Monday, September 28

How to knit a hybrid fairisle sock on the knitting machine / CSM

I made a pair of red fairisle socks a while ago, and wrote up some (very sketchy) notes on how I did it. Which was lucky, because an old friend ordered a pair but in blue.

They are made by knitting the ribbing and fairisle part on the knitting machine, and then hanging that onto the CSM and knitting the rest of the sock. So you get a sock with a short seam down the back or inseam (depending on how you hang it), but a seamless heel, foot and toe.

The most tedious part of this was knitting lots of stocking stitch swatches to ensure the knitting machine tension matched the CSM tension. The CSM tension is set to knit as tight as possible without tucking, with 3ply sock yarn - you want socks to be a little firm as they get hot and stretch a little in use. I finally discovered T4 was the correct tension on my machine (Brother KH950i).

Steps:
  1. Cast on required no of needles to match cylinder - in my case, 72
  2. Knit 1 zigzag row at T0/0 and 1-3 circular rows at T1/1 (I did 2)
  3. RC000, knit 20 rows 1x1 rib T2/2.
  4. Transfer stitches to main bed and knit 3 rows T4 stocking stitch
  5. Set machine to memorise pattern and knit your fairisle pattern - remembering it needs to be UPSIDE DOWN!! The pattern I did was of my own design and a 24 stitch repeat, which means 3 repeats on a 72 cylinder. 
  6. Finish with at least 2 rows of stocking stitch; break yarn* and take off on waste yarn. I think I ended up having knitted 50 rows on the knitting machine. 
  7. Make a note of what you did, because you need to do it a second time! 
  8. Hang the knitting onto the CSM (see below), by poking a transfer tool through each stitch, ensuring the seam is either at the dead centre of the CSM (back of ankle) or at one of the hash marks (3 or 9 o'clock) if you want the seam to be on the inside of the leg. Put all the needles into hold as you do this so that eventually you can rotate the yarn carrier freely around the cylinder. 
  9. Remove the waste yarn and knit the rest of the sock (heel, foot, toe) as you normally would. 
* If you are lucky enough to have a CSM with a slotted carrier and overhead mast you might not need to break the yarn. But you'll need to sew up the seam anyway, so a few extra ends doesn't really make much difference

Hanging the knitting, 75% done:
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The finished socks, drying in the bathroom:
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