Monday, February 24, 2014

Little bits

Still working through various techniques and patterns with the knitting machines -- this time -- socks.  Well, let's be honest -- sock -- singular.  The pattern is by Ruth Rogers, Single-Bed Machine Knit Socks.  For the non-machine knitters out there -- single bed means no automatic ribbing, or in the round knitting capabilities.  In other words, the sock is knit flat, then seamed.

The seam technique I used is a new one (to me) -- the Bickford seam.  This is a totally flat seam, so I hope it will feel OK when worn.  I don't think it is totally invisible though -- or perhaps I need more practice?  At any rate, it will do for everyday wear for me, although I think that any future gift socks will still be hand knit.  And here is Sock, part 1:

   I'll definitely be making the second one, but it may have to wait just a bit for a spring project.  I did the top ribbing by hand, for a seamless finish, and used an extra stretchy bind off.
Another quick little project was a double layered hat from the book "Mid-Gauge Basics + Much More" by Charlene Shafer.  I think it turned out nice, and took little more than an hour (including seaming it up), which was good, considering the Mister needed a quick replacement for a hand knit cap.

Sometimes speed is a Good Thing! 

Monday, February 17, 2014

And continuing on...

More machine knit sweater goodness, this time an exploration of patterning using the punch card capability of the Silver Reed SK-280.

I used two cones of fingering weight (2/9) Shetland wool from Gardiner of Selkirk, Ltd.  This was a closeout from Webs, many moons ago.  I don't remember the price now, but it was a great bargain.  However, it sat in the stash -- mostly because it wasn't pleasant to hand knit, and it that point I didn't have a machine that would handle that weight of yarn.  Fast forward -- now I do!

The body of the sweater is plain stockinette, the ribbings are hand knit, and the sleeves are knit in a fair isle checkerboard design.  It was my intention to shape all pieces, except the neckline, with full fashioned increases.  However when I started my first sleeve, I saw that the floats from the fair isle pattern, plus the increases gave the edges of the sleeve a somewhat ragged look.  This may be inherent in the type of pattern I was doing, or due to inexperience on my part, but it was not satisfactory.  So, I did a few calculations, and knit up two separate pieces of patterned yardage for the sleeves.  Here you can see the yardage with a pattern drawn on freezer paper and lightly ironed onto the fabric: 
This method does waste a bit of fabric, but as you can see, not too much --

After cutting the side edges of the sleeves (top and bottom of sleeve were left on waste yarn), I ran it through the serger to finish off the edges -- scary, but it seems to have worked just fine.
And here it is all nicely finished --

The patterning on the sleeve portion worked out at a different gauge from the plain body portion -- I believe that is typical for fair isle.  A little more math let me work out separate patterns for the sleeves, and I made it easy on myself by selecting simple drop shouldered shaping. 
All in all, a simple project that turned out to the wearer's satisfaction.  And that is always a good result!