Sunday, February 18, 2024

Things can only get better...

TLDR 2 paragraphs: the car issues get resolved somewhat

I'm cautiously optimistic that the issues with the car are solved (financially, anyway; a full refund is pending). Still annoyed about the perception of how I was treated, as I had to resort to chasing them on the 'phone several times a week by the end. "I'll be in touch" seemed to be meaningless (I started to keep a communications log, mostly my calling them). They peed off more than three of my many hats - engineers (we do a good job, not a bodge, or we admit we are incapable and find someone who is), quality control (first install had zero), safety rep (first install electrically unsafe), and fire marshall (ditto). I think I will send a letter of complaint, because I'm still financially in deficit because of this, but I'm happy to write that off just to be shot of the whole matter really. I was poised to start legal proceedings tomorrow. It's rather handy to have a sister in law (retired teacher of law at secondary school level) who can turn a 4 page rant into bullet points, and then put the correct legal letter (just the facts, ma'am) at the front. But it will wait until I see the dosh. I might also cc trading standards, because this could have become a very serious matter. Let's hope they're wrong about my car still having battery issues - we'll find out soon enough I guess! Cannot test it at the mo because my cousin is repairing and calibrating our voltmeter which had blown fuses. 

So my sleep is still pretty shot. Dropping asleep at 8pm in front of the telly, fighting it until 9pm, then going to bed and waking up at 2am? Programmes that make no sense because my consciousness is in and out? Rubbish! So exhausted today, I feel drunk and woozy (and I had one bottle of beer last night, so it's not a hangover). I suspect I'm on the brink of nervous exhaustion, and I'm noticing my varifocals more, hence the wooziness. It'll pass, I hope!

Anyway, actual craft content! The cardigan below is Drop's Red Berry Hill, except I didn't knit it in coloured stripes, nor use the right yarn (this is James C Brett marble chunky) - and I did add the cables. Possibly could have been a smidge longer (I have a long torso and short legs), and it doesn't quite fit around my bust so if I made it again I'd add a few rows, but overall I'm pretty happy with it. I'm wearing it right now, in fact. 

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Plus the finished tunisian crochet cushion. Mum said she thought the sideways sheep looked like pacman?

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I just added press studs in the end, a zip probably would have been better but not something I felt up to tackling.

Today we've both just piddled about, I've been getting some minor tasks done. My favourite kind of day is a day with no plan. Yesterday I marched around town like a mad thing (my calves are screaming right now) getting provisions and library books, whilst the Cog watched the footie. We had planned to visit a distant relative, but he's poorly AND got COVID, so he postponed. I did get to catch up with C about planning a two day machine knitting seminar at her arts venue. Watch this space! I hope it comes off, because there's quite a bit of interest, but I mustn't say more until things are more firm. But of course I'm already making plans in my head. It's nice to have a fun thing to focus on, instead of the nightmare of the last nine weeks which pretty much erased any good feeling around Xmas. Spring is springing, and hopefully someone will be round next week to put in missing honeycomb mesh in the roof (the builders left it out 20 years ago, shocking!), because Ms Starling is back for year 3 of nest building already, and I need her to move elsewhere! 

It's very nice to see lighter evenings and buds on everything. Hurray for spring, now I just need to slow down and breathe again! We've got some time off coming up too. Lots to look forward to!

Current mood: exhausted but vertical (only just)

Saturday, February 03, 2024

February witterings and a thought about Passap training videos...

Crikey, February already? Being flat out at work does at least make time fly. The socks I posted about last time have been adjusted - the too-long one has been partially tinked and handknit to match length-wise, and I've knit the first of another pair of tubular socks on the Dean & Bean CSM to prove to myself that I CAN knit a matching pair - wish me luck!

TLDR: car issues, health issues, work issues

The car issues seem to be gradually coming to a close - I have come to the conclusion that the immobiliser company don't know how to use email or landlines and don't even have a customer service department. Apparently my problems will get resolved, they just can't be bothered to keep me in the loop (they seem to be forgetting whose money it is). There's still finger-pointing going on. I have resolved to call them every Friday like clockwork until they get this sorted, the squeaky wheel getting the oil. Having friendly receptionists that get you down off the ceiling is all well and good, but if nothing ever actually happens then she's just decorative alas. On the plus side, I did get my car returned this week after a stupid accident where I forgot to apply the handbrake (well, it's electronic, so not visually obvious!) and the car decided to use a Tesla as a doorstop, which got me a cracked bumper (the Tesla got the worst of it). Whoops. Car is back, nice and shiny, AND the garage updated the software. Bit of an expensive way to get it valleted though, do not recommend! Very impressed with Privilege (insurance company), the repair was done quickly and the various companies involved have kept me well-informed throughout. The whole thing has been sorted within 10 days, I'm just waiting on the hire car company to pick up their vehicle. The immobiliser company could learn a thing or two from them! 

The Cog very kindly bought a nasty cold back from Austria, and is still coughing very loudly ten days later. I am debating hiding his passport so he can't go away next month  - first COVID, now this, whatever next, leprosy?! So far I seem to be fine, but I suspect the adrenalin caused by the stress of the previous paragraph is keeping my immune system and blood pressure on high alert. So sleep has been very, very scarce lately - woken up by constant coughing, and then seized with fury over the car issues. If I do dream at all, it's brief snatches of a nightmarish kind (the horror (!) of wearing muddy jeans I thought were clean, a nasty double-murder, that sort of thing). Not a combination I'd recommend. 

Work has been flat out. Nov-Mar is probably our busiest time of the year, not helped by the loss of my good friend and colleague LB and the maternity leave of another colleague. We have a new member of staff in place finally but they are fully booked with "meetings" next week, so resource-wise we are still understaffed. Patience is a virtue I don't possess, and there are only 40 hours in a week, so... they get what I have time to do, and no more. It doesn't help that one particular engineer always seems to leave it 'til lunchtime Friday to ask for more work; he doesn't use the correct channels, and the planning is done early Friday so he's always too late. My braincells can't cope with much more than 40 hours, and anyway it's unpaid. 

Now, onto actual crafting content!

The tunisian crochet sheep cushion got press-studs during a Zoom meeting, it's just awaiting its final photo shoot. I'm part-way through adding press-studs to a hot pink knit-weave cardigan I gained in an estate sale and didn't have the heart / will to frog. It's not even very well finished, but I will continue! I guess I should have just chucked it, but being acrylic I couldn't bear the thought of it going into the bin and outlasting all of humanity as pieces. Yeah, I don't have enough with my own unfinished projects, I get landed with others!

We had a fairly successful Zoom meeting this week where I gave everyone that attended a quick tour of the Passap E6000. I am thinking of creating some videos to share on Youtube, because there's not much info out there for the E6000 and the manual seems to be written for upgraders, not beginners. I wonder if there would be any interest? I've recently lost the video editing software on my works laptop - I suspect ICT thought it was dodgy (in a legal sense) and removed it without notice. As we are imminently upgrading to W11 in a few weeks (where one can no longer install software without permission) and I will be switching to Adobe Premiere, I will need a period of learning the new software methinks. I've learnt one needs to watermark videos, lest some unscrupulous soul claims it as their own work and charges for it. 

The return of the longer days / increased daylight is helping me to get out of my crafting funk, albeit slowly. I have a few more "not quite finished, don't need much to complete" projects to get done and then I can let startitis kick in again. 

Well, that turned into quite the epistle! Onwards and upwards, as they say!

Current mood: annoyed but determined

Sunday, January 14, 2024

Grafting/Kitchener stitch from two DPNs

My instructions for grafting a seam from two DPNs: 

Hold wrong sides together. The principle is that each stitch on the needles needs a catch st and a throw off stitch. Catch sts match the stitch they go into, throw sts are the reverse and then you throw/drop the stitch from the needle.

Working from right to left if you are right handed, sew through the front needle stitch knitwise and the back needle stitch purlwise. 

Then,  * sew through the front stitch purlwise and drop it from the needle. Sew through the next front stitch knitwise and then the back stitch knitwise and throw it off. Sew through the next back needle stitch purlwise. Repeat from * until all stitches are sewn off. 

Friday, January 12, 2024

Dean and Bean play...

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First tube sock, dropped a stitch and had to repair it. The second went much better and is awaiting grafting.


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Ribber not quite aligned, have adjusted it since this shot!

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This clothes peg WAS damaged and is now in the bin. No, I don't know where the rest of it went!

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I have a cardigan front for a very small woman (this was done on the E6000)! Yay!

More car troubles / fun with CSMs

Happy New Year!

TDLR - ongoing car issues, skip to the next paragraph!

Well, the car saga continues. Further to my post on the 27th, it appears that the immobiliser we had installed on the car in the first week in December was a bit too good - it was like having a table lamp connected to the car all the time. No wonder the battery went flat - literally immobilising the car for everyone except the recovery company. I've seen the mess the "wiring" was in - badly done AND unsafe - so I'm only surprised our vehicle didn't set itself alight in a gust of wind! Now of course the immobiliser company are accusing the garage of staging the photos... It cost a smidge under £200 to test the car overnight, identify the fault, get the car made electrically safe. I've got more expense next week getting the immobiliser company to fix their bodge job (oh yes, there's also a tracker with a monthly subscription fee that no longer tracks) because I am insisting that it's done at my garage and then the garage does another battery drain test (not free!), because I can't trust the immobiliser company as far as I can throw them. Judging by the photo, even I could have wired it better, and that's after 2 week's apprentice training that I took in 1988. We have been using the garage since before 2009 and they've been going since 1907 (and I'd never even heard of the immobiliser company until November) so I think I know where the truth lies... Sorry for ranting on, but it's been very unsettling - the last thing I needed on top of the SAD - and it thoroughly spoilt our Christmas break, as it was hanging over us from the 23rd onwards. I'd post this in my personal blog, but I haven't posted to that in so long I (a) can't remember the email address I used with it and (b) cannot access it anymore. Ugh. Fingers crossed the car issues will all be resolved by this time next week (no idea if I can get my extra money back alas). 

Anyway, onto more fun things! You may recall I bought this CSM on a whim last summer. Being a bit of an idiot, I went charging in, trying to use the smallest cylinder without even really getting to know the machine first. After a frantic few weekends of it taking up half of the dining table, I did manage to knit myself a pair of bed socks in just plain stocking stitch on the 60 cylinder. Yes, I did knit a pair in the end, though the second sock ended up being finished in another completely different yarn just to get the thing off the machine. I had no joy with the ribber at the time and have destroyed more than ten ribber needles trying to get the circular or slip cast on (as is done in flat bed machine knitting) to work on the CSM. 

Fast forward to this weekend, and I convinced the Cog to have a bit of a clear out. That's one good thing about January - the weather's rubbish and the bank accounts all look a little empty, so one finds things to do around the house. He managed to clear out one box of paperwork junk and I managed to get his "not working from home" desk cleared - it's at the other end of the tiny box room I use as my WFH office. So the Dean and Bean machine is now back up  - the only downside is, if I get quiet at work I might be tempted to knit a sneaky sock in one of the more boring meetings.

I've learned quite a lot this week after just two sessions. 

  1. Don't assume because you can use a metal CSM that the same techniques will work on a 3d printed one - they may or may not! That probably goes for any knitting machine, not just a CSM.
  2. The slip/circular cast on does NOT work on my CSM - as soon as the ribber needles are disengaged, the ribber dial starts to climb and ribber needles start to rotate 90 degrees in their slots, which is how they get munched (and I'm not even using much force). There is a small line printed on the ribber dial as to when the switch should be moved, but I've given up on it, it does not appear to be functional on my version of this machine. The design may have improved since this one, I don't know. 
  3. The ribber dial slots are a little loosey-goosey when compared to my Imperia - this might be down to the possible tolerances available in 3d printing, I do not know.
  4. All that being said, the Juana selvedge works very well for ribbing - I knit three quarters of one round of ribbing over EON (Every Other Needle), and then loaded the ribber needles up and picked up the bar. Both rounds were done with the heel weight engaged
  5. Trying to use a ravel cord between the cast on bonnet and the waste yarn / main yarn didn't go so well.
  6. I pegged the yarns together and the peg is now toast. Whoops! I need to source some smaller weights methinks
  7. I used the cast on bonnet and soft weight to get started, but as soon as it's long enough I release the soft weight and use my buckle and weight hanger from my Imperia - it's a lot easier to adjust the weight upwards.
  8. Always check your ribber needle position before you start removing main cylinder needles, and expect to do a test run first. My first attempt ended in a needle chomping because the ribber and main needles clashed, even though they initially looked ok. Also, alignment with no knitting in place is one thing, but you do have to allow for the thickness of the knitting. I've tweaked my ribber stop out by one, hopefully that is better. 
  9. For heels and toes, the 1 up / 1 up (automatic wrap) decrease is just fine. For decreasing, I found 1 up / 2 down was the most successful. 
  10. Because both cylinder and ribber slots are a little looser than on my metal CSM, cranking with no yarn loaded must be done cautiously. If cylinder needles are empty and in hold, cranking should be done with extreme caution - when these needles are fully up, they rotate in their slots and can get jammed in the yarn carrier area.
  11. Above all, crank the first bit of the sock slowly and check each stitch meticulously. The machine cannot be cranked as fast as a metal one anyway, being plastic. 

All that being said, so far it's the most successful of all the 3D printed machines I've seen. The reason I'm testing it now is because I'm due to take it to the annual event at Kegworth, and if it doesn't earn its place in my "stable" of equipment, I'm afraid it will be sold. 

Pictures to follow in the next post - himself is moving around upstairs and will be demanding breakfast imminently!

Current mood: bitchy

Sunday, December 31, 2023

Completed Projects 2023

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The last three shots are things I made for various xmas presents. There were matching necklaces for some of them, but alas I didn't get everything photographed before it was wrapped!