Monday, March 18, 2013

Ruffles the Electronic Way

As an extension of my post on how to make shortrowed ruffles, Marzipanknits has graciously posted her electronic version of shortrowed ruffles on her blog at  I urge you to try her version if you have an electronic or punch card machine.  And what an opportune time, right before the Purls of Joy seminar with their focus being ruffles this year.

Her electronic version is faster than hand pulling needles as in the manual version that I posted, but if you're doing Sew As Ya Go to attach to an already completed project, you will still need to pause to hang those stitches and you still will need to finish the edge of the ruffle to tame the curl.  However, lots of time is saved in just not having to manually pull needles for the shortrowing and it doesn't get nearly as tedious.

Happy ruffling!!

Ruffles by Manual Shortrowing

(Click on photo to enlarge)

This is a ruffle that I have attached to the edge of a blanket with a Sew As Ya Go (SAYG) method.  For a more stable edge, I worked one row of single crochet around the edge of the blanket before beginning the ruffle but it’s not necessary.  The ruffle is formed by shortrowing and may be made more full by decreasing the number of rows between short rows, or less full by increasing the number of rows between shortrows.  The width of the ruffle can also be adjusted by casting on more or less stitches.  The ruffle can be made independently and sewn onto the edge of the blanket later if you chose not to SAYG. 

1.   With waste yarn, CO 10 sts.  T6, with carriage on left, K1R to the right.  If not joining the ends as for a blanket, you may want to do a permanent e-wrap or crocheted cast on.  Adjust tension to your yarn depending on the drape you want.  I knit this blanket on my midgauge machine with Caron Simply Soft and chose T6 to work nicely.

2.   With carriage on the right and using a transfer tool, pick up one stitch from the edge of the non-public side of the blanket going through both loops of the edge stitch and hang on the first needle latch away from the carriage.  K2R, ending with carriage on the right. 

3.   Continue in this manner, picking up the next stitch from the blanket each time the carriage is on the right, for a total of 6R…or number of rows desired depending on how full you want the ruffle. 

4.   With carriage on the right, set machine to Hold and manually shortrow by putting 2 needles furthest away from the carriage in Hold.  Knit 2R.  
NOTE:  This method will create eyelet 'holes' along the knitted row.  If you don't want the eyelets, manually wrap the first needle in hold before knitting the 2nd row to the right.

5.   Repeat holding 2 needles each time the carriage is on the right until all needles are in hold. With all needles in working position (or with carriage off hold), knit 2R, ending with carriage on the right.  

6.   Continue around the blanket, picking up stitches from the blanket edge each time the carriage is on the right and then shortrowing in the above manner. On the corners, decrease the number of plain rows between shortrowing to 2 rows instead of 6 rows, 8 times.  

7.   When the ruffle has been completed, scrap off and graft to join to the cast on edge.  Or you may work a permanent bind off around the gate pegs or back stitching. 


As with any machine knitted piece, the edge of the ruffle will curl.  Use your favorite method to eliminate or lessen curling.  I have added a crocheted edging on this blanket.  With crochet hook, single crochet, chain 3 in every other stitch around the edge of the ruffle.   

Lightly steam the ruffle and allow to completely dry before moving.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

A Lesson in 2 Color Double Bed Jacquard (DBJ)

(Click on photo to enlarge)

I developed these instructions for 2 color double bed jacquard using a Brother 965i machine, 4 color dbl bed color changer, ribber KR-850 and DK7.  I still need to refer to them every time I do dbj because if the setup isn’t done properly in this order, I can guarantee that I’ll most likely have to start over.  This is how I do it but always refer to your user’s manual if in doubt about any of the steps.  Check out a few tips that I learned along the way at the end of the article.
As always, please leave a comment if you find errors or if I'm not clear enough and I'll promptly fix it. 

1.   Insert fine knitting bar behind gate pegs on main bed.
2.   Attach double bed color changer unit to left hand side of machine.
3.   Carriage on the right.
4.   Thread main color yarn thru the right side of antenna.
5.   Thread contrast color in the antenna to the left of the main color.
6.   Lower ribber.
7.   Secure both yarn ends in the yarn clip on the left hand side of the ribber.  The yarns go between the main bed and the ribber.
8.   Place the contrast color in #2 slot of the color changer. 
9.   Place main color in the #1 yarn slot.   

1.   Download any 2 color fairisle pattern into knitting machine.  
2.   If the method of knitting is changed to 2 color jacquard during the set up process, make sure it’s changed back to fairisle before downloading again.  If downloaded in 2 color jacquard method, the pattern will not knit properly. 

1.  Set the knitter carriage end needle selection off.
2.  Set ribber at H (half-pitch) and rack to 5.
3.  Lift ribber up to connect carriages.  Make sure both carriages are set for plain knitting, no buttons or knobs selected.
4.   Select and pull out desired needles as for full needle rib on both the main bed and ribber bed.  Make sure there are an even number selected on the main bed and the ribber for birdseye backing. I like to CO with left main bed needle and the right ribber bed needle being the outermost.
5.   Pass attached carriages from R to L to align needles.
6.   Set both carriages to T2 (a good starting point for a 3 ply yarn.  Try T0 if using fine yarn or higher for a heavier yarn).
7.   Set ribber slide lever to ‘I’ only if tucking, ‘II’ or ‘lili’ if not tucking.
8.   With carriages to the left and positioned past the Turn Mark and til the color changer clicks, push in #1 yarn slot on the color changer (with the main color).
9.   With the main color in the yarn slot, K1R from L to R to make a zig-zag row.
10. Hang cast on comb, making sure that it is free hanging and not going to get caught up in the end ribber plates.  Do not hang weights yet.
11. Set carriages for circular knitting. (Main Bed: Left part button in.  Ribber: Right part button up.)
12.  Knit 2 rows.  One direction will knit the ribber and one will knit on the main bed.
13.  Release part buttons, on main carriage and ribber.
14.   Increase T dials to 3/3.  K1R from R to L past the click from the color changer.  COL. 
15.   Hang a large weight on each end of the cast on comb, one in the middle and a couple smaller weights across the comb. 

1.   Set up DAK for interactive knitting.  In Options, select the method of knitting to 2 color jacquard only AFTER the fairisle pattern has been downloaded to your machine.  This will ensure that 2 pattern rows are knitted before the pattern advances.  When DAK asks if you want to save the stitch pattern, say ‘Yes’.  BUT don’t forget to go back after finishing your dbj project and change the method of knitting back to Fairisle before you download it into your machine again.
2.   In Interactive Knitting, follow screen prompts and complete setup actions before proceeding. 

1.  Make sure the magnet arm on the carriage is set to read DAK.
2.  Make sure the McRib button on your machine console is on.
3.  At main T and with desired yarn threaded in the carriage, turn KC knob on and with the carriage past the Turn Mark, K from L to R for the preselect row.  

1.  With carriages on the right, set the carriages as follows....

Main Carriage:
KC button on.
Both part buttons engaged.

Ribber Carriage:
Slide lever to ‘lili’ for plain dbj, ‘II’ if a firmer fabric is desired, to ‘I’ only if doing tuck.
Both KR Change Knobs set to ‘lili’ for birdseye backing.
Left and right cam levers set to P-R.
Tuck Button up to P only for tuck birdseye.  (The tuck button will give you a more textured fabric and a wider piece of knitting.  Without it, you will have a flatter, narrower, and more plain piece.  Your choice.  If you use the tuck button the design will be shorter than it will without it engaged.)
2.   Set tensions for main knitting.  (I used Tamm 3 Ply Astracryl at T6 on main bed and T5 on ribber, if tucking.  Use the same tension on both carriages if not tucking.  If not tucking, tension dial may need to be raised atleast 1, if not 2 full numbers higher than normally used.)
3.  Set RC to 000.  Pattern row #1, Memo window on flashing 1.
4.  Click OK in DAK to sync the carriage.  Click the GO light only if the silver bar at the bottom is not showing.  The silver bar must be showing in the bottom tool bar.
5.  RC 000, K 1 row to L.  Make sure that the carriages go far enough to the left to hear a click from the color changer.  The click tells you to change yarn selection. 

1.  Now press the #2 yarn slot to exchange yarns in the yarn feeder of the carriage.
NOTE:  Look at the machine memo window.  # 2 should be showing.  That is telling you that you need to change color of yarn to #2 for the next 2 rows.  Also look at DAK screen; it will tell you which yarn, direction of knitting, carriage side and row counters.  The row counter and pattern row will be different as you knit because dbj only advances the pattern row on every other pass.
2.  Continue knitting, making color changes on the left side only with the carriages properly seated in the color changer.   
3.  When knitting is complete, turn all patterning off, (all tuck and part buttons off  both carriages, KC knob off, 'lili buttons off), K1R over all needles in work on both beds at main tension.  T2/2, K2 circular rows with R part button pushed on main carriage and L part lever pushed up on the ribber carriage.  At T 10/8, part buttons off, K1R.  Break main yarn.  T 8/8, K10 rows in scrap.  Remove from machine and BO as below. 

CAST OFF with latch tool on side opposite the yarn tail:
1.  Pick up the first open st in main yarn from the right hand edge onto the tool.
2.  Pick up the next purl st from the front into the center st, just below the waste yarn.
3.  Alternately pick up the stitches from each bed as they were knit and scrapped off, placing the first st behind the latch, and pulling each new st thru the first st.
4.  At end of the row, pull the yarn end through the last st.
OR use FNR BO with double eyed needle on the machine. 

1.   Highly recommend starting with only a 2 color pattern until you get proficient with dbj.
2.   Look at the memo window on your machine whenever you change yarns.  It will tell you what color to change to.
3.   If you need to leave your work or take a break, always leave your carriages at the right hand side.  Then you will know that when you knit to the left and into the color changer that you will have to change colors.  If you’re unsure if you’ve changed yarns or not, look at the DAK Interactive screen to determine which yarn should be selected.
4.   Color changes are always made at the left thru the color changer, never at the right.
5.   Can do a striper backing by not engaging the KR Change Knobs. 
6.   Yarn tension will be a matter of trial and error.  Find one that works best for your yarn.  Highly suggest doing swatches.  If your carriages are dragging and hard to push, usually the answer is to reduce the tension dials, not increase.
7.   Usually set the ribber tension, one full number lower than the main carriage.
8.   Recommended not to use knobby or textured yarns.
9.   For a full size afghan, knit in panels and join together.
10. Keep moving weights up as you knit.  Don’t let the work become slack, especially on the sides.
11. Steaming is recommended to soften and make a nice drape, but I wouldn’t steam til after laundering, as most yarns soften during washing/drying.
12. Make sure that you start with a Fairisle (-F) pattern.  If your pattern gets saved as dbj (-2), you will need to change method of knitting to Fairisle before downloading to machine.
13.   Use the same weight yarns, but if using 2 different weight yarns, use the heavier for the main (background).
14.   If using the tuck button on the ribber, the design will be wider and shorter than normal, so in order to maintain a better proportional ratio, I rescaled the design to make it a few rows taller to compensate for the tucking distortion. 
15.   While knitting, the memo window, DAK yarn indicator and the color changer must all agree.  If they don’t, you will not pattern properly.  The memo window, DAK and color changer should all correspond before starting to knit the row from L to R. 

Lighter weight yarns work best.  Tamm 3 Ply Astracryl or any fingering weight yarn would work well.  2 strands of 2/24 is even suggested.  Do some experimenting.  In her Prize Winning Afghans book, Joan Swanson is suggesting the following to be knit around T8, however a lot of these yarns have long since been discontinued: 

2 strands of 2/24
Bramwell Fine 4 ply
Mary Lue’s 3/15
Millor Andino, Pupe or Trenzado
Nomis 3/15 Excellence
Phentex Fingering 
Tamm 3 Ply, Trenzi  

She’s recommending T0/0 for the foundation row and up to 4 to 6 for:
1 strand of 2/24
Millor Infanta
Tamm Suavi
Delaine Acridel 

Another book is recommending:
Bramwell Fine 4 ply, Duo Magic, High Bulk, Artistic, Celebration
Millor Infanta, Andino and Pupe
Jaggerspun (all)
Delaine Acridel
Fiber Fantasy, Pure and Simple
2 strands of 2/24
Tamm 3 Ply Astracryl

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Mitten, 2 Color, Double Bed Jacquard, Birdseye Backing

(Click on Photos to Enlarge)
I just finished a pair of mittens in double bed jacquard that I really like and want to share with you.  I like the looks of fairisle but don’t do much of it because of dealing with the yarn floats carried on the back.  So unless I use a pattern with no more than 3 or 4  stitch floats, I usually don’t do fairisle.  DBJ is the perfect answer for smaller items for me.  It gives a nice double thickness fabric, warm for our cold winters, and no floats to deal with.  DBJ might be a bit heavy for garments though.
I’m going to focus on my pattern for the mittens right now….I plan to do a quick down and dirty tutorial on dbj in another post soon. 
I designed the stitch pattern in DK7, using Stitchworld pattern #20 for the hand and a 1x1 column of alternating colors in the cuff.  The cuff is not ribbed but done in dbj at two tensions tighter than the hand.  The mitten is made with 2 identical pieces, a front and back, and seamed together.  The thumb is knit separately and mattress stitched in the side seam above the cuff.  If I had more patience and could assure myself that I could resume the pattern, I would do the thumb gusset in one piece.  But mattress stitching it in worked well for me.
Seaming in dbj is quite easy actually.  Work a mattress stitch on the edges of the public side and it leaves very little bulk on the inside and is quite invisible on the public side.  It took me a bit to ‘see’ the stitches to pick up while mattressing, so look for the ladder st between the layers of fabric.
I worked the thumb in fairisle because I didn’t want to deal with all the increases in dbj but I will work on that when I have the fortitude and patience.  After I knit each row, I hung the longer yarn floats on a needle above to prevent thumb snags on the floats.
One last comment I want to make about dbj is to make a swatch, launder and dry as you would the finished item, then take your gauge measurements.  My length of my finished mitten shortened a bit;  my theory is that the heavy ribber weights stretched the stitches as I knit.  Washing and drying brought them back into shape nicely.  But of course this will depend on the yarn being used.  So do yourself a favor and swatch, launder and dry before measuring for gauge.
So….here goes.  If you see any glaring mistakes or have questions, please feel free to leave a comment and I’ll get right on it.

MITTENS, 2 color DBJ, Birdseye Backing  
Size:  Woman’s Medium, 7.5” L without cuff
Machine:  Brother KH965i and KR850 ribber
Yarn:  Main Color WEBs Sock yarn on cone
          Contrast Color 5th Avenue Funky sock yarn
Tension: T7 in hand, T5 in dbj cuff
Gauge:  Approx 8 sts, 20 rows = 1”

1)  CO 28 sts as for dbj, pitch H5, ribber slide lever on 'lili' or ‘II’ for a tighter cuff.  (Must be even sts on ea bed)
2)  T1, K across from L to R for zig zag row, hang CO comb and 2 large ribber weights; T2, set carriages for circular and K2R; T5, K1R across all needles, past the L turn mark and  into the color changer.  COL.
3)   Set machine for dbj and K21 pattern rows after the foundation cast on rows.  (43 rows on RC)

1)   T7, ribber slide lever on ‘lili’, K in dbj pattern to RC156.  (79 rows in dbj pattern)  COR. 
2)   Make all decreases when COR.  Keeping in pattern, decrease fingertips by 2 sts with 3 prong tool on each side of each bed.  To decrease 2 sts on each bed, use 3 prong tool and move the outermost 3 sts in 2 needles.  There will be 2 sts on ndls 2 and 3 on both beds.
3)  K4R,  remembering to keep in pattern and changing yarn when carriage is on the left hand side.  Be sure to keep an even number of stitches on both beds and empty needles moved to out of work before knitting across. 
4)   Dec fingertip down to 8 sts ending with RC175 and COL.
5)   Discontinue DBJ patterning and set carriages back to plain knitting.  Transfer ribber sts to corresponding main bed needles.  There will be 2 sts on ea needle. 
6)   T6, K1R across.
7)   Scrap off with several rows of waste yarn for grafting later.

Make 2 identical pieces, however you may use a different pattern for the other side if you choose.  

THUMB:   Make 2  (Worked in fairisle using the same fairisle pattern as the hand)
1)   Begin with WY and ravel cord, hang weights and e-wrap 3 sts.
2)   RC000, T7, K3R with a single strand of yarn.   
3)   Set machine and yarns for fairisle patterning.
4)   Increase 1 st on carriage side of every row until 26 sts by bringing out one ndl to upper working position before knitting across.
5)   Knit even in fairisle patterning to RC048.  Then discontinue fairisle and set machine back to plain knitting.
6)   Cut one yarn and continue with only one strand.  Dec sts to EON across.  Move all empty needles out of work.
7)   T3, K1R, gather and secure.

Graft fingertips, mattress st side seams leaving a space in one side seam for the thumb. To fit the thumb in, I seamed the cuff first then positioned the thumb and sewed it in with mattress st, up one side and down the other. The thumb sts may need to be eased in to fit the opening.

This is an example of birdseye backing, set with the 'lili' buttons.  It's kind of hard to pick the pattern out with the varigated yarn, but birdseye knits every other stitch alternating on each row, like a checkerboard pattern.  For ribbers without 'lili' buttons, the backing will be striped, one color per row.    

Friday, March 1, 2013

DIY Decker Comb, Revisited

I have a great update to a previous post, DIY Decker Comb, that I posted on Sep 17, 2012.  A friend on sent her sweet husband on a mission to find a better way to hold the stitches on the Decker comb while turning her work.  He came home with a pack of hair bands and they do indeed work better than the report cover slider bar and binder clip that I came up with.  The hair bands cling to the metal transfer comb better, hold the stitches on nicely while turning work and not as cumbersome as the slider bar and clip combo.  It was a great find. 

As a reminder, I'm also showing the original tool with the slider bar and binder clip that I was working with and posted earlier.  The hair band works much much better.