FI Weaving 2

I’ve been playing at my machine again, the KH970. It’s really a necessity for every designer. Playing is. Every home DIY’er no matter where you’re dabbling; every designer, every artist needs to play with their materials. Regardless of skill, creatives need to play.  In this case, I had lost my mind, I think, and bought another cone of rayon yarn on eBay.  Really, it doesn’t make sense for me to buy more yarn. I have at least 200 pounds in the stash. But the picture was so lovely. I thought I was purchasing a cone of variegated yarn. Orange, yellows and creams delighted my eye as I gazed upon my IPAD screen. What arrived, no less lovely, but not variegated or space dyed. It is 4 strands of rayon in 4 different colors loosely spun together. Rather interesting and since the woven fair isle I had just played with was still on my mind, I sat down with this lovely new yarn and a few others for play-time.

One thing I’ve noted is weaving fair isle tends to create a heavier fabric; more so than typical fair isle. Not sure exactly why. Maybe the yarns I chose or due to using 2 yarns of equal weight or maybe something else I don’t know. So I played with my 4 stranded rayon yarn,which feels like an 8/2, and single strands of some lighter yarns. Sigh before I had the KH970 my MK darling was an SK700. I dearly loved that machine but she was temperamental when it came to changes in tension.  Any hesitance when feeding thread to her from the cone would result in a flaw, a pulled yarn in the knitting. After a several months I gave up trying to psychically pre-determine which yarn would flow smoothly and which would not. I rewound all my yarns into cakes. I swear, hand on heart, I removed labels and secured them with the yarns. So I would love to note the exact rating of these yarn, but I cannot. They were rather like the crochet yarn your granny use. May she rest in peace.

My first attempts are documented here but not shown.  I used 2 strands of  a yellow cotton maybe cotton-linen   I’d already made a quick test of the multi-strand, multi-color rayon and decided upon a tension 7. Woven FI didn’t work with 2 strands of this stuff. The carriage jammed on the second row. “Landfilled” “Circlular File” designate and restart with 1 strand. There was no contrast so no appearance of patterning. What’s the point of this effort if it is just going to look like the main yarn knit in stocking knit stitch? None to me. So I scratched that idea and began again.

Did not want to use black. Black with orange says Halloween to me which I don’t want to say year round. Frankly, I’m not fond of it once a year. I certainly don’t want to wear it. Halloween that is. Being color challenged, I had studied my color wheel and thought I a grey blue or blued grey might work.  The second yarn I worked with is  a 1 strand, dark blued-grey, crimped rayon but the same diameter or nearly same as the rayon (below red line). The 3rd yarn (above red line) I worked with was a single strand, lighter  greyed-blue cotton about half as thick as the rayon.

It looks better IRL and the color change is very visible. I am disappointed that my scanner did not pick up the difference.

I used pat 399 after several failures with other patterns. I say failures but the machine did what it is supposed to, I just didn’t like the resulting fabric.   Firstly, I worked only with patterns Stitch World designates as “Weaving Patterns”.  I know from experience that what they recommend will work well for the exact technique specified but that the patterns can be used in other techniques (slip, tuck, etc). You take your chances. Maybe it works. Maybe you make landfill. Some patterns are totally incompatible with the technique you select. You’ll know that by the mess they quickly create. Some patterns are beautiful no matter what you do to them (pat 45 or K1 P1 comes to mind).  The patterns I didn’t care for either made a mess or a design/picture/pattern didn’t emerge from the knitting; it was a blob of stranded threads. Not what I wanted. I compared the schematics of the patterns I liked with the unliked and realized I liked best patterns with only 1 black box (never side by side with 2 or more) and no more than 3 white boxes conjoined. Any different combination and I was meh or <blows raspberry>. With that in mind, I scanned the weaving patterns until I found 399. I like it!

BTW my KH970 can reverse the selection IOW the selected needles become the unselected and the unselected are the selected. Rather like the inverse of a photo; the negative. The inverse can also produce fabulous knitting results but just as I didn’t work with tuck, slip of FI patterns,  I didn’t get into the inverse variation either.

I prefer the fabric with the light grey (above the red line). I prefer the fabric but not the color contrast. I actually prefer the coloration of the darker grey but it is a heavier fabric.  Just personal preference, I am not even sure there is any visual difference in the pic I provided and of course you can’t handle it and feel the tactile difference.

The horizontal stretch was the same as any knit, well SS, tuck or punch lace. Nice horizontal stretch. Would be comfortable to wear. However there was none, zip, zilch, ZERO vertical stretch. I said WHOA!  I was thinking of using this for my next project but I am not ready to adapt for nonexistent vertical stretch. I really want to tweak my basic set-in sleeve pattern first and for that I pretty much prefer sweater knits that act like sweater knits.

I also think the floats can be an issue beyond appearance and not just for little fingers. I definitely don’t wholly recommend this for babies, toddlers or the young. I mean there probably are patterns where the floats are not very long and not  problem for the very young but they aren’t the patterns I worked with. I’m not thinking of just children though. I purchased a sweater this year. After its first wearing I confided to DH I didn’t think it would be in my wardrobe long because it seemed to reach out and grab everything. I had 3 snags after a 3 hour trip from hotel, to restaurant and back to hotel.  True to my prediction, I put it in the trash after 4 wearings with a big hole that started as a snag.  I think the same fate could befall some woven FI projects. Definitely would be careful using woven FI as a pillow cover or on something that was frequently in use. Be careful is the operative here. Not all would wear badly. The sweater I discarded? When purchased, I had no idea it was so grabby.

This was a good lesson. Good experience.  Not ready to use the FI Weaving or Woven FI n a project, I didn’t block and take a gauge. Which meant I could unravel and place my yarn back on the cone. I’ve had the experience of having done so much testing, I didn’t have enough yarn for a project. Think I’ll try to avoid re-learning that knowledge but keep in mind the results of the Woven FI testing for a future project.

 

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My first TRUE machine knit sweater in over 10 years

I didn’t mean to stop knitting way back then. I retired. Moved across 3 states. Took a long vacation, first since 1984 Finally, had long-term visitors which prevented me from setting up the machines. When I finally did set up the machine, I would play now and then but never set about the actual task of knitting a sweater. I made the first real attempt 3 years ago, January 2016. Totally unsuccessful i.e. lots of landfill. Restarted in January 2017. Produced several pounds of landfill and then due to the miracle of Cut N Sew a sweater.  I feel like a Cut N Sew sweater is a sewing project rather than a machine knit garment.  There are many who will adamantly disagree with me and numerous that will be offended. Please don’t. I’m talking about my feelings which are just as valid as anyone else’s.  When I use Cut N Sew, I feel like I am involved in a sewing project. All the calculations and transfers at the machine, linking however you do it all the stuff that we mk’ers complain about and which results in a nice and nice fitting garment is the essence of machine knitting for me. Have fabric, cut and serge feels like sewing. So I proudly present my first true machine knit sweater in over 10 years:

Not particularly impressive, is it? I too was a little disappointed when I first saw the pics. My swatch glowed with exciting color. Which didn’t really translate to a full-sized garment. What I have is a nice looking striped sweater. Maybe a la Breton?

But then I started noticing the good points. It is a classic shape and definitely my colors.  I had only to hang it in the closet to realize that so many of my existing clothing will work nicely with the new addition.

And then there is the fit. I’m actually going to say no one else will notice the things I will point out. I could knit sweater after sweater using these same dimensions.Lets apply LCD to this. Length from shoulder to bust to waist to hem looks fine.  I did however shorten the garment 2″ after the fact just because I didn’t like the longer length. Not Sweater Maker’s fault. I knit and measured a swatch correctly. Entered correctly into Sweater Maker.  Sweater Maker gave me several views with measurements and I knit to the dimensions Sweater Maker gave me. Next time I will shorten the length from waist to hem. My choice. My preference.

I also raise the neckline 2″ which makes a crew neck IMO. That’s a style choice too.

Not quite the same issue with the sleeve. Thank heavens it turn out to be the now current and popular 3/4 length. I like to seam the shoulders and then knit from the shoulder to hem of the sleeve. It’s one less seam to sew later on and helps me get the finish line sooner. The first time (yes I knit the sleeve multiple times), the sleeve looked too long. I ripped it out, recalculated shaping because the sleeve was knit to the length specified in Sweater Maker. The original sleeve was right but my preference is for a shorter sleeve. But when  completely knit and stitched together, I was surprised that the sleeves were 2.5-3″ above the wrist.   I don’t need to change Sweater Maker, I need to believe that the sleeve will be the right length after it is blocked.

As far as circumference goes, I think I need a little more room across my tummy but would think my hip fit is fine

I’m not wild about the sleeves. They’re OK except

the shoulder is a bit too wide.  I haven’t put shoulder pads in (yes I use a 3/8″ shoulder pad in sweaters too). I wanted to wear it. Take a few more pics; run it through the laundry; and then make a final evaluation.

I am not wild about this sweater, but in the end I am pleased. It fits nice enough and works well with the garments I already own. What more do I need?

 

I have been working towards this since Jan 1st. Started with the swatch about January 20th.  For those of you considering machine knitting, it does get better. At my best I produce about a garment a week; 1 day each for the back front and 2 sleeves and 1-2 days to darn any ends and join the pieces. The last phase (finishing) is usually done while watching TV and doesn’t seem terribly long.

Changes To Sweater Marker Measurements for Set in Sleeve Pullover

  • -1/2″ width of shoulders
  • raise neckline depth 2″
  • +1/2″ tummy/hip
  • -2″ length.

Modified Cut N Sew Neckline

I often mention doing a modified Cut N Sew Neckline. As a whole, I don’t care for Cut N Sew for general garment shaping.  I do use it when the choices are Cut N Sew, Rip and Reknit; or Landfill.

I have a couple of objections to Cut N Sew.

  1. CNS requires more yarn.
  2. More yarn is more expense.  Generally I buy yarns in the $25-35/per pound range. Sometimes I am offered half pounds but generally that means if I want to use CNS, I’m going to need 2 pounds. $70 (shipping not included) and then I will have half a pound sitting on my shelves for darn near forever.
  3. CNS dramatically increases the time needed from swatch to finished garment. Well it does for me because I knit the yardage, then block it during which I need to keep the knitting balanced; unbiased. I place my pattern on this yardage and then either mark and baste around the outline.  If marked by chalk, felt tip, etc I will need to machine stitch around the outline to hold the stitches. MK will run and I don’t want to pick up and reknit a dozen tiny stitches.  Once I have my shapes marked and cut … Oh did I forget to mention that I now get to cut the shape free from the excess? Well I do and then I can serge the pieces together like a regular T.  I’ll probably have to mattress stitch a few areas by hand. Then I will press again. I’m telling you this takes me so much longer than shaping the pieces during the knitting and linking them together on the machine.  I acknowledge and even applaud that you may whip through the same process much quicker than myself.

Point being that generally I avoid CNS except when I need to shape a neckline. I have been disappointed in the traditional CNS neckline. I’m not always successful at keeping the knitting on grain during cutting. The result is a lopsided neckline. Sometimes the lopsidedness is so subtle that it is unrecognizable during construction. Good, right? Well until I wear the garment and find myself constantly tugging at the neck.

I don’t do too well with the traditionally shaped-on-the-machine neckline either. I don’t know what m problem is but at least half the time I don’t reset the row counter to the right row. The other half, I don’t start the stitch pattern, or don’t start it on the right row. Definitely a personal shortcoming.

My solution has been a Modified Cut-N-Sew Neckline. Let me demonstrate

I knit up to the neckline shaping. I take a long piece of yarn and bind off the predetermined neckline as directed. Actually, I fold the yarn in half to locate the center of the yarn and then starting with NDL 0 and the middle of my yarn bind off usually left to right first and then return to NDL 0 and bind off right to left.  I place a clip on both ends to add a little weight. Then I knit as directed to the next bind off.  Placing my carriage in hold, I bring the specified number of stitches to hold. I wrap the yarn ends up and over the needle in hold on both sides of the neckline. Then knit until the next bind off and repeat. I finish with a smoothly shaped neckline that has been reinforced by those needle wraps. However, as seen above, there’s a bunch of strings in the way.

Next Step

. Not trimming. I usually serge the edge which trims the strings/threads/yarn and finishes the edge at the same time. Couldn’t get to my serger this time, so I did a narrow zig zag along the neckline edge before trimming with scissors. Either way, the end result:

is a nicely knit and shaped neckline. Stitch pattern, color changes the same all the way across and incidentally I always finish on the same row something I rarely manage when I knit the two side separately.

Can’t say this is my own invention. I read it somewhere a long time ago. I tried it, I like to try new ideas, and it has become my goto neckline method.

SweaterMaker First Garment

So pleased with SM again because I paid via Paypal using my checking account. I received a download link immediately. Many times, vendors will want to wait and be sure my payment clears before giving what they can’t take back.  I understand which is why I was both surprised and pleased to be sitting waiting for confirmation the sale was posted and instead a download link popped up.

I downloaded and installed.  A printed copy of the user’s manual is available for purchase and/or a DVD copy of the software. I have storage issues and am perfectly happy with the electronic versions. Must confess I no longer depend strictly on DVD backups but also create a copy on an external drive and in the cloud. Not saying that the world’s most prevalent virus, MS OS, can’t still cause me problems just that I don’t depend exclusively upon it to protect my data and programs. So I downloaded, installed; opened the User’s Manual and started playing.

I like how SM works. Not saying you couldn’t find something better, just that this works for me.  I selected a womans pull over, crew neck size 40 — my bust size.  Put in measurements from my swatch and hit calculate.  I’d already done some of the calculations using my old worksheet so I could compare the results with something I knew to be pretty good?.  Oh and the comparison was favorable. My concern was that a 40″ bust would not work with my 43.5″ hips. I’ve already been down this road with the MK Sweater Muslin; knew I didn’t want to repeat that experience.  Started trying to add a little ease for my tummy and hips without changing the shoulders. Didn’t work. I could change the shoulders but it didn’t affect the hips.  Change the hips and the shoulders change. I plinked around for a while. Deciding that I needed to think a little without mucking thinks up on the screen, I printed out the front, back and sleeve schematics. The I created a 2nd garment using size 44 – the nearest to my true 43.5″ hip.  I just penciled the ndle numbers on to the size 40; did a fast calculation and realized I needed only 3 decreases which I put in between waist (I hope) and bust.

Using SM’s instructions, I knit front, back and joined. Knit sleeve from the top down because the garment was coming out a little longer than I like. I am producing the width and length annotated on the print out.  It’s not a gauge issue i.e. I am knitting to gauge.  I think it’s more of a ‘what do you like” issue. Please forgive bad hair day and look at proportions of

FIT01

Welts/ribbing is not attached although I did make a picot neckline finish.  The shoulders are about the right width so the sleeve is too long. I think about 1.5″. Same with the hip. Curiously the ribbing was supposed to be 1.5″. I left off the ribbing because I wanted to be able to adjust the length and even fudge a bit on width.  My instruction show the ribbing as separate and then starting a RC000 for the bottom of the sweater, or, do they? Did I misunderstand the schematics? I checked the text instructions. I read them the same way. It’s a question I need to ask customer support. Just to clarify because it is an easy  fix to add the ribbing rows to the row count of the garment without actually knitting them.

In these pics the sides are basted together using a length of misc yarn which is/was easy to remove. Other than length, I really do like the way the back looks and feels. I may have 2nd thoughts when I finish because I made no adjustments for my round back or asymmetrical shoulder. The sleeve is just OK with me and I’ll comment more on that later.

Looking at a closer view of the front:

Man, I picked up too many stitches for the neckband. Dang! I knit that twice. Removed 20 stitches after the first time and still have a dud of a neckband. However, I’ve got an out; a fix.

Fascinated by my recent discovery that the lace carriage can be used to create picots, I made a picot neckband utilizing my lace carriage. OMG It was so wonderful watching those stitches just transfer in seconds. I like this neckband and have used it previously BY manually transferring EON, one stitch at a time.  You can do things manually, I prefer to use my machines. But, you say, that’s still a funky looking neckband. So true, thing is because it has picots I will be able to easily run clear elastic inside the neckband and tighten it right up.  I’ll show you when this sweater is done. In the mean time I made  a cut and sew neckband; used a double-ewarp to cast on my stitches and then hung  the garment neckline on the knitting machine, wrong side facing.  I knit 4 rows. Transferred stitches EON and knit another 4 rows.  Picked up the row of stitches that were formed on the first row knit after the neckline was hung; knit one row and then bound off around the gate pegs.  Then end result looks like a row of piping followed by 4 rows of knitting and then the picot.  I used the contrast yarn from the stripes for the neckline. The yarn is a slight mystery.  I’m not sure if it is left over Cotton Fine (a wool/cotton blend) or the weaving cotton warp I bought just to see what cotton warp was like. The contrast yarn is slightly less bulky than the main yarn, which I think is Bramwell 3 ply (I could be wrong. I’m doing this from memory rather than tag.)  Both yarns made the same number of wraps around my ruler but when I looped them together I could feel — not see — feel a difference in thickness. I like the tan/apricot color combination. The neckband though feels a little thick. Like the two layers is a bit too much.

 

I have not blocked these pieces either. I did steam the back a little when I was checking gauge. (Ever notice that your 40 sts X 60 rows swatch is not quite the same as your 150 stitch by 200 row garment piece?  Little differences between the two really show up in the garment.  I always knit the back and stop to let the back rest. Then I recheck the gauge.)  But basically, these are  unblocked, first fitting garment photos. We’re looking at my lower shoulder.  All I see if 1 drag line probably, most likely, the result of my asymmetrical shoulder. “Most likely” because the drag line does not occur on the left shoulder. Overall, I think the back and front a fitting well. They feel good. Not entirely sure, but I may want to narrow the shoulders. Then again sweaters are supposed to be casual and comfortable.

More importantly in the side view is the sleeve. I knit the sleeve starting with the remainder of the yarn used in the front and back. Ran out. What’s new with that? Set up and knit the next partial cake.  Note here, I have wound all my older yarns into cakes. I had an SK700 which I dearly loved but it hated the slightest big of tension change coming from the yarn. Guaranteed snag lines if the yarn hesitated a nano-second. Easy solution was rewinding the yarn. My issue here is that I then subsequently rewound the yarn I used for earlier tests. The tests I make the determine what gauge and what stitch before actually making a swatch.  I rewind these tests for waste knitting and finishing seams. Although I have pressed them into service as ribbings/welts when I was terribly short on yarn. I did not realize I had loaded that cake. My first hint was seeing white bits of color, sort of like a marled yarn on the finished face of the sleeve. Crapola!

Totally my fault but maybe a blessing in disguise.  The sleeve is too long and although I like the slim fit, the decreases/increases of the sleeve cap/armscye weren’t really nice. The sleeve cap kind of bubbles.  I might be able to steam that out. Certainly I’d be tempted to try if the sleeve were otherwise perfect. So I happily rewound the sleeve and left the yarn downstairs where I could not accidentally grab it again. I don’t think it difficult to tweak the sleeve shaping. I was surprised at the odd double and triple stitch changes in a couple of places. They will be easy to fix and, er, keep an eye out for in the future. But it is a troubling point. I especially wanted a software that would accurately calculate the cap/armscye shaping.

HOWEVER, I refrain from blaming the software just yet.  At one point, I thought “I’ll change these length number right now. Maybe even add another 1/4” for hip ease. Opened up the software and pulled up my saved garment. The numbers were different. Oh and they were the number I was going to change to. WTF? I don’t remember the exact sequence of events but I do remember playing with the change blocks and measurements and returning (or so I thought) to defaults. I can’t honestly say I didn’t make this mess. I can say, I’m going to finish and wear this sweater; and then I’m going to make another using the revised figures SweaterMaker is showing me.

 

 

And the winning software is:

I already had DAK. Dak7 to be exact.  I regret my purchase. Back in 2002, I knew my retirement was imminent and decided to buy my dream knitting machine, KH970 along with a garter carriage and DAK. Still working, I didn’t have a lot of time but managed to figure out how to create simple patterns and download them from my PC to my KH970. I remember looking at the garment design portion and my eyes glazing over. Such a lot of effort for basically a rectangle and trapezoid. I decided to put it off until after I retired. Well, I’m retired. 11 years now and my eyes still glaze over when I look at the tutorial. I just want to knit. I bought the software to make it easier to determine the shape and size to knit. Reading the instructions, DAK doesn’t sound easier. But hey, I’m in the minority. Most people rave about DAK and I do still want to be able to download stitch patterns into my 970. But dang, there must be some easier way to do the armscye/sleeve cap calculations.

I did take a peep at updating to Dak8. Decided that given my lack of use the last 10 years, I didn’t want to invest $250. (I have the pro version).

So I looked at The Knitting Fiend.  I so wanted this to work. I wouldn’t even mind making the suggested PayPal donation with each sweater I calculated. But I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I put my numbers in 4 times. Clicking on a ‘whats this’ button clears all the numbers. Going back to reread the instructions, clears all the numbers.  I sat there twice and waited for the info to upload and be returned. Nada. Every other site I visited was quick. Whatever I did wrong, I moved along. Buy hey, there are people who swear by this site… I would have loved it to work for me too.

Knit It Now has a calculator for their members which looks pretty good i.e. easy to understand and get your directions. I understand that many of the patterns may be interactive in that you can input your own gauge, but I don’t know that for a fact. I’m not a member. The $99/year slowed me down.  I was a member of the now defunct KnittersEdge. When that site was closed the author allowed us to download all the files. There were many lovely patterns and tutorials.I never used any. Not during the time KnittersEdge was active nor since when everything is in my cloud. Given how little I used the KnittersEdge, I first question KnitItNow  would be a good choice for me. Some point out the magazines it replaces but I have cancelled most of my magazines anyway (Every article seems the same to me. Maybe I’m old. Maybe I’ve already seen it all.) I stop my electronic magazines (such as Threads) almost as soon as I start them up. I find myself flipping through pages. Uninterested in the contents. I need to pay to be bored? Frankly, I’d rather knit, sew or surf the web. Point is replacing magazines is not a plus to me.  The pattern generator might be. Then I think I paid $600 for DAK (including cable) and hardly use it. Would this software really be worth $99 every year. It’s a subscription. It has to be paid every year. But again, there are people who swear my KnitItNow and I may indeed sign up for a trial. I’ll let you know if I change my mind. Just please, don’t let me put you off. If KIN interests you, give it a go.

I did not look closely and won’t reference a couple of the highly recommended machine knitting software packages. I’ve already spent so much on DAK. I don’t want to make that mistake again. So when I checked prices and saw $200, $400, I said to myself ‘Not now. Come back and look if you can’t find anything else.” So if I missed your favorite, please understand this post is not meant to be a comprehensive look at all knitting software packages; only the software I seriously and favorably considered for ease of use, output and cost. Cost being a determining factor in several cases.

I looked at a couple including an app for my IPAD, which I won’t detail here, that worked really well. They produced both written and schematic instructions. Would have been well worth the cost except, I’d still need my pencil, paper and calculator. They produced hand knitting patterns. I would need to convert from inches and stitches to rows and needles. I may yet buy the IPAD application but I settled on

SweaterMaker because the demo worked really well producing both text and schematic for machine knitting. OK, also because the programmer offered a 30-day guarantee and accepted Paypal for the $40 fee.  Now this is not a full featured program. It is limited but creates about 600 different sweaters. How many different sweaters do you need? Tell you I make modified drop shoulder,  cardigan,  set-in sleeve and a sleeveless knit garment on my knitting machine.  If it were easy to calculate, I might make raglan and dolman garments. I’m not sure what all that 600 figure includes but I vary my sweaters with V, U and boat necks; change the length of my sleeves but usually not the length from shoulder/neck to hem. Be honest, how many length really look good on you? This is important for me. I am short. I find that only  3 work for me; 23, 24 and 25″. Other lengths make me look shorter or dumpier.  I’m salivating over the sleeve variations I see becoming popular in RTW; except what do you see when you look at sweaters? It’s the typical slim sleeve.  I may want a program that can design sleeves next year but for this year I’d just like to fit my shoulders, tummy and hips. Please SweaterMaker, work as well for me IRL as you did in the demo.

 

PS I asked a question of SweaterMaker’s author before the sale and on a weekend. To my surprise, I had an answer in less than 24 hours. Truthfully, I did not expect a reply for at least 48, maybe 72. Stuff happens, you know.  I hope such good customer support continues after the sale. Better still, I hope the software works so well, I won’t need customer support.

 

 

 

So I bought a knitting software….

I’m rarely successful at getting gauge and let’s face it, when following a pattern this is an essential skill. So long ago I began doing the math with pencil and paper. Add a calculator as soon as they were cheap enough (about $50 for a device that now sales for $1).Somewhere during my knitting life, I realized that most garments were merely shapes created with a determined number of  stitches and rows. Sometime later, I realized most of the shapes I wanted to wear were remarkably the same with a variation or two. Then came the realization I might not need to do the same calculations over and over if I could only save the calculations and update with the new variation.  It was at that point I graduated to  Excel Spreadsheets maybe 30 years ago, probably less.  I was fairly happy with my spreadsheets except that my figure kept changing and my computers kept crashing.  Can’t tell you how many times the worlds most prevalent virus (Microsoft OS), ate these precious worksheets and I had to start over. (Why is the most important files on your computer are never in the automated backup?)

Sigh, I am at that point once again. I started knitting again the first of January. Discovered immediately that of the thousands of knitting files I had saved, my worksheets were either not there or corrupted or the current version of the OS and MSOffice could not read my ancient files (which I believed I had updated as I upgraded MSOffice.)  If you are one of my followers you know that as an amature  dressmaker I spent hours, days, weeks months, a couple of years perfecting my fit with sewing patterns.  When I attempted to rekindle my knitting in January 2017(last year), I measured my knit T-shirt pattern and created shapes ie. front, back sleeves according to those measurements. Not sure what went wrong but when assembled a linebacker could have worn it. I wanted that sweater. I disassembled it and using my sewing pattern cut and serged me a decent sweater.

 

Wearing that beauty this year. However, cut-n-sew is not my favorite method.  It’s pretty wasteful of yarn  MK yarn retails at $18-60/pound depending on fiber. My choices generally are in the $35 range and 1 pound will make a sweater and the needed swatches for me.  Machine knitting is not cheap.  One of the worst impressions most Americans have is that you save money by making it yourself. In America, you cannot make something with new materials for less than you can buy the finished item from China. So when people hand craft things in America it is not cheap but it is a source of pleasure and pride.

Back to my pattern issues…

Moral of the above story, I could not measure  my nicely sewn T-shirt and use that as a pattern. I knew it was too big and needed downsizing. However, I didn’t return to creating my own pattern to match my own gauge until this year, 2018.  I pulled up my worksheet created last year. Yuck. One of the issue with that garment had been using a drop sleeve pattern. On me, a drop sleeve isn’t merely casual, I look like an unmade bed. There are garments to flatter every figure. Mine requires

  •  narrow shoulder
  •  round back
  • modest bust
  • short between bust and waist
  • large tummy
  • large hip

For tops. I’m not even going to what I need for nicely fitting pants.

So I don’t know what numbers to put in my spread sheets. I’m convinced that the stretch of true sweater knits makes a huge difference in the numbers. In January,  I  knit one sweater by starting with last years numbers and downsizing them, I thought, slightly, and adding using a raglan sleeve. I titled that post An MK Muslin

and no it did not turn out to be a keeper. (Yarn all rewound and ready to donate.)  I could keep tweaking the numbers but OMG calculating the sleeve cap and armscye is a migraine headache. Using rows and needles, the spreadsheet could give me kind of a starting point but I found it was necessary to either knit the sleeve a few times or spend a few hours with a calculator, pencil and paper to work out exactly where and how the increases/decreased needed to occur. And that would be true for every swatch with a quarter inch change in gauge i.e. nearly every new stitch or yarn.  At this point, I decided to see what was out there, software wise…

 

Well as always, I type too much.  Thing is, this blog is a record of not only my crafts but my thought processes.  Important to me, it has become a place to think through whatever delimma  I’m facing. So I apologize for  these long and, multiple posts but I am what I am and I need this blog just the way it is.

 

Weaving Using Fair Isle

In the upper portion of my sample, I have woven using weaving pattern 839 (built-in to my KH970) using 1 strand purple 2/24 and 1 strand acrylic baby yarn.  The baby yarn was placed in the B feeder and both middle buttons (MC and L) were pushed in); KCI selected.

The lower portion uses the same stitch pattern and same yarns but the carriage was set up for weaving (weaving brushes and rubber wheels engaged) and KC1 selected.  Only the purple 2/24 was in the feeder. The blue baby yarn was manually moved from the carriage left to right side and back again on alternating rows.

Tension was the same for both techniques.

The difference in the 2 samples is astonishing.

FI weaving is denser and produces a narrower fabric It still has stretch, just not as much as the typical weaving done on the lower sample. Floats were minimal and not apt to catch little fingers. Floats on the ‘real’ weaving with the typical length and can be annoying.

I think the yarn in feeder A is more dominant in the  FI portion of the knitting where in the true weaving it becomes a secondary/supporting player colorwise.

Although I used the same number of stitches, I don’t believe I knit the same number of rows For one thing, I got tired of moving the baby yarn back and forth – the primary reason I rarely use the weaving technique since I sold my SK700 with its weaving and lace carriages.

In weaving the back side, the purl side,  the side facing the human knitter is the right side of the work. What is usually the front side, the knit side becomes the weaving reverse private or wrong side. The FI/Weaving samples are also quite different:

Again top portion is the FI weaving. The blue baby yarn very apparent and looks neatly knit with some purple grin through. In the lower true  weaving portion the purple is visually dominant while the blue baby yarn merely ‘grins’ through.  Oddly my favorite sides are the FI right side and the Weaving wrong side.  Trust me to look just slightly “off” from my contemporaries. Wonder if I am remotely related to Picasso?