Old hat?

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I now have them wearing my knits with pride and here’s what I do. Using 4-ply I cast on in rib and knit three circular rows, two rows in rib, four rows in stocking stitch then four rows in rib. I adjust the depth depending on the size and style I’m knitting. This can be done with 1×1, 2×2 or any rib combination and I use this for sleeves, body and round neck. For some reason this makes all my knits ‘with it’ as they say. I’m happy as well because they keep their shape and give the rolled hem the ‘with it’ look my children like. Best wishes Noreen Parks


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From Alice Don’t, unless you want it for other sewing needs. All you truly need is a coloured thread tacked to the neck shape and a zigzag machine stitch. I zigzag with a wide stitch, then zigzag on top with a narrow stitch. It never runs, but is a pig if you need to unpick it. (Smile!)

Fair Isle Knitting

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From Alice When knitting in Fair Isle or pattern, make two backs. Run off the neck and shoulder stitches on cotton waste yarn. Steam press the edges then run across the edge of the knitting with a small straight stitch on your sewing machine. Take off the waste at the same time. Stretch the knitting a bit, as you sew. Mark and zigzag the neckline on both back and front. Overlock the edges of shoulder seams if you wish. Pin shoulder seams together, matching pattern if possible and sew across on the slant. Turn back the triangle flaps on the inside and slipstitch them down. This make a very neat seam and the flaps form a small shoulder pad.

Spring Clean

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Brushing After every garment piece brush the tension discs and behind the tension plate. Brush the needle beds, channels and colour changer. We hear many complaints about back bed pushers but none about front pushers, so we suspect this main trouble lies in the back pusher channels. Bring the pushers out and brush the channel while you hold it open and again when it’s closed. Return the pushers and brush again. Remove front lock and brushes. Remove any fluff. Make sure you push the brushes back home then replace the lock.
Oiling Oil the back pushers, back needle butts, back lock channel, front lock channel, front pushers, racking handle, screw and sliding part of the colour changer. Don’t oil the front bed needles, as oil from them can seep into the reading channel and get onto the brushes. If the colour changer is not oiled, you could have trouble with it sticking and, consequently, not have a clean changeover. Put a little oil on the tension wires to avoid rusting. There’s no need to oil the locks, because sufficient oil will work through from the lock channels.
Surgical spirit With a cotton bud dipped in surgical spirit, wipe along the front reading channel till it’s clean and then do the back channel. As long as the tension is right and the cones are placed properly you should have no more trouble with yarn pulling tight, sticking pushers, Error 200 or Error 207, rough racking, or back colour change-over.
After every garment In addition to the above, remove the back lock and give it a good brush. Vacuum both the needle beds. Tighten screws on the front lock. If you’re one of the people afraid to use the motor drive, do use it a little without the locks to make sure you keep it in a good state for when you have the courage to use it.
Once a year Give your machine a real spring clean annually or more often if you knit as a business. Remove all pushers and needles, soaking them in surgical spirit and oil. The mix is 1 ml of Bellodor oil to 20 ml of surgical spirit. Now is also the time to wipe the locks with the oil and spirit mixture and then with oil except for the electronic sensor, which is in front of the brushes. Give the empty needle channels a good clean with a vacuum cleaner and then scrub with an old toothbrush dipped in the spirit and oil mixture. Finally replace the dry and clean needles and pushers. Remember to put old newspaper on the floor under the beds and then do a little knitting in waste yarn : just in case!

Brampton Machine Knitting Guild

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We meet in members’ homes once a month in the evening for ten months of the year, from March to December. The weather is just too unpredictable in January and February for us to try to meet! We also have an optional get-together the first Sunday of each month. This time is available for individual tuition, problem solving or brainstorming and it’s also the time to try a different machine or technique.

We set up the schedule a year in advance and decide on the topic, demonstrator, location and of course who’s bring the treats. Sometimes we have day-long workshops when the subject matter is too involved for an evening meeting. For example, last year we took a Saturday to investigate how to dye wool. The meetings are a great time to share and learn with friends who’ve a common interest!

As a club we take on a charity each year and we knit for them. This has included preemie blankets for the local hospitals, prayer shawls, Project Linus and animal shelters just to name a few. Our December topic was Kumihimo – the art of Japanese braiding and how does this relate to machine knitting you might ask? Well it doesn’t, or rather not just yet! It simply uses some of those exotic yarns in our stash. Thank you for the opportunity to share a bit of ourselves with other knitters. Best wishes from us all, Corinne Borlase

Running into ribber trouble

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Hi there!
I studied textiles at art school many years ago and learned the very basics of domestic machine knitting. I have recently purchased a Brother KH-950i with the KR-850 ribber. I have never used the domestic ribber before so am running into some trouble. I wonder if you can help. I have managed to set up my machine fine and have been following the instructions in the manual exactly. I have completed samples for 1×1 rib and 2×2 rib but cannot seem to knit a full needle rib.

I have been using 2/17NM Hinchliffe lamb’s wool. I cast on my first row tension 0, then knit my 3 rows tension 1 for a perfect selvage which knits easily. I then knitted my first row of full needle rib at tension 2, as the book recommends, which knits some stitches but drops around 5 stitches top and bottom in the middle of the sample.

I tried again the same way but changed to tension 4 to knit full needle rib – this was extremely difficult to knit and again dropped stitches and I also noticed that the racking handle moved. I was also tried the fisherman’s rib which I really liked, knitting at tension 3 but again the racking handle kept moving while knitting ruining the sample. Is there any way to stop the racking handle / ribber from moving? I am sure the problem with the full needle rib must be a tension problem, I know tensions will be different depending on yarn. Could you recommend a tension I should try with my lambswool? Please help me as I’m getting so frustrated! Thankyou!

Kind regards, Julie

Hi Julie.

Do you have the ribber clamped to the table? There are brackets behind the height adjustment levers. If it is secured to the table it should not move.
Do you have a differnt yarn you could practice with? Lambswool is spun in oil and needs a looser tension than other 2 ply yarn as it fluffs up when washed.
Make sure you have hung the weights on the cast on comb.

Hope this helps

Sue P
2014-10-08 14:19:40

Look At Life

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Joan taught me machine knitting at evening classes over 25 years ago and was involved with the local machine-knitting club until she moved to the southwest. She was always full of tales at club meetings and when I used to buy MKM, her article was usually the first one I read. She has such an easy writing style and the content is always interesting or amusing, or both. I still meet up regularly each month with two friends I made at Joan’s evening classes, although both of them have given up knitting over the years.

I’m busy clearing my workshop so I can get to my trusty old Brother 836 machine and discovering patterns and books, I’d long forgotten. I’ve a stack of your magazines starting from the 80s, so I’ve plenty of reading to do and I look forward to starting on the machine very soon, especially on cold wet days! After all these years it’s good to see that MKM still has plenty of variety and is a good ‘read’. I look forward to the next issues that I will be purchasing. With kind regards, Jean Cox

Fallen Angel

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It is on Page 27 and the recommended yarns are Yeoman Supersheen and Yeoman Cannele Fine Crêpe. I cannot find Yeoman Cannele Fine Crêpe anywhere. Is this the correct name of the yarn or do you know which yarn I could substitute? Best regards, Maryse Ellensburg from Amsterdam

We definitely hit the spot with our Angel Falls design on Page 27 of the April issue, Maryse. How did we know? Both the office and Yeoman’s phone lines rang non stop with knitters wondering which yarn to use. We spoke to the designer and are confident that you need two ends of Yeoman Fine Crêpe and one end of Yeoman Supersheen to knit this popular design.

Beginner’s please

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I’ve managed to get started and thought I was going great guns, but when I get to row 18 or 19 and whilst taking the carriage back from left to right, it’s taking the stitches off! Why? Please help me as I’m getting so frustrated! Thanks so much in anticipation. Kind regards, Angie Cliffe

Your enthusiasm is probably running away with you, Angie. The first two things that spring to mind are that you don’t have the correct tension on the yarn, so it’s forming loops at the edge of the knitting. This is probably the most common cause of dropped stitches. The second thought is that the carriage needs to clear the knitting completely before you push it across for the next row. Make sure it clears the last working needle by about 2 to 3 cm. You know when this has happened, because you’ll hear a faint ‘click’. If you go to the other extreme and take the carriage too far over, more yarn than required will come through the yarn brake. Again, this destroys the yarn tension and can cause loops and dropped stitches at the edge of the work. You may well find that the solution to your problem is simply to slow down!

Side by side

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When you’re writing up doing this sort of neck in the magazine, you almost always tell us to sew two rows of stitching around the neck before we cut out the shape. I know there’s nothing new under the sun and this won’t be original, but I always do just one row on my sewing machine, but with a double needle. It works a treat! Best regards, Ann Levington