This month’s top tips

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Get weaving

I was reading through some of my very old To & Fro magazines and spotted an absolute gem of advice from the real ‘old school’. (Happy memories of Joan Lafferty!) It’s about doing a weaving cast-on, which I so wanted to use but I’ve never got it to work for me. I’ve had a go at this tip and yes, it really does work so I’ll pass it on for the newbies. Well, first of all we’re told to lift up the end of yarn at the inner side of the carriage and move the carriage to and fro a bit before putting the yarn across the holding position needles. Sounds obvious, but I’d never done it. It lifts the yarn above the metal sinker plate and saves it catching in the brushes. Doh! Now the yarn is in the right place, you can put in the weaving brushes. I put both brushes in, though they actually say you just need the one on the inside leading edge of the carriage. When you come to close the hem, you just pick up the large loops from the cast on, onto every other needle. Here’s the best bit! Supposing you’ve a special needle set up, such as in tuck lace where some needles are out of work. You can still use the weaving cast on, as long as you bring forward every other working needle to holding position. Try it, it works fine!

What I truly had never heard is that all isn’t lost if you don’t have a cast on comb or any weaving brushes, such as on some earlier machines. Bring every other needle to holding position, knit the row and lay the nylon cord across in the usual way, between the needles and sinker posts. Bring out of work needles to working position and continue to knit. The effect is the same as the weaving cast on. After laying in the cord they say don’t forget to bring forward (a little bit) needles with stitches on, so the cord doesn’t get tangled up with the stitches. Good tip! Being able to do a weaving cast on has given me such a lot of confidence, after thinking I could never do it.

 

Have you any ideas for getting a really good rib cast on edge? I knit on a Brother and mine always look frilly and, frankly, a big mess. Hoping you can help please.

To get a fine rib edge on your Brother machine, use Tension 0/0 and set the slide lever at II for the cast on. You can actually wind the yarn anti-clockwise round the ribber joining knob to slow down the flow, as you need the cast-on to be as tight as possible. You can also try putting the ribber cams to tuck, just for the zigzag, but none of this works unless you pull down all the slack yarn at the back of the yarn tension arm before you start to knit! After the zigzag row, put in the ribber comb, but no weights, until you’ve done the circular rows, still at the same tension. Now add the weights and lay a nylon cord right across between the needles. Hold the ends below the beds, just for the first actual rib row. If the rib tension is to be (say) 4/4, do the first rib row around 2/2. When the work is off the machine, pull up the stitches on the nylon cord and tug the cord away from the work. This will straighten out the edge beautifully and is much easier than threading a fine knitting needle through the edge afterwards!

 

One great tip about making life easy for sewing up garments.

Fran McCarthy has made me really think back to my early knitting days and how much of a struggle it all seemed to be. One great tip I read was about making life easy for sewing up garments. If you’re using 1×1 rib, a simple trick for the cast on is to put one extra needle to work at the left on the ribber bed. After the first rib row, transfer it to the main bed so that two stitches are working side by side. The extra stitch gets taken into the seam in mattress stitch, corresponding with the one on the main bed at the other end, so the rib is continuous. For cardigans, put one extra stitch at each end on the back rib, but none on the front ribs. For 2×2 and 2×1 industrial rib, you don’t need to do anything. The normal set up joins perfectly when you mattress stitch the two pieces together. Isn’t that handy?

 

It’s the time of year for making winter warmers and I make lots of hats and scarves for charity. They’re nothing special, just gathered into a pom-pon for the top of the hats and ends of the scarves, so have you a quick way of gathering up a rib edge?

Thanks for asking Flo and you may also knit hats which are made double length then one edge is pushed inside the other. For the cast on edge, leave an extra-long end of yarn when you cast on. It needs to be about 20 cm longer than the width of the working needles on the machine. First knit the zigzag row. Now lift the end of yarn up between the beds, take it across the zigzag and down the other side of the work. Hold this end down until the first rib row is knitted and then you can release it. When the work is off the machine, just pull up the rib stitches on this thread and fasten off securely. Old hands will recognise this as something we did on a single bed machine when we couldn’t find our nylon cords to cast on!

 

I prefer to knit sideways bands on my cardigans, as I can’t stand all that sewing up. Is there anything I can do to stop the ends on the fronts pulling up? Pressing doesn’t work and, anyway, we can’t press acrylic unless we want to wreck everything. Don’t take it the wrong way, but did you do something in the dim and distant past I might not know about?

You need what we used to call a ‘flat rib’. One bed, usually the main bed, knits with all needles in work whilst you put into work the needles which will show the rib you want on the ribber. Here’s an example for a 2×2 flat rib. On the ribber, have two needles in work and two out of work all the way along. (Don’t forget the pitch set at H, of course!) You can’t cast on like this, so cast on in full needle rib and transfer the unwanted stitches from ribber to main bed. The alternative is to use a 1×1 rib cast on, transfer all stitches to the main bed (easy if you’ve a transfer carriage!) and then return the needles you need on the ribber to working position. If you just put the needles into work and knit, you’ll get small holes at the base of the rib, which you could get away with by calling it a design feature! Otherwise, you’ll have to fill up those needles with the heel of a stitch from the main bed. Hope this helps.

A big ‘thank you’

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Dear Anne

I wanted to say ‘Thank You’ for printing my request for help in my search for a Fair Isle paisley pattern in the May issue. I want to say an even bigger ‘THANK YOU’ for the reply that you printed and to the reader who kindly passed on the detailed information. Yes, I recognised the picture straight away and I have now prepared the punchcard, even obtained some Shamal yarns from eBay and tonight I start! Oh, I am a happy knitter and very grateful for the assistance. Best wishes, Rhona

Help! I need a machine knitter

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Hi Anne

Help! I need a machine knitter to make a chenille man’s sweater my daughter has designed for Uni. I have the wool and I’m obviously happy to pay for the knitting. I also have all the measurements and a rib knit sample. Can someone help with this please and the deadline is the end of April.

Thanks, Debbie.

Reset a Brother 881 for Fair Isle

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We’ve had a really interesting query, which may help other Brother knitters. A reader asked: “I’ve come back to machine knitting after a long gap and can’t recall what setting to use on my Brother 881 to reset the pattern for Fair Isle, tuck and so on such as when starting the second side of a neckline. I recall that you need to note down the pattern row you are on when you reach the point where the knitting is divided, reset the pattern card to that row and lock it. What I can’t remember is how to run the carriage over the knitting so that the needles are selected, but the stitches don’t knit and don’t fall off the needles”.

The answer is in the instruction manual, around Pages 68 to 71. It explains, in full, what to do if you make mistakes in pattern knitting when using a punchcard and what to do to correct it. Having explained how to get the knitting back to where it needs to be, you rewind the punchcard and set the card lock lever. To select the needles you depress both PART buttons and set the CHANGE KNOB to KC. Take the carriage across with no yarn in the feeder and Position B needles are selected. Thread up, release the card and off you go again. Hope this helps!

New recruit to machine knitting

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As arthritic fingers make hand knitting a bit of a pain I find that casting on by hand and doing the rib is fine. I then add some waste knitting and put it on the machine. Have you any suggestions for websites that may be able to help? Many thanks for your interesting magazine and I find the Starting Over articles very helpful Cheers, Christine Steptoe

Hi Christine

Welcome to machine knitting.

You will need to look for patterns which use a thicker yarn than 4ply to accommodate the size you want to knit.

This website has many patterns for different gauge machines: http://needlesofsteel.org.uk/index.html

The patterns are sorted according to gauge mid-gauge being marked with an M. Some of the patterns for bulky/chunky may also knit up well on your machine.

Once you have become used to the tensions and sizing you will be able to adapt patterns by knitting a tension swatch and using the measurements from the diagrams printed in MKM to work out how mny stitches and rows you need to knit.

Kind regards Sue

Sue P
2016-08-23 13:50:28
Hi Christine

Regarding the 4ply patterns needing more needles than you have you could knit the back in two halves and join them with mattress stitch for an invisible join.

Hope this helps Sue

Sue P
2016-08-26 15:30:03

Toyota needles

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Does anyone know if any standard gauge needles will fit it? Thanks for any help. Linda

Hi Linda

You might find some on Ebay. BSK often list machine needles there.

Also some people have tried Brother standard gauge needles in their Toyota 901 machines and find they make a good substitute.

Hope this helps Sue

Sue P
2016-08-23 13:53:47

Single motifs

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I have recently brought my Knitmaster 321 out of retirement and wish to re-educate myself on the art of single motifs. Is there a knitting club or someone in the Croydon area who could help, please?

This might help: http://myknittingmachinesandme.wordpress.com/2007/04/22/practicing-on-the-knitmaster-321/

Also check ‘Clubs’ in ‘Directory’ under ‘Contents’ above; there might be a club you could contact that is not too far away from where you live.

Kind regards
Sue

Sue P
2016-06-24 08:16:18

Making up a sideways cardigan

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Hi
I’ve knitted the beautiful stripped sideways cardigan from the May issue. However, I’m really struggling to make sense of the making up. Is anyone able to help me? Many thanks in advance.

Start by laying the piece out flat right side uppermost then fold the cast on and cast off edges in towards the centre at the armhole shaping. This will show you where to stitch for the shoulders. Now stitch the ends of the rows on the widest parts together for the collar. Stitch the collar to the back neck you will have to stretch it to make it fit. Sew the sleeve seams pin into the armholes and stitch in place.
Hope this helps fit ‘the jigsaw’ together Sue
Sue P
2016-05-26 17:26:16
That’s fantastic thank you.
kim3
2016-05-26 18:50:00

Tension problem

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On a tension square which produces 20 stitches to 20 cm, which scale should I use in the KL-116 – or is it not possible? Any help would be gratefully received.
Thanks, Lesley

The Brother chunky KH 260 came with a set of scales for use with the Knitleader. If you do not have them try the advertisers in MKM or sometimes they are advertised on eBay.
Sue
Sue P
2016-05-13 19:09:28