Sunday, November 18

Nothing to report...

Well, I've been swatching for a Christmas sweater with supposedly supwerwash wool. T6 was too tight, T9 too loose, hoping that T8 (not yet swatched) might be the charm otherwise I'm going to be out of yarn before I get to complete it. Having said that, I'm almost tempted to knit an xmas waistcoat instead because I rarely actually wear jumpers for more than five minutes - I just get too hot in them!

Am knitting it in what I call "ladderback" DBJ, ie the machine is set for double bed jacquard but the ribber only has every 4th needle in work to control the floats, the pattern is of some snowmen I found on a Russian website. Fairly sure it'll end up being cut and sew - nothing like piling on the pressure eh?! Deadline, difficult techniques etc. My machine has had some issues lately - one of the sinker plate screws keeps descending into the path of the needle latches (needs thread lock or a redesign, ha!) and I've had to replace smashed rubber wheels too (no idea why that happened!). Spongebar replacement is also imminent I think. Tchoh, isn't it always the way?

Struggling to focus on positives at the moment, but I do have a week off coming up so hopefully I can chill out a bit and decompress...

Current mood: exhausted

Sunday, October 21

Lost and found: mojo

Realised I haven't posted on here much this month. Life has been busy - actually, life is no busier than usual, but with the declining sunlight and various other things, my reaction to things suddenly makes me feel very busy and in fact too busy to cope (which is silly). I'm working on a lace shawl (Glimmer) and the easy bit is done - garter stitch with short-rowing in the middle. Now it's a 4 row lace pattern worked on the edge. It's one of those tricky lace patterns where EVERY row something is happening, there are no plain rows, so the edging is growing verrrrryyyy slowly as I've had to frog back a few times - and yes, that was WITH lifelines. It's the worst feeling in the world to spot a dropped stitch in lace when it's beneath the last life line. Gah! I try and do a few repeats in the car in the morning, when I'm in the carpark - but the last few days I've either not had the time or my body has demanded a comfort break so progress is slow.

I've been working on granny squares for a blanket I am making - but the crochet hook has gone missing! Bah! Wednesday night I ended up just knitting a garter stitch dishcloth because that's all I had with me and all I felt I could cope with. I do also have cross-stitch and tapestry on the go - I started them when I had a bout of RSI last year.

I've got plans for more projects, of course - I've even got yarn for an xmas jumper this year - and there's a black chenille jumper on the machine at the moment. It's stalled. I'll get back to it.

Oh, I had a go at spinning yesterday with "In the Wool Shed" in Kenilworth - really, really cool! I kept stressing over how bad my singles were, but when plyed it was actually fairly balanced. Think it might become a coaster or something :) Then my friend and I when for a lovely lunch :) Came home and chilled out on the sofa, and then G and I cooked risotto with chorizo and mushrooms. A perfect day! I will try and post a picture of my mini skein later...

Having reconnected with a good friend I've been grieving for all summer, and having realise the anxiety is kicking in again a bit, I've just come back from an amazing yoga class or "forest bath" with Hannah where we communed with the trees. It might sound wacky but it was really good and I enjoyed it, so I don't care! ;P It's just a pity I work full time otherwise I'd do more. Baby steps!


Current mood: thoughtful

Tuesday, October 9

FO: more socks

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These could have been a bit longer in the ankle. Oh well, never mind!

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My first attempt at a more rounded heel - will see how these fare in practice, they feel a bit loosey-goosey at the moment.

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Testing my new toy - Silverlink 5 on the SK840. The stripes are because I can't count, and cast on too many needles. The yarn is on order, so xmas jumper here I come!

Current mood: excited

Monday, October 8

MKtog, Fladbury, Oct 6th-7th

Had a tedious drive down to Fladbury as the heavens were bucketing it down, though it got better the further south I went. I'd packed the CSM, the Brother KX395 and KH881, and a collection of colour changers and yarn. Well, one never knows what one is going to want to play with! Got everything set up and did a little more work on the 10 stitch blanket. Did a swatch on the the convertible but after knitting one back, realised that it wasn't a happy bunny sponge-strip wise, so gave it up as a bad job!

After a lovely lunch of salad, chili and quiche I demonstrated a sock on the CSM and demonstrated the 10 stitch blanket on an LK150. We had jacket potatoes and chili for tea, plus stewed quince and ice-cream for afters. Some of us went to the Anchor Inn afterwards, and then I retired to the little "Cabin boy's room" upstairs - cosy little room once the heating was on!

Sunday dawned brightly; I decided to have a go at double-bed jacquard and had a case of the "rookie mistake" -itis that often happens when trying something not tried for some time! I eventually got two-row striper DBJ and ladder-backed DBJ working, and two-colour ladder back DBJ worked a treat too - it never seems to work on my other ribber for some unknown reason, falling off after about eight rows. Another lovely lunch was served.

I then made the compatriot sock on the CSM, and had a go at a rounded heel sock. Of course, the second sock somehow knew people were packing up around it and commenced playing merry h*ll! But I got there in the end. Drove home and grafted the socks after dinner. I'm trialling the rounded heel socks today and will report back - they feel sloppier on my feet but perhaps I can offer it as an option? Hmmm...

Inspired, I've ordered the Silverlink 5 cable and Susan Guagliumi's new book "Open Spaces". Now I've no excuse not to knit the xmas jumper on the SK840, which is currently up, instead of having to resort to swapping it for the identical gauge KH950i. Hurrah! Might practice ladder-backed DBJ first though as that may be required. I found a lovely xmas design in an 80s mag, I just need to get the yarn on order.

Pictures of the socks to follow. The first pink one got packed away somewhere and I haven't found it yet.

Looking forward to getting it and getting DAK onto the current laptop. Time to retire the old Macbook methinks! Many thanks to rmbroo for organising the weekend, and looking forward to another one next year hopefully!

Current mood: chuffed

Monday, October 1

FO: hats, sigh and jumper commission

It's almost impossible to photograph black correctly. A recently finished commission for someone.

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Spent most of the weekend making these hats from leftovers - more items for the charity box:

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The third and final version of the neck on "Sigh". I'm done, it'll have to do!

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Thursday, September 27

Smug mode

Well, after a lot of fossicking around, both online and in the one book I managed to borrow from Coventry library, I managed to create a very simple swatch calculator in javascript. It's not big and it's not clever; it doesn't check if you entered anything so the result might be infinity, but it WORKS. Try it here

The thing about not knowing what you are doing, is that it's hard to look up the answers when you don't even know what to look for - as one of my MK colleagues pointed out, that's exactly like machine knitting!

Current mood: impressed

Sunday, September 23

Useful casts offs for machine knitting

I realised I never did a companion post to the useful cast ons post and thought I would rectify it. If you are left-handed, swap left for right and vice versa. Better late than never!

Gate peg cast off 1

  1. Transfer rightmost stitch to its neighbour, passing it BEHIND the gatepeg.
  2. Manually knit back with free yarn
  3. Repeat 1 and 2 to end; break yarn and pull through last loop
Gate peg cast off 2


  1. Transfer rightmost stitch to its neighbour, passing it IN FRONT of the gatepeg.
  2. Manually knit back with free yarn
  3. Repeat 1 and 2 to end; break yarn and pull through last loop
"Smiles and frowns" cast off

  1. Transfer rightmost stitch to its neighbour, passing it BEHIND the gatepeg.
  2. Manually knit back with free yarn
  3. Transfer rightmost stitch to its neighbour, passing it IN FRONT of the gatepeg.
  4. Manually knit back with free yarn
  5. Repeat 1 - 4 to end; break yarn and pull through last loop
Loose gatepeg cast off (suitable for neckline cast off)

  1. Transfer rightmost stitch to its neighbour, passing it BEHIND the gatepeg.
  2. Wind the yarn once before the latch and once in the needle latch.
  3. Manually knit back with free yarn
  4. Repeat 1 - 3 to end; break yarn and pull through last loop
Latch tool cast off
  1. Knit last row from right to left at maximum stitch size (eg T10). 
  2. Pull all needles fully forward whilst holding the knitting against the machine
  3. Using latch tool, slip the rightmost stitch onto the tool and slide it below the latch
  4. Insert the head of the latch tool into the next stitch; slide the needle to A position and latch the stitch through.
  5. Repeat 3-4 to end; break yarn and pull through last loop. 
Sewn cast off
  1. Finish with carriage at right, measure 3 times the width of the knitting with the free yarn and break it off.
  2. Thread a yarn needle or double-eyed bodkin with yarn. Pull all needles fully forward, holding knitting against machine.
  3. Thread yarn through rightmost two stitches, slide rightmost needle to A position.
  4. Repeat 3 until all stitches are cast off; pull yarn through remaining stitch.