Monday, June 10

Behind the scenes

I feel as if I've been neglecting the blog of late - sorry about that! This weekend I made another scarf and a 2x2 rib hat on the Passap. The weird thing is there are lots of cast ons for the Passap, but none are true 2x2 rib. After a bit of finagling, I did it manually. It produces such lovely rib too!

"Summer" continues to be a washout here, it's hardly stopped raining all week and it's teetering around the 10 degree mark - it's almost midsummer next week! So the scarf and hat aren't actually all that far-fetched (though they are not for me).

Current mood: determined

Wednesday, June 5

FO: Paintbrush holder



It's always a mad scramble at the end of watercolour class to get everything packed away quickly, and I'm loathe to wrap wet paintbrushes in plastic as they won't dry very quickly. I had some leftover material, so came up with this last night! Now I have an excuse to buy more paintbrushes too, ha! It'd look better if I'd had time to iron it, but not bad for 45 minutes work! :)

Original idea was from here, though I just made mine to suit the fabric I had available. I didn't have any elastic handy so used twill tape. I got the brush pockets straight by marking 40mm on my sewing machine and just kept on sewing :)

Current mood: chuffed

Sunday, June 2

FO: batik top


First top I've made with a Prima pattern, and first bit of sewing I've done in a while - it came out quite well I think, though I suspect I could have gone down a size. Some fabric bought from the Birmingham Fancy Silk Store (it's cotton though). I had a pattern for a wrap-around top too but didn't quite have enough material for that one, that and I seem to be too curvy for the measurements at the moment anyway. There's enough leftover fabric that I might be able to make myself a paintbrush wrap for my otherwise badly-treated paintbrushes.

I'm part-way through another batch of CSM tube socks and still knitting up space-dyed yarns on the Passap for scarves. 80 stitches and 800 rows in 1x1 rib at s/s 4/4 (it's 4ply acrylic) seems to produce a reasonable scarf, though the next one might be 100 stitches side instead for a less skinny version. I set the motor to stop every 50 rows and now I can't recall how to cancel that, but it means I keep an eye on the yarn level I suppose!

Current mood: happy

Friday, May 17

FO Friday






Simple 1x1 ribbed scarves knitted on the midgauge (top picture) and passap (second picture) - will write up the pattern soon but it's pretty simple. Some DK jumpers for a friend's new babies. A cowl knitted from leftover King Cole Bamboozle, a present for a work colleague. A granny square blanket for the charity bag, from leftover sock yarn.

Current mood: and - determined to get to grips with my Passap this year, and trying to think of things to get me up to speed...

Monday, May 13

Machine knitting is cheating, you say?


Took me most of yesterday to knit this. Turns out there IS no easy way to do partial knitting on a Passap when you are knitting a two-colour tuck stitch pattern. The E6000 manual dismisses it with a single line - "put the second half onto decker combs" - well, this is a double-bed pattern so that's 124 stitches, 62 per bed, and I only own two short decker combs that came with the machine. I ended up employing those, and then circular knitting needles. In hindsight, mixing the method was a mistake because I somehow dropped some stitches on the front between the last decker and the knitting needle, thus shifting the pattern - I then also reversed the colours later on, to add insult to injury. You cannot see the knitting for about 4" on the E6000. The back, made last week, went just fine - and yes, the knitting IS kind of wide and short, the result of hasty gauge measurements made last week I suspect. I'm thinking the back and the damaged front might become two halves of a cushion cover now. Phooey. But I do have a cushion that desperately needs a cover anyway. Alas, the v-neck is a little too deep :)

Oh well - I learnt lots and it was fun! It's pattern (1013? will have to check!), tech 138 worked in two colours. I'm also working up a simple 1x1 ribbed scarf pattern for the Passap, a stash-buster for all those cones of "what on EARTH was I thinking?" yarn... Watch this space!

Current mood: annoyed

Monday, May 6

Passap samples


Various Passap samples - all tech 138, starting 1, 2, 3 and 4 colours.

Current mood: strangely thirsty!

Thursday, May 2

Passap hands-on week

Well, I've managed to get onto Blogger on this hotel's terribly slow wifi so I'm going to try and create a new post! Bear with me...

It's kind of a sad story really - I'm at Metropolitan Machine Knittting this week because I had a deposit down on a Tony Bennett course, but I think I cancelled it because I realised it was a course of his I'd done already (no other reason, his courses are a week in inspirational knitting), so I transferred it against their maintenance course which alas has been cancelled. So I transferred the deposit against the three day Passap hands-on course, which is what I am now here for. I'm still hoping to pick someone's brains re machine maintenance because I'm worried it's a dying skill and there needs to be new people learning these things if the machines are going to continue working much longer.

Anyroad, we've been playing around with simple pre-programmed patterns on the E6000 - seeing what happens to them when they are knitted in 2, 3 or 4 colours. In most cases 3 or 4 colours is just "meh", but changing the colour order around can make quite a difference. Yesterday I tried to replicate one of the tutor's samples and was convinced it wasn't right - it was, but the order of the colours muddied the pattern to an extent that it just did not look correct. One lady has brought her Duomatic - there was a small moment of panic yesterday when she arrived, because the tutor wasn't sure if we had a machine for her, it being all E6000s, but luckily the student had brought her own and is happily plugging away with various bits and bobs. If I had to buy one more machine it would probably be a mechanical Passap - the E6000s are great but electrical items don't always age well.

I brought my own console but have mounted it on one of the training machines - alas I've had to move to another machine because it was a bit iffy knitting a garment's width. You know when a machine jams during cast on it's not going to be an easy ride, and it not being my own machine I don't want to damage the plastic bed. Today I tested my pattern reader and knitted something from it - I'd never used it before, and probably never will as I have the (as-yet uninstalled) DAK Passap cable. I just wanted to satisfy myself that the device itself worked and transmitted to the bed correctly, so that should I ever sell the Passap I can confirm that it is fully functional. Well, apart from not having a working foot-pedal port. I owned a pedal briefly, but as it caused the motor to have some sort of electrical fit I decided not to bother and returned it for a refund. A dry solder joint somewhere in the workings is the probably culprit, the pedal itself was fine. If the machines were in production today there'd be a massive red emergency stop button on the motor, I'm certain, because it's nerve-wracking in its speed and power. As it is, I only ever use the motor when I'm in the same room and I tend to hover over it which kind of negates the whole point, but there you go! And yes, there IS a go/stop button on the motor, but it stops the locks at whichever end is next ie it does NOT stop it dead like an e-stop would.

Today I managed to make a start on the back of a two-colour tuck stitch garment. I am using the built-in form program from the machine manual and have so far managed to make a few mistakes, ie I misread the line where you enter the border length - it's fixed to 7cm so it wants a gauge measurement, but I assumed it wanted to know how long I wanted it so entered 50 (for 5cm). One very deep border later and I realised the error of my ways, luckily I somehow managed to strip the back bed stitches off by accident so it became a very handy tension swatch. Who swatches for borders anyway?! Not I, not usually! I've also learnt how to unpick 2 rows when within the form programme, because I got so excited about increasing that I forgot to change colours. It's easy enough to tell the computer, but unpicking some 142 stitches (full needle rib) is 20 minutes ot tediousity! I'd like to get better on the Passap with a view to making some short youtube videos for folks a la Diana Natters. Another thing for the round tuit list.

By the time I'd got all of that sorted out it was pretty much kicking out time and we switch the machines off at night so it'll be interesting to see how the Swiss Miss copes with that tomorrow! Oh and I'm such a dope, I felt sure we started at 9am so got there at 8:40. Oops! Mark kindly let me in and clearly thinks I'm mad. I could have hung out at the hotel or Sainsburys for an hour and missed queuing in the rush hour. Well, never mind. What can I say, I'm a lark and an excited one at that, I'd happily start at 8am if I thought they'd let me in! Passaps are the Rolls Royce of knitting machines and I'm ashamed to say I'm still not as confident on them as I ought to be. I've packed away my SK840 and have only the CSM and SK860 mid gauge up at the moment, both because they have work on them or pending for them. I'm going to hunt for or develop a simple ribbed scarf pattern for the Passap and burn through some "I'll never use that, what was I thinking?" stash for the charity box when I get home. If nothing else it'll give the machine a much needed workout.

I've got more say (when haven't I?) but it'll have to keep for now as I'm about to meet the tutor to walk into Nantwich for dinner.

Current mood: inspired and wishing I had more time in my life to play with the Swiss Miss...