Monday, February 28, 2011

Work space

Work continues on the back of Whistler.  I've completed about 135 rows out of 200. As of this writing I'm halfway through the ten rows that have to be knit using a jacquard technique.  This is a more complicated knitting than I'm used to doing with my machine.

I'm finding myself really grateful for the large whiteboard that I hung next to my workspace when I re-arranged the room last year.  I find it really convienent to be able to make notes on the pattern as I go along, or looking at the black lines on the board, work out details of another design or two.  Under the whiteboard is a rather pretty tackboard that my sister gave me for Christmas.  On it are laminated cards with the most common charting symbols and what they look like for machine and  hand knitting, plus crochet.

On the wall above the desk with the knitting machine is a warping board that I find very handy to hang yarn samples from.

On my old drafting board, I have installed my Silver Reed.  It sits on the front edge and that leaves most of the work surface available for my computer, tools, yarn, swatches, and to be honest collection of debris.  I have an Ott lite installed to one side of the machine and have run a power bar and network connection to the desktop.

To the other side of the desk are my bins of stash.  Many bins...  SABLE is really what it probably should be called. 

A chair covered with a sheepskin, a television, bookcases and the components of my entertainment system round out the room.  Cozy and warm, especially in the winter. 

Friday, February 25, 2011

Swatch part 2

Today's knitting was re-swatching the jacquard portion using a double bed technique.  I called a friend with several machines and asked to borrow a tension mast and tensioners to make the jacquard knitting easier.  It went a lot faster this time.  And it looks quite a bit neater. 

Thursday, February 24, 2011


After spending some time figuring out how to separate the jacquard portion from the fair isle patterning, and then correcting all of the color change and color errors that DAK found, I started knitting my jacquard swatch.  I quickly discovered that re-threading the tensioner every couple of rows really bites.  And I'm not half done with the swatch yet.

So I found my pdf of the parts manual and emailed Lea-Ann at Knitting Today  to see if she could order me the parts. One of the pluses of becoming gainfully employed again is the ability to buy the tools I need to correctly solve a problem.

The other thing this swatch is showing me is that I'm definitely going to have to come up with a plan to deal with the LONG floats on the back of the jacquard portion of the pattern.  This book, Jacquard for All arrived in the mail earlier this week.  Written for Silver Reed and Brother machines, both punch card and electronic, I'm finding that I have several options available.  And that's what swatches are for too.

DAK and Whistler

I have long loved the Nordic ski sweater patterns from Dale of Norway.  For several years I worked at handknitting the Salt Lake City team sweater.  While the original goal had been to wear it during the SLC Olympics in 2002, it was finally finished as my Christmas sweater in 2006.  I ripped back the yoke about 4 times trying to get the gauge/tension to work.  So I know exactly how much work goes into handknitting one of these sweaters.

Enter DAK, the first thing I did after I bought my Silver Reed 860, DAK and my laptop was draft the Nagano charts into DAK.  I already had the yarn and I really wanted the sweater.  Problem was that I didn't know how to use the software.  So the pattern stayed on the computer while I kept learning to use the machine and program.  Last year I decided that I wanted the Vancouver sweater for my Christmas sweater.  It is a fairly simple sweater for Dale of Norway so I put it into DAK and started knitting.  Starting it on December 24 wasn't the brightest idea for a Christmas sweater, but I did finish it in time for my birthday a couple of weeks later. 

This winter I decided that I would actually get Nagano knit.  So I looked at the yarn I had stashed for this project, decided to make a Small rather than a Medium to best use the yarn I had, reviewed the stitch patterns for errors, swatched to match the gauge needed, and started knitting.  It took about 2 weeks to knit on the machine, and looks amazing.  If I would get the finishing done so I could photograph it I would be really happy.

So now I want to make Whistler.  I have the shape pattern complete and the stitch patterns too.  Problem is that there are parts of it that are 3 colors per row.  So I'm thinking 3 color jacquard is the technique to use for this one.  Or at least for the rows affected.  So I read my manuals.  Not a lot of help there.  I go online to the Machine Knitting boards on Ravelry.  Some one else is asking the same questions, but I'm not seeing anything that really helps me.   I'm frustrated because the majority of the pattern is plain stockinette or setting O, most of the colorwork is 2 colors per row, basically fair isle, setting F, but about 10 - 12 rows are 3 color or jacquard/J.  The sound options on the interactive module imply that there should be a way to combine multiple techniques on one pattern piece but I can't figure it out.

So my best solution is to create 2 versions of each piece, one will be fair isle and stockinette with the jacquard section cut out and blank.  The second version will have the jacquard pattern on the appropriate rows of the pattern blank.  The plan is to knit the fair isle until I get to the jacquard rows.  Then load the jacquard piece, zip up to the appropriate row and knit the jacquard rows, then switch back to fair isle.  And this has to be done on all 4 pieces of the sweater.  I'm thinking a lot of swatches to get this worked out correctly before I start the big pieces.