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Knitwear Review. Milan Fashion Week, Fall/Winter 2017/18.

Knitwear Review. Milan Fashion Week. Fall/Winter 2017

Sweater and cardigan by Laura Biagiotti

Designers at Milan fashion week didn’t disappoint – I’ve found 100+ knitwear pieces! All of them different and interesting in their own way. It was hard to choose the pieces for this review, I tried to group them and filter out the tendencies that seem to prevail.

Cropped sweaters. Cropped shapes with bell sleeves and very tight ribbing at the waist appeared in many collections in different interpretations – classic and elaborate stitches, bright and neutral colors, textured and plain fabric. They look quiet dramatic and remind me of 80’s  in some way.

Knitwear Review. Milan Fashion Week. Fall/Winter 2017

Aquilano Rimondi, Les Copains, Fay

Knitwear Review. Milan Fashion Week. Fall/Winter 2017

Philosophy di Lorenzo and Elisabetta Franchi

Back to Black. Though knitting with black yarn isn’t that fun, the result is definitely worth it – it will probably become the most versatile and wearable sweater in your wardrobe. Seems like oversize sweaters are still ruling the knitwear world and it is easy to understand – they are so comfy and cozy to snuggle in!

Knitwear Review. Milan Fashion Week. Fall/Winter 2017

Les Copains and Krizia

Color was presented in all forms and shapes – stripes, intarsia, graphics, patchwork…

Missoni, known for its amazing work with color (just remember their famous chevron colorful patterns!), presented a knitwear collection that is bursting with color! There are dozens of knitwear pieces – sweaters, skirts, dresses, pants. If you are interested to see all of them, you can find the photo report here.

Knitwear Review. Milan Fashion Week. Fall/Winter 2017

Missoni

Stripes never get old. I absolutely loved how Les Copains added contrasting color blocks to classic navy/white stripes. Alberta Ferretti makes the stripes gradually grow wider that creates unusual visual effect.

Knitwear Review. Milan Fashion Week. Fall/Winter 2017

Les Copains and Alberta Ferretti

Graphics. Rhombus shapes by Versace are achieved by intarsia and sparkly embellishment over the finished sweater. Philosophy di Lorenzo created a beautiful blue/black contrasting piece – I never thought that I would like such a sharp color contrast in knit garment, but this one looks pretty harmonious.

Knitwear Review. Milan Fashion Week. Fall/Winter 2017

Versace and Philosophy di Lorenzo

Intarsia. Designers are “drawing” with knit stitches all kinds of shapes and pictures! One angle intarsia looks so beautiful, but will be so hard to achieve – the body and the sleeve have to be perfectly aligned.

Knitwear Review. Milan Fashion Week. Fall/Winter 2017

Krizia and Tods

Next three intarsia pieces are absolutely exquisite! The first grey sweater with the beautiful motifs on the folded collar is just stunning! The beach scene intarsia is a a piece of art to me – it is so hard to “translate” a picture into knit stitches. I would wear the last sweater every single day – I loved how fuzzy yarn created the blurred affect, looks like  beautiful oil painting…

Knitwear Review. Milan Fashion Week. Fall/Winter 2017

Stella Jean, N21 and Alberta Ferretti

Messy Intarsia. When you don’t feel like weaving in ends… 🙂

Knitwear Review. Milan Fashion Week. Fall/Winter 2017

Cristiano Burani and Laura Biagiotti

Embellishments. More and more designers mix embroidery with different materials on the knit fabric to add extra texture and sparkle.

Knitwear Review. Milan Fashion Week. Fall/Winter 2017

Laura Biagiotti and Prada

Neutral Basics. My favorite trend 🙂 Classic, cozy, timeless pieces – knitwear at its best!

Knitwear Review. Milan Fashion Week. Fall/Winter 2017

Laura Biagiotti

Basics with the twist. Traditional stitches, neutral conservative colors and unusual cut. The poncho-sweater is such a great alternative to a heavy coat.

Knitwear Review. Milan Fashion Week. Fall/Winter 2017

Jil Sander and Les Copains

That’s it for Milan’s knitwear review. So far it’s been my favorite collection of knits, we’ll see what Paris has to show next week.

Have a wonderful Sunday!

P.S. All photos are courtesy of Vogue.it


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By | 2017-09-28T08:32:26+00:00 March 5th, 2017|Knitting Inspiration, Knitwear Review Fashion Weeks|15 Comments

World Crafter. Alicia. Barcelona, Spain

World Crafters are people who make things in different parts of the world. Some turned their hobby into a profession, some are balancing a day job with small crafty business, some chose to keep their hobby and just enjoy making, creating and giving. Behind each stitch is a story…

ODD ONE OUT knitwear brand was created by young and talented knitwear designer, Alicia Gonzalez. The brand specializes in artisanal knitwear made with high quality materials carefully handpicked by the designer. The brand’s main focus is to create timeless pieces that will last for many years to come. From the computer engineer to the owner of knitwear brand, Alicia’s fiber journey is truly inspiring! 

Handmade Knitwear

Handmade Cable Sweater. Collection: Hidden Nation, AW 16/17. Italian mohair blend. Photo: www.theoddoneoutdesign.com. Model: Alessa.

What is your first fiber-craft related memory? Do you remember your first stitch? 

That’s a good question…I have never thought about it, but I suppose it was a dress for one of my dolls. I cannot remember my first stitch, but I’m sure it was when I was a child with my grandma. She took care of me during the day as my parents worked and she was an expert knitter and crocheter. I have inherited such a nice crocheted quilt. It’s amazing! The truth is I have always loved textile crafts. When I was a child, I remember being at Christmas holidays learning to knit, embroider and cross stitch with my Mum. My first project related to fibers and fabrics was a doll dress. I loved to design and sew dresses for Barbie 🙂

Before becoming a full time knitwear designer, you were a computer engineer. These two professions are quite different from each other! How did this transition happen? Was it scary for you to make this step or you didn’t have any doubts?

I wanted to become a fashion designer since I was 8 years old. I have lots of folders full of “sketches” from that age. When I was a child, I used to spend most of my time drawing and painting dolls. The thing is though I loved all the activities related to art, I also loved Maths and technical subjects. I have always been a real good student.

So, when I got to High School, despite my interest in fashion, art and design, I decided to study a technological baccalaureate. The truth is I felt really divided between two opposite things that I liked. The main reason for that choice was that, as you probably know, in Spain there have always been high unemployment rates, so many people in my surrounding (teachers, friends, family) made me feel that with such studies (“serious studies” as my teachers used to told me), I could have a job/economic security that I could not get through fashion or other artistic activities. Once I entered the university I decided to study Computer Science Engineering because I felt really interested in computers and information society. In my second university year, I decided that I should also go ahead with my “other” me (the artistic one), so I started with Fashion Design studies.  In the mornings I was an engineer student and in the evenings I was a fashion design student. Those were hard years of lots of work!!! And many weekends at home instead of going out!!

Handmade Knitwear

Collection: Aurorae, AW 15. Photo: www.theoddoneoutdesign.com. Model: Vanessa Poderoso.

When I graduated, I started working as an engineer because it’s quite easy to find that kind of job. Furthermore, I have always had in my mind to create my own label, because I would like to transmit not only a look or a garment, I wanted to transmit my way of understanding the world and specially the fashion industry.

My initial idea was to combine my two professional careers; but as an engineer, I wasn’t able to do that, as it took most of my time. On the weekends, I was always working in my atelier with my knitting machines. As the time passed, I felt that I was much more committed to the idea of starting my own knitwear brand. At this time the project I was working on finished and the company asked me to move to another country. That was the moment I decided to change something. It was really scary to make such an important change in my life. It took me a lot of years to change my mind and realize that what I was dedicating most of my time to wasn’t what really made me happy. In my case, as a Computer Science Engineer I got a good job, with stability… but finally, I happily decided I should give a chance to my dream… So here I am!

Handmade Knitwear

Collection: Hidden Nation, AW 16/17. Photo: www.theoddoneoutdesign.com. Model: Olha Tsybina.

“…much to my regret, I’m more than 30” – this phrase on your blog really got me! Let me know if I am wrong, but I have a feeling that what you mean by this is that you regret a little bit of not starting your handmade business earlier. If that’s the case, do you mind sharing what was stopping you before and what “pushed” you to make this final decision and create your own knitwear label?

Yes and no 🙂 What I really want to say is that I don’t like getting older, I love life and I want to do so many thing in life, that I feel that I would need more lives to do everything I would like to. But in some way, you are also right in your perception. Sometimes I regret not having started earlier because 32 are not like 22. When I was 22, I was not so scary about stability, my economical situation, because you feel it’s the time to take risks and start your “own life”… I feel that 20’s are the perfect age to start a business, because you are young, full of energy and not worried about many things that worry you when you get 30 or 40. Nevertheless, I also feel that now, I’m in a more mature place, that helps me to deal better with many situations that I wouldn’t be able to manage as well as nowadays when I was 20.

You are a hand knitter, machine knitter and a crocheter! Do you have a preference or you are equally fascinated by all of these crafts?

I prefer knitting to crochet. If I have to choose between hand knitting and machine knitting… that would be a difficult choice. Hand knitting is so relaxing, bu at the same time I’m quite an impatient person, so I cannot wait a couple of days or more to see the finished garment, I want to see them right now! On the other hand, machine knitting can be a bit stressful and it’s not so relaxed, but I can see the final garment in just some hours!! I cannot choose, it depends on the moment and the piece.

Handmade Knitwear

Handmade Cable Poncho and Skirt. Collection: Hidden Nation, AW 16/17. Italian mohair blend. Photo: www.theoddoneoutdesign.com. Model: Alessa.

Before founding “ODD ONE OUT”, you did the internship with MANGO Knitwear Quality Assurance. I can only imagine how fascinating it was! You mention that because of this experience, you discovered your true passion – knitting. Do you mind sharing a little bit about this experience – what were your responsibilities there and what did you learn during this time? How does the process of big, mass product knitwear production as MANGO differ from a small handmade knitwear company?

I have always loved knitwear and I specialized in it in my fashion studies, but it was when I was at MANGO that I really realized it was my passion. I came to the conclusion that I love knitwear design because I can combine design with an important technological background. And, at the same time, that’s why not many fashion students are interested in knitwear design. Designing knitwear can be the most creative experience, but at the same time, it needs a high technical background from the designer as you have to know how knitting machines work to get what you have designed.

In the Knitwear Quality Assurance Department, we had to control and ensure the quality of the garments in terms of garment finishes, yarn quality, measurements… As you may know, MANGO produces all their garments outside their offices, so our work was to validate prototypes. In general, in a fashion industry, a Quality Assurance Department is provided with technical sheet from the design team. That sheet gives all the information about the garment:  a sketch, description, measurements… Once the prototype arrived from the producer, we had to check and confirm that what the producer knitted was what the designers asked for in terms of measurements, quality, colour, yarn…

I learnt so much during this stage!! Specially about knitwear technical aspects related to production and machines. It differs a lot from a small handmade knitwear brand because in my brand, I’m the designer, the knitter, the pattern maker, the quality assurance department, the sales department… I play all the roles, whereas in such a huge company like MANGO, you are a gear’s part and not the whole part. It was after my internship, that I bought my first domestic knitting machines, I soon needed to know more and more about them.

Handmade Knitwear

Handmade Sweater and Skirt. Collection: Hidden Nation, AW 16/17. Italian mohair blend. Photo: www.theoddoneoutdesign.com. Model: Alessa.

You are creating your beautiful knitwear pieces with gorgeous fiber! One of the most important things for you, as I understand, is not only the quality of materials, but also where it comes from. Do you mind telling us about the process of choosing the fiber for your collections? You mention that you also use “dead stock” yarns. I think it is absolutely amazing! Could you, please, tell my readers what “dead stock” means and why it is important to put it in use?

Yes, I like to work with high quality materials. I’m especially in love with mohair and alpaca. I try to work with providers who take special care of environment, worker’s conditions… Most of my yarns are produced in Italy and the companies are under #DETOX Greenpeace project, working in a textile industry free of so many pollutant chemical products.

Choosing yarns and fibers for my collections is a hard process, because I like all. I receive lots of mohair shade cards with hundreds of colours, I cannot choose just one!! I fall in love with all of them. I choose colours depending on the collection’s concept. Yes, many times I try to work with dead stock yarns although it is not always possible.

Dead stock yarns are yarns which are no longer used by the fashion industry because they think they are no longer trendy or desirable. For example, imagine Pantone forecasts that next AW17/18 pink is going to be the most trendy colour. That means that most yarns providers will produce lots of yarns in many pink variations and you will see many pink garments on shops. So the following year, Pantone forecasts that in AW18/19, pink is no longer a trendy colours.  All that would result in levels of pink yarns stock.

Using dead yarn stock would mean using that pink yarns, which are no longer desirable for the rest of the fashion industry because they consider pink is no longer fashionable and people would not buy pink garments. It’s like giving a second life to a product which is in perfect condition but humanity deliberately decides it’s useless.

As I understand you love the fiber/yarn diversity! In your upcoming SS17 collection you are using different plant fibers. And you are also raising a very interesting question – why knitwear should be associated only with cold season and wool? Do you mind telling us about the fibers you are going to use for SS17 and what advantages/disadvantages do plant fibers have compared to wool?

In my next SS17 I work with cotton. You have to consider that Spain is a really hot country in summer, so knitwear is not a real preference for summer 🙂 In general, people associate knitwear with wool, and it’s not always like that. Using linen or cotton is the only way Spanish people can wear a knitwear piece in the middle of August! The main difference between cotton and wool is perspiration. Plant fibers help us with perspiration, that’s why they are especially good for summer clothing. On the other hand, wool protects us from cold, that’s why is a common winter fiber.

Handmade Knitwear

Handmade Dress. Collection: Hidden Nation, AW 16/17. Italian mohair blend. Photo: www.theoddoneoutdesign.com. Model: Olha Tsybina.

You are from beautiful Barcelona. From what I can say, knitting/crochet is definitely making a come back in Spain. Am I right? Do you feel like people became more interested in fiber work over the last years? Tell us a little bit, please, about your city. Is it a creative city? Are you inspired by it? Do you have your favorite yarn spots?

Well… it’s true that it is coming back a little, but it cannot be compared to other countries. There’s a lot of ignorance about knitting and knitwear. I think the main reason for that is weather. I think knitting is mostly a winter hobby. When you think about winter in Sweden it’s not like when you think about winter in Spain. What I mean is that in Spain, winter it’s like spring in other countries 🙂 You can go out or do many other outdoor activities because we are not at -10ºC and with 50cm snow. I think all that affects in 2 ways:

  • Knitting is mostly associated with wool, and in Spain most of people don’t really need huge wool sweaters.
  • Our weather conditions allow us to do more outdoor activities, so we don’t have as many indoor hobbies as in other countries.

I think that in general happens in all the Mediterranean countries.

Yes, I think Barcelona is a really creative city because of its connection with the Mediterranean and its proximity to France and the rest of Europe. I’m not usually inspired by Barcelona for my collections, but I think I’m much more open-minded thanks to Barcelona. Barcelona is a very touristic city so we have so many different cultures that it’s impossible that not to connect with them. My favourite yarn spot in the city is my atelier, full with the yarns I love.

Handmade Knitwear

Collection: Aurorae, AW 15. Photo: www.theoddoneoutdesign.com. Model: Vanessa Poderoso.

Your AW1617 collection (which looks so cozy!!) is inspired and hugely influenced by Icelandic folklore. How did you become interested in Iceland and its history and people? What attracts you in this culture which is pretty different from Spanish one?

As I mention in my blog post, I’m in love with Nordic countries and culture. I have always dreamed about moving to them. I like them so much because of their landscapes and nature. Their lakes, huge trees, snow and their winter! I feel like I would be knitting all the time there, their landscapes are so inspiring… In Barcelona there’s no snow, and almost no winter, so I miss it. I hate summer, hot weather and I don’t like the beach, so I guess that helps to be so in love with them 🙂 I love their simplicity (less is more) and how much they value their crafts and traditions. I think they’ve managed to find a perfect balance between modernity and tradition. I would like a future like theirs for my country. I’ve been to Sweden, Norway and last year in Iceland. It amazed and inspired me so much, that I had to dedicate a whole collection to it.

Handmade Knitwear

Handmade Sweater and Skirt. Collection: Hidden Nation, AW 16/17. Italian mohair blend. Photo: www.theoddoneoutdesign.com. Model: Alessa.

What “gifts” did you get from your craft?

In my case, the most important gift I could have: happiness.


Dear Alicia, thank you so much for sharing your fascinating and inspiring story and beautiful knitwear pieces! You can find ODD ONE OUT knitwear at www.theoddoneoutdesign.com and on Instagram @the_odd_one_out_design.

Shop ODD ONE OUT knitwear at www.theoddoneoutdesign.tictail.com and OddOneOutDesign Etsy shop.


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By | 2017-01-01T15:56:49+00:00 November 30th, 2016|World Crafters|10 Comments

Friday Knitting Inspiration. Sunghee Bang.

Sunghee Bang is a young Korea-born New York-based designer. Bang is a graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology where she won the first place in art and knitwear design. After graduation Bang worked with such brands as Donna Karan, J. Mendel, Jill Stuart, Peter Som in New York and Alexander McQueen in London. In 2009 Bang launched her own knitwear label – Sunghee Bang.

Bang says that she was really inspired by the work created at Alexander McQueen, but found it often “not really wearable”, so in her own label she tries “to do the same creativity, but make it wearable.”

Bang is know for her work with textures, especially cables, and shapes. The designer loves to combine modern silhouettes with intricate stitch details. Almost all pieces in her collection are made in neutral muted colors to balance the elaborate design.

In my personal opinion, Sunghee Bang succeeded in reaching the balance between the creativity and “wearability” in her designs. I am completely smitten by this white cable dress. What a great craftsmanship!

To see more of Sunghee Bang’s knitwear, visit the brand’s official website – www.sungheebang.com.

Have a great weekend!


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By | 2016-04-22T12:24:27+00:00 April 22nd, 2016|Knitting Inspiration|10 Comments

Yarn Along. Cowl, Dress and Murakami.

Happy Wednesday!

Joining Yarn Along today. If you haven’t already, you should do that! You will find yourself in the company of so many talented crafters from all over the world!!

I don’t know what got into me these last days, but I am knitting non-stop. As soon as I get home, I jump to my needles immediately, hence a very slow progress on Murakami’s “Norwegian Wood”. My reading monogamy wasn’t too long. I can’t wait when the public library opens to snatch a couple of non-fiction books. I am still processing Hawkin’s “The Universe in the Nutshell” and want to research more on the subject. Why? I have no idea, but what teaching in Montessori method showed me is that if you feel this itch of knowledge, go for it, you’ll find the use for it later.

My current WIPs are slowly taking shape. Xanadu Cowl by Julie is growing and I can say now fair isle is really addicting! I am working the cowl on longer than recommended needles, so I am using magic loop method. I cannot say it’s very comfortable, but I don’t have 16″ ADDI in my reserve and I just can’t knit with any other needles that are for sale in local stores.

fair isle cowl knitting

Palette by Knit Picks is just perfect for fair isle, very soft and creates great thickness of the fabric. I still need to work on my tension though, but this cowl is such a great first project for a fair isle newbie. The design is absolutely beautiful, I feel like I am painting with yarn.

fair isle cowl knitting

Modification project. My Ocean is slow, because the charts are so complicated – twisted stitches, bobbles, lace… The fact that I am modifying the charts written for knitting in the round for flat knitting slows the process even more. The hand knit swatch is ready and oh my, I am in love! I always wonder how two basic stitches in knitting can create such a variety of stitch patterns! Pure magic!

dress knitting

I still need to block it, but I have a feeling that I will be able to center the “butterfly” (does it look like a butterfly to you or is it just me? :)) between two repeats of twisted stitches. I really hope it will work out in the end!

Next step in the modification process is to make the pieces of the dress up to armholes on my knitting machine and then pick up the live stitches and start hand knitting this lace. I will have to think about the number of stitches that I will need to accommodate the charts, so I can decrease/increase them while the pieces are still on the machine.

One of the difficulties in combining machine and hand knitting is how to achieve the same tension. In this case, it’s not crucial to have the perfect matching tension, as the stitch patterns are absolutely different. So, as long as I like the look and feel of the fabric of a piece knitted by machine and of a hand knit lace part, the rest is relatively easy. My birthday is coming in less than two weeks and I really want to finish by then! I will be posting more WIP photos as I proceed on my Instagram account during these two weeks.

So excited to bring this idea to life!!!

See you on Friday!


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By | 2016-04-10T08:33:35+00:00 January 6th, 2016|Knitting, Machine Knitting, Work in Progress|33 Comments

Crafty Goals for 2016

Happy Sunday!

knitting dress

I hope you are enjoying your weekend and getting ready for 2016! I am already setting new crafty goals for the upcoming year!

One of my crafty goals for the new year is to become more confident in my knitting machine skills and nothing can help better than practice. So, I am setting a Machine Knitting Challenge 2016 for myself! I will strive to have one machine knitting FO every month! Looking back at 3 years that I had my machine, I realize I don’t have that many projects made on it and it’s such a shame!! I guess the reason for this is that machine knitting is not that relaxing and meditative as hand knitting and I just get lazy. I definitely want to change that in 2016!  I know that if I organize my time better, I can be much more productive.

My other crafty goal is to do as many projects as possible for my Modification Series. I always have so much fun changing the course of a pattern, it is the biggest boost for my creativity!

Goal #3 is to pay more attention to crochet. No matter how much I love knitting, I feel strangely attached to crochet and I am surprised to see just 2 crochet FOs this year. Getting ready my crochet hooks for 2016!

Goal #4 is to take more careful notes of my projects, because only this way I can write more patterns! The thing is when I sit down to experiment with my yarn, I get carried away and before I know the project is taking shape, but I didn’t take any notes 🙂 Strangely enough my hands just know their way, but it’s impossible to track back the steps! So, a crafty notebook should always be on my table in 2016!

I decided I don’t want to wait until the 1st of January and start bringing some of these goals to life right now! I am starting my Machine Knitting Challenge and Modifications Series together! I have a great motivation for that. My birthday is in January and I want to treat myself to my favorite type of clothes – a dress 🙂 I had one pattern in my mind for a long time, I think for a year now! It’s a tunic-dress from Vogue Knitting Winter 2012/13 Round Yoke Tunic by Hitomi Shida. The intricate stitch pattern drew me in immediately! But the problem is that A-line tops/dresses never looked good on me. The second thing that disturbed me in this look is that the dress is a little bit too heavy to my taste – the highly textured and intricate top part of the dress would look better (for ME) with simple background. I am not criticizing the pattern, I think it’s truly a piece of art, but for myself I would prefer a more simple look.

So, my modification plans.

  1. Change the A-line shape of the dress to the straight skirt with a waist shaping. I think I would go with the similar silhouette that I used in Pure dress.
  2. Make the front and back of the dress on the knitting machine (in simple stockinette stitch) up to the armholes.
  3. Put the live stitches on the knitting needles and hand knit the top using this intricate lace/textured stitch. I am not sure yet, if I stay with the yoke construction, or change it to simple boat neckline without sleeves.

I chose the yarn from my stash – beautiful skeins of 100% mercerized cotton in this green/blue shade.

knitting dress

I already used this yarn in Pure dress (in beige and white colorway) and for the Violet Gift dress (in purple colorway). I love how smooth it looks in the garment and stitch definition is just perfect!

knitting dress

This weekend I made the swatch on my machine and I am happy with the tension. So, this part is over.

knitting dress

Next is to hand knit the swatch using the stitch pattern. I am knitting with 2 mm (US 0) needles, so it will take awhile. The stitch pattern is really intense. There are no resting rows and you always have to keep track of the chart. Yes, I love to complicate my life 🙂

knitting dress

I am naming the project Ocean, because of the color and because I miss Pacific so much it hurts!!! It often comes to me in my dreams 🙂

I am beyond excited about this project and determined to work hard to achieve all my crafty goals for 2016!

I guess I do take my hobby way too seriously, but I just can’t help it 🙂

Do you have any 2016 crafty goals?


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How to Make a Sweater on a Knitting Machine. Hand Knitter’s Guide. Part II.

Last week I introduced you to the knitting machine and generally explained the mechanism of this tool. You can read it here – Part I. Today I am going to show you how I do the shaping and fix mistakes in my fabric. Again I want to point out that this is not the step-by-step tutorial on machine knitting, I am sure there are much better resources out there. My main goal is to introduce a hand knitter to this craft and maybe tempt him to buy a knitting machine 🙂

When I just got my machine, I felt quiet lost with it. Simple things that you do without thinking in hand knitting seemed completely undoable on the machine. And I guess this is one of the reasons why some people feel disappointed and discouraged with machine knitting. It’s helpful to refer to your hand knitting knowledge, but you should also realize that it’s not completely the same. It’s like crochet and knitting – these crafts have a lot in common, but each has its own aspects. So, the bottom line – do not expect machine knitting to be a speedy hand knitting’s twin.

How to Join a New Skein of Yarn on the Knitting Machine

For example, hand knitters usually don’t have any trouble to attach a new ball of yarn. But how to do it on the machine? It’s worth to mention that it’s better to use big cones of yarn for your machine, so you don’t have to change them very often. But I do just fine with my stash yarn for hand knitting. The most important thing to remember is that you always have to attach new yarn from the side where your carriage is. It’s better to leave a longer tail, than end up with unknitted (is it even a word?) last stitches.

how to make a sweater on a knitting machine

First of all I have to thread a new yarn. I do it just like I showed you in part one, the only difference is that I start from the opposite direction (when I thread it the first time I started from the machine, because I made the ribbing by hand and placed it on the needles bed). So after I go through all yarn tension guides, I end up with the tail in the yarn feeder of the carriage. I pull the yarn down and then I move the carriage across the bed, still holding the yarn tail, so it doesn’t slip away.

how to make a sweater on a knitting machine

Then I tie two yarn tails (one from the first skein and the other from the new one). I’ll hide them both in seams later.

how to make a sweater on a knitting machine

So, the next question from you was – can the machine do the shaping (increases, decreases, bind off, etc.)? Well, I would put the question in a slightly different way – can YOU do the shaping ON the knitting machine? I accentuate this because I’ve seen and heard many comments with the note of disappointment – Oh, it’s machine knitting, I thought it was made by hand. I also read about this concern on Ella Gordon’s blog, she is a terrific machine knitter. Ella has designed beautiful pillows which she makes on the machine. In general people love her craft, but she mentions that once in a awhile there are ones that are disappointed and refuse to buy her creations because it is done BY the machine. Well, for me it is like saying – Oh, it’s not handmade, it’s done BY the needles. You see what I am saying? Machine is just a tool and your hands are the ones that are creating the fabric. Maybe it is the word itself – “machine” that confuses people. But as you will see, I do a lot by hand, some shaping manipulations take me even more time than in my hand knitting.

So. Shaping. Yes, you can do the shaping on the knitting machine. Basically, you can take any basic stockinette stitch pattern for hand knitting, try adjusting the stitch dial to get the recommended gauge and work from this pattern to make a garment on your knitting machine. You’ll have to “translate” some things to machine knitting reality, but overall it’s basically the same thing.

How To Decrease Stitches on the Knitting Machine

Once you are done with your numbers or if you are working from the pattern, you determined on what rows the decreases fall, you can start your shaping. This is the main tool that I use – Transfer Tool.

how to make a sweater on a knitting machine

To make a full fashion decrease (one stitch in from the edge), I push forward 3 last working needles. I take two end stitches on the Transfer Tool and move them one needle in.

how to make a sweater on a knitting machine

how to make a sweater on a knitting machine

The last needle is left empty. You will push it to non-working position – one stitch is decreased.

how to make a sweater on a knitting machine

You will do the same on the opposite side. You can see there are two stitches on the second needle and the last one is left empty. It is basically the same thing as k2tog or ssk decrease in hand knitting.

how to make a sweater on a knitting machine

How to Increase Stitches on the Knitting Machine

I push two last working needles forward plus one empty needle.

how to make a sweater on a knitting machine

With the Transfer tool I place the last stitch onto the adjacent empty needle.

how to make a sweater on a knitting machine

Then I pick the loop BELOW the second stitch and place it onto the empty needle – 1 stitch increased. I do the same on the opposite side. It’s basically the same thing when you do increase by knitting in stitch below in hand knitting.

how to make a sweater on a knitting machine

How to Bind Off Stitches on the Knitting Machine

I am making a modified drop shoulder pullover, which means that I will have to bind off stitches for armhole shaping. Bind off can be done only on the carriage side, just like in hand knitting you can bind off your stitches only on the working needle side.

I push forward 3 last working needles and transfer the last stitch to the adjacent needle. Important thing – the transferred stitch has to be under the stitch that was originally on this needle. Which means to transfer it, you have to lift the second stitch first, then place the last stitch on the second needle and then put the original stitch back on. Sounds awfully complicated, but it’s very easy when you are actually doing it. It looks like a regular decrease but you are not done yet.

how to make a sweater on a knitting machine

The empty needle is pushed back to non-working position. Two stitches on the last working needle are pushed slightly back behind the latch on the needle. The tread that is coming from the carriage is placed on the needle, holding the yarn, I push this needle back – two stitches slip off the needle – 1 stitch is bound off.

how to make a sweater on a knitting machine

I continue in this manner until all necessary stitches are bound off. For example, I need to bind off 10 stitches, so working in this manner I will eventually empty 10 needles.

how to make a sweater on a knitting machine

Then I knit even necessary number of rows. Next shoulder and neckline shaping.

How to Shape Shoulders and Neckline on the Knitting Machine

Here is your hand knitting knowledge will serve you well. As you know you can shape shoulders in hand knitting by binding off stitches in steps or use short rows. You can do both on the knitting machine. I chose to do short rows, as they result in much smother shoulder line.

As in every short row shaping you don’t work x amount of stitches at the end of the row. Here it’s the same. Before working your first short row, you push the last needles (the number depends on the pattern or on your own calculations how many stitches should stay unworked for short row shaping) to the non-working position.

how to make a sweater on a knitting machine

You will make some adjustments on your carriage – your manual will tell you which ones – and knit the row. The last stitches won’t be knitted and the yarn will lay across them.

how to make a sweater on a knitting machine

Do your remember that in short rows you do wrap&turn to avoid the hole? Here is the same story – you wrap the first (from the inside) needle.

how to make a sweater on a knitting machine

So, you continue in this manner, until you are done with short rows.

how to make a sweater on a knitting machine

Neckline. You are left with x number of neckline center stitches. You can leave the neckline stitches open or bind them off. I prefer the second option, as the neckband looks much better later.

how to make a sweater on a knitting machine

You can leave the neckline stitches open or bind them off. I prefer the second option, as the neckband looks much better later.

how to make a sweater on a knitting machine

Then you knit one more row on each shoulder – you will do it separately, as shoulders are divided by the neckline. And bind off shoulder stitches. You can also just take them from the machine and use three needle bind off later. Whatever you prefer.

how to make a sweater on a knitting machine

This is how I do the shaping on the knitting machine. I am sure there are other ways and I have a lot to learn, but I hope it was helpful for you to have a general idea what it looks like.

How to Fix Mistakes on the Knitting Machine

One more thing I wanted to tell you is how I fix mistakes. When you do machine knitting, it doesn’t mean that your fabric will be always perfect – sometimes you don’t watch the tension, or don’t notice the slipped stitch and so on. For example, here – you can see that something went wrong and I noticed it rows later. Oh, by the way these clamps are weights that pull your fabric down, so the stitches don’t slip off the machine.

how to make a sweater on a knitting machine

What I do is I unravel all the rows to the place where I made a mistake.

how to make a sweater on a knitting machine

And with the help of the usual crochet hook, I fix the stitches – one by one.

how to make a sweater on a knitting machine

Well, this is what I wanted to share with you on the machine knitting. I really hope I didn’t bore you to death 🙂 Then I do the same thing for front, sleeves, block, then I seam the pieces together and weave in ends – just like in hand knitting.

If after this overview a thought of buying a knitting machine crawled into your head, it will make me really happy 🙂 There are many reasons why you can be considering buying a knitting machine. As for me, I decided to get a machine, because I made a decision not to buy any knitwear in the store, but try to make everything on my own. Of course, it’s not physically possible with hand knitting, at least for me. The machine doesn’t consume any energy, it’s completely manually operated, I still get a handmade piece that I know where it comes from and I get to work with yarn, which is always a bonus. And it’s great for gift knitting! But can I tell you my secret number#1 reason for getting a knitting machine?! DRESSES. Yep, I am completely obsessed with dresses, especially crochet and knit ones. I cannot explain it, but there is some gravitational pull between me and knit/crochet dresses 🙂 It would take me forever to make all the dresses that I want by hand, but the machine opens new horizons! Here are some that I made on this machine. I made more, but before starting a blog, so they are not documented 🙂

You can also read about a professional machine knitter that I did the interview with. She’s been making her living with custom orders on the knitting machine for many years. Her story is truly fascinating – World Crafter. Tessa. Los Barriles, Mexico.

I am sure I didn’t cover all the aspects of machine knitting – it is just not possible. So let’s keep discussion going – ask me in the comments any questions that you are interested in and I’ll do my best to answer them! It would be also great to know your opinion about machine knitting in general!

Joining Yarn Along.


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By | 2017-08-01T08:03:48+00:00 November 25th, 2015|Free Patterns and Tutorials, Machine Knitting, Tutorial|16 Comments
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