Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Sunflowers Are Smiling
(Click on photos to enlarge)

Our sunflowers are smiling in all their glory.  I really never appreciated the sunflower décor fad from a few years ago but I sure like them in our garden.  And the honey bees, butterflies and moths are sure liking them too.  I didn't understand why there was such a flurry with the honey bees so I did some research.  Wikipedia, here I come.  The honey bees gather pollen and use it as a protein which is necessary during brooding....never knew that.  I knew they used their honey to feed on during the winter months but not anything about pollen.  So a little education coming your way along with some pictures.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Dishcloth, Gartered, Midgauge
(Click on photos to enlarge)

Our DIL loves the time proven hand knit gartered dishcloths and I try to keep her supplied in them.  But I've fallen down on the job the last little while and they take me so long to hand knit.  So I am knitting something similar on my midgauge 6.5mm machine with a garter bar.  I turned (gartered) every 2 rows instead of every row as in the hand knit pattern but think they'll substitute just fine...every row might become a bit overwhelming.  I used I Love This Cotton from Hobby Lobby in this one and it turned out just great.  Someday I'll make one with Peaches and Crème and I'm suspecting the tension dial will need to be turned a couple clicks higher as it's not nearly as soft as I Love This Cotton.  I'll report when I get one done.

Machine:   SK860, 6.5mm midgauge
Yarn:   I Love This Cotton
Tension:  T6 to T7 as desired
Gauge:  5 sts and 8 rows = 1” at T5
Size:  Approx 8.5 x8.5”

1.   Scrap and ravel cord over 42 needles.
2.   Double needle e-wrap CO.
3.   RC000, Knit 1 row to left.
4.   Turn work with garter bar.
5.   Move carriage to opposite side.  (Turn row counter back one row if the carriage is passed across  
       the bed and the row counter is tripped.)
6.   *  Knit 2 rows.
7.   Turn work with garter bar.
8.   Move carriage to opposite side and turn row counter back one row if needed. *
9.   Repeat from * to * to RC073, turn.
10.  With COL, backstitch BO.
11.  Weave in yarn ends.

Friday, August 1, 2014

DIY Sponge Strip for KX-350 Midgauge Machine

(Click on photos to enlarge)

If you have just purchased a KX-350 knitting machine or you already have a machine, you will eventually need to replace the sponge strip.  The KX-350 is unique in that it doesn't accommodate the conventional sponge bar with a metal housing but only uses a strip of foam encased in fabric on both sides.  Purchased strips won't break your bank but I find that it's just as easy and handy to make my own.  Here's how I do it.

You will need:
3/8" wide x 5/16" thick foam weather stripping
3/8" wide satin ribbon, twice the length of the machine bed
Flexible craft glue

There is a great picture tutorial at that shows step by step instructions on how to replace the strip.

All the needles need to be removed to replace the sponge strip so now would be a great time to do some spring cleaning on your machine....a happy machine is a clean machine!

1.  To remove the needles, close the latch, push forward as far as they will go, lift the back up with the needle butts and pull the needle backwards and out.  This would be a good time to soak them in isopropyl alcohol with a few drops of your machine oil added or lamp oil.  (Kerosene)  Either works fine.  NOTE:  I soak my needles in 2 pans, the center half of the needles in one pan and the outer rest in another pan.  Then when I replace them, I'll use the ones I had on the outsides for the middle section and the ones I had in the middle on the outsides.  Since we use the middle section of the needlebed the most, transposing the needles will give even wear on them.

2.  IF the old sponge strip is in good condition and not crumbled and the channel is clean, either sew or use a small safety pin to attach the new strip to the end of the old one and gently pull on the old strip and pull the new one thru the channel with the old one.  IF the old sponge strip is deteriorated and crumbly or the channel is not clean, pull the old strip out and clean the channel before inserting the new strip.  Dish soap and water is about the best cleaning solution, don’t use any harsh chemicals that may damage the plastic.

3.  With the needles out, insert the strip into the channel.  Use whatever tool works best for you, probably your 1 prong transfer tool. 

4.  Dry each needle if you’ve soaked them and reinsert into the needle bed.  Open the latch and push the front of the needle under the sponge strip.  Push the needle forward as far as it will go, lower the back and slide it back into place.  It’s kind of tricky but you’ll get the hang of it.  Just make sure the needle goes under the sponge and it moves back and forth freely after inserted.