Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Bobbin holder

Drilled 4 holes in an offcut of wood and pushed through four plastic knitting needles (size 5.5mm was good). Showed it to Jack, who made a bigger and better version ...

Thursday, 9 April 2015

The joy of plating (on a Brother knitting machine)

I had never even looked at the plating feeder on my Brother 881, so I decided it was time to give it a go.  I had some scraps of rather thick 4-ply pure wool left over from mother-in-law’s lovely handknitting, which I lined with 3-ply acrylic on cone in a neutral colour.  I used T 8. throughout except for the fold lines of the hems.

All the experiments were straight strips of knitting, two tablet covers, one phone cover and a pair of wrist warmers

Yellow tablet cover 
This is a long strip on 48 stitches.  I knitted until the tablet fitted into the strip when folded and then added a bit for hems (altogether about 25” inches/64 cms).   I stitched up the sides and then handstitched the hem.  This piece was particularly successful in that the lining side did not show through at any point.

Red tablet cover 
This time I cast on over 96 stitches, picked up a hem after 40 rows and knitted to about 10.5”/27 cms so that  I only had to stitch up one side.  The lining of this piece showed through in several places, which was not important for this project but I needed to find out why.

Wrist warmers
These were made over 70 stitches.  The top rib done on the garter carriage, and was about 3.5”/9 cms long.  The lining again showed through, this is very clear if you look at the wrong side of the mitt in the photo below. 

The finished mitts were a little large and loose, so I dropped them in the washing machine with the cottons and they shrank and felted just the right amount.  Lucky!

At this point I realised that the show-through was a tension problem caused by some of the the rewound handknitting yarn not feeding as smoothly as they might, so ...

Red phone cover

This was my last sample.  It is a mini-version of the red tablet cover, and I was very, very careful with the tension.  I was rapidly running out of red wool, so this time I plated the lining yarn with itself for the inside of the hem.  I knitted this over 32 stitches and when stitching up I left a gap on the inside of the hem to pull a drawstring through.

Saturday, 29 March 2014

'Perfect' machine-knit neckband, with or without a garter carriage

'Perfect' machine-knit neckband, with or without a garter carriage

This neckband is not original. It is very similar to the one at  http://machineknittingismylife.blogspot.co.uk/2012/02/cut-sew-instructions.html but I have worked out my own enveloped version for my Brother (with garter carriage ribbing) and my mid-gauge LK150 (stocking stitch, mock rib, latched-up rib, fair isle ...).

There is another version at http://mrsminiver-happycrafter.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/doubled-over-neckband.html which is probably a bit faster and easier at the knitting machine end of things, but needs backstitching afterwards on the right side, which is not my favourite task.

The neckband is very neat on both sides and has the extra benefit of hiding an uneven or cut-and-sew edge beautifully. I like it best in ribbing on my garter carriage, but there is a trick to doing a stocking stitch version, which can of course be done on any machine.  The band is made separately and joined to the garment body afterwards.

Garter carriage ribbed band
1. Cast on the required number of stitches in waste yarn and knit several plain rows with main carriage.
2. Change to main yarn and required tension and knit 4 rows.
3. Change to garter carriage and rib 4 rows. 
4. Reduce tension, rib 4 rows, reduce tension again, rib 4 rows. (12 rows in total) 
5. Rib 1 row at high tension, then reset to the minimum tension used and rib 12 more rows increasing the tension after every 4 rows.
6. Now look at the first row of ribbing. There will be a distinct rows of little ‘knobs’ under the knit stitches where the previous row had purl stitches. Pick up each of these knobs and place it on top of the corresponding knit stitch on the needlebed.
7. Change back to main carriage and knit 4 rows, then knit several rows with waste yarn and remove from machine.

The band is finished.

Now take the garment and hang the neck edge evenly over the same number of needles, right side facing. If using cut and sew, the row of machine stitching should lie just above the needles, otherwise just hang it so that you get a nice smooth shape and any less-than-perfect cast-off areas are above the needles.
Take the neckband and hang the first main yarn row on the same needles, wrong side facing. Close the latches and pull the open stitches right through the fabric. Now hang the last main yarn row on the same needles and pull these stitches through the first set.
Cast off loosely. Done!

Stocking stitch band on any machine
The procedure here is almost exactly the same. Instead of ribbing, the band is knitted entirely on the main bed. The problem is that there are no ‘knobs’ to show you where to pick up the stitches in step 6.

So, after step 2 take a separate length of main yarn and e-wrap over every second stitch in work. This forms a row of knobs and bars that is easy to see and pick up later.

This version of the band could of course be fair isle, lace, whatever with a stocking stitch border. Or you could use mock rib, or latched up rib - you wouldn't need the row of e-wrap for this one and it would be good for mid-gauge or bulky knitting.

The photos show the 'plain' and 'stitched' version of this band, The 'stitched' side also has a rolled stocking stitch trim which I was trying out - before casting off, knit a few plain rows, which will curl back towards the garment fabric.

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Garter carriage: A really simple laddered stole/scarf/cowl

Like all the best ideas, this one happened by accident.  I was trying to copy a lovely crochet cowl my sister had made, and it just wouldn’t drape for me, so I decided to try machine knitting.  I used 200 grams of double knitting yarn for a warm winter scarf/hood, but this could be done in sparkly yarn as a stole, maybe with a lace edging and fringe each end.  Or you could crochet up the ladders, or thread ribbon through them, or perhaps make partial ladders for a ‘shredded’ look.  The nice thing is that it looks the same on both sides.

        This is what I did:
1. Cast on 123 stitches in waste yarn and knit a few rows.

2. Set the machine for 3 by 3 rib and ensure that there are three purl stitches at each end for a nice rolled edge. 

3. Continue in main yarn at tension 10.  The work should be very stiff and thick at this point. Every few rows, ladder down the centre stitch of each group of three knit or three purl stitches, but leave the last group at each end untouched.  I found the best way to make the ladders was to knit some rows, drop the center purl stitches only, knit another ten rows, drop the centre knit stitches only.  I hung the last step of the ladder back over the needle.  This seemed to stop the GC misforming stitches around the ladders.  Of course the ladders could be made after finishing the knitting ...

The fabric was now soft and drapey.

Two full 100-gram balls seemed to be exactly the right amount for a cowl that could be twisted twice around the neck or pulled up to form a hood.  I knitted about 330 rows, then put in a twist and joined the ends (to form a moebius strip).  

I liked this so much I made another ...

Monday, 25 November 2013

Garter carriage problems all solved! Thank you The Answer Lady and Jack

Now then, why did I never find this wonderful resource before?  The Answer Lady and Jack have a series of youtube videos explaining exactly how to fix problems like the ones I was having with my garter carriages.

In short, my 'thorough' cleaning hadn't gone far enough.  The gunge that was used as lubricant when the machines were first made had become thick and was clogging the mechanism and preventing it from operating smoothly.   Once this was all cleared out of both machines they were re-lubricated and are both now running like new.

Details are in The Answer Lady and Jack's highly recommended videos.

Friday, 25 October 2013

Simple knitting machine cover

Just a tablecloth with an eyelet for the mast. 

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Replacing the fuse in a garter carriage motor

In my experience, these fuses can and do fail, but never (so far) when the carriage is actually in use.

The first situation is where the power is on and the tip of the DC connector is allowed to touch metal (for example, various parts of a knitting machine!)  This is why instruction books give a very specific sequence for connecting and then powering the equipment.  The reason is that the tip is not recessed, as it probably should be, creating the potential for a short circuit.  So, if you don't like playing with fiddly power supplies, be careful.

The second situation is where the machine is left plugged in for a period while out of use.  This turns out to be because of a process called 'electromigration' which you are welcome to look up here if you wish!

In both cases, the fuse has to be replaced and this is thankfully fairly easy. 

 The power supply box is held together by three screws on the top.  

The holes may be sealed with small rubber plugs which can be rooted out with a small crochet hook or similar. 

Then the screws can be taken out with a long-shanked crosshead screwdriver.  

Replace the fuse (on the circuit board near the output cable).

Use a 2 amp miniature fuse.

 Reassemble.  Job done.