Thursday, October 6

The Amazing Passap Neck

Went to our third Passap meeting last night. The theme was how to do the famous "Passap" neck. I've seen it described in print a few times, but never quite understood how it worked. Being a doofus I don't seem to have brought the beautiful sample home with me in order to photograph it (which means I shall have to have another go at it).

The principle is as follows:

1. Hold the neckline (or edge to apply band to) against the machine and estimate the number of needles required when it is slightly stretched.
2. Put that number of needles into work on both beds (or set up for whatever rib you require - we did FNR or K/K).
3. Cast on and knit the band rows (we knitted 20). *
4. Knit 3 (or an odd number) enclosing rows on the back bed only, ie N/GX
5. Knit the same amount of enclosing rows on the front bed only, ie GX/N
6. Place the item requiring the band, right side uppermost, with the neckline along the needle bed and the rest of the garment draped down the back of the machine
7. Using the single-eye transfer tool, pull each back bed needle through the garment piece JUST ENOUGH to clear the latch
8. Rack the machine slightly so that the front bed needles are almost opposite the back bed needles
9. Using the double-ended bodkin, place each front bed needle onto the corresponding back bed needle, and pull the needle fully out this time.
10. Fiddly bit: Draw lots of yarn through the feeder and anchor it somewhere to stop it springing back.
11. Working from one end, lay this yarn into each latch hook and close the latch on it (pull the back bed needles downwards to just close latch).
12. When done, the yarn should slide freely along the length of the knitting. Hang the right hand end over the racking handle so it can slide freely
13. Using a spacer (someone brought a spacer that was a 13mm wide strip of plastic), and working from the left hand end, knit each back bed needle back so as to hit the spacer.
14. This now encloses the garment edge between the rows knitted in (4) and (5).
15. You can now open the beds and drop the garment down between them
16. Cast off loosely.

*If you've done a needle out rib eg 1x1 now is a good time to bring those empty needles into work and knit two extra rows FNR or K/K

You can change the amount of rows used in 4 and 5, as long as it is an odd number. P recommended 5 rows for a cut and sew edge, and 3 for a shaped edge. The finished result is very neat and the cast off edge is on the inside of the garment.

This kind of band is very useful for cut and sew garments, which is especially good for Passap machines as there is no holding position as such (just slip) and for complex double-bed patterns, slipping stitches is awkward, slow and prone to error. Far quicker to knit two backs and deal with the neck later. You can also use this to edge other things e.g. P had done one of Norman Whitfield's pillowghans (a pillow stuffed with a baby blanket that is attached to it). She also brought some lovely tops and some handknitted dresses where she'd applied a scalloped edge with this method.

There is no reason you couldn't do this on a Japanese machine, either. It's time-consuming and a bit fiddly, but the result is worth it.

I had a lovely meeting and now I can see what the books are talking about. After that, we had refreshments and got to have a look through a lot of Passap-specific books and patterns that someone had donated. I finally got a copy of Passap Model book 3, can you believe it? Been on the lookout for that one for forever.

Nightmare drive back home, though - they'd decided to close the M5 at junction 1 (and I'm not sure where the diversion was supposed to go, but I didn't fancy an extra 20 miles in the wrong direction) so I drove through Handsworth and got back on the motorway at Spaghetti. Then we came to a complete stop (both sides of the M6) at J2 for pedestrians (!) on the carriageway - I should point out it was dark and raining. Nothing to see when we got going again, no idea what that was all about. Took me an hour and fifteen minutes to get home - himself was trying to decide if he'd time for another beer as I was picking him and his brother up from a German night at the pub, and had texted me whilst I was driving - duh, not checking texts whilst I drive 'cause 9 times out of 10 it's Facebook! I had my hands-free kit on, but there's no way I'm checking texts at 70mph on a dark and wet motorway.

Not getting much machine knitting done at the moment, because I'd need to actually be at home for that - I did find a bit of time to get my Brother KH260 chunky set up and pack the midgauge away, but that's as far as I got on Sunday. I have a bit of time Saturday afternoon I hope. Tonight I'm planning on going to the Manor House machine knitter's meeting in Leicester.

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