Sunday, 16 December 2012

Girls Bobble Trim Sweater

 Click on any image to enlarge
Knitted on a mid-gauge SK860 in double-knit (worsted) acrylic yarn from a basic shape child's pattern from Designaknit8.

I started each piece with waste yarn, leaving open stitches at the bottom.  The pieces, when finished, were hung on the needles (upside down) and divided into batches of 13 stitches.  Each batch of stitches were hand-tooled by making the central lace pattern; I thought this would be a good way to form the shapes into triangles without showing ugly decreases at the edges.  The shaping reduced the triangle down to 5 stitches, which then became the perfect start for i-cord (for the bobble).  I knitted 24 rows for the i-cord,  tied a knot and secured the bobble from the end thread of the finished i-cord.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Felted Tote

How cute are these?

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Knitted with Alafoss Lopi Icelandic 100% pure new wool yarn  from a free pattern download from Ravelry.
This is a handknitting pattern that I converted for machine knitting - I added the bobbles using the shibori technique.

See top tab Felted (Fulled) Machine knitting - Shibori Style for a description of this technique.

Shibori comes from the Japanese word shiboru; an ancient Japanese craft and is a term for the process of introducing resistant items into textiles to form three-dimensional effects. The word shiboru means to press, squeeze or wring. Tie-dying is another example of shiboru.

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Empisal Knitmaster 305

This weekend I offered to get an elderly lady's knitting machine going; it had been in her attic for about 20 years.

The whole task was a bit of a challenge; the first thing I did was to remove the needle retaining bar (sponge bar) and that was when the trouble started. Most of the needles skewed and appeared jammed.  At this point I would say that I've stripped down my Brother knitting machines several times and am very familiar with the process.

It seems that the end of each needle, not the hook end, needs to sit above a spring loaded comb-shaped plate before it slots into a grid at the back of the needle bed.  Each needle needed gentle coaxing and manouevering to release it from its jammed position. 

Then all needles were soaked in a jar of surgical spirit for a deep clean. The sponge on needle retainer bar had disintegrated and was completely flat.  I then cleaned the whole bed with a vacuum cleaner, it was so full of dust and fluff. My vacuum also retrieved a metal double-pointed knitting needle from inside the needle retainer bar tunnel!

The needles were replaced and I ran over the back rail, the heels of the needles and the front rim with lightly oiled cloth.  It is now gleaming clean and ready to go.

Things to remember about changing the needle retaining bar is ...

  • Use a blunt implement to gently push the bar out. 
  • When removing needles, the latches need to be closed.
  • When inserting needles, the latches need to be open.
  • Replace any bent, or damaged needles and check that latches open and close easily.
  • The needle retainer bar goes in metal side up and sits on top of the needles.
  • The needles need to be held down during the insertion of the needle retainer bar - best done by holding down a few at a time, inserting the bar a little at a time.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Hanne Falkenberg - Danish knitwear designer

I am totally in love with Hanne Falkenberg and her knitwear designs; sadly her designs seem to be all in garter stitch (hand knitting). 

The one that appeals particularly is 'Dacapo'.  It appears to be made up from modular pieces. See (the back of this jacket is particularly attractive).

I am in the process of designing my own knitting machine version, using Designaknit8.  So far I have created this layout; it's not easy to explain but each piece is named so hopefully I will know where each piece goes when I get around to creating and constructing it.

I still haven't decided on the stitch pattern - maybe tuck, or 1x1 Birdseye slip ...  any suggestions?

The other design I much admire is Diva, see

The Origin of Machine Knitting

When I was researching into my family tree, I came across the occupation 'Framework knitter'. This is the origin of machine knitting as we know it today. My ancestors came from Leicestershire, England.

Machine knitting was invented in 1589 during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I.

See a framework knitting machine in action here

The link below gives more information about framework knitters and their dreary lives.