Monthly Archives: June 2007

KM Weekend FO!

Yes, that’s right — I did say that I had “done another one on the
weekend” ๐Ÿ™‚

Green KM Jacket

It’s posted
in my drafty gallery.

For the record — I headed down to the knitting machine around noon on
Saturday, and had it all seamed and trimmed by 2:30pm on Sunday.

This is the original yarn I’d used (Dale Svale) when I first
ventured into making a machine knit sweater
, on my plastic bed Bond
knitting machine.  This time, I did it up on my bulky machine, a
Studio SK890.  It’s pretty much the same pattern (at a very
different gauge) as the first one
I made
, although I did adjust some of the measurements (e.g., this
tapers towards the waist).

I did not consciously remember, though, that I had crowed about the
first effort being a sweater-in-a-weekend!  Ah, well, at least
this time, it turned out reasonably as expected.  My motivation
this time was:  standing in my closet last week, bemoaning my
absolute lack of presentable, lightweight jackets, suitable for fending
off office airconditioning without causing a meltdown while outside in
a Virginia summer.  And I thought “Heh, I have yarn for one! 
And I’m about to be away from my knitting machines for the better part
of a month.  I’d best get cracking.”

So, in some sense, this was an effort to demonstrate that it is
possible to use knitting machines to produce wearable clothes in short
order.  (In fact, it took longer for it to dry from wet-blocking
(>24H) than it did to make the sweater!). 

It was also an important reminder/lesson:  I am not quite ready to
label myself a “process knitter”, but it is the case that the activity
of knitting is what is important to me.  Driving for the end
result — well, a good end result is a fine reward!  But, there
was a certain amount of hyperfocus involved in getting this done
(sewing up seams while having a social drink on the patio; walking
around Sunday morning with the crochet hook and trim work…). 
And when I find myself thinking about how I can expand my wardrobe by
some number of future weekends spent similarly… it starts to feel
like work.

And I really don’t want knitting to be work.

Guess it’ll never be a career, huh? ๐Ÿ˜‰

Interestingly, the row gauge was off on this one, as well.  I got
29.5 rows/4 inches on the actual sweater, as compared to the 26 rows/4
inches I measured off the swatch.  I’m not sure what’s with
that.  I guess I’ll have to make bigger swatches for knitting
machine efforts?


That is, for anyone not up on their “l33tspeak” for knitting:  a
Knitting Machine — Finished Object!

KM Blue Jacket

It’s posted
in my drafty gallery.

Yes, I have had that knitting machine for just about a year.  Yes,
this is the first completed project from that knitting machine — since
swatches don’t count as completed projects :^) .   The two
major challenges have been: 

  • finding chunks of time to sit in front of the machine (since
    machine knitting is not something you can just do for 5 minutes, set
    down, and pick up again a week later, the way you can with hand
    knitting); and
  • finding yarns that are really fine enough to work with the
    standard gauge machine (in this instance, a Brother KH930).

For this sweater, I eventually wound up using 2 different yarns at once
— each one is really thread-like.  You can see them in this
detailed photo:


You can also see the effect I got from knitting the two together — a
bit more stripey than variegated, but still interesting.  You can
also see that, even though I was working with 2 strands together, the
stitches are still NOT BIG AT ALL.  This machine makes a very fine

The edging, of which you can see some detail above, is a crochet trim I
added after assembling the sweater.

WorkBench Inspector
Assembly Inspection

Yes, well, about the cat… See, I know that some cats are attracted to
knitting.  Guiness largely ignores mine, for which I’m thankful
(though she has certainly been known to hunt-and-capture dangling ends
when near-completed items are tried on…).  But, the blocking
sweater was *wet*!  And, she wasn’t anywhere near that room! 
And I wanted more air circulation to speed the drying!  So I left
the door open and wandered off to do something else. I think some
little kitty alarm must have gone off in the house, somewhere, because
as soon as I came back:  wham, plonk in the middle of this drying
sweater, one very pleased-with-herself cat!

A bit more about the sweater/project history… A long time ago, with
a plastic bed (toy) knitting machine and a very different yarn (Dale
I made up the pieces for this jacket.  And
then discovered that plastic (toy) knitting machines are very finicky
about producing anything like even gauge throughout the course of a
Different sweater pieces were wildly different
proportions than the ones they were meant to line up with.

It was, in fact, that experience, that finally drove me to commit to buying
a metal-bed knitting machine

So, there is the sense of completing the circle with this project
—  I had to change the yarn and the machine, but I did manage to
complete it, by gar! 

I decided I had so much fun with that — I made another one, this

Dragon Hide Baby Blanket!

This baby blanket is a finished object from (much ๐Ÿ™‚ ) earlier this


The story is that I started out by thinking of making something
interesting with the knitting machine (and, at the time, I only had the
standard gauge machine — which meant I had to use very fine
yarn).  So, I settled on a mess of Dale Baby Ull yarn in these,
umm, vibrant colours.

Time passed, and the baby for which it was intended became more
imminent.  At some point, it became clear to me that I and my
knitting machine were not going to be in the same place for long enough
for me to do anything (interesting or otherwise) with it for this
project.  So, the question was — what to do with it by hand?

Two key facts drove my pre-design thinking:

  • Baby Ull has a posted gauge of 32 st to 4 inches (hint — that’s
    great for a sock-sized project, but somewhat daunting for a 32″ blanket)
  • The colours are vibrant!

I might have thought of doing something lacy with it, but for the fact
that my imagination was not coming up with anything that didn’t
emphasize the colours to the point of baby-frightening garishness.

So, I let the yarn lounge in my office for a while, hoping that it
would tell me a thing or two about what it wanted to become. 
Presently, the notion of “dragon hide” wafted out of the bag of
yarn.  Dragons are naturallly colourful creatures and the scale
texture could add a lot of interest. 

Which just left me with the small question of how to implement said
scale effect…  My first inclination was to try various shell
effects in crochet, but all I could produce was something akin to angry
granny squares:

Back to knitting… doing intarsia lozenges would have worked, but
would have been fiddly and, I thought, too “flat”.  Not so much
hide of dragon as sock of argyle.    I knew “entrelac”
would produce a basket weave effect. 

Of course, this meant I had to look up how to do entrelac (never having
done it).  And very shortly thereafter, I was educating myself on
how to knit/purl backwards, so as to avoid having to flip the work for
each row of 6 stitches or less.  Cool!  Two new techniques in
one project!

Here is the test piece, in progress:


Essentially — you knit each set of one colour rectangles across a row,
and then fill in the slots with the next colour, coming back the other
way in the next colour.  Each rectangle is knitted as its own
unit, and is attached to the adjoining rectangles (working live
stitches or picking up edges) as you go.  Pretty funky!

This project travelled — it had at least one trip to Europe, and
probably more than one cross-continent trip.  And I wasn’t
entirely sure I was liking the progress as I went:  still too
garish?  I’m not afraid to knit in public.  But I wasn’t sure
I was ready to show anyone this particular project…!

To clinch the dragon motif, I wanted to do the edging in triangles,
like the ridge down a dragon’s back:

No, that is not a logo.

Finally, done, I tried it on my local dragon to see if I thought it had
achieved the desired dragon hide effect:


I’ve posted
in my drafty gallery.