Thursday, April 15

Totally texture

I found this Passap knitting pattern in an old magazine, and decided to have a go (though using a built-in pattern).

PXL_20210416_081016453.MP

It's probably not obvious on screen, but this tuck stitch pattern is really textured and spongy. Very nice! Though I think when I make the second front I will use weights, there are a LOT of tuck loops and at one point there was a big jam when some of them failed to knit off. I managed to rescue it and it's not too obvious. The post title is also the name of the pattern.

1618554876845-371

I treated myself to a little holder for the Passap machine, it works a lot better than the yarn bowls because it's deeper. A machine knitter's son 3d prints them and you can choose your colour. Of course I had to go for the hot pink!

The non-essential shops are now open in England, the first time since 2020. We are taking a trip into town tomorrow to window shop, I can't wait! Though I couldn't wait for a hair cut, I gave myself a fringe trim yesterday and it doesn't look too bad. At least it is out of my eyes, anyway.

I was pondering today how I've had lots of information in books in my collection, and yet it's taken a global pandemic for me to get to grips with the Passap. Seems like there has to be a right time to absorb the information - sometimes your brain is just not ready for it. Then bang! It suddenly all starts making sense. Weird.

Some spring pictures to cheer you up! Tulips are my favourite flower, and the pink geranium is blooming again. Not bad for a forlorn supermarket plant that cost me £2. I won a photo competition with these, think the prize was some mixed bulbs which have just turned up via UPS.

IMG_0100 IMG_0101 daffodil

Current mood: awake

Tuesday, April 13

Continuum

The rules regarding meeting people were relaxed last week. Is it pathetic to admit that it made little difference in our household? Apart from a brief drink in brother-in-law's back garden last weekend, curtailed because it's still pretty cold out? I'm somewhat pleased the non-essential shops reopened yesterday, though I'm at a loss as to all the things I wanted to buy. I would like a fluffy dressing gown and possibly some new paintbrushes for watercolours. I am easy to please, huh? I have foolishly bought new sandals for a holiday I probably won't get to take. The enforced break from consumerism feels permanent, somehow. 

Instead of cracking on with a blanket on the Passap (trying to get up courage), I distract myself with fisherman's rib sweaters, and spend time looking for a folder of Passap patterns that seems to have disappeared off the face of the earth. Oh, the Cog got another short contract, so I have relinquished the knitting room a second time (which mainly means folding up the table loom). 

There have been some bright spots - we ventured into Kenilworth on Sunday, bought a sandwich and enjoyed it in the park, followed by our first ice cream cone of the year. My sister popped around for lunch in the back garden and left red devil fairy cakes. The tulips are starting to bloom (the narcissi seem less enthusiastic). The weather remains odd - sunshine and sleet at times. My partner checked the vaccination website (we are both now eligible) but all the locations were quite some distance. I'll let the people who can't work from home get done first. My time will come. 

Current mood: lethargic

Thursday, April 8

Experiments with double jacquard

PXL_20210409_090421914

If you are lucky enough to own a Passap E6000 you'lll know there are about 15 built-in variations of double jacquard, all of which produce a different texture and proportion of patterns. I thought I'd experiment and document my samples here, for future use. I love the fact that there's such variation in them - chequerboard backing, plain backing, vertical stripes, bumpy tucks.

Tech 180

180

Tech 181

181

Tech 182

182

Tech 183

183

Tech 184

184

Tech 185

185

Tech 186

186

Tech 187

187

Tech 188

188

Tech 189

189

Tech 190

190

Tech 191

191

Tech 192

192

Tech 193

193

Tech 194

194

Not much else to report lately. Easter went from pleasantly sunny to freezing cold, seemingly in the space of a day. I attended an in-person First Aid requalification course, and was never so grateful for my "cozy prison" having kept my coat on for two solid days - they had to have the windows open for covid reasons, and it was trying to snow outside. Not fun! I was lucky enough to catch up with a work colleague in a park that happens to be roughly halfway for both of us. 

Shops are reopening on the 12th. The enforced break in consumer habits has made me realise I don't actually really need much. Though I may treat myself to some more paintbrushes...

Oh, and I am knitting jumper number 4 from the black chenille - a variation on an old Kangamoo pattern, but on the standard gauge. I'll blog about that when it's finished. 

Current mood: amused

Sunday, March 28

FO: piano scarf

PXL_20210328_210410344

Many years ago, the Cog and I visited Antwerp. I saw a lovely piano scarf in a clothes shop, on a poster on the wall. We then trawled both branches of the shop, in a fruitless attempt to buy it. I had completely forgotten about it until this weekend, when it suddenly occurred to me that I could knit one for myself! Well, I am a bear of very little brain sometimes. The weather was cold and dreary, so perfect for staying in and knitting. The stitch pattern for this was designed in Designaknit, and it is knitted over 60 sts at ss 4.5 on both beds, using technique 180, about 1640 odd rows (thank heavens for the motor!). Very pleased with it, though next time I will program the whole five repeats instead of as a repeating pattern so that I know when it's finished. I might have a go making a skinnier version too. Next little project is to knit some samples of the different DBJ techniques, using the same stitch pattern, so I can compare the handle of them. I like technique 180 (bird's eye slipped backing) because it comes out the expected proportions - some of the DBJs elongate the pattern. Oh, and I cast this off ON the machine, first time ever. Despite it being in black. Quite impressed with myself!

There are precious few advantages to the pandemic, but finally getting to grips with the Passap has been mine. You know you've achieved something in machine knitting, when you are master of the machines and not the other way around. I'm now really inspired to try other things!

Current mood: impressed

Wednesday, March 24

Lockdown staycations and birthdays

Last week, the Cog and I had a nice "staycation", mostly visiting the parks in local towns, and popping to the odd farm shop. There are a few nice ones in the area.

Some finished objects:

PXL_20210322_073200596

PXL_20210322_073216247

I couldn't make head nor tail of the assembly instructions for this, so fudged it as best I could. This is rather snuggly!

PXL_20210322_073319733

This needs a bit of steaming to set the hems, but is otherwise finished. Alas, as I continue to WFH, getting the iron out will only happen if I start sewing again!

PXL_20210322_073356305

The weaving came out again, leading me to lust after a folding floor loom that I do not have room for. This has been packed away for seven months, as this is the table the Cog has been working from.

PXL_20210322_073343105

I finally had a go at programming letters on the Passap. These are photographed in the order they were attempted - I misread the code for N because I didn't have my glasses on! If you program one letter wrong you have to start again I think. Anyway, it really tickled me that I figured it out. Next step is to figure out how to stop it repeating, if that's possible.

I originally got into machine knitting because I was inspired to knit double-bed jacquard scarves; I forget where I saw them now, but a designer was selling customised ones and that just tweaked my interest. I can confidently say, dbj isn't for the faint-hearted, and it's still not a technique I do a lot of on the Japanese machines. But the Passap does at least make it pretty easy.

Yes, my birthday is now associated with the day the lockdown started in the UK last year. Meh, as if the Act of Enablement wasn't bad enough. I had lots of lovely cards, flowers by post, lovely meals and some nice gifts. It would be so nice to do something normal for a birthday, that could include friends. Never mind, at least everyone's in the same boat I guess. 

Current mood: loved

Thursday, March 18

Using the knitting machine to join garments

Having a "staycation" this week. It was probably a daft idea to take a week's leave when only essential shops are open - I had to time it to match the Cog's contract ending - but we've had some nice walks out in the parks in Warwick and Leamington Spa. It's a pity the weather's not a bit nicer, but we have had fun visiting local farm shops and bringing nice food home. When all else is closed, food tourism is all there is!

Anyway, I thought I'd share how I have recently used my knitting machine to join a garment. It's knitted all in black, and after an abortive attempt I realised I couldn't face trying to hand sew it. So I used the Passap machine to join the neckband pieces (as the garment was knitted on the passap), and the SK840 to join the remaining seams. You could also use a device such as the Hague linker for this, which would be quicker. I sold mine a while ago as I was not really using it. I use this method for hanging neckbands also. This is done by knitting the ribbing, transferring to the main bed and knitting one row, and then hanging the garment onto the needles in use. 

Using the knitting machine to join garment pieces aka I can't face hand-sewing this! :)

Preparation: Place the carriage on the right hand side of the machine bed (if you are left handed, put it on the left side of the bed).

PXL_20210317_102346707

Hold the knitting, right side facing you, slightly stretched against the knitting machine. Use the 2 prong tool to hang the end stitches at both ends, and use the single prong to hang the work in the middle. Make a note of what needle width you used so that you can use the same width for the other half of the garment. I like mine to divide by 10 because it's easier to remember. You can start from either end of the machine and don't have to concern yourself about centring the knitting on the machine.

PXL_20210317_101010993

Continue to divide the knitting across the needle bed by dividing up the space and pulling a needle through the knitting - try to aim for at least two threads on every needle, and try not to split the yarn.

PXL_20210317_101359246

Carry on until all needles are out, then use the ruler to push the needles back about 1 cm.

PXL_20210317_101741585

Hang the second garment piece, wrong side facing you, in the same manner. Be sure to match any details eg ribbed cuffs. When this is complete, use the ruler to close all the latches - failure to do so could damage needles and cause jams, especially when joining side seams.

PXL_20210317_103050701

Thread the carriage. Using maximum tension, slowly knit one row. Pull the needles fully out (keeping the knitting against the gatepegs) and cast off the stitches using the latch tool. Complete the rest of the seams in the same manner, and weave in the ends. 

Current mood: hungry

Tuesday, March 16

Passap E6000 crash course

A little plug - I updated and revised my Passap crash course leaflet. It's now 20 pages and will give anyone a good grounding in the Passap E6000. Available on etsy now. 

Anyone ever use the UX setting, aka "slick" - slips one way, tucks the other? Things like that intrigue me, the manual just says "for future use", but it already works - there just aren't any patterns for it. Something I need to investigate further I think...