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Phoebe is no stranger to our pages and following all the recent letters in the magazine, she’s written to pass on some help.

Dear Anne

I’ve just acquired another knitting machine. It’s a Singer LK-140, 6.5 gauge model and is the same as the Silver Reed LK-150, but with ten less needles. As the machine has no ribber, I’ve been playing around with samples. My little machine came with its own table, an intarsia carriage and charting device though I haven’t tried them yet. To help other readers new to the LK-150, here are some ideas to try.

Getting started Select 50 Ns to WP. Using 1×1 selector tool, push back every alt N to NWP. Now take your cast-on strip and hook it up to Ns in WP. What! You don’t have a cast-on strip? But it’s essential for starting your knitting on single bed work. Okay, let’s go off to the machine and make one.

Cast-on or bias strip With carriage on right, select first 10 Ns on far left of machine to HP. Using 8-ply yarn, e-wrap these 10 Ns. Thread up machine. With machine set to knit back Ns, K 2 rows slowly. Hang claw weight. * Now take first st on left and transfer it to next st (decrease) and at the same time bring N next to st on right to WP (increase) and K 2 rows *. Rep from * to * all along needlebed, moving the claw weight as you go. When you get to the far end of the machine, K 2 rows and cast off. There, that didn’t take too long did it and you’ll never have to cast on in WY again. As I’ve knitted mine in acrylic, it came off the machine biased (hence its name) so I killed it. I used my steam iron and actually ironed it flat. If you have another machine with a ribber, you can make an easier cast-on strip by casting on 20 sts in 1×1 rib and just knit a long strip. The cast-on strip can also be used when shaping a ‘V’ neck garment, where you knit one side of the neck whilst holding the other side. Simply hang the cast-on strip on the left half of the knitting. Push these Ns to HP. Set machine to hold and knit the right half of the neck, take off on WY then knit the left half of the neck. Using the cast-on strip this way means you won’t get a line across the held half of the knitting.

Sample 1 – 1×1 Mock rib With carriage on left, bring Ns to WP. Push back every alt N to NWP then take cast-on strip and hook it up to Ns in WP. K 1 row with ravel cord. As I’m using 8-ply acrylic, I used Tension 1, but this is only a guide. Using MY, K 20 rows. Bring up empty Ns to WP and pick up first row in MY to form a hem. Using Tension 2, K 1 row.

Sample 2 – ‘Garter stitch’ edge This is done after you’ve knitted your garment piece. With right side facing you, pick up sts from lower edge of garment piece. With carriage on right, K 1 row. Using 1×1 needle selector, bring every alt N to HP. Set machine to hold from right to left. K 1 row. Push Ns that were held back to UWP and bring Ns that were knitted to HP. K 1 row. Rep these 2 rows 4 times (10 rows altogether). Cancel hold, K 1 row and cast off.

Sample 3 – 2×1 Mock rib With carriage on left, select Ns 2 in WP and 1 in NWP all across work. Hang cast-on strip on these Ns and K 1 row with ravel cord. K 26 rows with MY at Tension 1. Bring up empty Ns to WP and pick up first row in MY to form a hem. Using Tension 2, K 1 row and carry on knitting.

Sample 4 – Pie crust edge Have wrong side of garment facing you. * Pick up 3 sts from edge of knitting and K 6 rows. Pick up next 3 sts from edge and hang them on the same Ns. K 6 rows *. Rep from * to * all along but after the last pick up, only K 4 rows. Cut yarn. Using a tapestry needle, thread yarn through sts and finish off neatly.

Sample 5 – Picot edge With carriage on left, bring Ns to WP. Push back every alt N to NWP then hang on cast-on strip. K 1 row with ravel cord. Using Tension 1 and MY, K 16 rows. Bring up empty Ns to WP and using Tension 2, K 17 rows. Bring up empty Ns to WP and pick up alt sts of first row in MY to form a hem. Using Tension 2, K 1 row, continue knitting.

Sample 6 – Rolled edge The easiest edge of all, of course, is really not an edge as such. It’s made at the start of each garment piece. With carriage on left, select Ns required. Hang on cast-on strip. K 1 row with ravel cord. Bring Ns to HP. E-wrap Ns from left to right. Set machine to knit Ns back and knit your piece. The edge will roll naturally.

Now Anne, after I posted off the samples to you, I decided to read the instruction book – as you do! I found you can do a finished edge cast on without using e-wrap. It’s like the weaving cast on we work on a standard gauge machine. It’s okay, but not as neat as the e-wrap. The best thing about it is that it’s very quick and easy. I also discovered that if you have a 7-prong tool from a standard gauge machine and set every 3rd prong to working position, you can transfer stocking stitch to 1×1 transferring three alternate stitches at a time. I make a lot of beanies for our local hospital and find this little trick very useful. Maybe there’s a 7-prong tool made for a mid-gauge machine, but I don’t know of it. Happy knitting to one and all, sincerely, Phoebe

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