Machine Knitting Challenge 2016

/Machine Knitting Challenge 2016

Craft and Road Trip

Happy Wednesday!

The last week was absolutely crazy for me and I just needed to get out of town and into the wild. 10 minute drive from us there is a beautiful botanical garden where you can get lost in nature and have a quiet peaceful time.

Knitting and travel

There are very few people out there and you can enjoy walking along the canyon, read a book, knit/crochet and just be silent for a awhile…

Knitting and travel

I spent some blissful time with “The Catcher in the Rye“… It is so nice to get away sometimes, even if it is just for a few hours.

Knitting and travel

As for crafting, I started a new machine knitting project – Sand Sweater, right after finishing my Bamboo Drape. Yes, I can’t keep my machine empty for a long time! I am calling it Sand, because of the color of yarn and it reminds me of the pattern created by waves on the sand. I am using 100% mercerized cotton from my stash. I still don’t have a very clear idea what it will become, but in my mind it will be a light summer sweater I can throw on with jeans.

Machine Knitting Sweater

My goal for this year was to learn as many new machine knitting techniques as possible. This time I am experimenting with my machine knitting tools to create texture. My machine is very simple, so all the patterns have  to be created manually transferring the stitches. It takes much more time than the stockinette, but this stitch pattern is so worth it!

Machine Knitting Sweater

It is called “Tuck Stitch” and it is created by holding loops on the needles for several rows before knitting them all together. It is similar to slip stitch technique in hand knitting. I had the instructions for this stitch in my manual for the machine and I have no idea why on earth I didn’t try it before! Maybe I was intimidated by the complexity of it, but it turned out not so bad! I am much more familiar with the mechanism of the machine now and understand better how the stitches are formed.

Machine Knitting Sweater

My crochet cardigan WIP is causing me a lot of trouble. I think I will have to rip it out for the third time, first I ripped out because of my miscalculated stitch count (my gauge is significantly different from the one indicated in the pattern, so I am modifying). Now I think the fabric looks a little bit on the loose side, so I am thinking to go down with the hook size. I know it will be worth it in the end – crocheting is very relaxing and I will get a very wearable garment in the end.

Crochet Cardigan

I hope your week is treating you well and you are enjoying your projects!

Hope to see you at Yarn Along.


RELATED POSTS

Bamboo Drape Sweater. FO Details.

FO – Bamboo Drape Sweater

Machine Knitting. Oversize Sweater

Hello dear friends! It is nice to be back after a little break. My weekend and the beginning of the week were so busy, I couldn’t find time to sit and write down the notes for my recent FO – 3d project for my Machine Knitting Challenge 2016. This project was so bizarre – it went completely the other way I expected and it was a pure experiment without a clear plan in my head. Usually I see exactly what I get in the end, but this sweater took its own road.

Project Notes

Pattern. No pattern, whatsoever. I planned the sweater in my notebook before starting, but after I cast on I realized it had to be changed completely, so I just started experimenting on the machine and see where it takes me. Only when I finished I took some notes, sort of an afterthought pattern. It was a very liberating creative experience when you don’t follow any notes and just trust the fabric to take some kind of wearable shape.

Machine. The sweater is made of 6 separate blocks of fabric that were knit on Silver Reed LK150 knitting machine. As I told you in my first tutorial on the machine knitting, the machine has its limits. When I decided to experiment with bamboo, I knew I wanted a super oversize sweater to show off the drape of the fabric. The initial idea was to make four pieces – 2 big ones (one for the front and one for the back) and two small ones for the sleeves. But after starting the project I faced some challenges.

Machine Knitting. Oversize Sweater

I lost the yarn label and I have no idea what weight it is, but it is something between fingering and lace. As I mentioned before, my machine can knit a wide range of yarn weights, but not all of them. I knit lace weight wool on it and there was not a problem, but bamboo is very slippery and it was pretty challenging to keep stitches from slipping off the needles, especially in the beginning.

The other difficulty was the gauge. There are 150 needles on the machine’s bed and to get the oversize look I would have to cast on almost 300 stitches. So, I at that point I realized I had to “break” the front and the back of the sweater in pieces to get the width. I was lost at first, but then thought that it would be a great way to play with texture. Initially I planned the sweater in simple stockinette, so the plan has changed. I decided to break the front and back pieces in 3 for each.

I divided the stitch count I needed for the front width in 2. To get 32-34″ width of the front I had to cast on 292 sts. I made a rectangular central piece 140 sts wide (almost all  the needles on the machine were in work), then I made two pieces 76 sts wide. The same was done for the back.

Then I put 6 pieces together by hand. First the front. The central big rectangular part has a reverse stockinette stitch on the public side, two small pieces are on each of its sides, with usual stockinette on the public side. I put these pieces together using a crochet slip stitch seam. I always use it when I need to put two different stitch patterns together. I love it more than the mattress stitch in this case. The same was done for the back and then side seams were done using the mattress stitch. Here is what I got at the end.

Machine Knitting. Oversize Sweater

You can see the slight contrast between the central piece and the side pieces.

Yarn. 100% bamboo. This was the first time I worked with this fiber. You can read yarn review here – Fiber Experiment. This is definitely not the easiest fiber to use.

Pros:

Drape. The fabric created by bamboo is unbelievable! The drape is perfect for oversize garments that will flow around your body and won’t make you look bulky.

Machine Knitting. Oversize Sweater

Sheen. Yarn has the natural sheen and the color changes depending on light. It really looks alive and vibrating!!

Machine Knitting. Oversize Sweater

Feel. It is a wonderful feeling to wear bamboo next to your skin.

Cons:

Slippery. I wouldn’t recommend 100% fingering bamboo yarn for a beginner knitter. You really have to have absolutely perfect tension. It is very hard to make stitches even and as in most plant fibers blocking doesn’t fix the unevenness 100%. Even in machine knitting you have to carefully watch your tension. I will show you my “off” spots later. If you still want to try it, I would suggest the following:

  • Use bamboo or wooden needles, they will help with slippery stitches.
  • Use a stitch pattern that doesn’t have to be smooth and even like stockinette, so even if your stitches are not perfect, it won’t show that much.
  • Try to use bamboo blends, with merino for example. This way you will be able to enjoy all the advantages of the bamboo, but minimize its cons.

Weight. Compared to wool, it is pretty heavy, so I presume it will stretch a little bit over the time.

Design Details

Fit. Super oversize sweater. I would say it has around 30″ of ease.

Machine Knitting. Oversize Sweater

Neckline. I didn’t shape the neckline at all. Just bound off central stitches.For trimming I used the technique I showed you last month (Perfect Neckline Trim Tutorial) – first I made a chain of slip stitches along the neckline and then I made a single crochet in each loop. Machine Knitting. Oversize Sweater

Hem. This was the most time consuming part. I planned to leave it raw first to let it naturally curl, but the reverse stockinette part was curling inside and I didn’t like the look of the raw edges in stockinette section. So I made a chain of crochet slip stitches along the hem and knit 1*1 rib holding two strands of yarn together. Again, for the extra stability. You can only imagine how “fun” it was – 64″-long hem knit in fingering weight yarn.

Machine Knitting. Oversize Sweater

Sleeves. Initially I was planning to make sleeves, but when I seamed the garment and put it on, I realized that the sides of the sweater fall low enough on my arms, so the only thing I did was knitting 10 rows of 1*1 rib holding two strands of yarn together to get a firm ribbing. I also picked up stitches for the rib from the slip crochet chain – it just makes everything look better.

Texture. I love the ridges that seams created between reverse stockinette and the classic stockinette sections. Overall the sweater has 6 vertical seams. It took forever, but I know it will be worth it in the long term. As I mentioned above the fabric is pretty heavy and extra seams will prevent it from overstretching and will also hold the shape of the garment.

Machine Knitting. Oversize Sweater

Tension. As I said, it is very challenging to keep the tension even when knitting with the thin bamboo thread, even when you are using the knitting machine. I tried my best, but there are still some “off” spots. They are not many of them, but there are there :(.

I love my new sweater and I learned so much working on this project!
Machine Knitting. Oversize Sweater

Have a great week! See you at Yarn Along! I am re-reading “Cather in the Rye” and can’t express how much I love it!


RELATED POSTS

Fiber Experiment and Fair Isle

Ever since I did the interview with knitwear designer Nikki Gabriel, I’ve been thinking about what she said: “Knitting is generally associated with wool.  As the book shows, there are 80 other fibers that can be knitted with.” This was such a fascinating thing to learn. Of course, I knew that the wool is not the only fiber out there, I always loved knitting with plant fibers, but the only ones I tried are cotton, linen and silk. But if to think about it there are so many more types of fiber and fiber blends. I decided I want to experiment more and see how other fibers work. Of course, it’s a comforting feeling to know how your wool sweater will behave, when you know exactly if the stitch pattern is going to work, if the garment is going to stretch. But it is equally amazing to break the pattern once in awhile and try something new.

I’ve had these skeins for almost two years now. I remember looking for the yarn on my last trip to Russia and I wanted to try something new. First thing that attracted me was the color. There is something so noble and classy about it.

Machine Knitting

Then I touched it and couldn’t let it go! I’ve never touched the fiber like that before, I looked at the label – it was 100% bamboo. I took them home, put them aside and forgot about them. It just didn’t feel familiar and I wasn’t quite sure what to make with it. As I mentioned before, I am taking part in 12MK16 MKAL (machine knit along) – 12 machine knitting projects in 2016. After finishing Ocean dress, I thought I had to cast on something else now to keep up with the MKAL. After rummaging in my stash I found these skeins and decided to give it a try.

Machine Knitting

I really wish the photos could convey yarn’s softness! The drape that is created by bamboo is inexplicable!!! After trying the first swatch, I realized I want to wrap myself in it from head to toe! This is the best fiber that I’ve ever tried to wear next to my skin! It has such a smooth and luxurious feel. Pima cotton that I tried was very soft, but nothing compared to it. I would even dare to say it is softer than silk, some compare it with the blend of silk and cashmere. I did a research before trying anything and this is what I found out (you can read the full article here – Properties of Bamboo Fiber):

  • Bamboo has much better moisture absorption and ventilation than cotton. Moisture absorbency is twice than that of cotton with extraordinary soil release.
  • Natural antibacterial elements in bamboo fibre keep bacteria away from bamboo fabrics.
  • Garment of bamboo fibre can absorb and evaporate human sweat in a split of second just like breathing. Such a garment makes people feel extremely cool, comfortable and never sticking to skin even in hot summer.
  •  100% bamboo yarns show a great elasticity i.e. nearly 20%. Even in 100% bamboo woven fabrics a remarkable elasticity can be obtained wherein the use of elastomeric fibres like elastanes may be eliminated.
  •  Bamboo fabrics need less dyestuff than cotton, modal or viscose. It seems that the absorption of dyestuffs is remarkably better. Bamboo absorbs the dyestuffs faster and shows the colors better.
  • Anti-ultraviolet nature of bamboo fibre has made it suitable for summer clothing, especially for the protection of pregnant ladies and children from the effect of ultraviolet radiation.
  • Product of bamboo fibre is eco-friendly and bio-degradable.

(Information source – www.fibre2fashion.com)

As you can see bamboo makes a perfect fiber for summer knitting! What swatch told me for sure is that the textured stitches are definitely not going to work in bamboo. Good old stockinette is the best way to go.

Machine Knitting

I am thinking of making a very loose oversize light sweater in simple stockinette, maybe with some lace at the neckline. I am not sure yet really, I will experiment and will share it with you here!

As for other projects I am more than half done with Green Snowflakes. I finally found my rhythm of fair isle knitting and it is going like a breeze. The fabric is till not perfectly smooth, but I hope good blocking will fix it. As I am knitting with slightly thicker than recommended yarn, my progress is much faster and I think I will need 6 pattern repeats instead of 9 to finish it.

Knitting Fair Isle

I find the wrong side of fair isle equally delicious!

Knitting Fair Isle

 I hope you are enjoying you craft projects! I am joining Yarn Along for some inspiration!


RELATED POSTS

 

The Gift Of Knitting – Ocean

Ocean Dress

Knit Dress

The weather was so beautiful this week and I finally got a chance to take photos of my recent machine knitting+hand knitting experiment – Ocean dress.  I wanted to finish the dress in January to wear it on my birthday, but I just didn’t have enough time.

The body of a dress is very simple – standard double tapered fit. I started at the hem, increased to the full hips, decreased to waist and increased to bust. Though it is pretty fitting, it is not tight or clingy, it is very very comfortable. This is what I love about knit dresses – you can actually freely move in them!

Knit Dress

The back is absolutely identical to the front. I didn’t shape neckline at all, just bound off to create a boat neck style. The hand knit lace part is mirrored on the back.

Knit Dress

The lace starts right after the armhole bind off. The armhole is very short, probably the shortest I’ve ever made for my size, but it is not too tight and I hope it will stay this way and not stretch over the time. I secured it with the slip stitch chain (it is done in the same way as I showed you in my last tutorial of making slip stitches chain along the neckline) and then one row of single crochet with 1.6 mm hook. This way it stays perfectly flat.

Knit DressI love this dress. It is very special to me, because the inspiration came from Vogue Knitting. When I just learned how to knit and purl and became interested in knitting magazines, this was the first magazine I bought. I was enchanted, overwhelmed and amazed with the knitwear and photography there. And I made a decision to learn to knit as fast as possible to be able to recreate its designs.

I loved planning the dress, working on it and have it as one more chapter in my knitting story here. Thank you for cheering me up through this project, as always you are my biggest motivation and inspiration!

Knit Dress

Today is the birthday of one very special girl – an amazing knitter and a wonderful friend. Zeta, happy birthday! Thank you for being you!!

Have a great Sunday!

You can read a detailed FO post about the dress and the techniques used here – Ocean Dress. FO Details.


RELATED POSTS

Ocean Dress. FO Details.

FO – Ocean

Machine and Hand Knitting Dress | Knitting Blog

I am finally finished with my machine + hand knitting experiment! Ignore these strange lines on the dress – the light plays its game with the fabric. It happens sometimes with the mercerized cotton. It was one of the most challenging projects that I’ve done and it was the first time for me to combine hand knitting and machine knitting techniques in one project.

Project Notes

Pattern. Yoke Tunic by Hitomi Shida was in my queue for a couple of years. It is a true masterpiece, but there were some things that stopped me from casting on. The A-line shape never looked good on me, the length seemed too long to wear the tunic with pants, but too short to wear it as a dress and there is something about the sleeves – I just knew it wouldn’t be the best shape for me. As the tunic is pretty elaborate, I did’t want to spend so much time on knitting something that I would never wear. But the stitch pattern for the yoke was haunting me – it is just striking. So, after awhile I got the idea to take the yoke stitch pattern and it was time for another modification series experiment!

Machine Knitting + Hand Knitting. I definitely wanted to make a dress, simple, classic and feminine. As I told you before, dresses are the reason why I bought my knitting machine in the first place and it’s been more than 9 months since I’ve made Pure, my latest knit dress. So, it was time to get back in action 🙂

When I first got my knitting machine I was so excited thinking that I could do some parts of the garments on the machine and some by hand whenever I feel like it. Well, it is not that easy. When I knit on the machine, I get a different from my hand knitting gauge, not only the number of stitches and rows, but also the ratio of stitches to rows. So, when I tried to combine machine knit stockinette and hand knit one, the difference in fabric was so obvious, that I gave up this idea. There are some knitters who don’t have a problem to match the machine knit gauge, but I never managed to do that.

But this project is a little bit different. The body was knit on Silver Reed LK150 knitting machine, stitch dial – 3.5. It is a pretty long dress, lower than knee length, so there was no way I would be able to knit it by hand. When I got to the armholes, I slipped the stitches off the machine needles on the waste yarn. Then I knit the stitch pattern on two different size needles, 2 mm seemed perfect for it. I didn’t have to worry about matching my gauge to the machine one, because two stitch patterns are so different that the only thing matters is if I like the fabric that my hand knitting creates or I have to change something. One more thing I had to think about is to center the “butterfly” in the stitch. I really saw it this way and had to throw in some filler stitches to get the necessary width. Other thing I had to think about is the stitch count. I had to bind off the stitches for the armhole, but at the same time have enough stitches for the stitch pattern repeat. After the bind off I was left with one extra stitch and I just decreased it close to the bind off edge, so it would be invisible.

At first I started working the stitch pattern right away, but I didn’t like the transition from stockinette at all. Ripped back and threw in two reverse stockinette rows to separate the main body from the textured lace part. You can see how it formed a nice ridge.

Machine and Hand Knitting Dress | Knitting Blog

Yarn. I used local 100% mercerized cotton in beautiful teal shade. I had these skeins forever, waiting for the perfect project. I used the same yarn for my Pure and Violet Gift dresses. I like the slight sheen and stitch definition of it.

Design Details

Neckline. I trimmed the neckline with reverse single crochet stitch. This textured border is very firm and creates beautiful finishing. You can see the video how to crochet this stitch here – Reverse Crochet Stitch.

Machine and Hand Knitting Dress | Knitting Blog

Armholes. Armholes were trimmed with basic single crochet stitch. I used a 1.6 mm hook for a very firm finishing. I deliberately made the armholes very small, as the dress is long and cotton may stretch over the time.

Machine and Hand Knitting Dress | Knitting Blog

Fit. It is a standard fitting double-tapered dress with an accentuated waist. I though that the elaborate stitch pattern is enough for the dress and it didn’t need any other special design details.

Machine and Hand Knitting Dress | Knitting Blog I am so happy to have it in my wardrobe! I am really glad that the modifications worked out! If you love the pattern, but want to change some details, go for it! A little bit of math, a little bit of imagination and you can get a perfect for YOU piece of knitwear!

Have a great Sunday!


RELATED POSTS

The Gift of Knitting – Gallery Sweater

Happy Sunday!

FO – Gallery Sweater

machine knitting sweater

Each handmade project is like a notebook for me where my memories, experiences, failures and successes are recorded. I can look at a piece and distinctly remember where I got the yarn, how the pattern and yarn were “married”, the place where it was made… Gallery Sweater will definitely stay with me for a long time and every time I look at its stitches, memories of sunny late afternoons filled with swatching, yarn blend experiments, with the sound of the carriage on the needle bed will come up…

The sweater is really simple, there are no fancy elaborate details. Just plain reverse stockinette with a basic classic shaping. The yarn plays the main role – the delicious blend of laceweight hand dyed alpaca/silk and merino wool asked for something simple and basic to bring the best out of fiber.

machine knitting sweater

I was thinking of adding some texture to it, but it wouldn’t make any visual difference – it would get lost in variegated colors. The only textural effect is the difference between stockinette hem and reverse stockinette body.

machine knitting sweater

The pieces were made separately on the knitting machine, wet blocked and then hand seamed together with the mattress stitch. I do find this kind of seaming tricky on the reverse stockinette – it is not always clear where you are supposed to insert a tapestry needle, but it has its own advantages – even if your pieces are not perfectly aligned (it happened to me on both sides), this “mismatch” is practically invisible!

machine knitting sweater

The neckline was hand trimmed with applied i-cord and I really love how simple and unobtrusive it is. I fiddled a little bit with grafting i-cord ends, I definitely need to practice it more!

machine knitting sweater

Sleeve cuffs didn’t have any trimming and the edge naturally curves creating a simple textured detail. This is teh only detail that stands out against a simple background.

machine knitting sweater

When you are knitting with two strands of yarn of different colors, you never know how the colors will behave. It’s a part of the fun and it makes each project unique. In this sweater it is obvious on the sleeves – in some places yarn created stripes and in others – patches of colors that create mosaic blurred effect.

machine knitting sweater

Finishing another knitting story and moving to next one!

Project FO details can be found here – Gallery Sweater. FO Details.

Have a great Sunday!


RELATED POSTS

Load More Posts