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Archive for the ‘loom knitting’ Category

Well, I’m all recovered from the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival.  It was a wonderful weekend and many spindles found new homes!  Now I can finally post the results of my Kitchener experiments.  First, I realized that I forgot to link both Kristen’s video and the sock machine video that I mentioned in my last post.  Try them both and enjoy!   I have had great luck using the second video, and Kristen’s is a really nice video, but the technique, at least the way I’m doing it, doesn’t make a seamless join on stockinette.  I’ve been thinking about it and think I know why. So I decided to to do a test.

Basically, I knit up a few little swatches (half garter/ half stockinette), folded them in half lengthwise and grafted the live stitches on each half together.

The first sample was knit in stockinette and I grafted it folowing the instructions on the GoodKnit Kisses video.  My result was a pretty noticeable garter ridge right across the join.  Hmmm, that’s not what I want.  Kristen’s join actually looked pretty good, if not 100% seamless on her video, but she was joining garter stitch not stockinette.

I wondered if you would get a different result depending if you ended on a purl or a knit row.  So that’s how I did the next 2 swatches–in garter, one ending on a knit row, one on a purl and again grafted following Kristen’s video.

Both of these looked pretty decent.  One seemed to have an extra purl on the right side and an extra knit on the other.

The other was the other way around.  I guess I should have been able to predict that, lol, and save myself some swatching. In any case, these little irregularities getting hidden pretty easily in the garter stich pattern, unlike the way the purl ridge stands ount on the stockinette.

But WHY doesn’t the method seem to work on stockinette?  Clearly, the kitchener works beautifully on needles (at least when done by people other than me).  Even I can mange a seamless sock toe when I SEW it (as in the video I linked).  Why isn’t the technique translating to the loom?  First, there could always be user error on my part.  Grafting on a loom involves dealing with long floats.  Although I do tend to tighten them up as I go along, I could be getting twisted along the way.  But I PROBABLY wouldn’t be making consistant errors.

Another problem is that loom knitters don’t seem to have consistant language for refering to direction relative to their looms.  I tend to always think of the tips of the pegs as “up” and the base of the loom as  “down”, but many loomers hold their looms sideways or even upside down while knitting and I’ve heard that they just don’t alway think of “up” the same way as I do.  Needle knitters use the terms “as if to knit/purl” pretty consistantly, but I still haven’t wrapped my head around what that means on a loom.  So language is a problem, but I THINK I was able to follow along with Kristen fairly well–having her video sure helped!

Then I started thinking–always a dangerous thing.  When you Kitchener a sock toe on needles, the front needle holds half of the stitches with the knit side showing, but the back needle shows the other half with the PURL side showing.  So, when you work the Kitchener, you are working the RIGHT side of the work on the front needle, but the WRONG side of the work on the back needle.  Hmmmm…..All of the directions I have found (including Kristen’s assuming I am actually interpreting things correct) seem to just put the needle knitting terms exactly into looming language.  But when I work on the loom, even to graft,  I am always  turning the loom and looking at the right side of the work.  Shouldn’t the back needle instructions be reversed when converting to a knitting loom then?

Only one thing to do.  The last swatch was stockinette again, but I decided to reverse all the instructions for the back pegs.  I think it turned out pretty darn seamless on both sides and most importantly, you can’t even feel the graft.

Loomalicious Grafting Conversion (for stockinette)

Go Up: Starting at the base of the loom pass the yarn (either with a needle or using your loom tool to snag) under the loom and towards the tips of the peg.

Go Down: Starting at the tip of the peg, pass the yarn under the loop towards to base of the loom.

SET UP :  Cut the working yarn leaving a long tail.  Thread the end onto a tapestry needle (you can also do this by pulling the loops through with your loom tool).  Take the needle and GO DOWN on the first peg.  Then go across the loom and GO DOWN on the last peg.

Kitchener:

1.Going back to the first peg (left on the front of the loom), GO UP and remove the loop from the peg.

2.GO DOWN on the next peg, leaving it on the loom.

3. Go to the back of the loom.  GO UP on the last peg (left on the back of the loom) and remove the loop.

4.GO DOWN  on the next peg, leaving on the loom

Repeat these 4 steps until you run out of stitches (GO UP and off for the last front and back loop remaining at the end).

I like to tighten the Kitchener threads as I go along. Theyt seems to tangle less for me.  Plus you don’t need to cut quite so long of a yarn tail.  I hope some of you try this conversion out and tell me if the directions make sense or even work for you.  I’m still not completely sure that I haven’t just been misinterpreting other folk’s instructions.  On the other hand the back needle/wrong side/purl side just calls out to be converted.    Enjoy!

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I’ve been thinking that I want a different way to do the kitchner stitch. It’s probably most efficient to do it on knitting needles, but I always seem to mess that up (plus I seem to have an aversion to doing any knitting related tasks with needles). When I started making socks, I couldn’t find any detailed instructions on doing the Kitchner right on the loom. I did however find a video on making socks on an antique sock machine that had a method that worked for me. After turning the toe, you knit a couple rows in scrap yarn, then took the sock off the machine (or loom in my case). Then using a tapestry needle you just stitched the two ends together, using the stitches made with the scrap yarn as a guide.

I love the results. You really cannot see or feel the graft on either side of the work. BUT it just seems like I’m doing too many extra steps. Recently I saw a nice video by Kristen from Goodknit Kisses. She was showing how you could graft right on the loom and the results looked really nice. The only thing was that she was grafting a headband knit in garter and I wondered if it would still look seamless in stockinette.

Well, I was almost finished a sock and I was away from home without any scrap yarn, so I figured, “what the hay!” The results were pretty good, but not quite invisible. This was due in part from user error. I think I twisted a few of the threads. More importantly though, I could FEEL the seam even in the areas of the join that LOOKED fine.  If you’ve ever dealt with a child with sensory issues, you may know why this matters, lol. There was a noticeable rige on the inside of the seam.

Now I know this one sock done in in a busy community center full of distractions is NOT the best way to judge a technique, but it is enough to spark an experiment. My hypothesis is that the method I tried probalby makes a pretty invisible seam for garter stitch (like the piece in the video), but is less effective for stockinette and I think I know why! It may have to do with the original needle technique and the different perspective loomers have from needle knitters. Stay tuned. I’ll be swatching over the next few weeks and taking pictures. Will my hypothesis be supported by the preponderence of the swatch evidence? Can I find another method and have comfy socks?  We will see…..

PS If I take a bit too long posting the next installment, it’s probable because I am swamped getting ready for the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival (first weekend in May). I’ll be in Barn 5 with the Baltimore County Wool Producers. Feel free to stop by and say hello!

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I working on a sideways knit baja style sweatshirt for my husband on a small gauge Markman Farm loom. 

I’m almost done the first 1/4 body panel and now I have a new helper.  I’m sure things will go much faster now. lol!

Anyway, it’s a cotton wool/blend in assorted colors.  Since I’m knitting sideways, the stripes will be vertical when it’s done. 

I didn’t love the fabric in the swatch.  So on a whim, I tossed it in the washing machine and dryer with the regular laundry.  I LOVE how that turned out.  Just a bit of shrinkage and/or felting.  So I’m using the stitch gauge from the shrunken swatch as my pattern guideline.  I also have the pre-wash numbers in case I need to check them.  With a little luck, the final sweater will have similar shrinkage and this thing will actually fit!

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I just noticed that I never posted pictures of my finished Saskia.  I was very happy to see just what can be done on a knitting loom.  This one was knit with a three ply on my small gauge Markman Farm loom from wool that I dyed and spindle spun by my little own self!

In progress, on the loom
Blocked out

Close up of lace.

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Here’s my Ruana all finished and modeled by it’s recipient, my lovely sil, Kathy.  The pattern is from Isela Phelps Loom Knitters Primer and the yarn is Thirteen Mile Yarn-bulky in Latte.  I had to cast on extra to make up for differences in yarn and loom gauge, but I think it turned out nicely.

The project seemed to go on FOREVER, though.  About halfway through I lost my knitting mojo and began to get an intense urge to start a spinning project.

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Over on Ravelry, the Beginner’s Lace knitting group has just started to work on Saskia (http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/saskia).  I have my homespun yarn to use up, so, what the heck!  I though I’d give it a try on the loom.  There are just single and double decreases and YO’s to deal with.  I think it’s a pretty managable pattern on a knitting loom. 

lace swatch-half gauge

lace swatch-half gauge

The question is which loom to use.  So I grabbed some similar weight wool from stash and knit up a bit of the pattern on my half gauge Markman Farm loom. This block just a hair lacier than I wanted, but definitely doable.

 

 

lace swatch-small gauge

lace swatch-small gauge

 

Then I did anothe swatch on a small gauge loom.  Not a huge difference, but I think this is more what I want.  My project yarn is slightly finer that the red stuff.  Of course, i’ve never done a big lace project before, so I could be wrong, but that’s how you learn!

 

Here’s the project so far:

saskia lace-about 2 repeats in

saskia lace-about 2 repeats in

I’m pretty much following the needle knit pattern, except for reversing the knits/purls on the wrongs side (easy enough, there’s no lace worked on those rows).  I also added an extra knit row between my CO and row 1 of the pattern.  This is partially because I’ve been noticing that my BO edge seems thicker than my CO edge (This is noticeable in the neckline of the Ruana I’m currnetly working on–more on that another day).  It’s also because I always cast on right to left unless I consciously make myself CO left to right.  Apparently, I wasn’t very conscious when I when I cast on this project.  I was about to start row 1 when I realized that I was on the left.  So I could start over (after all my swatching, that option wasn’t feeling very attractive), I could convert all the decreases from left to right leaning and visa versa (that was bound to lead to confusion) or I could make a design “improvement.” 

Easy choice!

I’ve also decided to just do ssk instead of trying to figure out s/1 k1 psso.  It seems to me that they work out about the same anyway.

Any loomers out there want to join along?

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When I started my sweater, I knew that I wanted to add border stitches to lessen rolling.  So I knit 10 rows of moss stitch along the bottom of the body panel and 3 rows of moss stitch on the sleeve edge.  The top of the sleeve, which forms the neckline, got 5 rows of single ribbing. 

Well, the edges didn’t roll, but they poofed terribly and turned under.  And I really just didn’t like the ribbing.  What to do?staggered moss edge

I decided to try an experiment.  What would happen if I alternated 5-6 stitches of moss with 5-6 of stockinette?  Well the stockinette and the moss sections seem to counter-balance each other.  So no rolling OR turning under.  And much less poofiness since half the stitches are still stockinette.  I think  I like the look.

Of course everything needed to be ripped out and re-stitched first.  Do you know it’s a lot harder to rip knitting out from the cast on edge?  Well I do, NOW anyway.  For the sleeve top, I put a lifeline in a couple rows back from the sleeve top, rehung the piece on the loom, and reknit the sleeve top border backward.  The body edge was just frogged and reknit normally and I decided that blocking would take care of the 3 rows on the sleeve edge, so left that be.

So all the panels are done.  Yeah!  Time to seam.  My inspirations stitched the sleeve selvages to the body, starting at the center.  That made an impossibly low and loose vee neckline (front and back).  I thought about picking up some stitches in the back and adding some sort of gusset, but still it would have been a serious, frogworthy UGH LEE thing.

So I unstitched the sleeves from the body (and back a few inches more).  I counted 15 rows in from the top sleeve edges and put markers there.  Then I found the center of the body pieces and marked them.  I stitched the sleeve pieces to the body, lining the markers up with the center markers.  It ended up crisscrossing in the front and back.  That solved the too deep vee and I think I like the design element.  Don’t you love accidental design?

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