Wednesday, February 24, 2016

one was a deal, one a steal and one for the feel....

'member that order for sock yarn I placed back at the beginning of the month - I got the parcel and oh my! It was more fun than I expected! The colours were prettier in real life than what it looked like on-line and I was thrilled  with the deal! You may have heard the phrase 'one to thrill, one to fill, and one to spill' referring to the method you should use when planning container gardening - I figure I now have a guideline for sock yarn shopping! I got 6 balls of 100g each sock yarn, delivered for $58 USD - that's a deal! It seems to me any time I go into a yarn shop, I end up paying at least $20 for enough for 1 pair and I have enough for at least 6 pairs! As a deal, the Lana Grossa (80 superwool/20 nylon - what I normally buy), usually $18 each was on for $7.50 because I got the last 2 balls in stock! For the steal, the Berroco Comfort Sock (50 nylon/50 acrylic - should wear forever!) at $6.85, what? And for the feel, the Misti Alpaca (50 alpaca/30 merino wool/10 silk/10 nylon), so yummy! And I got a coupon for 15% off my next order - OMG!
PS - I did knit up one pair of the Comfort Sock already - I did have to add a little more weight when knitting, but that and a little yarn spray, they knit up same as my regular socks (see 'warmup sox' under 'freebies' at for the pattern) - it's all good!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

mental note...

They don't work for me anymore! I need something much more blatant!
For the past several knitting projects on my standard gauge machine, I've been telling myself to change the sponge bar before the next thing. At Christmas when I was doing that 4Fhoodie, I was noticing that the needles were up so high that picking up stitches for increases and decreases was becoming more difficult and I thought to myself, I guess it's time to change the sponge bar. Then I did that circular scarf and once you're into a project, it is difficult to change out the bar so I just kept re-knitting the tucked stitches and sort of blamed it on the fine yarn and the circular knitting and maybe sticky latches. I made Nathan's hoodie in early February and it didn't present any issues - heavier yarn, not much shaping, easy work - so it slipped my mind again. I did the swatches and the actual oxymoron scarf for February and I slipped in the close knit bar, completely forgetting the sponge bar issues and everything worked fine. Socks were not a problem or so I thought.
Yesterday, completely oblivious, I set out and cast-on the full width of the needle bed  to make sister Janet my TLR cardi ( 'my plan worked...' July 23, 2015) from last summer, for her upcoming birthday. I have enough of the watercolour WCD left over from her last dress and I thought it would make a nice outfit with the dress. So the cast-on wasn't exactly a quick and easy thing - anyway, the point was, after knitting about 80 rows and ripping back a few times because I thought the tuck patterning was messing up, I finally gave up and took the piece off - OMG! what a disaster - glad I gave up when I did! Out of the 80 rows (it's a 6 row repeat), I had three spots where the tuck didn't work all the way across but then started again. V-8 bang on the forehead! that freaking sponge bar! I pulled it out and man! I've never seen one thinner! Replaced it, knit up a perfect sleeve and life is good again!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

not to forget the LK-ers....

This is a fairly easy tuck sampler using simple one-row-tuck stitch patterns that will all be comparable in width - the length will vary somewhat but you're just using the 1X1 and 3X1 needle selectors that come with the machine, so the manual needle selection is relatively quick. By turning the work back and forth between patterns you get textures alternating with the smooth, stockinette-look of the knit side of the next pattern, making the scarf look good from both sides. I finished it off by adding a 3 stitch slip cord that is attached to the edge of the scarf as you knit the cord - great learning experience because this can be used in a garment or expanded widthwise to make a really cute baby blanket, using a variety of colours...
Sampler Tuck Scarf for Mid Gauge
DK weight yarn, scarf looks similar on both sides and doesn’t curl.
Not exactly quick and easy, but interesting and fun!
Finished size: 6 inch wide; length, approx 50 inches.
before edging
Yarn: Forsell Double Knitting superwash wool, 1135 yds/500g
Finished weight: 138g.
Machine: Mid gauge 6.5mm, LK150 used.
Have uneven number of sts. Do not select end ns.
Patterning: CAR. Set left Russell lever to I, right to II. Select ns. First row will tuck selected needles and second row will knit everything.
1X1 EOR Tuck - 2 st X 2 row. Begin with #1 right of 0, select every other needle to hold/D position. K2R. Reselect same ns, K2R, repeat throughout.
Alternating 1X1 EOR Tuck - 2 st X 4 row. CAR. Begin with #1 right of 0, select every other needle to hold/D position. K2R. Select opposite ns (#2 right and EON), K2R, repeat throughout.
3X1 EOR Tuck - 4 st X 2 row. Begin with #1 right of 0, select every 4th needle to hold/D position. K2R. Reselect same ns, K2R, repeat throughout.
Alternating 3X1 EOR Tuck - 4 st X 4 row. Begin with #1 right of 0, select every 4th needle. K2R. Select alternate 4th ns, K2R, repeat throughout.
3X1 EOR Diagonal Tuck - 4 st X 8 row. Begin with #1 right of 0, select every 4th. K2R. Select next (#2 right and) every 4th ns, K2R. Select next (#3 right and) every 4th ns, K2R. Select next (#4 right and) every 4th ns, K2R.  Repeat last 8 rows throughout.
SCARF: 15-0-16 ns,  cast on waste yarn and ravel cord.
MC, ewrap. T6, K2R.
Set to tuck one way (one russell lever forward, the other back)
Select ns for desired pattern, K2R, repeat to RC020.
RTR (remove, turn, rehang leaving sts in hooks, ns in work position). K1R if necessary to place carriage at right for patterning.
Repeat 20 row tuck pattern, alternating pattern needle selection as desired.
Knit 500 rows. Cast off.
Slip Cord Edge Slip cord forms a tube of knitting. When attached to the work as the cord is knit, it looks nice from both sides. Carriage is set to slip in one direction, knit in the opposite direction, causing a float to form in front of the knitting on the slip row. The float will elongate the stitches slightly and form the tube. I knit this at one number tighter than main tension for tuck. Because this is all two-sided work - no right side or wrong side - can be attached to either side. Don't start at exact corner - the final join will look nicer and go neater if you start about 1 inch from corner.
3 ns to work. Carriage at right. Set to knit to left, slip (not knit) to right - right slip lever forward. Main yarn, ewrap ns and place yarn in feeder. Hang half edge stitch from scarf on left needle. K2R. Hang a claw weight on the 3 st part. Hang next half stitch 2 rows above first pick up. K2R. Continue in this manner all around piece. At corners, add a couple of rows, picking up same corner stitch to make cording fit around the corner without pulling too tightly. On cast-on and cast-off edge, hang half stitch and K2R for every stitch - don't skip one like on the selvedge.
Darn in tails and steam lightly as required.
Analysis: I thought this was a fairly easy knit but I do admit that I have a mid gauge garter bar ;-) and I really liked the edging - all done, I spent less than 3 hours and I would make this again! Hope the MN mkers like this!
Red scarf for Aids Awareness count: 3

Monday, February 15, 2016

trust your swatch....

You did make one, right? My swatch, the one with the hole at the end, (30 sts X 80 rows) when I measured it the first time, just after I blew that cast-off, (which was about 3 hours off the machine) was 13.5 cm (2.22 sts/cm) wide by 11.5 cm (6.95 rows/cm) long. The next day, a full 24 hours after (and I steamed it because of the rayon/viscose content), it measured 12 cm X 11 cm - that may not seem like a lot on a small swatch but really would be significant when you multiply that out for a larger piece. When you are knitting the actual scarf and your comb is hitting the floor for the third to fourth time, you really start to question your measurements and start to second guess the length especially, but believe me, the next 24 hours will make the difference!
Oxymoron Scarf
Machine: 4.5mm  with ribber.
Yarn: lace weight or something fine, that you would stockinette knit at T3-5. I used 'Gummy' from Silk City. See last few blogposts for more details.
Finished weight: 110g
Size: 6 in X 60 in/15cm X 150 cm
Bring 30-0-30 ns to work on main bed.
Set to H5 and bring ns on ribber to work so outside ns are on ribber - one extra from knit bed.
Cast waste yarn in zigzag, hang comb and 1 large weight.
Knit several rows, ending CAR.
Switch to circular for the ravel cord, K2R.
Rack to H4. Main yarn, T3/3, K1R. Rack to H5, K1R. 
Set for English rib on knitter, K18R. Cancel that and at Zigzag, K2R.
Set to tuck EOR on ribber, K18R. Cancel that and Zigzag, K2R.
Repeat for desired length (1000R) and end with 1 row T4/4 ZZ, CAL. Transfer all to main bed. Measure out 3X width of ns in work, cut yarn and backstitch cast off.
Don't forget to remove the close knit bar unless you are making this again!
Darn in ends.
Analysis: I would certainly make this scarf again using a different yarn, something smooth and round, with better stitch definition like Tamm Astracryl or Perla.
It's not too late to join in!
Red scarf for Aids Awareness count: 2

Thursday, February 11, 2016

keeping me on my toes...

Yesterday, as I was posting that last photo, I knew I should be adding more info - my challengers are keeping me on task! :-)
Alysha wrote: I saw your pic on the blog of how you rolled up the scarf around the comb and just used claw weights.  Is that enough weight when you take off the barrel ribber weight?  I often wonder if gauge is affected and how best to keep the weight even after it hits the floor.  When rolling up the work, I can get a ribber weight on the ends, but not in the center. 

Actually, you do need to look real close at yesterday's photo and there is a large ribber weight in the centre, the hook poked in from behind, hanging on the top of the bar. When you put it in behind, it holds the rolled up fabric on the bar - because I am working on this and it is increasing in length quite rapidly, that weight is only there for a brief couple of minutes and won't do any lasting damage to the fabric. If I leave a ribber project (see right), I take off the weights and let the whole thing relax - leave the comb in and then rewind/rewrap it when you begin again. In this photo, note the small ribber weights on the sides of the bar, positioned from the back of the bar (instead of the one large weight in the centre). Yesterday I couldn't 'find' the second small ribber weight and resorted to using the large one in the centre (the 2 small ones are close enough in weight to equal the large one, whereas 2 large weights would be too much). I prefer this method of weighting my ribber work rather than trying to rehang the ribber comb after the piece gets too long - I have found that quite difficult to get it in without damaging the stitches and it usually stretches out that next row and leaves a noticeable line. The claw weights in the photo from yesterday are placed at  the edges of the work and I do move them up every 40 rows or so - I prefer that to using the side hangers/sevens - those I find will stretch out the edges unevenly.
view from behind machine
view from front
BTW, also forgot to mention that when knitting the 'tuck on ribber' portion,  I bring the left side end needle (on the ribber) up on every other row when carriage is at right - this cancels the tuck at the end of the row and prevents the stitch from dropping at the beginning of the next row...
I hope I haven't made this sound too complicated  - I am finding this scarf is actually a quicker, easier knit than the circular one!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

a hole in one...;-(

Since this isn't golf, that cast-off didn't work...
On my red swatch, when I was doing the final cast-off by hand, somehow, without realizing it in time, I missed a stitch and after I pulled out the ravel card and tugged on the edge to test it, guess what - boom! not just one dropped stitch! so, particularly with these finer yarns that I am using, that cast-off is benched. To be honest, that is one is really only for the purist. I'm fine with just transferring all to the main bed and doing the back stitch cast-off which gives the stretch needed for this project. I did make another small swatch to test it out - after one zigzag row at the end, so there were single stitches on each bed, I transferred all to the main bed and began the back stitch cast-off - it was a bit of trouble to make sure you were going through both stitches so for the last half, I carefully knit the back bed stitch through the stitch in front which would be the ribber stitch, leaving only one stitch on each needle and then the back stitch worked fine and looked pretty good. I didn't knit a row after transferring up because that would have made an extra stockinette row that would have showed on the cast-off.

Knitting the actual scarf, I did 18 rows, tucking on the main bed, 2 zigzag rows and switched to tucking on the ribber, 2 zigzag rows...but after a bit, I kept getting confused after the zigzag rows as to whether I should be tucking on the main bed or the rib bed. I thought about it for a minute and thought, hummmm...I need to hang something that I can move up and down to remind myself which step I was on. I spotted my prize, little green clippy that my friend Jane gave me - it was perfect to clip on the scarf for the rib part and then move up to the knit bed and clip on something up there - it was like having Janey sitting on my shoulder, like an angel, telling me what to do!  ;-) Happy day!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

the same but different...

I'm calling this the 'oxymoron scarf'...
I have this half cone of a fairly fine ribbon yarn, 'Gummy' from Silk City Fibers, 70% viscose, 30% polyamide, 4250 yds/lb  - it's a really pretty red so I'm going to use it now because of the colour and because it is thin enough for this project and because I have no idea when I would ever use it again - I used it before at T4 stockinette and paired it with velveen/woolray for a striped cardigan for Lindsay which made an interesting combination of textures, (KW#41 'Juxta-pose').
Based on my final observations of the royal blue piece from yesterday, I'm only going to use 2 rows of the racked cast-on, so it is less noticeable and, at only one number tighter than the main tension, for it to be stretchy enough to match the width of the English rib.
End needles? I didn't talk about this for the last project, except to mention one on either bed, opposite sides. Generally when I get into ribber fabrics, I say have the end needles on the non-patterning bed, which, for the first English rib (tucking on main bed), is the ribber but when you switch to the opposite and tuck on the ribber you don't want to have to change so when I made my swatch, I just watched to see what worked better and having both end needles on the ribber worked and looked best.
I did have to insert the close knit bar - my first swatch, I tried T3/3 and when it was tucking on the main bed, was getting several tucked stitches hanging up on the main bed and I went to T4/4, same thing so for the next sample, I put in the bar, used T4/4 and all was well!
My swatch (15-0-15 ns) - I started off with waste yarn and 2 rows circular ravel cord (white). RC000. H4. CAR. ZZ, T3/3, K1R. Rack to H5, bring ns out. T4/4, K1R. Set to tuck on main bed, T4/4, K18R. ZZ, K2R. Tuck on ribber, K18R. ZZ, K2R. Repeat once. CAR, ZZ, T4/4, K1R. T8/8, K1R. Ravel cord, circular, T4/4, K2R. Waste (Note: I found that using a slightly heavier waste yarn here(TAMM trenzi  at a tighter than normal (T5/7) tension works better for manipulating those tiny stitches for the cast-off) still circular, K20R. ZZ, K2R. Drop. Steam waste yarn. Unravel the zz rows and latch the last row, from side to side as described in the circular scarf.
Now, just let it rest awhile - double bed stuff and especially tuck stitches need to relax maybe overnight to adjust from the stretching etc of the knitting operation - before measuring and then do the real thing!

Monday, February 8, 2016

swatches for February's red scarf...

side away
I'm getting ready for the February ribber scarf and I'm trying to do this in a progressive learning order - forgive me if you know all this...;-) 

side facing

My swatches (15-0-15 ns) are royal Bramwell Sable Crepe MT -  would be T5 stockinette; light jade Tamm Perla MT -  would be T4 stockinette. The light jade swatch - there is only one - I photo-ed it from both sides to show the difference - I started off with waste yarn and 2 rows circular ravel cord (red).  RC000. The cast-on hem is circular, T4/6, so the first 2 rows I did at T8/10 so I could do the same to the cast-on side as the cast-off end (from last scarf) and then did 8 rows circular at T4/6. RC010. Set to tuck one way - knit to left, tuck to right on main bed, rib bed knits both ways (Silver Reed manual calls this English Rib; brother calls it half fisherman rib - side away will be the right side, making a squat, purly rib). T4/4, knit 20 rows. Cancel the tuck and knit 2 rows full needle rib/zigzag to make a separating line. RC032. Now, set the machine to do the same thing but opposite - how's that for an oxymoron? - I mean, tuck one way on the rib bed - likely your manual makes no mention of this, but set the rib bed to tuck one way (check your manual for the circular setting for the ribber and then add tuck in one direction - Silver, set pick knob to tuck/inverted U; brother use tucking lever up; and main bed to knit both ways). Same stitch size, knit 20 rows. (This one looks the same as English rib but the side facing is the right side.) Cancel tuck and knit two zigzag rows. RC054.
Now go for fisherman's rib, which is one way tuck setting on both beds, so when the main bed is knitting, the ribber is tucking and vice versa. (Fisherman's rib looks the same on both sides and really bulks up the fabric because of the double tucks - use if you have a very thin yarn and you want a thicker or wider fabric.) Knit 20 rows (RC074) and then finish off with 8 rows circular, T4/6, 2 rows T8/10 (RC084), 2 rows ravel cord, 20 rows circular waste yarns, zigzag 2 rows to close up the end to make it easier to steam... break yarn and drop from machine.
Now, look at your swatch and compare. I can see right off that the circular hem won't work because it is narrower than the tucked portions - you won't be able to tell, but the full fisherman's rib on top is quite a bit wider than either of the bottom two methods of English rib. The circular hem at the top end is restricting the width.
Now, make the same swatch but use full needle rib for the hem portions...
Royal blue. Waste yarn in zigzag. circular ravel cord. RC000. Main yarn,  H5, T1/1, K1R. Rack to H4, T2/2, K1R. Rack back to H5, T3/3, K1R. This makes the racked cast-on/finished edge. T4/4, K1R.
T5/5, follow the 3 variations for above to RC074 and end with zigzag, T4/4, K1R. T3/3, K1R. T8/8, K1R. Yes, the last row is zigzag. Change to circular, ravel cord, K2R. Waste yarn, K20R, zigzag, 2 rows...
NOTE: ribber carriage set 2 full numbers looser/higher than the main bed only applies to circular knitting - Full needle ribs generally have same stitch number on both beds.
You might need to dig out that close knit /fine knit bar - it's a narrow plastic strip that came with your ribber - it is inserted under the front of the main bed needles and helps the tucked stitches knit off when using a fine yarn and a tuck stitch - if the tucked stitches are not knitting off properly, you probably need it (or your tension/stitch size may be too tight).
If you need some more help with these, I did a skirt back in KW#34, called the 'Boho' skirt - check it out! The idea was to make use of the grading width of the stitch techniques to create a flared skirt without a lot of increasing or decreasing.

I think I got an extra row or so on my cast-on edge that is not necessary but I'm pretty happy with the comparison of the cast-on and cast-off for looks and stretchiness. I need to look at these swatches and evaluate - I won't use all three of the techniques because of the thickness/width thing, but maybe switch back and forth between the first two...I'll write up the full pattern for next could plan something too...

Monday, February 1, 2016

more sock issues...

I haven't talked about socks for awhile but while I was still in circular knitting mode I thought I'd dash off a couple of pairs - complete some of my to-do list and have a few spares for random gifts...well, 4 pairs completely depleted my stock of nice sock yarn! ouch! so I had to spend an hour or so replenishing - that on-line shopping? ya gotta love it! You get to meander through the pages, make your picks, hope for the best and savour the moment your parcel is delivered. Then, you get to go through the whole retail therapy all over again because you forgot what you ordered!
I'm excited! I found some non-wool sock yarn (Berroco Comfort Sock), multi-coloured (which is, I think, why I love socks so much - I can use colours I would never normally touch) at a really decent price - under $10 Canadian -that's probably only $5 in US$ right now- for the large 3.5 oz ball. I'll let you know how this works out!
Back to knitting the socks. I've finally realized that not all sock yarn is created equal! I had a full 100g/425m ball of 'Opal', made in Germany - the ocean-looking ones in the centre - I originally bought 2 balls of this one because I figured it would do well for male or female (I did make son Derek, a pair in the fall and he was so pleased with them!) and when I'm making socks, I plan by the size - these are ladies 8.5 so will do for girlfriend Cathy who prefers subdued colours and I know she doesn't read this regularly ;-). I've used 'Opal' before (love it but I can only find it in US yarn shops) and it is very nice, knits up at T6../8.. no problem and makes a nice sock that holds shape well. The red/royal/yellow (has Donna's name on) was from two 50g/210m balls of a Canadian brand 'DGB Confetti'-made in Italy - same for the brown/tan/blue (I forgot to put Manfriend birthday on the list - I usually just cook for him but since the manfriend hoodie he seems to think I should knit too!). I've had these (confetti) for a long time, can't remember why I haven't used them before...
The 'Nipigon nylon' version old-man-work sock ones are from 'Patons Kroy Socks' 50g/152m - what the? much heavier! These I knit at T7./9. because the yarn is even visually quite a bit thicker than the other sock yarns and gosh, didn't they turn out to be my exact size! ;-)
BTW, I save the ball labels and make notes on the back - what size, any changes, etc so I know for the next time.
I have another admission to make...the toe of the sock - a while back ('new way to graft...' Dec 05/09), I confessed that my eyesight/hand co-ordination was causing trouble for me for grafting the toe and I figured out how to graft it on the machine - much better, no dropped or missed stitches - well, now I've decided who cares about a row of purls at the toe? At the end of the sock, I transfer all stitches up and do that grafting stitch by hand - saves taking it off on waste, turning it inside out and rehanging - works for me!
PS - My circular sock pattern is on my website ( under FREEBIES – as a free pdf – I call them ‘Warmup Socks’ because I used to make a pair as a warm-up for me on the ribber before tackling a ribber project if I hadn’t done any double bed stuff for a while!
PPS - If you put ‘socks’ into the SEARCH at the top of my blog page, it will bring up a lot of these references, plus others! Just for fun, I put ‘warm’ into the SEARCH – it was entertaining!!