Sunday, October 16, 2016

Serious machine knitting progress

I was sewing through the summer but as the days started to shorten and cool, my thoughts turned to lovely wool and knitting. Since my last post I finished a hand knitted pair of socks that I started while on holidays, three pairs of socks by machine, and today I finished a cardigan. Phew!

Knitting socks by machine is a super easy thing to do and serves as a tune up or reminder of how my Passap feels and functions. The pattern from the machine manual works pretty well, and I can turn out a pair in a day (if all goes well). I have lots of sock yarn in sock quantities, so...

First tune up pair. These were made with Paton's Kroy yarn, easily available everywhere. The main challenge was matching the striping.

Yay me!

Pair number two (at right) were made for my 90-something mother in law. Her feet are bigger around and longer than mine. so on me these are looooose. I hope they fit her! I was super happy to have matched the striping in this yarn too! Yarn is a mystery sock yarn - a part ball found by my husband in a thrift shop.

Pair number 3 is another pair for my M-I-L. I used Paton's Kroy yarn again, but for some reason the yarn in these balls was thicker. One was a part ball (thrifted again) and I did not have enough to make full height socks. To get this pair, I had to knit three socks - the first one told me that I needed to make them shorter if I was going to get two!

It is easy and fast to rip out your knitting when you are using a machine. It's very liberating!

Yarn shortage prevented me from matching the striping - in fact one of these balls was wound in the opposite direction, as it turns out! So these are merely fraternal twins, unlike the identical pair that went in the same package.

So the main event (for which these socks were the tune up) is a cardigan that I just finished today. I used the same method I wrote about earlier, except this time instead of starting with a hand knitting pattern, I took measurements from a cardigan I knit by hand. I like the shape and style and thought I'd see if I could duplicate it. (Forgot that the armscyes were a bit too low, though...)

As usual with machine knitting, a swatch is absolutely critical. I used 4 ply 100% camel hair yarn from ColourMart (marinated in stash for 3 years). Based on my swatch and the garment measurements, I made up my charts.

And fussed over them quite a bit (as you can tell, with the blue and red markings). And then I knitted the pieces.

I feel most proud of the front button band. I wanted a 2cm wide band in full needle rib but with a little stockinette edge that would curl and be firm and smooth. I knitted the bands on 20 stitches with a 3-stitch stockinette edge. I had to make buttonholes and based on my samples I calculated the number of stitches between buttonhole rows and the total number of rows and I knitted (back and forth times approximately 550) and miracle of miracles, the band turned out Exactly Right!

It took me as long to mattress stitch these pieces together by hand as it did to knit them (I exaggerate just a bit) I am super happy with the result.

Without further ado:

Standing next to the Passap
Wondrous Machine
Back - ribbing is a touch too low