Wednesday, June 05, 2024

Machine Knitting "retreat", Alexandra Arts venue, 2nd - 3rd June

Well, it was a retreat of two halves!

On Sunday the weather was kind, and I started the day by doing a little crash course in the ribber. After lunch (in the sunny rear garden!) I managed to get double-bed jacquard going (after a false start that came out stripy). The building was a hive of activity all day (and I completely lost track of time!). Some of us regrouped after people checked into their hotels for a curry in town (and some did a mini pub crawl beforehand). I fell into bed at home after one glass of white wine!

On Monday, things were a little more chilled out (including the weather, alas). I attempted to make magic cables appear (but the magic escaped me), and we were treated to a demo of Designaknit in the garden room. After lunch, I gave out small prizes for best wearable and best non-wearable item. There were some interesting machine knitting gadgets and literature to buy/donate towards, and we had an garment rail with machine knitted items to have a look at (mostly mine, and somehow I completely failed to photograph those). The ladies in the bar area finally got the Toyota to produce simulknit - the verdict was the manual could be better! The ladies in the LK150 corner seemed to be having fun. Before too long, it was time to pack up and bid farewell. By 6pm I was home with a very loaded-up car. Many thanks to C for all her help with organising the event at her lovely venue (the Alexandra Arts), and thanks to everyone who came along - I hope you had as much fun as I did!

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Convincing a Toyota 901 to do what you want

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The LK150 corner

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Genius stitch marking on the LK150

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A crash course in how to use the ribber

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Fun with the electronic Brothers

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Competition entries - the cushion and the blue jumper with the white motif got the most votes

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I love this CSM stand, a lot sturdier than mine!

Current mood: exhausted but happy

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Fun flowers and more finished objects

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First, some fun swap items I received today. I love the FLOL group on Ravelry, this was the May flowers swap. I sent some floral-themed items to someone too!

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Next up, an almost-finished (blue) beige helix. Turns out it involves the self-timer trying to take pictures of the reverse, apologies for catching my partner's "floordrobe" in shot. This was finished late last night, I just need to weave in all the ends, which will be interesting as this is a bamboo-cotton mix yarn made of many thin strands. The collar's so big (it's a big circle) that it almost doubles as a Jedi-style hood!

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Finally, I present one argyle sock worked manually on the CSM (overchecks worked by hand, it involves a dental pick on my CSM and is not for the faint-hearted). Very pleased with it, even though I made it much harder for myself in terms of ends by reversing my colours for the overchecks. Matthew Hamilton's original video on youtube uses a third colour for the overchecks, which means a lot less ends to sew in later. The second sock will happen sometime mid June.

In other news, I've managed to catalogue all of the craft books I have stored in the craft room, whilst having a bit of a cull. Now just two big cases of non-craft books and a bunch of self-published ones (Mary Weaver, Kathleen Kinder) to add. The self-published ones take time because they don't have ISBN numbers of course. More car shenanigans - I got reversed into by a lorry whilst I was legally parked waiting to get into a training venue (turned out they'd moved the training, and the lorry driver didn't normally go to that depot). Minutes after I'd moved my car, someone else was parked in that spot. You just couldn't make it up. Anyway, fingers crossed I get the car back ASAP, the courtesy vehicle is a very budget affair. I dread to think what next year's car insurance looks like.

We've also been making some effort with the garden with the addition of a bug hotel, and some weeding (and extra mowing, in between the rain). The roses are blooming, despite the current weird "summer" of sunny yet chilly with sudden downpours. Today it's 16 degrees, grey and wet so the tumble dryer is the only way to get the laundry done. I think I've managed to sit outside in the garden maybe twice, and with warm clothing both times! Oh well, same old same old!

Current mood: happy

Friday, May 24, 2024

FO: Passap "Bitty" scarf

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Still more of this yarn to go, it's a simple double-bed tuck stitch pattern on the E6000, from the Metbury "Bitty" book. It's pattern 1004 and tech 140 if anyone's interested. Apologies for the not-great pictures, there's a bottle of white spirits just out of shot that was on its way to the shed! No, don't ask, suffice to say I've been unsticking knitting machine buttons and so far haven't had to resort to using it; surgical spirit, careful brute force, persistance and sewing machine oil seem to work. Having said that, there's a new sponge bar on order for the KH260 and I will double-check the split buttons are still behaving!

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

FO: Lace yoked sweater (Clearwater Knits / Irene Woods)

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Finally got around to posting a half-decent picture. We had a few warm weekends so I've not felt like wearing wool yet! You don't want to see the shot with my head in it, I look like I have a pin head...

A sad day today, attended the funeral of an old college friend (we were both trainee engineers) who survived breast cancer and then found brain tumours. Life just isn't fair sometimes. The big C sucks, my cousin has just started on this journey too. :(

Current mood: guilty I'm still here

Tuesday, May 07, 2024

Startitis again...

This "use what you have" thing really seems to have sparked my mojo. I finished the tunisian cable scarf (pictures to follow), made a tuck scarf on the Passap from the Metbury Bitty book (still needs blocking) in that troublesome terracotta yarn (and STILL more yarn to go! Pah!). Poor Miss Swiss complained with error 200 a few times; I confess I defluffed both locks but completely ignored the beds, so that is my next job I think (it involves the hoover and some playing around with needle retainer bars, surgical spirit and oil). I've also cast on the Drops Blue Helix cardigan, a crocheted cardigan with a large star shape set into the back, except mine's stone, not blue, as it's leftover bamboo yarn from another project. Hoping it'll work up into a nice beach / summer cover up.

Meanwhile my s-i-l B taught me how to crochet two rows of UK trebles at once, yesterday, not a technique I'd heard of - though if she's using them in a garment, she prefers the look of them worked in vertical, not horizontal, stripes, as the WS and RS are more noticeably different. I had a bit of a destash and put some crochet hooks and my Denise needles up for sale on Ravelry, only because I'm no longer using them. I prefer inline hooks unless they're 3mm and under, and the Denise set is US sizes - since I upgraded to the KnitPro symfonie set (metric) I've not really needed them. 

The lace yoked sweater is drying in the bathroom and needs a light blocking. Pictures of the various things when the finished items are ready. Startitis, gotta love it! 

Current mood: energetic

Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Some works in progress, and experimenting with twisting stitches

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My current obsession, the tunisian cable scarf "San Marino" - I'm now on strip three of three, so it's even further ahead than this!

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I thought I'd have a go at the Irene Woods / Clearwater Knits lace yoked top. The two yokes took the best part of saturday afternoon to knit on the machine (the transfers are hand-manipulated), and spent yesterday blocking on the bed, alongside my little helper. To be fair, the grey and white blanket is "his" domain, so he's being very good not putting cat hair on my work. Next stop is joining the yokes and knitting the sleeves downwards... 

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Some inspiration from M and S, I thought I'd try and replicate it by adding the ribber for one row to get very loose stitches. I don't think I'd want to do it all over though, this was a short-sleeved top or vest I think!

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My attempt - first loose row, everything was just twisted 180 degrees using the 2 prong tool. On the second loose row, I turned the pairs 360 degrees, looks much more like it! I only wish I'd knitted a bit more and casted it off properly.

Does anyone else take random snaps of knitwear when out shopping, or is it just me?!

Current mood: busy

Saturday, April 20, 2024

Spring startitis (kind of)

Regular readers will know I used to suffer terribly from startitis, every spring. Well, it's been late this year and absent in previous years due to my getting older, getting slower at finishing things, and general SAD type issues. When sleep is hard to obtain, inspiration for creating new things falls way down my list of priorities. Anyway, I've decided to just look at what's in the stash and try and make something (anything) with it, instead of "procrasti-planning" items in my head that I never get around to. So the leftover cone of sienna coloured boucle (Christine shawl nightmare, but this is just one end) might become a simple scarf, if it's not also moth-eaten and too fragile. Having said that, I've swatched T6, 7 and 8 in a yarn I hope to make into a sweater. The pattern's at T9, wouldn't ya know it? So another swatch is needed or a lot of maths, never a strong suit!

Work's been pretty busy thus stressful. I suspect part of it is my age - I'm irritable and grumpy and getting tired of dealing with unfixed bugs and general downgrading of the creativity I once was able to bring to the task at hand. Let's face it, designing conveyor systems isn't a dream job for someone who loves colour and creativity, but it's close enough and is at least a marketable skill I suppose, until AI takes that away from me for good. 

I'm delighted to be running a small two day machineknitting "retreat" which is already fully booked (the venue is quite small). If it goes well, I might run a single-day one. We'll see. I've got to check my machine "stable" and think about where we're all going to go. That's tomorrow's job. 

I've been starting to catalogue my books; it's a big job, and so far I've completed crochet, and partially  done machine knitting, hand-knitting and weaving, and I'm getting rid of a few I'll never use in the process. I've been amazed at what I've bought, flipped through, and then presumably hoped would stay in my brain by process of some weird osmosis! Anyway, in the vein of "use what I have to learn something", I'm teaching myself how to work tunisian cables. Now, a cable to me, in the purest sense, is when stitches appear to lean one way or the other, and under another set of stitches, to create a cabled pattern. So crochet cables (back post / front post) aren't quite cables in the strictest sense, as they are worked AROUND preceding stitches and not INTO them. Tunisian cables are much more like knitted cables in that they are worked into the stitches below. I purchased an Annie's Crochet book some time ago on the subject, and had leant it to a relative. When I got it back I thought it was about time I had a go. 

This is my second attempt. Whilst flipping through another book, which gives 3-4 samplers of various crochet techniques, I discovered I was doing my work too tight because the hook needs to stay on top of the work and not to the front... once I made my loops looser (and figured out the tunisian purl they are using, my first attempt was incorrect), it went a lot better. I'm ignoring how they instruct to work the cable though, I am cabling like I would in knitting. The book states I should rearrange all my loops and put them back onto the needle (an extra chain is worked between each cable "strand"). I'm just letting the loops hang off onto a cable needle and putting them back onto the loop when it's time to work them. It just works better for me! 

If I get far enough (I have to work 28 twists and then two more strips of this) it will be a scarf. The twists happen every 6 rows. Because I'm still learning how to "read" my work, I'm using stitch markers. No, I do not need any more scarves, but someone might! And yes, for the eagle-eyed, that last cross is wrong, it has been fixed!

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Oh, and I've taken up netball, after a 40 year gap. Week one (taster week) there was one sprained ankle, and one momentarily dislocated shoulder. The first match week, one of our team members fell straight backwards during practice (ball to the face, she's short, and no, I did NOT throw it!) and cracked a vertebra. I may have lost my mind if that sort of thing keeps happening, and my knees did complain a bit the following day. Mid-life crisis? I hated sport at school until later on, because I was short and sturdy. Watch this space! :D 

Current mood: exhausted