Tuesday, February 23

Supersize cables revisited

An anonymous reader commented that they couldn't get this technique to work - and I realised I'd never tried it myself and that I'd made no mention of tension. Knowing Bill King via his monthly techniques in MKM, I suspect he probably uses 3ply or industrial yarn, and possibly has the ribber on a loose tension, and possibly all of it on a looser tension than you'd normally use.

The principle is that for a 5x5 cable, you first cross 5 and 3 stitches, knit two rows, and then continue the cross with the same 5 and the remaining 2 stitches. Thus you create a 5x5 cable, but in two seperate crosses.

So anyway, I tried it, and I agree with anonymous - as written it's very hard to do. I did manage it in some 4ply, but I don't really like the "hole" you get in the middle of the cross. 


My preferred method for supersize cables is to manually knit the cable stitches with an end of yarn, making larger loops, and then do the cable cross. Yeah, I demoed "magic fairisle" above it.


Some hats and a scarf I made to use up some poodle yarn. Very ho-hum.


I'm still struggling with DAK and have emailed Softbyte - the SK840 won't do fairisle either (though it seems happy to jam!) so I suspect there's an issue with the drivers. As the last machine I used it successfully with was the Passap, I suspect perhaps I need to tell it I've switched drivers before telling it again in DAK. Hopeful I get some clarity, being spoilt with three flavours of electronic machines! 

And just for fun - this is my cat, thinking he can't be seen. Plonker!


Current mood: apathetic

Sunday, February 21


I do wonder how come I ever got this far with machine knittting. I mean, I've been doing this on and off for 21 years and yet it still blindsides me from time to time. I fished out a lost tool from the Brother KH950i and then put it away on Saturday, with big plans to start swatching a lace tunic with the SK840. The Silver handles lace differently to the Brother - it uses a one-action lace carriage, as opposed to a knitting carriage and lace carriage used together, so in theory it should be quicker. I picked up the SK840 as a bundle with ribber, lace carriage and colour changer from a local lady who was giving up due to ill health. You would assume that they worked together. Indeed, I know I've swatched lace with the lace carriage (LC560) because I even got it tuned to fit the bed by Andeeknits. One thing I failed to notice is, it doesn't trip the mechanical row counter - and there's a later 580 carriage that presumably does. It's more than £400, so I'm a bit dischuffed. That, and I cannot get DAK to make it do lace - the pattern appears to advance ok, but no lace is happening. Alas I sold my PC10 and EC1 on, so I don't even have a fallback position. After a frustrating hour of nothing happening, I gave up. Our tv finally started cutting out every ten minutes (it's over 10 years old and has been getting worse for a while), so Saturday afternoon turned into a "play silly beggars with a badly-coded website and go pick up a new TV". The Cog was far more excited than I over it, and immediately complained he wished he'd bought the next size up when we got home! Sheesh! 43" is enough and certainly much better than peering at a spare computer monitor. 

It shows how much I've progressed recently with the Passap, as I ended up casting on a simple 2x2 scarf on it, which will be 100% successful even if it IS 800 rows of tedium. 

I've had some useful responses on Ravelry - apparently this is a flaw of DAK, one must program a "piece" even if swatching, and then delete any transfers that fall on the end stitches. Annoying when I'm only at the swatching stage. But the row counter is more tricky - one needs to know where one is when knitting, because there are often interruptions from telephones and well-meaning partners to contend with. I am rather stumped as to know how to proceed! 

Current mood: annoyed

Thursday, February 18

Not waving, just sleeping

Work has become very busy, so crafting has dropped by the wayside a little. Couple that with himself rarely leaving the knitting room cum office until gone 7pm, and my falling asleep on the sofa fairly regularly. The pandemic effect: as everyone goes online shopping, companies are scrambling to automate. Not complaining, at least I have a job, but it's been tiring! 

That said, I have knitted all the parts for a fairly plain charcoal grey cardigan - I started sewing it up last night with black acrylic. The bands took time - I did some bands from one of the MAO books which are a combination of stocking stitch rolls with a bit of 2x1 ribbing. I may have miscalculated - the sleeve I have sewn up seems snug and a little short. I calculated it in Knitware using a standard chest size and not my own measurements, whoops. Pictures when it's done. 

Motivation is a bit lacking at the moment. I have loaned my "workshop" machine to a friend and swapped it with one she's totally jammed - I am not sure how to proceed, I suspect the bed needs to come apart. Not something I've done before!

I also want to put my KH950i away after some maintenance, and get the SK840 out for another project. Knitting items out of "ugh" yarn for others has lost its appeal lately. I finished up a black chenille jumper and I didn't even try it on (unheard of!). Luckily, a good friend has sent me a large bag of coned 3plys, for playing about on the Passap. I just need to find the time! 

It's kind of scary how easily we have become used to being in lockdown, and how very little interaction I get with others outside of work. I am also reading up on menopause - forwarned is forarmed - after being sparked to listen to my first ever podcast, "On my last eggs", and via that to "Dun Breedin'", a very fun mini sitcom on Youtube that I do hope they get commissioned into a full series at some point... So good I might even watch it a second time!

Current mood: exhausted

Friday, February 5

Passap Errata

This is a copy of an errata list we started on Yahoo and eventually published on the big Passap group on Ravelry. I think it's worth sharing it more widely, because it's very annoying to knit something and not have it come out as expected, and not everyone's in Ravelry. With thanks to all the guys on Ravelry who contributed, and to Pat Groves for her advice and comments. If anyone has any more, please add them in the comments and I'll update this post. 

E6000 instruction manual

Page 41: Right diagram: "turned to the right" should read "colours reversed"

Page 70: 2nd display "IN PATT. AT R 0" is not in the program. Disregard it and the response

Page 139: KT106 - manual indicates EX/KX - you can actually use EX/LX or EX/N as fb pushers stay in work all the time. 

Page 149: K153 - manual indicates 2R N/KX, 4R GX/KX while the console does 4R N/KX, 2R GX/KX

Page 153: KT170 - Reverse colours, some chips only. This KT seems to colour reverse the pattern on some machines

Page 156: KT181 - pushers on bb should all be in rest position to start, but to seal the edges of the knitting, bring up the first and last pusher on the bb to working position

Page 159: KT192 - says it cannot be used in combination with another pattern but it's shown on page 64

Page 160: KT193 - says it cannot be combined with a stitch pattern but it is shown on several pages eg page 63 1300/193

Pg 172: KTs 252 and 253 both say pintuck controlled by black squares. It appears that KT252 is controlled by the white squares

Page 178: KT272 - Do not leave in transfer position to knit

Note: Most of the KTs that say that they can't be used with a pattern really can be. There are some that create their own material (156 comes to mind), but KTs like 100 etc can be used with patterns (eg KT 100 for slip stitch, in combination with LX and KX and some of the other settings). The trick is to know how the pushers are being driven and how the lock setting handles the pusher settings.

E6000 stitch pattern book

Page 10: 1014/129 should rea 1014/130

Page 10 and 11: Braids need needles L4 and R3

Page 16: 1005/132 is sts 3:1 should be 1006/13 (as picked is 5:1)

Page 21: 1062/137 2/2 col is right half and 4/4 is left half

Page 26: 1066/149 not possible with cast on 1

Page 26: 1070/149 "

Page 26: 1069/149 "

Page 33: 1128/167 should have * enlarge Rs x 2

Page 33: 169 should be 1000/169

Page 33: 1072/529* instead of 537

Page 47: 1257/180 should have * placed with 12 rows distance

Page 47: 1135/180 wrong picture (with older chips is OK)

Page 64: 1256/192 KT 192 can't be combined with a pattern; try KT 193 or 194

Page 82: 1298/188 Stem is missing

Page 89: 1363 and 1363/197 - not as pictured

Page 95: 1016 change direction from E facing right to E on its back. Add 1364/198*

Page 110: 1363/252 should be 1363/253

Page 118: 1104/259 should be 1103/259*

Page 119: 254 is a racking pattern. If you want to knit as illustrated, do not rack.

Note: Tuck stitch techs are normally shown as 3 digits starting with 1. In the stitch pattern book and model books you may sometimes find that they begin with a 5. Adding 400 signifies that the tech is no longer using all the needles (see instructions, page 143). After the first empty row, bring pushers in rest and their corresponding needles out of work. 

The above rule also works for any of the ribbing patterns - let the machine tell you which needles it wants to knit on during the two SX rows. If you ignore it, it won't knit properly. 

Monday, February 1

Musings on creativity

Well, February starts as January left off - grey, freezing, often wet, very muddy underfoot. Saturday brought  sleet / rain, a good excuse to get all outside errands done quickly, and get back inside the warm. Highlight of the day was a treat to myself from Christmas money, a new smartphone (Google Pixel 4a). Though I'll miss my Nexus 4, it's getting quite slow now and hasn't been supported / updated for some years. Mine's actually got a small  crack across the corner of the screen, I don't remember when it happened but it still works. Undecided whether to keep it as a mini tablet or to recycle it. It can't go anywhere just yet though, I've the tedious task of transferring all my passwords to a new app as the old app seems to be unsupported. 

I've been pondering my lack of energy to start a new project lately, and have come to the conclusion that whilst it's all very well knitting from unloved stash and making items for others, after a while the need for personal gratification from knitting something nice for oneself becomes more pressing. I mean, I've machine-knitted all the parts for a black chenille jumper, and can't bring myself to sew it up - that's not like me! I've resolved to knit any further jumpers like that by knitting the sleeves downwards on the machine, thus neatly avoiding the dreaded setting-in bit. So on Saturday I knitted up some black poodle yarn, into a simple scarf and two slightly oversized hats - another cone down! Then I doodled about on the passap. Sunday I made a start on a cardigan for myself - a lovely charcoal yarn with multi-coloured slubs. I only hope there's enough yarn - I seem to recall I originally knitted some of it into part of a skirt, which I couldn't then unpick (it may have been thrown away). It may end up having short sleeves, if so. We shall see. 


The more I play with the passap, the more fun I have with it. Here's a selection of recent swatches. The larger red and white one in the middle has a solid red background, and the smaller one on the left has a vertically striped background. The rather plain peach one on the left is interlock, the one on the far right is a slip stitch pattern which would make a cosy jacket, and on the top left I even had a go at a four colour pattern from the book. 

I've had some ups and downs lately - as reported previously, a close colleague is leaving us in a few weeks, and another is moving away, the advantage of continued WFH meaning geographical proximity isn't a big deal anymore. I've had days when all I can do after work and dinner is flop in front of the tv, where I feel like all we're doing is waiting for death (how overly dramatic!). But I keep on, because I must. Better times will come, I'm sure, and for now I mustn't lose hope. The signs of spring are all around, despite the freezing temperatures. 

Current mood: awake

Sunday, January 31

The Passap knitting machine - further reading part 3

These have been kindly provided by etrnlife on Ravelry - these are some Passap publications I don't have so she kindly reviewed them for me. 



Basic Course For The Passap Knitting Machine, A van der Merwe, 1984, 116 pages

(Her copy was well worn when she got it and the cover is missing.)

A complete resource! Detailed information on how the machine works and everything else. Includes single and double bed knitting, the transfer locks, intarsia, understanding the shaping notations/symbols in the model books, and detailed information for shaping necklines with or without the Deco in use.


Casting on and Binding off, G Bengelsdorf, 1992, 26 pages

As the name implies, the book contains various methods for casting and binding off. Includes the basics, figure 8 bind off, chaining in rib, methods done away from the machine, binding off 3 & 4 color Jaquard, and making the cast on and bind off match.


Charting for the Passap, Sylvia K. Jones, 1987, 23 pages, appears to be self published in a report cover w/plastic slip on spine.

This book seems more about doing the work of the Form Computer for those who do not have one. You are taking an existing pattern, from your choice of source, and adapting your gauge to it. There is no information for measuring your body or adjusting the pattern shape to your needs. Using a calculator to do the math is explained, calculating the pattern schematic curves/slopes to your gauge is included. There are helpful tips on understanding how to count sts from your swatch and how to increase/decrease when doing double bed patterning.

deco part 2 erka

The Passap handbook - Deco, B A Erkovitch, 1988, 106 pages. 

Includes a review of the pusher system without the Deco, inner workings of the Deco, and how to use it. there rest of the book is a study format with several lessons pertaining to each stitch type. Deco card #77 is used in the picture examples of each lesson, but Card #19 from the basic pack is suggested as an alternative. The anatomy of the stitch section for each lesson is wonderful in understanding what the machine is doing. Understanding the stitches can help you to go beyond this book. Helpful information is included on 4 color knitting, single motif placement, and the transfer lock.


Duomatic Doodles, Diane Gerard, 1986, 49 pages

Looks to be self published. My copy is signed and is printed on home computer paper. The cover is a simple 3 prong folder.

This book has many hints and tips. This book is technical with no patterns. It discusses the usual how to use the machine and includes transfer methods, increase/decrease methods, necklines/bands, cast off methods, reading and understanding diagrams, calculating your own patterns and more.


Duomatic knitting, M Weaver, 1986, 175 pages. 

This book has more patterns and information related to garment construction. There are several patterns and Deco card designs. Information includes longstitch, intarsia, jacquard, use of cast on comb and weights. The patterns include men, women, and children.


Primer for the Passap, Sylvia K. Jones, 1986, no page #s, appears to be self published in a report cover w/plastic slip on spine.

This is a collection of garment hint and tips. Information covers hems, casings, knit in edges for arm holes and necklines, short row uses for curved hems/bust darts/sideways knitting, and intarsia. Patterns include Sleeveless vest with knit in trim, sideways and panel skirts, and cabled intarsia sweater.


The Passap Duomatic, M Weaver, 1976, 262 pages. 

This book contains a few patterns and loads of detailed help on many topics. Topics discussed are the basics like casting on and stitches, types of yarns, the transfer lock, seaming, cut and sew, button holes, trimmings, etc.


Passap U80, K Fay, 1983, 38 pages

Wonderful Resource for all transfer locks, including the U100(E). This book explains more than the manual and includes five sweater patterns. Three patterns are for ladies, including a Catherine’s Wheel lace pattern, and two patterns are for men.

Previously posted: part 1 and part 2

Saturday, January 23

Up and down and up again...

It's been an up and down week. Things have been pretty busy at work, but still with the uneven loading - quiet start and then too much by the end of the week. Luckily the CAD team are well-practiced in balancing workload, and learning that NO is a full sentence sometimes. There's a planning method which they ignore at their leisure. A close colleague resigned on Wednesday, which was completely unexpected. Before covid meant my desk was moved, I sat next to him. I'll miss his sunny outlook and his willingness to help anyone, even if it wasn't his area. I'm sure he'll go far! I think the thing that's tweaking me the most, apart from sadness, is not being able to say goodbye in person, though we're doing the best we can with the technology that's available. Talking of which, I've a streamed funeral to attend on Monday, another first for me. Gutted I can't be there in person, because there's a lot of family on that side that I've lost touch with (a family schism, I won't bore you with the details) and sadly, it's only events like this that we ever get together. Hoping perhaps there'll be a memorial of some sort when this is all over. 

The Cog and I have managed a few rambles lately, in between the rain showers. The footpaths are awash with people, so a ramble means getting a bit more space and a LOT more mud. Friends post pictures of their snowy streets online - looks like we might have had 1cm of snow overnight, but nothing more! My inner child is desperate for some snow - this winter we could enjoy it as big kids whilst we continue to work from home, without the worry of having to drive in it. Alas it seems it is not to be!

Knitting has slowed to a crawl this week. I'm at the crown decreases on another ribbed hat, and I've machine-knit the front and back and one sleeve of a jumper in black chenille 4ply (the last needing to be cast off). I'm not feeling the love for this yarn - I gained it in a destash at the Leicestershire MK club. Knitting black in the winter is hard enough as it is, and this yarn doesn't look great after a wash either. But I persist, because it's one of the full cones I identified last year with at least a sweater's worth of yarn on it, which will benefit someone if I knit it up. Maybe that's the issue - knitting things for others from stash is all very well, but if you don't love what you're doing, or like the yarn, it's somehow less urgent! I plan to knit the Cog a sweater after this and am trying to stop myself starting that before finishing the other. 


That being said, I did knit these mittens last weekend, from a Gerda Stitt pattern that is hosted in perpetuity on my Machine Knitter's Treasure Chest website. The thumb and finger sections could use a few more rows, and I halved the cuffs because I wasn't sure I'd have enough yarn otherwise, but otherwise they were knitted with no modifications. This is Yeoman's Cashmilon, a 100% acrylic yarn, and they are a lovely shade of purple in reality, the flash has washed the colour out a bit. Yes, I think my "hat phase" is over... I think I might be turning towards scarves and blankets for a bit. 

Not much else to report, really. We're staying indoors as much as possible asides from a brisk daily walk if the weather's being kind, and I'm still avoiding the nightly TV news, as it's just too depressing and paranoia-inducing. My sleep's been a bit crap lately, but we've got into the habit of doing 20 minutes on the exercise bike most mornings before work. Oh well - one positive this week, a real politician is back in charge in the US. This weekend I plan to play with knitting machines and clear out the garage. The former will be reward for the latter.  

Stay warm, stay safe, and mask up! :)

Current mood: indescribable