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Posts Tagged ‘wonderloom’

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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So, at this point we have a heel flap and a gusset and a little problem:

topless sock

The sock has no top.   It’s time to put those stitches from the scrap yarn back onto their now empty pegs.

Then there is just closing up the gap along the top of the gusset.  To do that I knit  just the top/instep pegs, picking up a gusset stitch as I went along.

 To do the instep, start a new working yarn.  Go ahead and cut the old one, leaving enough tail for weaving in later.  Put the instep stitches back on the loom.  To set up each row, pick up the closest  loop (or pair of loops if you slipped your gusset edges) from each gusset edge stitch and place them on the peg with the first and last instep pegs (Normally that would be pegs 25 and 48, but for my sock it was 24 and 47).  For this first row, you’ll notice that there is a pretty big gap between the edge of the instep and the first gusset edge stitch.  For at least the first row I picked up loops from the gap instead to minimize holes.  Actually, I must have done this for at least three rows before I began to pick up gusset stitches.  That was definitely excessive and I think it showed a bit. I think either two rows or maybe picking up two separate loops on the first instep row will be enough.  If anyone experiments with that let me know.

instep picked up

Here the top stitches are back on the loom and you can see the gusset stitches that need to be joined.  I think the first picked up loop is already on peg 47.

With the new yarn, knit across just those 24 loops that were just replaced, knitting the picked up loops along with the original loops.  This seemed VERY bulky on the loom—knitting 3 over 1 on the first and last stitches.  I thought it might make an annoyingly stiff or uncomfortable  join, but it really wasn’t too bad.  I do wonder how it would look if you knit the bottom loop over the picked up ones before knitting the row.

After the first row, pick up another loop (the next closest one to the instep) from each side of the gusset edge and put it on the outermost top/instep peg.  Knit back across those pegs.  Just keep doing that until you run out of gusset, and you can start knitting in the round again.

gusset closed

You can see the finished closed up gusset after a few more rows.

Next time I think I’ll try a very plain sock so I can really see any holes and joins.  I think I’ll also try not slipping the gusset edges so I can just pick up one edge loop.  I am afraid that I’ll have trouble seeing which loop to grab, though.  I usually do.   It’s so much easier for me to see a slipped edge. 

Thanks for taking a look at my experiment.  This is clearly more complicated than doing a heel flap on needles, but it is certainly do-able and the socks do fit me a bit better than short row heels.  So that’s a functional success, but still a design in progress.

loomed sock with heel flap and gusset

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So now we have a gusset of 21 rows (up to 24 or the same number of rows as there were stitches put on scrap yarn should work easily).  It’s time to turn the heel.  I’m not going into much detail here.  Just work short row decreases however you like as if you were turning a heel.  DON’T do the increases.  I decreased until there were 8 pegs on either side with 2 loops (turning pegs) and 8 with one loop between themheel is turned 1.                                                                                  

Note working yarn is just to the right of the last turning peg.   

heel is turned 2

Here’s the 1/2 heel cup from the inside. 

Now the sock needs a gusset. picking up gusset stitches 1

Pick up stitches along the edge of the heel flap.  Since the edges were slipped, It’s pretty easy to see the 2 loops forming the nice chain edge.  I put each pair on one of the empty pegs.  First the stitches from the left of the heel flap get picked up onto empty pegs.

picking up gusset 2

It turned out that there were 11 loop pairs to pick up for this sock.

picking up gusset 3

Then the stitches from the right edge of the heel flap get picked up.

picking up gusset 4

See all the double loops.  The one on the left is actually a turning peg from the heel.  Remember, I did my heel on pegs 48 + 1 to 23 to preserve symmetry on this stitch pattern on this particular sock.  The other pegs are heel flap edge stitches.

Keep picking up edge stitches from the heel flap until all are on the loom.  I got 11 from this side too.  If the flap had been 24 stitches, all the pegs would be full now.  I had 2 empties.

The short row decreases left the working yarn back at the final turning peg.  first gusset row (left)

Complete that turn and knit the 8 center heel stitches and continue to the left, knitting the double loops on the turning pegs and the double loops from the heel flap as one.  WY ends up on the left edge.

first gusset row to the right

I slipped the first stitch in this section just like for the heel flap.  It might be better not to, for the gusset at least.  That will be the next experiment.

Knit back to the right, again treating any double loops as one.       

To complete the gusset, for each row, slip1 then knit until 3 stitches remain.  Move the last 2 loops in one peg to decrease.

gusset edge decrease 2gusset edge decrease 1

Knit last 2 stitches treating the doubled loops as one.

gusset decreases complete

Continue decreasing one stitch on each row until there are stitches only on the original 24 pegs of the heel flap.

Next: My sock has no top!

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For this sock I used the Tulip Sock pattern at dalooms.com as the base pattern.  I cast on 48 pegs on a FG mini wonderloom with a cotton wool blend (60/40 Serendipity Tweed, striped coral root for those who care about such things).  After doing 4 pattern repeats I had this:

DSCN0691before starting heel flapThe actual color is closer to this one.

It’s time to start knitting the heel flap.  Eventually it will be a bother to have the instep (top) stitches on the loom, so now is a great time to slip the loops on pegs 25-48 onto a piece of scrap yarn and prepare to knit on just pegs 1-24.  That would cause an asymetrical break in the pattern I was using, so I slipped pegs 24-47 onto scrap yarn and would knit peg 48 and pegs 1-23 as my heel flap.

instep stitches on scrap yarn Half of the stitches have been removed and we’re ready to knit the heel flap.  Knit the flap as a flat panel. Just continue  working in pattern (or you could try a heel flap stitch like R1: *k1 s1*; R2: k all.  I believe that I slipped the first stitch in each row, but I didn’t write that in my notes, so possibly not.  I did NOT slip the     stitches in my 2nd test heel (at least that’s what my notes say, lol). heel flap ready to turn

You will probably want to knit about the same number of rows as you have stitches on pegs.  Three more pattern repeats was 24 rows, so I went with that.

back of heel flap

Here’s the back of the heel flap.  You can see the edges stitches.  One side looks like the edges were slipped, the other maybe.  Hmm….I thought they were slipped.

Next: Turning the Heel

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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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Okay, I have a sock problem.  There, I’ve admitted it in public!  I’ve discovered that I like to knit socks.  I like the feel of lovely, handknit, woolen socks.  I love my little mini-wonderloom.  Sock projects are wonderfully portable when I’m on the go with the kids.  But…..I…..have……a…..problem.

My socks, with just a couple excemptions exceptions, don’t fit.  It’s not that my feet are terribly fat.  Certainly they are well within the range of any adult sock loom.  I do however have a high instep, so socks with short row heels that are sized to fit the ball of the foot are a terribly tight squeeze over the ankle.  In theory, I could just make wider socks.  Unfortunately, I also am a very tight loom knitter.  I’m already using most to all of the pegs on a mini-wonderloom.  What’s a loomer to do?

Well if I were knitting with needles, I’d make socks with a heel flap and gusset, like this one, perhaps: http://www.crafty.greenkri.com/heel-flap

But, sez I, doing this on the loom would seem to require more pegs than I have available.  I can’t find any loomies knitting anything like a heel flap with a gusset.  What to do?  Why obsess over it non-stop for a couple weeks, of course!  What else could I do?  I think I’ve found a way.

Stay tuned……

frogged sock 2

A passable sock that wouldn't pass my ankle

DSCN0180

This one squeezed on, but cut off all circulation below the ankle

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