Monday, August 15

Knitting with the lights out

Good weekend. I was booked on the final pattern drafting course with the English Couture Company, but it was cancelled due to lack of numbers. So it meant I had a whole weekend blocked out in my diary, to do with as I wish! Might sound daft but that doesn’t happen very often! As himself needs to make up the hours this week to offset holiday time (he’s a sub-contractor), it meant I had a whole day and a half to amuse myself in. Maybe I should book more weekends for myself like that, ho ho!

I’d managed to get two Ravellers combined into one, in my small hazelnut of a brain last Wednesday - (sorry Unsure and Covknit!) so had accidentally given some vintage Knitmaster items to the former when they were actually for the latter. Luckily Unsure was happy to meet me in Coventry to give them back – I went straight to Covknits and we got to grips with her machines. Hubby had bought her a vintage Knitmaster (the kind with sinkers) and before he knew it, three more turned up – two sinker-type and one modern punchcard. Although the Knitmaster 4500 was interesting to me from a mechanical point of view, the carriage had had some damage and it wasn’t being consistent when doing partial knitting. Owing to its design, one has to lay yarn into open latch hooks on every row – in fact, it works rather like an intarsia carriage on the modern machines – and if one latch is shut, or you miss the ideal “slot”, you’ll have either a dropped or slipped stitch. The advantages with this machine are it can knit straight from a ball (because it is by your feet) and the spring-loaded sinkers push down on the knitting so no weights are required. The disadvantages, apart from those listed above, is that getting spare needles or repairs will be almost impossible, and any patterning would be manual (although we didn’t try patterning).

So anyway, I suggested that we got to grips with the 323, which isn’t nearly as scary as it looks. Turns out Covknits has got pretty much everything you can get that goes with that machine, with the exception of a lace carriage (and I’m not sure if one was made for that machine – early Knitmasters had inflexible needles). She’s also got some Brother bits which are no use at all to her. I worked through my crash course leaflet - could have spent all day chatting – and Covknit’s hubby kindly made us lunch, too. Despite the parlous state of her needle retainer bar the machine coped admirably – we even got fairisle and tuck out of it, and accidentally, teacosy stitch, when I forgot to unlock the card – it was supposed to be slip!! :D

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Sunday the Cog decided he’d work another half day, so I pottered about on the Passap. I’ve managed to get a copy of the old Duo 80 manual from a fellow Guild member, which actually has lessons in – and they all make something “useful”. No need to switch on the electronics.

The first exercise is an exercise in various K/K ribs (fishermans, half fishermans, long stitch, FNR) with some decreasing and increasing in the middle. It’s supposed to make a “mitt” but I was using leftover sock yarn so reduced the amount of rows – it could make a purse, I suppose. I finally nailed the cast off – it’s done between the beds by transferring all to the front but leaving the back bed in work, knitting a slack row, pushing the knitting towards the back and then latching through the loops at the front. Last time I tried it, I must have done something wrong because it immediately came undone.

The second exercise is the back of a batwing jumper for a toddler, mostly in stocking stitch. I was going great guns until the yarn snapped and the whole thing fell off. Will have to restart I think. I never had a Duomatic, but the manual for the E6000 is aimed at upgraders not beginners, and there were no lessons in it, so I think it’s a worthwhile exercise.

After lunch (himself home and dozing off on the sofa) I knitted a little pink cardigan in my Easy DK pattern – accidentally did the fronts/back with the prototype measurements so guessed the V neck decreases. I was testing the electronics on the SK860 for the first time – at first the card refused to move so I got a strange pattern on the fronts/back – had managed to fix whatever it was that was wrong by the time I got to the sleeves, but didn’t do all-over fairisle as planned because the inside floats were longer than I thought they’d be. Also managed accidentally-on-purpose to mount the button band the wrong way around – so there’s a not-very-tidy ridge all around the fronts. Interesting, but I shan’t do it again. The cardigan is for a friend’s new arrival – I have been so busy that apart from registering my congrats on Facebook I’ve not acknowledged the birth – and figured, this is more useful than a belated card.

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It’s the most machine knitting I’ve done for myself for ages, it seems, and I really enjoyed it! Except for the unpicking of mis-patterned fairisle…

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