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Posts Tagged ‘knifty knitter’

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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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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Take it Easy neckline detailSo I started a sweater for myself LAST summer.  I had found five matching skeins of worsted weight wool in a thrift shop grab bag.  Okay, it was a fairly hideous variated from Red Heart, so I wouldn’t feel too bad if the project didn’t turn out, but at least it was 100% wool.  I just don’t like wearing synthetics.

I knew I didn’t want to double strand it, since I’m pretty hot blooded.  So my knifty knitters were out.  Lucky for me, I have a lovely half gauge loom from Markman Farm that has about 120 pegs.  Now I need something easy and pretty simple.  So I find this vee neck sweater by Clella Gustin: http://www.provocraft.com/projects/projects.php?prdindex=kniftyknitter&dsp=project&idnum=34

It uses bulky or doubled yarn, though, and I really need sleeves.  Still, I like the simple rectangle construction.

Then I find this picture of a sweater by Denise layman: http://www.flickr.com/photos/84044692@N00/2177079216

Same idea, but with long sleeves and the yarn is just as hideous as mine.  Unfortunately the pattern isn’t available at this time.

So, I was on my own.  I swatched (shudder) and figured I’d need to CO with 96 pegs for all four panels.  For the body panels I did 90 rows of stockinette and 10 rows of border stitching (more on that latter) and bound off.  For the sleeves, I started with 5 rows of border (this will eventually frame the neckline), then 35 rows of stockinette.  At this point, I started decreasing.  On each third row I deceased a stiched on each end (well actually one stitch in from the end to make seaming easier).  I countinued decreasing for 84 rows (row 124 of sleeve). Take It Easy SweaterI probably should have stopped a couple decreases sooner.  The sleeve is just slightly snug on the forearm, but not too bad.  Then I did 15 more stitches of stockinette and three rows of border stitches and bound off.  With maybe 10 yards of yarn to spare!

Sizing  notes:  My gauge is generally pretty tight, so your mileage will vary.  This fit pretty well. I’m 5’2″ and a size large to extra large.

So this is what went right.  Next up: everything that went wrong first!

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So, I’ve finally downloaded some photos from my camera.  I did a couple of test heels with chunky yarn on a knifty knitter.  I’ll post the full instructions next time, but wanted to get a couple photos out until then.  The idea still needs some tweaking, but I’ve definitely ended up with something that resembles a heel flap and gusset.                                                                                                    

KK heel flap test 1

KK heel flap test 1

The first test was done with about 24 pegs, I think, and it looked pretty pretty holey on the foot.  I decreased at the heel turn rather than doing short rows. 
see all the not so pretty holes

see all the not so pretty holes

heel flap test 2

 Heel flap test 2.  For the second test I did a smaller heel (because I’m lazy, lol)–just 18 pegs.  The heel was decrease with short rows and the result was much better.  This one doesn’t fit anyone in my house, so no “on the foot” shots!

And here’s the full sock along with the sock that made me try this madness. 

same sock/two heels

same sock/two heels

On the left is the original short row heel.  (Pattern is Isela Phelp’s Tulip Sock from the daloom site and adapted for FG.)  It was much too snug in the instep and the 80/20 cotton/wool blend yarn isn’t very forgiving of a poor fit.  On the right is the same stitch pattern done with my attempt at aheel flap and gusset.  It did give a bit, although not a huge amount, of extra ease and does look  pretty close to a needle knit heel flap, but I need to work on my stitch picking up technique.  I haven’t done a lot of that and sometimes I’m not quite sure exactly which loop I’m supposed to pick up.

Well, I need to edit my step by step photos and write out the instructions.  Hope to get the first part up by the week end. 

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