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Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Punch lace revisited

A while ago I wrote about various applications for the Punch Lace setting on the Singer/Studio/Knitmaster/Silver Reed machines (Thread Lace on Brother machines). I like the textures I can knit using this setting.
Now my previous post reproduced a chart explaining the relationship between the holes on punchcards and knitting on the various settings on those 24 stitch repeat punchcard machines. Just one problem - no mention of Punch Lace! So here is the key to add in,
Punch Lace:  Punched hole; Needle knits yarn in thread mouth B. Unpunched; Needle knits yarn in thread mouths A & B.
I like the non-lacy applications of the Punch Lace setting, and I like projects where I can set up, then just knit to and fro without worrying about edge stability or anything else that might need intervention.  So to have a selvedge of stitches knitted with both yarns in a punch lace project, I need blank columns on the punchcard. Here's one I punched out last week.


 Card 1, with the centre 2 columns left blank.

It is possible to blank out the unwanted holes with sticky tape if you prefer to adapt a standard Card 1.

Project on the machine, showing textural stripes where the blank columns govern the knit.



Wrapped around Janet, showing the translucent fabric with textured stripes.

After knitting the fabric was washed vigorously, tumbled dried, then steam blocked. This was the finishing process to release the fibres from the spinning oils, and to full the Alpaca slightly. Any later laundering will be a much gentler process.

Detail showing the 2/60 Alpaca/silk (Yarn Mouth B) side of the fabric


Detail showing the 2/28 Alpaca (Yarn Mouth A) side of the fabric

More detail can be found in my Ravelry project notes

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Read the card, choose your own texture


Some time ago I found an insignificant looking piece of paper and got so excited that I reproduced it and passed it around to any machine knitting friends nearby. No one shared my enthusiasm, but I'll put it here. This chart refers to the Silver Reed  (Studio/Singer/Knitmaster)  24 stitch punchcard machines. I think it is accurate for the Brother punchcard machines as well.





Below are some photos illustrating just one way of using a favourite card, Singer/Studio/Knitmaster Card 4, using tuck stitch and needle selection to make a fabric with sections of different textures, and as a bonus, an automatic wavy edge.




Each needle is controlled by just one column on the card, so with reference to the chart, you can see that there is a 4 stitch pattern repeat, with two needles knitting every row, and two needles alternately knitting and tucking. If you take the needles that knit all the time out of work, you will get an all over  tuck pattern. If you remove from work the needles that tuck, you will get stocking stitch. Study the markings on your needle bed and you will be able to work out which needles are tucking and which are knitting. If you alternate between a few needles tucking and a few needles knitting, you will get nicely contrasting textures in either lacy or solid knit, depending on your yarn and tension.

 Hints
  1.  It helps to start by identifying what the middle 2 needles are doing, then work outwards from there.
  2.  Selecting needles that knit for the edges makes for neat edges.






Friday, 1 April 2016

Swag Blanket Mk2

I've been pleased with my large blankets, useful as outer garments and for many household and travelling purposes. However, although simple, the knitting process was not quite as simple as I would like. Knitting neat edges was not an automatic process. To overcome this I modified Singer/Studio/Knitmaster Card 7 so that I could position two columns of knit stitches on each edge. Of course this meant that two columns in every 24 do not tuck, adding an interesting textural stripe to the fabric. The occasional seersucker type stripe effect is best seen in this project knitted by Marlene.



The seersucker effect comes about because the dominant tuck stitch makes the piece shorter and wider than a plain stocking stitch piece with the same number of stitches and rows. The stitches in the columns where all stitches are knitted are longer than the tuck patterned stitches so they pucker.

This is a modified Singer/Studio/Knitmaster Card 7




The middle two columns are punched out so that the corresponding needles will knit every row. To get a neat selvedge, position the edge where there are columns of knit stitches.



Here is the latest of my enormous, but lightweight blankets, pegged out on the rotary clothes line to show the area and the textured stripes.


This is a simple knitting process. Marlene's project was her first ever on a standard gauge punchcard machine. Some lovely yarn and a simple project made for a happy first experience.
I like the texture so much I will make another modified Card 7 with punched out columns on the edges as well as the center of the card. 

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Circling the Square



Short rows can make knitting endlessly interesting
As part of our machine knitting summer school for new knitters we played with short rows to make different shapes. I began thinking about triangles and squares. I think of what we knitted  as being made up of four sections.


Section 1 is start with two stitches and increase one stitch at the right end every two rows
Section 2 is put one stitch at right into hold every two rows until only one stitch is in work.
Section 3 is bring one stitch from hold back into work every two rows,
Section 4 is cast off one stitch at right very two rows.



I can knit a square by knitting section 1 then (2 and 3) three times then section 4. It looks like this


I can also insert plain rows between any of the sections. 


If I start by casting on the full width of stitches and then begin with Section 2 and also insert plain rows each time that I get back to having all the stitches in work it looks like this:



I could cast on with waste yarn and then at the graft the final stitches for an invisible join.  
This could become a skirt,. It could also be the basis of the yoke of a jumper with more rows inserted in two of the sections for the front and back and fewer rows for the sleeve sections.

One of  of the new machine knitters, Maree, made another variation by knitting three segments, with some plain rows in the middle.




When I looked at the shape again I realised that I had previously knitted a cardigan using Sections 2 and 3 twice at the bottom to give a slightly flared hip.  
Details are in my Ravelry projects.
here  and here

These circular knitted pieces can be pulled into a square, or can be used to make other interesting shapes. Since knitting stitches are longer than they are wide there are many different effects depending on how you drape the knitting and how loose the tension is.

Thursday, 31 December 2015

What size a shawl?

On a recent trip to New Zealand, with a travelling wardrobe constrained by the packing limitations of international air travel, my Swag Blanket was used most days. We were not camping, but even so it was usually more comfortable to replace or supplement the supplied bedding with my own, super lightweight, natural fibre blanket.  A couple of times it came out walking in the evening, tossed over my summer clothes, warding off the evening chill.

I was resigned to feeling a little eccentric  until I saw a C19th Paisley Shawl displayed in the excellent Toitu -Otago Settler Museum in Dunedin . The early Scottish settlers had shawls the size of bedspreads. I'm sure such a shawl would do double duty as garment and bedding. I have a couple of phone snaps through glass. I hope they are good enough to give you an idea.



There it is, folded double, with some furniture for scale.

Some detail of the pattern

I like this complex, subtly coloured design. Whether the subdued colour is original or the result of more than a century's worth of fading I am not sure.

I take away from this encouragement to turn my excessive quantity of fine, luxury yarns into very large shawls.