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 ...