Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Angels for Dummies!

As I mentioned in a previous blog, I debated whether to attempt to translate my reversible cable pattern to the knitting machine. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed handknitting this stitch and in fact, have started a second one. The excuse was to “proof” the pattern that I wrote up for my upcoming newsletter, but the pattern is proofed, and I just keep picking up the needles.
Yesterday I took the plunge and went to my Silver Reed SK280 which has been sitting here with the ribber attached. First thing I determined was that I would have to throw out the “increase in front and back of stitch” after an inch of ribbing. The machine just won’t tolerate that.
Ribbing done and needles arranged to start body pattern.
Next challenge . . . . the garter stitch columns. Garter stitch is one of those stitches that is super easy for hand knitters, and a bit laborious for machine knitters. The reason is because a hand knitter, usually turns their knitting at the end of every row and knits back. On a machine, the fabric is not turned. The machine knits back and forth, always churning out a purl stitch (as you are looking at the fabric). First thought, knit the row and reform the stitch. Oh ick. Yea, that works, but how many times did I drop the darn stitch. So next thought, transfer lower row to ribber and reform on ribber, then transfer to main bed. That was worse. Third time is a charm! At the end of every row, I just transferred the stitches to the opposite bed. One row it was knit stitches, one row was purled stitches. OK. Got that solved. 6 rows complete and now to duplicate this 6x6 ribbed cable.
I knew I would have to make some compromises. As I looked at the bed, I realized, I would have to transfer all 12 stitches to the main bed to cable them. So I did. Then I realized that there was no way that I could move 6 sts 6 needles over. The needles on the bed are fixed and will not allow me to pull stitches so far. So the first compromise was to make 2 sets of 3x3 cables. Other ideas came to mind as well, but the needles were already arranged for a 12 st wide column of cable or cables. I manipulated cables, and then moved the stitches back down to the ribber. Rest of test piece worked successfully. For a test piece!
Piece was successful, although not pretty. But I was testing the process, not the yarn.
Warning! if stitches are on ribber, behind the latches, DO NOT let excitement tempt you and drop ribber down to look at cables! Yep.....I did. Pop, pop, pop . . . . . stitches slid up and off the ribber needles. I managed to catch most of them, and call myself a few names during the process.
Next step, change to machine that the final test will need to be done. Take down my baby, the LK150. Set up big SK860 and its ribber. Oh gosh, its sure been a while!! Poor carriages are dry and have turned yellow. I think I will replace the plastic because I just hate that yellow color. After spending an hour trying to find the tools and clamps that should have been in the tool chest marked SK860 (but were not), I was casting on with a worsted weight wool.
I’ve got to laugh at my stupidity. How many years and how many times have I told new knitters to be sure that the carriage on the main bed is “seated” not only at the back, but also at the front. Can you believe I blew an hour of my precious time cursing my ribber arm! After an hour, I decided to get some air and change clothes and do my daily workout. (eeghads!! yes exercise!) Maybe removing the oxygen from my brain and sending it to the muscles will reset things. Back to the machine, still no luck. OK, call the techs...but no . . . . waited 15 minutes too long. They were closed. So I sat there, slumped and sighed. Then . . . . . why I pulled up on the carriage is beyond me. Was there a machine knitting angel, who said “look at this, dummy. This carriage is not supposed to lift up in front.”? Oh for pete’s sake. Slap my forehead! It was not seated in front!

The rest of the testing has gone well. But time ran short, and other obligations caused me to stop testing. But I will be up early, as I love testing when it turns out sucessful.

In other parts of the store, I’ve begun receiving shipments of a few of the colors of 2 of Cascade new lines: Cascade 128 Superwash, a 100% merino wool that is a bulky superwash, and is super nice! and Cascade Pure Alpaca, 100% baby alpaca is a light weight worsted, or even a DK weight. That web page I just uploaded a few hours ago. On both yarns, I'm getting in only a few colors at a time. Which colors I get in depend on you! Tell me what you want, and that'll be the next color I order in!
Busy day tomorrow. Big box of freight from Cascade still sits here, my newsletter still waits for this editor to continue working on it, rep from Cascade Yarns is due here at 9 am, weekly shipment for Lorna's Laces is due in UPS and Thursday is my last bit of time to alter and fix my nieces Halloween costume. Friday, promptly at 3, I head back up to Portland to the condo. This weekend new carpet, some furniture, cable internet and who knows what else goes in. As well as a birthday dinner for my son who turns 25 on Sunday! and oh yea. . . . . CrossFit Saturday morning....ugh.....painful muscles again!
Have a great and safe Halloween everyone!! Talk to you soon!

Friday, October 9, 2009

New Adventures!

It's official. We are finally owners of a cute little condo in downtown Portland, Oregon. After spending 11 months searching we are in! Today I leave again for my 3rd weekend in Portland. It has been really enjoyable. The first weekend I spent trying to piece enough furniture together to make the condo livable. And walked, and walked, and walked. The country is beautiful, yes, but the city has its beauty too, and so many directions to walk, so much activity to watch. And this girl loves to shop!!!!

Last weekend I attended my first CrossFit lesson. Oh My Gosh!! My daughter in Southern California does this. Talk about "hard bodies"! Don't have anything like this on the coast. Tomorrow morning is another class. I think I am still sore from last Saturday!! But this is a great way to supplement the workout I already do at home.

Rochelle did our first lesson. Turns out she just learned how to knit and she started a new group of knitters on the 1st Friday of each month at a nearby coffee shop. The name of her knitting group? What else . . . . CrossKnit !!!

The sun shines in the condo for the majority of the day. Perfect light for knitting and inbetween walking I've finished my Baby Alpaca Reversible Scarf. Just in time for the cold weather too. It is super thick, super warm and I'm super happy with it. Cascade's Baby Alpaca Chunky normally gets 3.5 sts per inch in stockinet, so any yarn will work that gets that guage, though I suggest keeping to something soft because it is wrapped around your neck. Lorna's Laces Shepherd Bulky and Swirl Chunky would work well, though the silk wrap in Swirl Chunky might prevent the cables and garter ridges from showing as clearly.

Another yarn that I will soon have in stock is Cascades 128 Superwash. This is a bulky wool that is washable. I turned my nose up at first, until my rep "accidentally" left his sample hank with me. I sampled up the hank and was really amazed with it. It is soft and supple, and has plenty of definition. Looking again, well duh! it is a superwash merino!! I've got all 42 colors into the computer, and will start ordering some of the colors next week. This yarn will also make a great reversible scarf.

As I hand knit, I am thinking how to machine knit this scarf. It is possible. One would need a main bed and a ribber. Takes a bit of thinking, but I'm tempted to set up my SK860 with ribber SR860 and a smaller sized yarn, perhaps Cascade 220 or maybe Cascade Cash Vero (but for fun I'd also combine in a strand of Cascade Kid Seta). There'd be reformed stitches for garter ridges and the cables would have to be transferred to the main bed to be cabled, then moved back to 1x1 rib. That's a lot of stretch for a knitting machine. I may have to make some changes to make it work on a machine, but that's a challenge I enjoy.

Don't forget to check out the yarn and books I have on clearance on my clearance page! When I put yarns on clearance, they are marked under cost! I don't mess around. I want the OUT, and NOW!! Enjoy!!