmas Giving program.  I'll take my needle and help sew!

 Its always fun to visit with other machine knitters.   I had such a good time last month when I went down to help celebrate their anniversary.   It was a Members Only workshop with show and tell and lots of teaching.   I met up with friends I haven't seen since the last time I went down for a seminar.  

Definitely I'm going to go down more often now that I know how to get there, its a 2 1/2 hr drive down but worth it to be around machine knitters, we talk the same language.   Unfortunately winter is coming here in Northern Michigan which means I won't always get to go down, I don't like to chance a snow storm although generally the roads are pretty clear on the highways.  Still, I'm a bit leary planning trips until the day of--to make sure I'll be able to make it home.    Funny, I always drove about 30 miles to work and home again when I lived in the U.P.   There were time when I could only get home by following the car in front of me because the wind used to blow snow across the road at fever pitch up there.  I'm hoping this year will be like last year, not much snow!  

Will take pictures of (hopefully) a mountain of  hats tomorrow and put them up.    If you are a machine knitter living in Michigan, come visit the group, they meet on the 2nd Wednesday of every month.  If your coming tomorrow, bring a needle and help sew!

You can visit the Group's web page at  They meet on Wednesdays at 355 48th St, SE Kentwood, MI    Easy to find and fun to visit.  

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Shawl Collar Pullover

This is my latest endeavor.  I've decided that since I lost quite a bit of weight (which is still ongoing) I had to give away all the clothes that don't fit and buy new.   That was fun but now Fall and fast approaching and Winter will be here soon and I need clothes.   I have some blue jeans I bought, my favorite brand was on sale last month and I bought 3 pair that "almost" fit then and do now...Yaaay!    Anyway, for the last 3 years I've worn sweatshirts.  They are comfy and easy to throw in in the morning but gee wizz, I had 4 sweatshirts that I was either washing or wearing every day and I decided to keep the smaller ones for those days I really just needed to throw something on and  give away the bigger sloppy ones and make myself some sweaters that fit.  The shawl collar is the first of those sweaters that fit. 

The yarn is Lion Brand's Amazing, color is Roses.
                                        Bright Magenta, deep fuchsia, and dark wine red

It was knitted on my LK 150 mid gauge machine.   
I've put a picture above that shows the "real" color of the yarn, my picture comes out with a wierd color.      Its amazing yarn, so it has an appropriate name.  Its labeled as 4 (medium weight)  by the Yarn Council measurements which is a bit heavy for the LK 150 but I've found you can't always go by that number.  I think the reason this knitted so nicely on my LK was because the yarn is softly spun and gives as it stretched.  In fact if you aren't careful, it will pull apart as you're sewing up the side seams.  That's OK but I was a little worried about pilling with this softly spun yarn.  What I've found though is that if you knit it a little tighter it might  not pill as easily as if you knitted it loosely.  So...I made 2 tension swatches.  I used tension 5.5 and tension 5.  I ended up not being able to tell a lot of difference in the look and feel but went with 5 because it knitted easily enough, wasn't any strain on the carriage and still felt soft.   My gauge ended up 19.2 sts by 29.7 rows over 4 inches.

The pattern is a Lion Brand Freebie, its called Modern Lodge Pullover and you can find it at the Lion Brand web site if you search for patterns.    Of course, my gauge didn't match their gauge so I had to rechart the sweater.   I used their schematics for most of the sweater but wanted my sweater longer than theirs and the sleeves a little longer.  I made a bit of a mistake in the neck, my front neck opening isn't as wide as theirs but its OK although I have changed the pattern in my charting software to make it wider.   

I used Knitware for my charting software because I love the set in sleeve in Knitware.   Other than that  and the length, I made my sweater the same as theirs although I didn't check to see how many inches their ribbing  was, etc.    The sweater fits so well that I have gone in and changed a few things and resaved it with a different name for my next project which is a round neck pullover out of Diamante on the standard gauge machine.   I love knitting software and that's why...once you have something you like, make a couple changes and you have another one you like.   

One thing I had to do with this sweater just because I was using the LK 150 was the ribbing.  I did the sweaters ribbing by hand manipulating a 2x2 rib but the sweater front and back took forever to do that so when I got to the neck ribbing I used my knitting needles.  They called for a size 6 so that's what I used as well.   I picked up the back neck stitches just as they said to do in their pattern and I knitted my 2x2 ribbing for a row, then increased 8 stitches and knitted back, 8 more and knitted and repeated these 2 rows 6 more times.  Then I measure it around the neck of my sweater and decided to do 8 more each side and then changed to size 8 needles and continued knitting till it was the correct width which wasn't that many more rows since my neck wasn't all that wide at the bottom (their directions said to continue until it fit the opening then sew to the bottom neck, lapping right over left).  Well, obviously I didn't have that much more to go.  Anyway, the neck ribbing was going to be difficult to do on the LK I thought and it would break my back sitting there doing it, plus I wouldn't be able to measure as I knitted so HKing the ribbing was the answer.

Love the finished sweater, now I'm waiting for a cool day to wear it but don't want to say that out loud, I really don't want Fall to arrive this quickly.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Another Vest Knitted

A friend of mine came in one day with a pretty vest that I absolutely loved.  The vest was knitted with squares divided by reverse stockinette and hand manipulated stitches.  Some of the squares had a hand manipulated stitch in it and some were blank.   I asked if I could borrow her vest so that I could make a diagram of the details and that's exactly what I did but I ended up changing it a bit because hers was obviously knit on an industrial fine gauge machine and I wanted to make mine on my Brother 970.  That meant that I couldn't do as much hand manipulation as her vest had but that didn't stop me.

I went to my computer and brought up DesignaKnit (DAK) and brought up a built-in shape for a waistcoat (vest).  I changed it around a bit in Original Pattern Drafting and then after picking out my yarn from my stash, I made a swatch.   I chose Panama as my yarn and plugged the measurements of my swatch into DAK.  Once I had the shapes the way I wanted them I went into Stitch Designer and brought up a new pattern with the number of stitches and rows one of my front pieces was going to require.   Then I started drawing my hand manipulated stitches.   I used 2 colors, the background was of course, my Panama and the contrast color became my hand manipulation..

Next When I thought I had it the way I wanted it, I integrated my front pieces into the Stitch Pattern section of DAK and lined it all up the way I thought it would look best.   Then I went to integrated knit from screen and proceeded to knit the 2 fronts.  To the right is what my stitch pattern looked like before I integrated it with a shape.
Once I liked the way I had it set up I went into Knit From Screen and proceeded to knit the 2 fronts.  DAK's Knit From Screen is great, every row I knew exactly what to do as far as hand manipulation and what to do when I shaped the front V neck and armholes.    Below is a shot of my computer screen showing a sectionI was knitting and at the top right, the whole front piece.  The numbers at the top are telling me that I needed to cast on L 43 and R 44 on my needle bed and I had knitted 18 rows and was now going to knit row 19.  You can see the hand manipulated stitches and below them the needles I needed to do them on.

This vest could have been done without DesignaKnit but honestly, I tried drawing it out on paper and after working with paper and pencil all day I told myself...why am I doing this when I have DAK and can just draw the pattern on it and put the shape over it and knit!    Why did I buy DAK if I'm not going to use it for what it does so well?

The nice thing is, I have the pattern saved now in my computer and can easily change the gauge if I want to make it again with a different yarn, maybe on a different gauge machine.  I think I'd have to integrate the shape with the stitch pattern though to make sure the pattern is going to work with a different yarn, I was thinking I might like it done with a sports weight yarn on the LK 150 machine.

My friend's vest has flowers embroidered on the blank squares.  I'm seriously thinking of finding a lightweight  embroidery design, maybe something like an outline of a flower and doing that on my blank squares.  I have some solar active embroidery thread and I think it would be fun to use it for the flowers, there's about 5 different colors of thread so each flower would be a different color when I step out in the sun and be white when I'm inside.   Wouldn't that be fun?  Well...if I do that I'm going to try it on a swatch first to make sure it looks like I would want it to look.

If you have DesignaKnit, give hand manipulated stitches a try with yours.   Let me know how it worked for you.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

A couple years ago my son and his wife gave me a vest which I dearly love.  It fits great and its cream color goes with just about anything I wear.   I get compliments on it whenever I wear it.   So, I was looking over my stash of yarn (which wasn't dwindling) and my eyes lit on a yarn that I've had for quite a while.  Every time I looked at the yarn I would think...I need to weave something with this yarn.  Its a French Boucle mill end.  (Unknown fiber but probably rayon and acrylic).
 So I got out my Brother 970 standard gauge and dusted it off.   I looked in Stitch World II book and found a pattern that I liked and gave it a try with my yarn.   OHMYGOSH!  I loved the swatch I made with it so immediately decided to make a vest just like the much-loved one the kids gave me.   I got out DesignaKnit 7 which I haven't really used since I bought the upgrade and pretty much copied everything about the one I loved into DAK's Shapes, I measured the neck width, front neck drop, back neck drop, height of collar, armhole measurements, etc.   I had it copied in DAK Shapes right down to a "T".   Then I started knitting.  I had a picture in my head of exactly what I wanted to do with it.   I wanted rolled trim instead of ribs and weaving throughout the entire body of the vest.  Here's a picture of the vest and the notes I made for myself as I knitted--and often took out and knitted again, until I had it exactly the way I wanted it.  I took pages of notes as I knitted (for once in my life).  After the vest was finished I  wrote down all my notes into a pattern for myself.  The shape is saved in DAK  so that now whenever I want to make another vest I have the shape file handy.
If you'd like to make one like it, I suggest you do as I did, get a fabric vest out of your closet, one that you love how it fits and using the directions below, chart out and knitweave yourself a vest.   Keep in mind that its knitweave which means it will not have the give a stockinette piece will have, add enough ease that you can wear something under this (which is why I suggest you measure a woven article rather than a knitted article for your vest measurements).

Roz's Knitwoven vest
Yarn Diamante
Weaving Yarn, French Boucle Mill End
Knitted on the Brother 970 standard gauge machine
Knitweave pattern is Brother Stitch Pattern 388 in Brother Stitch World III modified to eliminate the first and last rows which made an ugly stripe when repeated vertically.  I’ve put the pattern as knitted below.
Main Tension = 6
Gauge: 7.10 spi , 12.30 rpi

RC 00
Cast on and knit waste yarn and ravel cord (or hang cast on rag/ravel cord)
With garment yarn K 15 rows stockinette tension 6 for hem. *
RC 00
On row 15 set up machine for pattern, this will knit another plain row and ready the needles for weaving the next row.
Continue knitting in weaving pattern. Latch tool bind off back neck to create a firm neck edge that won't stretch out of shape because the fabric is heavy.
Knit back and 2 fronts. Then Hang shoulders on machine, right sides facing each other and latch tool bind off tightly so that there's no space between the woven sides.
Armhole and center front Facing: Hang armhole with knit side facing centering the seam at 0 and making sure you have the same number of needles on each side of 0. K 1 row garment tension then transfer every other needle to ribber. Set tension 2 whole numbers less than garment tension—and rib 3 rows. Transfer stitches back to main bed and knit 15 rows stockinette. Latch tool bind off loosely.
Center the fronts at 0 and just as armholes, make sure you have the same number of needles on both sides of 0.
To make neck band, hang entire neck on the machine wrong side facing you, centering it on the machine at center back. K 1 row at garment tension then transfer to ribber. Rib 40 rows 2 numbers less than garment tension. Transfer rib stitches to main bed and cut yarn 3X the width of neck stitches thread your rib transfer needle (tappet tool) and take each stitch off on the yarn making sure you are lining up your stitches as you go across. You’ll be taking off the open stitch and a bit of the yarn where you joined to start the neckband. Don’t let it gather by pulling it too tight. (This is a Joyce Schneider neck finish and I have always thought it made the neatest finish possible.
Lay the piece on the table and mark your garment at the hem every 2 inches or so with a little piece of contrast color yarn, Then hand stitch the hem matching each stitch with its cast on edge so that your hem lays straight, this takes time but makes the hem lay perfect.
*I wonder if it wouldn't be easier to mark that last hem row before starting the weaving since its right there on the needle bed and easier to follow the stitch up. You'd just have to be careful not to weave the marking thread in with the weaving yarn not to weave the marking thread in with the weaving yarn.

Zipper was pinned and basted with contrast thread to make sure it hung straight and then hand sewn.  After I sewed it I sewed a backstitch seam (by hand) on the woven edge of the zipper rather than sewing it on the sewing machine. 
Modified Stitch World III # 388 from Brother 970 machine:

Copyright Rosalind Porter, June 2012
Please feel free to use the directions above but do not copy and sell the pattern as yours.   Copyright remains with designer.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Short Row Table Runner

Marg Coe posted a table runner on the Knittingmachines Yahoo Group and I couldn't stand it.  I worked with several different yarns until I got one that knitted decently and made myself one.  I had a time trying to figure out what Marg had done for some reason but finally figured it out.   Mine is different from hers I think but basicaly its the same technique.     I used Savannah II 100% mercerized perle cotton from the UK.   Love the yarn and I wish I had tons more.  

This technique is described in John Allen's book called The Machine Knitting Book, originally published in 1985 and republished in 1987.  I got it from Amazon a couple weeks ago and love the book, I can't believe I didn't already have it in my collection.

The technique is also shown on Diana Sullivan's UTube video:   She calls it Fern Lace.         She knits it on a bulky machine.  Since its hand manipulated lace you can knit it on any machine, even the USM.