Machine Knitting

/Machine Knitting

Sweater Love

Happy Wednesday!

We are having a sweater weather for the last couple of weeks in our corner of the world. It is a thunderstorm season, almost every night it is raining and the mornings are so fresh and cozy – you just want to wrap in a light sweater, drink tea and read. No wonder I am all in sweater knitting mood, but on second thought – when I am not in this mood? 🙂

I am knitting away on the squishy cables of Gesture Sweater by We Are Knitters. It is such an addictive pattern! The back is almost done, I put it on scrap yarn to block and check the length, just in case. It looks like I need a couple of inches more to knit, but I’ve never worked with this yarn before and I don’t know how it will respond to blocking on a big scale. Better safe than sorry, right?

We Are Knitters sweater

While the back is blocking, I decided to switch things a little bit and start working on sleeves before the front part. I chose one of my favorite ways – work both sleeves at ones using circular needle to accommodate the stitches.

We Are Knitters sweater

This method has its pros and cons. The main “pro” – when you are done, you are DONE. If you suffer from the second sleeve syndrome, this might be the best way for you to knit sleeves. I also notice that this way my gauge is much more consistent in both sleeves and all my increases match perfectly. I can think of only one “con” – you have to watch your yarn balls, so the yarn doesn’t get tangled.

My knitting machine needles have been empty for several days now after the latest FO – Sand Sweater. And I am planning to make two more sweaters on it before I go to visit my family in Russia. I am going in a month, it still will be summer there, but you can never trust Russian summers! I definitely need knitwear, just in case. I love working with baby alpaca for Gesture Sweater, so I decided I need one more sweater in this fiber. I have Alpaca Cloud (100% baby alpaca) by Knit Picks in my stash.

Alpaca yarn

It is very thin, like a web. To knit a sweater with it by hand would take half a century, but it is absolutely perfect for a machine knitting project. It may be a little bit too thin for my machine, but the swatch turned out OK, so I’ll give it a try.

Alpaca yarn

This is one of the biggest advantages of having a knitting machine – you can make knitwear in such thin yarns that you would never knit with by hand! I am thinking a long cozy cardigan with the overlapping fronts and extra long sleeves. I hope I have enough yardage for it. If it turns the way I picture it in my head, it will be an amazing piece of knitwear for layers. And look at this color – so rich and deep!

Alpaca yarn

I hope you are having fun with your craft projects! See you at Yarn Along.



By | 2017-03-04T07:56:50+00:00 June 22nd, 2016|Knitting, Machine Knitting, Work in Progress, Yarn|48 Comments

The Gift of Knitting – Sand Sweater

Sand Sweater

Textured Sweater. Machine Knitting.

Happy Sunday!! I hope you are having a wonderful weekend! Yesterday we went for a short walk in town and took photos of Sand sweater which, I believe, will become the most wearable machine knit piece in my wardrobe from now on. I washed it with hair conditioner and the fabric softened so much. I was afraid it was going to be too stiff knit with such textured stitch and in mercerized cotton, but a good bath solved this problem. I am officially in “knit-love”!

Textured Sweater. Machine Knitting.

Happy, happy, happy!!

The seams are flat and don’t pucker – yay!! Knit experiments are always slightly nerve wrecking. When you are knitting from the pattern, you know exactly what you get in the end, and “blind” knitting can definitely turn against you with bad surprises! I am glad I avoided it this time.

Textured Sweater. Machine Knitting.

The sweater is knit in my favorite color; I started to wear bright colors only after our move 4 years ago. My usual daily color palette used to be black, beige, white, grey and brown. I feel very “me” in this sweater!

Textured Sweater. Machine Knitting.

One more time I am convinced that finishing “makes” the sweater in the end. I just can’t get over all the cute details that only a knitter will notice (so happy I have you guys to gush about them! 🙂 ) Faux I-cord hem…

Textured Sweater. Machine Knitting.

Crochet slip stitch + I-cord neckline… I know that finishing process can become tedious at some point, but it surely feels great wearing a handmade piece of knitwear and know that all the ends are securely hidden, all the edges are trimmed and the sweater had its well-deserved blocking time.

Textured Sweater. Machine Knitting.

Wish you a wonderful Sunday!


By | 2016-06-19T07:06:54+00:00 June 19th, 2016|Finished Objects, Machine Knitting|30 Comments

Textured Sand Sweater. FO Details.

FO – Sand Sweater


Happy Wednesday! It seems like it’s been forever since my latest finished knit – it feels amazing to have something off the needles! Sand sweater was quiet a challenge, but a fun kind of one.

Project Details


I didn’t use a pattern, just made some notes before starting a project, but changed a lot of them during the process. I used Tuck Stitch textured pattern for the whole sweater. You can see step-by-step photo tutorial here – How to Knit a Tuck Stitch. Machine Knitting and Hand Knitting Tutorial.

Machine Knitting Process

Machine used – Silver Reed LK150, stitch dial – 3.5. As I told you many times before, machine knitting process is so far from mechanical and automatic one, you really have to be watching carefully what you are doing and in case of this stitch even more so – the carriage settings that have to be adjusted every 4th row, the needles position, the tension. In some way it reminded me of weaving.


100% local mercerized cotton. I love this yarn a lot and especially in this color, it’s just a perfect shade of neutral beige. But after finishing the project, I think that if I started all over again, I would change some things – either yarn itself or the gauge. I love how the sweater turned out, but the combination of yarn/tension/planned fit of the garment wasn’t 100% perfect. Tuck stitch creates a very textured fabric and it is slightly on the stiff side when knit pretty tightly using mercerized cotton.


I wanted to make an oversize sweater, but understood that the fabric won’t have the necessary drape, so I went down with the ease. The good thing is that I have tons of ideas now how to use this fabric quality in the future. It will be just fabulous for structured garments! As for this kind of sweater, next time I would use pima cotton, or organic soft cotton, or alpaca, or merino/silk blends – that would make a very cozy, textured and soft oversize sweater!

Design Details


Modified drop shoulder pullover with the positive ease.


When I finished working on a back piece of the sweater and took it off the needles, I realized it was way too long. It often happens to me, when working with a new stitch or design or yarn on the knitting machine, a lot of things might go wrong, no matter how well I prepared the swatch. You just can’t predict 100% how the fabric will behave after it is off the needles and as if it is very distorted on the machine bed, you can’t say for sure if you are moving in the right direction.

Anyway, the back piece was so long it looked like a dress. If it was just a drop shoulder pullover, I could just rip off several rows at the end, but as I had a little bit of armhole shaping involved, I couldn’t do that. Just on the side note, there is a great article on how and where you can modify the length of the garment without sacrificing the shaping –First amendments: altering length in a knitting pattern.

So I had to rip off several beginning rows. It took forever, but it was worth it – the sweater was saved!


I love boat necklines! They are so easy to shape (= no shaping at all) and they look so elegant and simple!



Happy note – I finally grafted I-cord edges perfectly!!!


Hem is always a struggle for me in machine knitting. I have a very simple machine and it can’t do any kind of ribbing automatically and transferring stitches manually takes way too much time. Plus, I don’t really like the cast on edge created on the machine – the stitches are quiet stretched out, because of the weights attached to them that are used to pull the piece of fabric down from the needles bed. So, the hem finishing takes quiet a lot of time.

A little note on the machine knitting – you just have to make peace with the finishing. If you are  a knitter who enjoys the knitting process, but just can’t stand seaming/trimming/picking up stitches and all the finishing sweater fun, then machine knitting is not really for you. Finishing often takes more time than actual knitting. You can’t make seamless garments, so you need to seam all the pieces, trim neckline/hem and all the raw edges. But on the second thought, I realize that I quiet enjoy the finishing part of the sweater knitting process now and I think it came to me because of the machine knitting! It grows on you.

Back to the hem. To create a nice looking neat hem, I unraveled the first row and put the live stitches back on the machine needles, the wrong side facing me and knitted 4 plain stockinette stitch rows. Then I took the piece of the machine and bound off the stitches with 2.5 mm needle. The stockinette stitch part naturally curved up and created a hem that looked very similar to reverse stockinette stitch I-cord, but it took much less time!



It was really fun working on the sleeves, as it included much more shaping than the body. If the front and back pieces are practically two straight rectangles with some stitches bound off for the armhole, the sleeves had to be tapered much more. And as I was knitting in overall tuck stitch, I had to improvise and think how to place the increases to keep the stitch pattern as intact as possible. It was like solving a puzzle!


Adding one more sweater to my knitwear wardrobe! I haven’t bought any knitwear for almost two years now!!! I never thought I would be able to do that! Now I have another dilemma – what happens when I have enough knitwear pieces in my wardrobe or it is just impossible? 🙂


By | 2017-02-13T18:57:43+00:00 June 15th, 2016|Finished Objects, Machine Knitting|48 Comments

Thoughts On Creativity

Happy Wednesday, dear friends!

A couple of weeks ago I introduced you to one of my favorite designers – Johan Ku. This week I found his old interview and one phrase just got stuck in my head. To the question “Where does the creativity come from?” he gave a very unexpected and unusual for an artist answer: “Creativity comes from studying a certain field for a very long time. It comes from rational development rather than a mythical emotion.” I stopped at this phrase and just stared at it. This is the first time I read something like that from an artist or a designer. Usually you read answers like Oh, it just comes to me or I can’t really explain my creative process or It just flows on its own… And here you read a very logical and rational explanation of the creative development. If you remember, Johan Ku is praised for his extremely creative approach to knitwear, the innovative vision and textile design that is considered a new form of sculpture. I read and re-read it several times; you know I love wondering about talent and creativity – do you remember our latest discussion of talent origin?

The more I thought about this phrase the more true it seemed to me. I never ever considered myself a creative person. My early school creative essays were dry, logical and without grammar mistakes; my drawings were horrible and my craft attempts were rarely successful. I picked up knitting 7 years ago and struggled with it for a long time to make something wearable or at least not shapeless. And sometimes it hits me how much it changed over the time. I was working on my Sand sweater seams this week, but in my mind new ideas were swirling.

Machine Knitting. Textured Sweater.

That alpaca fingering weight yarn was turning into a cardigan in my head; the colorful cotton skeins were forming into colorful light pullover; Moeke skein brought so many ideas that it was hard to choose…


And all of a sudden I realized how Ku’s thoughts of creativity are so true in my case. I can definitely say that I feel creative when I am around fiber and textiles, but I can also say for sure it didn’t happen just like that, overnight, “naturally”. It happened, because I love it so much I cannot spend my day without at least a couple of rows; it happened, because I didn’t give up this craft when I was an absolute beginner and kept trying and failing, trying again; it happened because in a way this craft became a part of who I am – I read and research a lot about it; I can spend hours going through textile and knitwear design photography; I even dream sometimes of it. And this “mythical emotion” comes when something works out – this exciting moment when you feel like you’ve found it, “This is it!!!” moment. But I also think just the time isn’t enough to develop a certain creative skill; I think one of the most important things, at least for me, is to be fully present when you are doing it, make it a conscious process when your mind isn’t wandering, but 100% in the moment. So, I would change this phrase a little bit: “Creativity comes from consciously studying a certain field for a very long time.”

What about you? I am so curios to read your thoughts on this!!! Do you agree that “Creativity comes from studying a certain field for a very long time. It comes from rational development rather than a mythical emotion.” or is there something more? Is there such a thing as a “natural” creative ability that just comes to people without much effort invested into it or creativity has to be nurtured? So looking forward to reading your thoughts!

See you at Yarn Along today!


By | 2016-06-08T06:43:46+00:00 June 8th, 2016|Machine Knitting, Work in Progress|42 Comments

How To Knit a Tuck Stitch. Machine Knitting and Hand Knitting Tutorial.

Happy Monday!

How was your weekend? I hope you had a wonderful time and ready to start a new week!

As you know, I am working on a textured sweater – Sand – on my knitting machine. Today I would love to show you how the tuck stitch is formed on the machine and for those who don’t have a knitting machine, I prepared a tutorial for hand knit tuck stitch.

How To Knit a Tuck Stitch On a Knitting Machine

I am using Silver Reed LK150 machine; if you have a different machine some things might be different, but the principle stays the same.


Before you start knitting a tuck stitch, knit a couple of rows in simple stockinette. Let’s start with the carriage on your RIGHT side.

Carriage settings. Side Levers – triangle. Russel levers – I.

  • Row 1: Starting from the THIRD needle, push every 4th needle into D position. Knit one row.
  • Row 2-3: Knit.
  • Row 4: The carriage is on your left. Change the settings: Side Levers – triangle. RIGHT Russel lever – II. Knit one row.
  • Row 5: Side Levers – triangle. Russel levers – I. Starting from the FIFTH needle, push every 4th needle into D position. Knit one row.
  • Row 6-7: Knit.
  • Row 8: The carriage is on your left. Change the settings: Side Levers – triangle. Russel levers – II. Knit one row.

Repeat Rows 1-8 for tuck stitch.


To see a bigger picture, open it in the new tab.

Rows 1-4

Then you will repeat the whole process again. You will change only one thing – you will push every 4th needle starting from the FIFTH needle – you  shift the tuck stitch two stitches to the left. Which means that the tuck stitches align in checkerboard order:

Tuck Stitch. Machine Knitting.

As you can see every 4th needle is holding a stitch that is “hugging” and pulling the loops up, forming a tuck stitch.

So what if you don’t have a machine, but you like this stitch and would love to try it in your hand knitting? There are many variations of a hand knit tuck stitch, I will show you the one that uses the same principles as the machine knit tuck stitch.

How To Knit a Tuck Stitch. Hand Knitting.


Before you start knitting a tuck stitch, knit a couple of rows in simple stockinette. Stitch count: 4 st repeat + 5 balance sts.

  • Row 1 (RS): P2, *yo, sl 1 wyib as if to purl, p3; rep from * to last 3 sts; yo, sl 1 wyib as if to purl, p2.
  • Row 2 (WS): K2, *yo, sl yo + st wyib as if to purl, k3; rep from * to last 4 sts; yo, sl yo + st wyib as if to purl, k2.
  • Row 3: P2, *yo, sl 2 loops of yo + sl 1 wyib as if to purl, p3; rep from * to last 5 sts; yo, sl 2 loops of yo + sl 1 wyib as if to purl, p2.
  • Row 4: K2, *k4tog (3 yo loops + a st); rep from * to last 6 sts; k4tog (3 yo loops + st), k2.
  • Row 5: P4, *yo, sl 1 wyib as if to purl, p3; rep from * to last 5 sts; yo, sl 1 wyib as if to purl, p4.
  • Row 6: K4, *yo, sl yo + st wyib as if to purl, k3; rep from * to last 6 sts; yo, sl yo + st wyib as if to purl, k4.
  • Row 7: P4, *yo, sl 2 loops of yo + sl 1 wyib as if to purl, p3; rep from * to last 7 sts; yo, sl 2 loops of yo + sl 1 wyib as if to purl, p4.
  • Row 8: K4, *k4tog (3 yo loops + a st); rep from * to last 8 sts; k4tog (3 yo loops + st), k4.

Repeat Rows 1-8 for tuck stitch.


To see a bigger picture, open it in the new tab.

Row 1

Row 2

Row 3

Row 4

Tuck Stitch. Hand Knitting.

Knit 3.

You will repeat the same steps for Rows 5-8. The only difference is that you will knit 4 sts at the beginning of a row, instead of two – you shift the tuck stitch 2 stitches to the left.

Here is the result. Looks exactly like the machine knit tuck stitch!

Tuck Stitch. Hand Knitting.

Don’t be afraid to experiment – try “spreading out” the stitch, try different placement of stitches, try different fibers! I think knitting a garment with overall tuck stitch pattern will be very time consuming, but you can always add this stitch as a decorative element to your simple stockinette! One more way to speed up the process is to knit with a very loose gauge – this way you will create a lacy fabric perfect for spring and summer light pullovers/tops. Feel free to ask me any questions in the comments!

I hope you will use this stitch in some of your projects. Have a wonderful week!


Knitting. Sand and Arizona

It’s Wednesday, which means it’s time to share what’s on the needles/crochet hooks at Yarn Along.

My WIP list is pretty short right now. Sand sweater I am working on is slowly growing. When I am knitting a tuck stitch on the machine it feels like weaving – so much hand manipulation. I will try to put a post with step-by-step photos to show you how it is being formed. The process is really mesmerizing – you have to stop every 4th row to change the carriage settings and the position of needles.

Texture. Machine Knitting

I took the back part of the machine yesterday to see how the fabric is working out. Tuck stitch is creating a beautiful texture! I am using 100% mercerized cotton, so the fabric is pretty stiff right now, I hope it will loosen up after blocking. But just touching and looking at it brought so many ideas what else can be done with that. The fabric created holds the shape beautifully and I believe can be used for pretty structured garments! How exciting! I will finish this simple sweater, but I am sure I will use this technique more than once in the future. I imagine how different it will feel and look like in wool/alpaca/linen. So many possibilities for creativity!

Texture. Machine Knitting

My second WIP is a cotton/silk pullover, Arizona, using a Contiguous method I told you about on Sunday. As you can see I haven’t made much progress yet – I was experimenting with the number of stitches for a “shoulder seam” and increase methods. The beginning of a Contiguous method is very similar to top down raglan, the main difference is that you don’t increase stitches for a sleeve, but create a shoulder seam out of which a set-in sleeve will grow later. The other difference is that you increase not every other row/every 4th row as usually done in the classic raglan, but you increase stitches outside of markers every row. I started using a usual M1 increase, but quickly understood it wasn’t working out – the stitches were leaning into different directions. Turns out there is whole discussion devoted to shoulder increases in the Contiguous Method Ravelry group, where knitters experiment and share different ways of creating a shoulder seam with nice looking increases. I really loved one of the knitter’s posts (mwaa on Ravelry) where she knitted a very big swatch and tried all kinds of increase methods, took photos of each of them and shared a step-by-step instructions!

Texture Knitting

So I am still experimenting with it and curious to see where it will take me!

I hope you are having a great week and enjoying your craft!




By | 2016-05-26T16:21:36+00:00 May 25th, 2016|Knitting, Machine Knitting, Work in Progress|34 Comments
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