Saturday, February 7, 2015

Newest TKGA Master Machine Knitter Level 1

I submitted my package for level 1 Master Machine Knitter, and yesterday I received it back.  I am thrilled to report that I passed and  I did not have to re-submit anything!  The judge, Uyvonne Bigham, sent along a personal note that mentioned some of our mutual acquaintances in Missouri and Grand Rapids.

She was so nice, and very complimentary on the evaluation.  Succeeding on this project really makes me feel motivated to start knitting more.  There is nothing like positive feedback to build you up and make you happy and ready to change the world.

She even took the time to knit a swatch to illustrate the one criticism she had of my work, which was that I was not hanging the marker stitches for some of my swatches properly.  (I did not mention to her that on one of my swatches I actually FORGOT to hang the stitch markers and so I inserted them after the fact. So, now I am telling the world!)

Here is the hat I submitted:

I'm working on designing a sweater in Garment Designer using a similar yarn that I had spun by Zeilingers from same fleeces, it is DK yarn weight and I am using the bulky machine at tension 5.  I knitted a swatch for it and did not make it so neat and tidy as the work I did for submission, since I am making the swatch simply for measuring the gauge.
All three sections of this swatch are 40 stitches by 40 rows. First is stockinette, and  I am using the 1x1 punchcard on tuck stitch for the 2nd and 3rd sections.  The middle section is using the tuck stitch at normal setting,  and the section on the right was made using the same punchcard at a double-high setting. I can get more width from the fabric on this setting, even though the fabric is bulkier.
Notice on these swatches,  instead of hanging a stitch marker, I left a needle out of work, as I learned when I first started machine knitting. 
When designing for a  plus-size person, you must remember that it takes a little more design effort to plan ahead for having the garment sections fit on the available needles of the machine.    There are several ways to accomplish this, and one is to use tuck stitch or slip stitch or a woven design to make the fabric using standard 4 pieces of a sweater, front and back plus 2 sleeves.  All of these techniques result in a larger gauge, with  fewer stitches per inch in the resulting fabric.  This means that you can achieve a wider fabric with fewer needles.
Another way to accomplish the end goal of have a garment that fits, is to make more garment pieces. One example is making a cardigan with seam in the back (4 body pieces plus two sleeves) or  using a centered or underarm panel to obtain more width. (6 body pieces plus two sleeves)  
Using a fairisle, cable, or other decorative technique to make the additional panel stand out means that the resulting gauge will be different for the panel. In this case, the seaming using mattress stitch will not be quite so easy as if you were to have the same number of stitches on each panel. 
The more pattern pieces, the more sewing together must be done.  Sometimes I use a sew-as-you go technique to join the pieces together as they are knitted.  A linker or sewing machine may also be used.  
Additional techniques can be used to create a larger garment.  Turning the garment sideways when knitting is often successful for plus sizes because the number of rows is not limited. 

Elizabeth Zimmerman, although a hand-knitter, published a mitered design called "Surprise Jacket" that was translated for machine knitting by Susanna Lewis and published in the short-lived but visually stunning MacKnit magazine.  I think there is also a similar  "origami" jacket in one of the books on my shelf - Is it Kathleen Kinder's book or Susanna Lewis?   Time to do some research, I guess.