Thursday, June 4, 2015

Passap progress

It's a funny thing - learning a new skill. You're so bad at it, at first. Everything takes seventeen times as long as it ought to, and you get caught out by every potential glitsch.

That's The Sewing Lawyer and her new knitting machine, the Passap Duomatic 80.

But on the theory that you will  never learn unless you try, I made a top! This was a journey since I didn't exactly have a pattern. I had an idea of the shape I wanted and some yarn.

Scientific graph
I'm not going to try to reproduce here my thinking process. There are more details on Ravelry if you're interested. The short version is that it involved knitting a sizeable swatch, and then it took a lot of measuring, calculation and graphing of the outlines of the pieces on gauge-specific graph paper (such a cool idea, you can get it here). And all that has to take place before you get the machine threaded up and going, because once you're at the machine, it's far too late. Unlike hand knitting it is really hard to adjust on the fly. (At least for a beginner like me.) Hopefully it will get easier with time.

Upside down - not sure why (but not material)
And then there's the fact that on the DM80, once you get going you can't really tell how it's going. The stitches form and disappear down the gap between the two beds.

As you can see at right, it's confusing. And that is only a dozen or so needles. I was knitting on about 135 of them. And I had lowered the front bed (which is the one at the top) to get a better view. While knitting, pretty much all you can see is the loops on the needles.

This yarn is really skinny - a 150g cone has about 2,300 metres of yarn (I knit two strands together). But so luscious! It's 54-46% cashmere and cotton, from ColourMart. In a deep and complex purple called Juniper. There is still some left on the site. I have no idea why it's not sold out; it's so beautiful.

The colour is pretty accurate in this photo
So my top. It's a sleeveless shell with a slight cowl at the front.

I made the cowl by increasing - you can see the line of eyelets to either side of the neck point where this happened. Increasing at this point keeps the cowl in the centre of the top and avoids distorting the shoulder/armscye area.

Unlike the pattern for this top, which placed the increases at the armscye edge, and left me with an awkward triangle shape at the front shoulders.

I left the cowl neck edge to roll but finished the armscye edges with a row of single crochet. This (ahem) enclosed some little mistakes.

My top is not perfect but it's definitely wearable. In fact I wore it today with my recently-completed cardigan - it has a single strand of the cotton/cashmere held together with some alpaca, so I like to think the pieces coordinate well.


  1. You are inspiring and adventurous...always learning. The speed with which you knit always impresses me...I am a slow poke knitter and that's OK. I have been following your Blog for a long time and always look forward to your posting.

  2. This is so nice! I might borrow your idea :)

  3. Really lovely first top! The fit and style are great.

  4. Great job. Isn't it wonderful that speed at which you can whip up a simple top. As along as you understand the math of it all it easy to get a great fitting top.

  5. Well, I don't know where my post disappeared, but I'll try, again. Congratulations on your Passap! I was surprised to find this post on a sewing blog, but happy to see another machine knitter. I would never have used cashmere to learn on, but after looking it up, it wasn't any more expensive than most acrylics! GOTTA HAVE! I am up to 9 machines, now, which include a Passap Duo 80, E6000, and even a Goldy. Add to that 5 sewing machines, and all the fabric and yarn required for knitting and quilting stashes. Love the shell. My very first machine cost me $20 at Goodwill, and my first project was a lace shell. Rock on!

  6. Congratulations on an excellent project! You're doing great!

  7. Kaye, watching your machine knitting forays with interest. Here's a pretty cool, sculptural pattern set up for the knitting machine. I don't use a machine. I'm strictly low tech, but it looks like fun and better yet, it's free!

  8. Looks good Lady! I got my passap dm80 about 25 years ago and never mastered it. Now I have retired and getting back at it. Can't wait for rain so I have a good excuse to stay inside and practice! FYI I found a great resource, TKGA, the knitting guild association. They offer correspondence classes for machine knitters, specific to passap or other brands. Only $25 for a digital annual membership. And they offer a master knitter program and conferences etc. Its always better to have someone to bounce problems off of.