Thursday, June 19, 2014

Dishcloth, Tucked with Vertical Stripes...2 Carriage

(Click on photos to enlarge)

I've made several of these dishcloths on my manual KX350 midgauge machine with a bit of Maysville 8/4 cotton rug warp.  (See my post of January 2014)  But I made them by manually changing yarn colors and it got to be quite tedious and not real easy on my arms.  A gal on Ravelry made the same dishcloth pattern using 2 carriages, one for each color.  Now, just why didn't I think of that?  I made a couple up today and was quite happy that I could get them done in about half the time as I did by manually changing yarns as with the others.  This is a great alternative to not having a color changer, providing you have 2 carriages for your machine.  I'm happy and well on the way to a few more Christmas stocking stuffers.

Here's how I did it:
1) CO 46 sts with waste yarn and ravel cord,
2) T5, with main color, e-wrap and K1R to left,
3) Beg with the 1st needle, pull out to hold position every other needle,
4) Both carriages on hold, K1R to right with main color,
5) Beg with the 2nd needle, pull out to hold position every other needle and the others back to lower working position,
6) Use the carriage on the left to hold the contrasting color and K2R, with carriage ending on the left hand side,
7) Beg with 1st needle, pull out to hold position every other needle and the others back to lower working position,
8) K2R with the main color in the carriage on the right,
9) Beg with 2nd needle, pull out to hold position every other needle and the others back to lower working position,
10) K2R with the contrast color in carriage on the left.
11) Knit in this pattern til RC170, take carriage off hold, K across to the left and back stitch BO.
Machine Setup

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

'In The Ditch' Buttonholes
(Click on photo to enlarge)

I recently knit a cardigan with 1x1 vertical ribbed button and buttonhole bands.  The bands were single layered and I had quite a time getting the tension low enough so that the bands wouldn’t stretch out of shape so badly when buttoned.  It looked really nice until I put it on and button it and the buttons pulled more on the buttonholes than I liked.  The buttonhole technique I had been using were made vertically for 4 rows by putting half the needles in hold position, then knitting 4 rows on the needles in work, then putting the other half of the needles in hold position and knitting 4 rows on the opposite needles in work.  The buttonholes themselves worked and looked great but like I say, the ribbing wasn’t firm enough to look nice.

So I went on a mission to find the perfect buttonhole technique to solve my problem.  I found a video on a technique called ‘In the Ditch’ buttonholes at  It was from one of the free videos offered by Knit-It-Now some time ago and I miraculously remembered that I had saved it.  It’s now available on You Tube.  I have heard from others that this is not a new technique and has been around for quite awhile.  But it's new to me and gives me another option when traditional buttonholes just don't work.

It worked quite well for my cardigan.  I lowered the tension as much as my yarn would knit well and knit one strip of ribbing long enough to go around the entire length of one front side, plus the back neck, plus the other front side.  I had about 550 rows on my midgauge machine and it went quite fast.  I scrapped off the end so I’d have free stitches to unravel to needed length, then I did a hand crocheted slip stitch after the band was sewn on and I knew how long it needed to be.  I mattress stitched the band on, leaving about 5 rows open in the seam to create the buttonhole. 

I can see a few advantages to this method.  No measuring and calculating where the buttonholes should be while knitting the band.  I marked where the buttonholes should be on the cardigan front and ‘made’ the buttonholes as I seamed the band on.  Secondly, there is less stretching of a single layered band.  And this technique could be used with machine or hand knitted projects as well. 

One disadvantage might be that it maybe wouldn’t lend itself nicely to wider bands.  The button band on this particular cardy is a little over an inch wide and my buttons are about 7/8” wide and I'm quite pleased with the result.