Thursday, December 18

Black hole

I always promised myself I wouldn't do this, but yes, I'm in a knitter's black hole and it's going to be down to the wire if I finish said project before "the day". Started the project in July - if I wasn't keeping it out of sight, it would have been finished by now. Thought I was 18 rounds to the finish but have discovered this morning that I can't count (again!) and somehow thought 144 was half of 188 (yes, I know!) which means the five rounds I added this week were too early and will have to come back out. Thought it was looking a bit odd!

Yeah, this is why I usually machine knit stuff. Lesson learned. Someone may well be getting an IOU on the 25th.

So, there is knitting going on, but nothing I can share at the moment.

Current mood: annoyed

Wednesday, December 10

Industrial samples

As promised, some pics of the samples I did last week. The first one is a selection of pleats. The top RHS is a box pleat and the bottom one is an ordinary pleat, and the top LHS is a pleat with racking.

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No good you asking what stitches these are, because I have forgotten - we changed colours every few rows, and you can see the areas where there were high butts as blocks of another stitch (tuck I think). We might have been doing half-milano, not sure now. I like the racked pleat so much I photographed it again apparently.

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Apologies for the rotten photos - I don't see any daylight this end of the year until the weekend, and these were taken late last night when I remembered just as I climbed into bed.

On the Dubied, the patterning levers have three positions. OFF, pattern on high butts only, pattern on everything. Both the tucking (the white rocker switches) and the slipping/missing (the circular levers at the front of the carriage) have three positions, and there are four of each lever.

Monday, December 8

Half-day workshop: Industrial knitting machine

I've always wanted to have a play with an industrial machine, and thanks to a newsletter distributed by the Guild, discovered there's a machine knitting school about an hour's drive away, that has industrial machines. Claire Newberry is a designer and tutor, and she agreed to let me come and play with her industrial machine, a Dubied (pronounced Doo-be-ay), in her cosy little studio. It is a fairly fine gauge machine, a fixed v-bed, not unlike a naked Passap. However, instead of pushers, the needles have high and low butts - so any patterning you might want to do (mixing slip and plain, or tuck and plain, for example), has to be set up by exchanging needles before knitting commences. The controls are such that you can tuck left or right, and slip left or right, as desired. You can also independently set the tension in both directions on both beds. Despite the size of the machine, it was surprisingly smooth to knit with - probably smoother than my lovely clean KH881 and definitely easier than my Passap E6000.

Claire showed me several cast ons, one of which was pretty much the standard circular cast on. Then we had a play producing various ribs, half milano and full milano - names I've seen in that Susanna Lewis book, but never gotten around to exploring. We did some stuff with pleats, including a racked pleat that is such a lovely texture I've been trying to think what I could use it for all weekend. I do love the fineness of the fabric produced (most of what we did was full needle rib with a 1 or 2ply yarn). The Cog has no need to panic, though - even if I wanted such a machine, there's no way I'd ever have enough space for one (let alone the money!).

Claire was lovely (and very brave letting a stranger play on a most expensive and delicate machine) - and she has a lot more knitting machines than me, so I feel somewhat of a lightweight in that department! :)

A most enjoyable day. Took some shots of the machine, I did come home with some swatches and will photograph them and add them here, but as they're not labelled I might not be able to identify all of them!

Now I really want to get my finegauge machine out...! Must get my behind in gear and finish up the midgauge jumper, then, as it's in the only spare slot.

In other news, the transformer for my PC10 has died a death - the wonderful Richard Croucher is going to make me a replacement from a laptop charger. I only bought the device in 2011 to diagnose a fault with the also brand new SK860 (which had a wonky back rail). Nothing is well-made these days, it seems.

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Current mood: inspired

FO: more socks for the shop

Yes, not dead, just not online much lately!

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Just some socks I finished recently - all done on the CSM. The blue-rainbow pair (left) are Colinette Jitterbug, which is really a bit too thick for the CSM. The rainbow and acid-colour ones (right) are Manos del Uruguay sock yarn I picked up at Fibre East. The red and white fairisle are my first ever pair of hybrid socks, ie the fairisle part was done on the KH950i at T4 (some swatching has been going on) and the foot part done on the CSM. I will have to type up some notes on how to do it - but basically you scrap your knitting off on waste yarn, then hang it on the CSM whilst putting all needles into hold. Remove the waste yarn and go straight into the heel.

They are all so nice I'm not sure I want to put them up in the shop, I want to wear them myself! Only the acid colour ones have been washed so far, so the others need that treatment too before I do the final photoshoot. If they don't sell I might gift them as xmas presents anyway.

Spent a fascinating half day learning about an industrial machine on Friday. See the next post, when I've had chance to unload the camera.

Sunday, November 30

Knitting doldrums

Well, it's possibly self-inflicted. I seem to have several troublesome projects on the go at the moment (yeah, ignoring all the other projects hibernating on Ravelry down the right of this page, ha!).

The Zen jacket, a lovely crochet project in merino, is almost finished. However, it's now quite heavy so doesn't get taken anywhere and is currently sulking under the coffee table.

I'm making some celtic cabled socks which I designed myself - but there's something happening every other round with the cable, so it's not exactly television knitting. I take them places to work on them, but it's too much brain power sometimes.

I'm also knitting something for xmas, which doesn't get much work done on it because it has to be done in secret.

I also started a scarf for xmas - but it's nowhere near long enough and I almost forgot I was working on it - there's no way it'll be done in time now anyway.

I've made a back and a front of a Lizard Ridge cardigan, and have mislaid the scrappy bit of paper I wrote down what I was doing - plus, it feels like I've hardly been in the same place as my knitting machines for some time*.

Ah, Aries. Great at starting things, really hates finishing them. What is the answer? Start a new project?!

It's a good job I'm not planning any major xmas knitting this year (unlike last year, the year of the socks) - I'm not sure I could find the time nor the mojo.

Anyway, got to run - I'm demonstrating CSM socks at Fargo Village today and I need to get the car packed and get going.

* We just had a short break in Bruges - lots of chilling out, wandering around the shops (they still have C&A in Europe!), eating good food and drinking excellent beer. Probably only got about 8 rounds of cabled sock done.

Current mood: okay

Tuesday, November 18

FO: More CSM socks

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These went up on the etsy shop at the weekend, technically they are "small" ie too small for me (I am a size 7). I think I might need to experiment with sizing and also maybe try taking needles out of the cylinder. A 72 cylinder makes a nice enough sock, but if you have very narrow feet or narrow ankles they might not be so good. Maybe I need to make a prototype pair for A at work, she is size 5 and has very narrow feet. Not that she's asked, I just know she is a narrow foot. Hmmm.

Of course, I could buy a new CSM with less needles, but I think the Cog might flip, we're already tripping over knitting machines as it is...

Still waiting on getting the shower fixed. Fingers crossed it'll be fixed today. Fed up of having to shower down the gym.

Current mood: grim

Thursday, November 13

Etsy shop update

I have moved my crash course leaflets to Etsy, which means you can now download them instantly instead of waiting for me to read my email and respond. There's also a better description of what is in each one before you buy.

Leaflets for sale

There are also two more pairs of socks (size small) to go up, they just haven't had their photoshoot yet, as they are drying.

Needlesofsteel etsy store

A week of Mondays...

I'm having a very bad week, and it's only Wednesday.

We've been without a working shower in the ensuite for about five weeks now - it's not quite as bad as it sounds, because luckily I got a mixer shower added to the bath in the "family bathroom" for guests a while back. This was before I filled the front bedroom with knitting machines and made guests staying over unlikely, haha. Well, the shower was duly installed on Monday. The plumbers didn't leave until 7pm, and alas it wasn't a great job. Turns out our internal wall (the one the shower is on) isn't square, so the cubicle looks like it's coming away from the wall. Ok, so that's not the plumber's fault - the house was only built in 2000 ish but hey ho, not surprised, new houses are blown together alas. However, we've since discovered that not only did he go through the plasterboard into the main bathroom, but the shower is only held on by its pipes as the top rail is not attached at all. So if one was to slip in the shower and grab the upright, the whole thing could come down. And the less said about the amount of rubbish he left - and put in the recycling bin too, which I will have to muck out come the weekend, when I have daylight again - this guy is local so you'd think he'd know what the colour coded bins are for. It's going to take us at least two-three trips to the local tip, plus we may need to hire a man with a van just to take the large shower pieces away. We can't even get into the garage at the moment for the amount of cardboard and debris. Not to mention needing to polyfilla the bathroom wall, seal around the top of the new cubicle where there's a gap between it and the ceiling, and try and fill in the gap down the left hand side due to the wonky wall. Ever get one job done, and it creates 6 more?

Currently trying to get hold of the plumber because frankly, having spent over £1k, I'm hopping mad!

Couple that with the fact that as they left so late on Monday (ever tried cooking/washing your hands with no water supply? Interesting!) we pretty much went straight to the gym after a mad rampant downstairs house cleaning session - yes, got folks coming over on Saturday - and came home to find the ensuite window open. I was cross with myself for having left it open, and shut it with a bit of force. Which knocked the plumber's empty coffee mug right onto my left foot - yes, I was naked, as I was about to take a bath. Ouch. (Yeah, that's not precisely the word I used when I realised there was quite a lot of blood on the just-cleaned floor. It began with F I think). So this week I am in the Ministry of Silly Walks, hoping to get a grant. Oh, the Cog thanked me for saving the mug, which was a pretty substantial one. I think I'd rather have a broken mug than a broken toenail, which can take up to 18 months to be completely healed again.

There's not been much knitting to report, I'm afraid. My nerves are shot from weeks of emergency mode sleep and work stress, and I just haven't been in the mood.

Edit 14-11-14: Managed to get shower fixed to wall. It has two temperatures - freezing or scalding. And once you get it to scalding, you can't get it back to freezing, let alone any kind of sensible temperature. I am NEVER trusting a plumber ever, ever again. Cowboys.

Current mood: stressed and exhausted

Tuesday, November 4

Finally FO: Versatile jacket

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There was a catalogue of disasters with this jacket. I originally started this in 2011. I failed to make the last piece (the scarf bit). I sewed the sleeves in wrong, ending with a weird extra point on the front shoulders. Then I lost the pattern (turns out it was about 3 feet from our bed for three years, in amongst a pile of other books. I finally knitted the last piece - on the wrong machine, because the SK840 isn't up at the moment - sewed it up on Sunday and steamed it last night.

What do you think? I think it was worth the wait! It's light and drapey and lovely - the yarn is some sort of linen mix, it didn't have a label. The pattern is Ann Brown's versatile jacket (Posh Frocks).

This has to be some sort of record for length of time to complete a project... almost four years, because I started it in Jan 2011!

Current mood: pleased