Sunday, March 4, 2018

Charity Knitting

Here are some service projects that you may want to support, to use your leftover yarn and deplete your stash.

In your neighborhood - contact the organization directly to find out if they accept donations, and if there are any restrictions:

  • Local nursing homes, hospice,  and rehab facilities frequently accept donations of prayer shawls, afghans and lap robes.
  • Hospitals may have need for newborn hats, preemie and regular. 
  • Hospitals may have a program for supplying mothers who are without family support with layettes.
  • Schools may need extra hats, gloves, and scarves for students who come to school not prepared for the weather.
  • Churches or social service agencies may collect hats, gloves, scarves and socks for homeless or indigent neighbors. 
  • Charitable knitting clubs at churches or guilds may accept your donation to support their mission (and may ask you to join them).  They may also accept direct donations of your unused stash.  
  • Local knitting clubs may plan "yarn bombings" to promote knitting.  I have never participated in one of these but it seems like it would be a really fun activity.  Although some may take the view that it wastes resources that could be used to warm someone up.  
Wider area: 
Political activism: 
  • March for our Lives - responding to Florida mass shooting, deadline coming soon! 
  • Pussyhat Project -  I don't think I need to explain this, as it has been widely distributed in media.  But people are still donning them to show their support for women's issues!
  • Yarn Mission - combating racism 
Promotion of Knitting (and crochet) 
  • Knit in Public Day  - promotes knitting by encouraging knitters to get out
  • TNNA Foundation - teaching division of the organization that promotes needle arts for the industry

As always, check out any organization that you plan to contribute to, just to make sure that the the organization's administration is actually following through with their mission.  One source of that information is Charity Watch.  Listing these organizations on my page does not signify my endorsement or that I have personally checked them out.  

I have been working on a chart to pull together information from a lot of different sources that highlights the recommended tension setting for each weight of yarn on the various machines. 
Here is what I have put together so far.  I don't have a fine-gauge machine to test various yarns on it, and haven't found any information so far.  I would welcome your comments to improve this.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Left wheel on KH-230

I've just finished handknitting Berroco's Left wheel sweater, using Plymouth Yarn's Encore Colorspun chunky.  See yesterday's post for details about that project.

By the way, I discovered a typographical error in the pattern.  On right front, where it says to inc 1 at beg of next RS row I believe this should be on WS row.

Now I plan to make a similar sweater using the same type of yarn, but in a different colorway, on the machine.  It will require some conversions.

The first decision is which machine to use.  Because the yarn is "chunky" it narrows it down to one of the bulky machines.  There is ribbing on the project, and although I haven't decided for sure how to adapt the pattern,since there aren't enough needles to do a traditional 1x1 full pitch ribbing. I could change to half pitch and knit 4 stitches of ribbing for every 3 stitches in the body, as the instructions are written, or i could do a totally different edging.  Only one of my machines currently has a ribber on it, and that is the KH-230.  The lack of automatic patterning on this model is not a problem if I do ribbing, since the majority of the garment is knitted in stockinette.  If I want to change this to tuck stitch, I would want to dig the KR-260 rubber out of the closet, so I can use the KH-260's punchcard.

But, first, this is a very bulky yarn.  Will I be able to knit it at the pattern gauge? 

The answer is YES! I won't bore you with how long it took me to re-acquaint myself with this older machine and get the tension swatch completed.. (Only two false starts...)

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Completed baby socks, and fitting a plus-size woman's sweater.

Sewn and blocked, and gave to a mutual friend who works near me and lives near the baby's mom.  Can't wait to hear if she likes them!

Meanwhile, I have only two rows and a bind-off to complete on my hand-knitted  "Left-wheel" sweater Pattern.  See the link for a photo of the original design by Berroco Design Team.  I've been working on it as much as possible since the day after Christmas. 

I couldn't wait to try it on, so here us a sneak peek.  Notice the circular needle still in the right front band!  Photo credit: my wonderful husband.

My intention is to make this same sweater (with a few minor fitting changes) in the same yarn, with a different colorway.  Notice how slim the model in the photo is, she is not built like me at all!  The design sizes up, but doesn't really accommodate my roundness.

 This sweater took 8 balls of Plymouth Encore Chunky Colorspun, which does not seem to be widely available any more.  I've purchased a few more balls on eBay to make sure I have enough to complete the project.  The back took exactly two balls,  each side front took exactly one ball, the sleeves each took just barely over a ball.  Really, less than a yard of the new ball was needed to complete the sleeves, and less than a yard was left on each of the front sides. The bands took another two complete balls. I am holding what is left of the skein, and I still have two rows to knit and to complete the bind-off.

For this version, I added a few rows of short-row shaping to the center of the  upper back to accommodate my round back. I knitted two-thirds of the way across the row, wrapped the next stitch, then knitted back, wrapping and reversing again when I reached the first third, then knitting across the rest of the row.  I did this maneuver twice, then a shorter one closer to the neck edge. This will also keep my neck from getting cold.  On the right front I added a short-row "godet" from the bottom to the point of the bust, to give me a little more room in the hip.  Otherwise I knit as directed for the largest size in the pattern.  Using the specified needle size, this yarn knitted up to the exact stitch and row gauge called for in the pattern.

For my revised machine-knit version, I want to make the entire garment just a few stitches larger around, especially the sleeves.  Instead of color-blocking the entire piece, I will mix up the various colors within the pieces.  I will add an inch to the length.  I also plan to keep the short-row revisions already included, and I will add some short rows on the upper left front to avoid the visual distraction of the stripes running uphill over my chest, and allow for a better fit.  Instead of knitting the bands separately, I am currently deciding on beginning with a hem.  Maybe by the time I finish, I won't really be knitting "Left Wheel" any more!  I haven't knitted the gauge swatch yet on the machine, so it will be interesting to see if I can hit the gauge exactly on the machine.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Baby socks!

In my last post I was trying to decide the best/easiest approach to making the stretchy bind-off for a pair of baby socks.  

I decided to use Diana Sullivan's half-pitch method.   I am happy with the result!

Since the baby is a toddler, the small child-size socks in Eileen Montgomery's basic sock pattern were a little too long.

  For this version, I cast on 23 (versus the original 25) stitches in waste yarn.  The waste yarn is bright green in the photos below.  Then I knitted one row of ravel cord, lime green in the photo.  Then I knitted one row, before proceeding to the short-rowed heel, the sole of the foot, and continuing with the toe. 

I modified Eileen's method a little, by hanging a loop on one side every other row, using the sew-as-you go technique, as I knitted the 25 rows for the instep.  This means that I will have one less seam to sew up at the end. Once the instep was complete, I hung the open stitches from the beginning on the adjoining 23 needles, reversing the side from the first sock, so that the seams on both socks will both be on the opposite side of the leg.   I added a couple of plain rows on this sock (purple) before beginning the ribbing,  to force the stripes of the ribbing to begin on the same color as the first sock.

I knitted 36 rows of ribbing on the first sock, but on the second I was more concerned with making sure the last couple of rows were dark blue, so that the socks would match.  I stopped at 35 rows on the second sock. No one is going to count the rows of knitting, but the visual impact of a different edge color would be very noticeable.   I used the half pitch method to knit the last row.  I thought my machine would jam as it knitted very hard with all the extra yarn winding around the extra needles on that row.  Probably that means my ribber needs an adjustment, as I noticed Diana's  machine in her video did not make the awful noise that mine did.  

I bound off using the loop through the loop method that Diana suggested.  As you can see in the photo below, the completed bind-off stretches to nearly double the normal width.

As it is late here, I have decided to sew the seams tomorrow morning when I am fresh.

The sock on the left has the ravel cord and waste yarn removed, and a few loose ends to weave in.  Since there is only one row of ravel cord, it can easily be pulled out, completely separating the waste yarn from the body of the knitting.  I started sewing the seam on this sock.  Due to the random nature of the yarn striping, the stripes do not match exactly.  If I were to force the stripes to meet, the seam would be lumpy.  The sock on the right still has waste yarn and ravel cord in place, and the seam is completely open. 

I am loving the happy colors of this yarn.  I bought it at a LYS (local yarn store) for half off.  It was a lonesome 50 gram ball, the last one in this colorway.  An adult sock normally takes an entire 50 gram ball for one sock, but I was able to get three toddler socks from one ball.  Had I not had to re-knit a couple of times to downsize the sock and fix a mistake in the sew-as-you-go seam, possibly I could have gotten four, but perhaps not, due to color matching. 

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Stretchy rib bind-off

Researching several methods of stretchy rib bind-offs.

1.  Jenny's surprisingly stretchy bind off. 

To execute this bind off, I think the best way is to transfer all the ribber needles to the main bed, then take the stitches off on a circular needle and knit the bind-off by hand.

2. Figure 8 stretchy bind-off  (Diana Sullivan demonstrates on You-Tube)

This bind off also requires transferring all the stitches to the main bed first.  Each stitch is basically manipulated twice.  For a baby sock, this is not terribly large number of stitches. 

3. Bind off in ribbing around the gate pegs (The Answer Lady demonstrates on You-Tube)

This is not quite as stretchy as the above methods, but halfway through the video she explains another way to accomplish this to gain even more stretch.  This method does not require transferring all the stitches to the main bed first.

4. Manipulate the stitches to gain extra length by using the half-pitch feature.  (Diana Sullivan demonstrates this method.) 

This maintains the spirit of Eileen's original instruction.

5. Hand-sewn bind off.  Susan Guagliumi's blog post about how to accomplish a beautiful stretchy bind-off includes a video demonstration. 

I could make several samples and compare results.   That will take a while! 

Child sock fail

I used Eileen Montgomery's pattern to knit these socks in a child size small,  at the request of a neighbor.  The socks are too large, but the opening at the top is too tight.  I used tension 6 for the main tension, and the instructions said to go up 6 tensions for the loop-through-the-loop bind off.  Unfortunately, I could only go up 4 numbers since the highest tension is 10.  And, they are too tight.

I will also deduct 5 rows of knitting from the body of the foot for the length, (it specified 36).

Since these socks are made from the back of the heel, down the bottom of the sock, then the toe is knitted, then the top of the sock, and finally the ribbing, there is not an easy way to remove 5 rows.  That would be easy if the socks were knitted from the toe up or top down.   The seams were sewn with the yarn end at the end of the ribbing, so the seams will need to be un-sewn first, then the loop-through-the loop cast off undone, the ribbing unknitted, the toe unknitted, then remove 5 rows of the bottom, re-knit the toe, re-knit the instep, and finally re-knit the ribbing.

These socks were made from leftovers from other projects.  Maybe I will just keep these as a learning experience and start from scratch with new yarn.