Monday, March 11
A baby blankie and a mini challenge
Well, I managed to get a baby blanket I'm reasonably happy with out of the E6000 yesterday. I used pattern 1005 and tech 149, cast on 110 stitches in 1x1 rib at ss4 throughout and knitted 450 rows, then three rows N/N at ss4 and last past ss7 then took it off on waste yarn and latch tooled the cast off. It measures 36.5cm by 59cm which looks proportionally a little narrow. Apart from one dropped edge stitch, no mistakes. I weighted the edges a bit because I noticed the leftmost needle (both edge needles were on the back bed) didn't always knit off successfully. I might make this into a more official pattern when I've checked out what width a standard baby blanket is. No, I didn't swatch - the row and stitch counts were from a Metbury pattern I failed to be able to knit because the yarn was too thick. It's a lovely fluffy pattern and requires no finishing - a perfect quick knit.
The mini challenge? I forgot to take a picture of it (and it wasn't very exciting). Well, I bought a PPD at the Croydon MK show - must've been at least 18 months ago, because that show didn't run last year. The PPD connects to my tv to design stitch patterns, and connects to the KH950i. I've had the 950i quite a while too but have only really used the built-in patterns so far. I tried using the mylar sheet reader - my machine must be really sniffy because it refused to read the hand-drawn snowflake pattern the previous owner had drawn, but it was fine reading the Silver pre-printed mylar sheets. I couldn't get my head around it mentally, either - the Knitmaster system has the mylar sheet being read line-by-line as you knit (with the EC1) OR you can pre-load the sheet and save it onto the PE1 - this has the advantage of showing you which row, or a picture of the stitches, being knit. The Brother system seems to want you to read the whole sheet beforehand and then read the sheet again line-by-line as you knit? Which seemed like doing it twice to me? Maybe I misunderstood. Anyway, all it would knit were two vertical stripes, nary a snowflake to be seen. Apparently it was an unreliable device, and I've failed to find preprinted Brother mylars online. So the PPD is a real boon for producing customised patterns.
I don't have the matching FB100 floppy disk drive though - these were an early Tandy disk drive that were superseded for use by PCs, so pretty elderly, and they can fail if the belt perishes. So I just used the "draw" and "erase" buttons to create a little pattern - it's pretty quick actually, although a 200st wide masterpiece might be a different matter. I got the pattern transferred to the machine - took a while, one pattern was 2x2 and one pattern was 6x6 stitches - and I was just about to pull the plug, thinking that something had gone wrong, when, hey presto, it beeped! One must remember that the PPD is up to 25 years old according to the date on the manual, perhaps it's just I'm used to modern computer speeds. Mine was brand new in box. Anyroad, apart from one place where the knitting machine burped, I got my little squares design to knit with no trouble at all. The pattern was:
To the old hands, getting a pattern out of the PPD and onto your knitting probably doesn't sound like much of a challenge. It was a mini challenge for me - I can get quite impatient with kit sometimes and it involved reading parts of two manuals so it was a little confusing to start with. And to think, I hand-pulled that Dalek pattern twice - talk about making it complicated for yourself! Also, it's another piece of kit I've now understood and can use with confidence. Last year's challenge was to reduce the stash (still working on that one, ha!), this year's is to try and tackle a new thing every month. I failed in February for various reasons, so perhaps I need to think up another challenge for before the end of this month to make up for that.
I'm debating whether to put the KH260 away as I've used up all the chunky yarns I had hanging around, and also debating which machine (if any) should go into its place. Possibly the fine gauge - since the eye ops last year I can see so much better, and I do have a large amount of blue 2ply to get through and a twinset in mind. It will have to wait though - we Ravellers are planning a live demo of the Lizard Ridge technique on my KH260 and that will probably not happen until the end of April so I've some time to plan my next move. I'm also pondering the decorating I want to do in that room. It needs a few coats of paint and the plan is to get proper shelving in there. It would be so nice to get all my craft books in one place and divided by craft so I might actually be able to find the one I want! Currently some of them are in the bedroom and some in the office.
Oh well, time to sign off. The 'flu has left finally, but has left a cough and nasal congestion in its place. It's trying to snow again outside! Rather late in the year methinks! Roll on spring!