Monday, September 15, 2008

Machine Knitting Update

Show and tell time...

First, here's an American Girl Doll sweater, adaped from the All-in-One baby sweater by Marg Coe.
AT All-in-one

Last week, on the KnittingMachine yahoo group, there was alot of discussion about this sweater and Arlene Hahn's new v-neck version (both available on This idea intrigued me, but I don't have any babies to knit for. What I do have is 2 little girls...with little girl dolls. So, I decided to try and adapt the pattern to fit an American Girl doll. This is a leap for me, only 3 months into my machine knitting experience, but I just kept telling myself "It's a doll", and gave myself permission to take chances and make mistakes. I think it turned out great. I'm already thinking about variations, and since I have 2 girls to knit for, I think I'll be doing alot more of these. (This one could stand to be blocked, but I'm an impatient sort. Also, please ignore my 6yo's writing on the doll's can't take your eyes off them a second ;-)

Next, is my Take-a-Turn sweater from Knitwords.

Take a Turn

This was my first real machine knit sweater. There's a knit-along in Ravelry for this sweater. I enjoyed knitting it and learned alot along the way. It was a real challenge, and I'm happy with the outcome. The sleeves are a little short, but I'll definitely wear it. It is made out of 100% llama yarn purchased at Pasa Yarns in Uxbridge, MA (a great place for coned yarn). to knit.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Restarting the blog

Okay, I haven't kept up my end of the deal...actually blogging...LOL. I've been reluctant to add a new post, since I've linked my Improvisation pattern from Ravelry. I don't want it to get lost. But, I'll figure that out.

There's been so much going on in my knitting life. I just have to start writing about it. In April, I made the decision to pursue my Master Knitter certification through the TKGA. I got my materials for Level I on April 29, worked through it and returned it for judging the first week of June. I was on a mission. I knew some people take months, if not years, to complete a level, probably because life interferes. But I wanted to get it out. I have a goal of designing a real sweater in 2008, and I think the Master Knitter program will help me reach that goal.

Once my Level I submission was out the door, I turned my attention to the fancy knitting machine sitting covered in the corner of my bedroom. I bought it in 1999, brand new, top of the line. I took a few lessons from the dealer, and then found out I was prego with my 1st child. Somehow the machine just got backburnered at that point. It sat mocking me in the corner of my bedroom. Actually, truth be told, I just ignored it. I didn't even notice it was there. Now and then, I'd have to tell my kids to leave it alone, but other than that, it was invisible.

So, in June this year, I decided to finally unearth it. I have had so much fun with it. Surprisingly, I remembered alot of the stuff I had learned in those lessons 9 years ago. I've completed a few items, most significantly a full adult-size sweater (I'll cover in another blog entry). I also bought 3 plastic bed machines on Craig's list, and I must say that I'm tempted to buy every machine I see on Craig's list.

Well, the TKGA committee returned my Level I submission in late June, pretty quick turn-around. There were just a few things I needed to resubmit -- 3 swatches and 2 questions. Not too bad. But, by then, I was knee-deep in machine knitting. This week, I did the swatches and next week I hope to finish the questions and get it back out the door. (Now that the kids are back in school...)

Wow, I can see that there's a lot of blogging to catch up on. I will try to do that soon.

Now...go knit!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Improvisation Pattern

Improvisation 2
This is a pattern I designed for wrist warmers inspired by Fetching and Irish Hiking Mitts, knit both together with magic loop start to finish.

Improvisation 1

Pics are on Ravelry. My user name is CocosKnitting. I'll post pics here when I figure out how :)
I'm happy to share this pattern. Please let me know if you use it.

This is knit from the knuckles down, so it can be as long as your yarn allows.

Cast On
(This is how I cast on for knitting 2 at a time on ML.)
CO 40 on 40" US6 needle, move stitches down loop

On separate US6 needle (length doesn't matter) and 2nd ball of yarn (or other end of same ball), CO 40; move 1/2 (20) stitches to other side (so 2nd needles have 20 stitches on each side, then transfer all stitches across to 40" working needle.(This may need a photo to understand.)

Separate stitches on loop by pulling loop out between middles two stitches, so that you have 20 & 20. Need to make sure working side is on the same side for both sets.

Knitting will go in the following order:
1st side of 1st mitt
1st side of 2nd mitt
2nd side of 2nd mitt
2nd side of 1st mitt

1st side of 1st mitt: Join in round. K1,[P2,K2] across
1st side of 2nd mitt: Join in round. K1,[P2,K2] across
2nd side of 2nd mitt: K1,[P2,K2] across
2nd side of 1st mitt: K1,[P2,K2] across
Continue in pattern for 1 - 1 1/2 inches.
(try it on and knit the ribbing for the length that suits you)

Change to US 7 needleKnitting back & forth for 1 1/2 inches, as follows:
1) K1, P2, T2, P1, C4F, C4B, P1, T2, P2, K1
2) P1, K2, P2, K1, P8, K1, P2, K2, P1
3) K1, P2, T2, P1, K8, P1, T2, ,P2, K1
4) same as (2)
Repeat for 1 1/2 inches
(again, try it on and knit for thumbhole length that suits you)

Join in round & continue knitting, as follows:
1) K1, P2, T2, P1, C4F, C4B, P1, T2, P2, K1
2) K1, P2, K2, P1, K8, P1, K2, ,P2, K1
3) K1, P2, T2, P1, K8, P1, T2, ,P2, K1
4) same as (2)

When it is 1 1/2 inches short of the desired length, change back to the 2x2 rib on US6 needle for the last 1 1/2 inches. Cast off loosely in pattern.

T2 = Twist 2 stitches by knitting into the front of the 2nd stitch, then the front of the 1st stitch and slipping both off needle
C4B = Cable 4 Back, by slipping 2 st to a cable needle, holding to back, knitting 2, then knitting 2 from cable needle
C4F = Cable 4 Front, by slipping 2 st to a cable needle, holding to front, knitting 2, then knitting 2 from cable needle

Copyright 2008 Coco's Knitting
Feel free to print a copy for your own use, but it is not okay to publish or sell it.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

First Blog

As we start a new year, I start out with my first ever blog! I am not a writer; I am a knitter. Fortunately, my sister is a writer, so I'm hoping some of her talent will carry over the bloodline to me.

I just returned from a trip down south to visit my family, a trip we make once every year or two. I took four projects with me. (1) A near-completed cabled cardigan for me, (2) a just-begun Aran cardigan for my hubby, (3) socks for my 7-year old, and (4) fetching with my left-over yarn from 1.

It was a good trip for knitting. I completed (1). It turned out beautifully. This was a very old pattern from Vogue Knitting from the 50's or 60's, knit with yarn from my stash. I had to modify the pattern for fit (I wanted a close fit vs. the oversize fit in the book), for yarn size and to knit in the round vs. pieces (I hate finishing).

I also completed (4). I had stepped away from knitting for a few years and have recently returned (now that my kids are out of toddlerhood), and discovered some new techniques. For this project, I decided to try knitting both at the same time on two circular needles. It wasn't too difficult, but I found it challenging to keep track of the yarn. And, I was using old plastic (nylon?) needles which were not as flexible as I would have liked. So, I think I'll try again under better conditions. But fetching turned out nice, as well. My mom admired them, so when I finished, I just gave them to her. (Forgot to take pics.)

I made good headway on (2), but didn't really bring enough yarn. I completed one sock in (2), and started the second. For these socks, I tried the Magic Loop approach. I really liked this technique. I find it very comfortable, not what I had expected.

All in all, I had a very productive Winter Break. The kids are back in school on Monday, and I'm back to work. Back to reality. Hopefully, I'll find some time to knit. But, now that I've discovered Ravelry and blogging, I'll have to manage my free time :)

Happy New Year!