Thursday, March 24, 2011

Versatility

This is post 450! Woo Hoo!!


I was a little disappointed when I realized the Singer 155 came with only 5 punch cards (plus a couple the owner had punched). It's true, the 20+ cards with the Singer 327 were a little overwhelming, but there should be a happy medium! However, I'm having a lot of fun with what I do have so far! This is one area where hand knitting and machine knitting really differ. With hand knitting, you're more likely to get bored/tired of a stitch pattern after one project, because it's what you focus on. It's one of the primary reasons to knit whatever it is you're knitting and takes a lot of brain power. However, with machine knitting, it takes very little brain power to knit a stitch pattern. Put in the card, get the yarns in the right feeders, and off you go. The real work is in the pattern prep and swatching. Also, with MK, if you're going to commit to punching a punch card, you want to make sure it's a pattern you like, and probably re-use. For the small hat I made, and the current obsession I have, punching new cards seems indulgent. So, I'm having fun re-using the same card over and over!
This is the pattern in it's most basic form: (The Fair Isle pattern on the right half) My biggest complaint is that each band is overlapped with the one before it so when you change colours, one of the repeats gets gypped.

That effect is a little hard to see on the hat, but if you look at the first dark brown triangle band above the red one at the bottom, you can see that I finished off the red band, but the lowest points of the brown band are actually in red as well as the uppermost points of the red band. One plain row after the band would have solved this (or, if I were hand knitting, I'd just carry a third colour on this row, but the knitting machine carriage only allows for two yarns at once).
One pattern that is constantly requested in machine knitting groups, is a felted clog type slipper, like the Fiber Trends ones that are SO popular. I love hand knitting those, but I don't find them quick enough (esp. if for a gift for someone I don't want to invest a whole lot of time in). I've made other MK slippers and some are better than others (for me!). But the nice thing about the clogs is that the sole is two layers, and both layers are in garter stitch. While we CAN put in a little extra work to get garter stitch on the machine, it's a drag to do. And the construction method of the clog does not transfer to the machine very well at all. As in, do not even try.
A while ago, there was chit chat about making the Fuzzy Feet from knitty.com on the machine. But of course, MK style--a short row heel, and knit flat with side seams. I had HK those slippers, and didn't like the thinness of the single layer of stockinette felted fabric (and the sock shape bothered me). Last week, one of the members of the Yahoo group, Kris, from www.kriskrafter.com, posted a felted clog style slipper, doable on a flatbed bulky (like the Bond, KnitSmart, or metal bed machines). The group has gone crazy for these! They are SO simple to make. I opted to do them "seam as you go" and for some extra thickness, I did Fair Isle on the soles (Kris had done weaving, but I haven't tried that on the machine yet). Here, you can see, on the right edge, blue stripes instead of Fair Isle. This is what happens when you forget to unlock the punch card mechanism and it just knits line one of the pattern over and over again until you realize. I also learned (but apparently not well enough as I repeat the error more than once) that when switching back to stockinette stitch, after taking the second yarn out of the carriage...turn the selector back to stockinette!! Otherwise you end up with empty hooks where the second yarn should have been! Here's the felted blue ones (don't start felting at the kids' bedtime...they turned out a smidge too small). The felted Fair Isle is thicker than single layer stockinette, although since they felted a bit too much, it's not a huge difference. There are some ideas floating around about how to make it a double sole, I think two layers of Fair Isle would be very cushy.
Next to them are the next pair, done with a higher contrast to see just how much the pattern might show when felted (the blue ones are much more subtle in real light).
Then, I thought, what about a different card? I looked through them, and saw that I could use a polka dot pattern. Weee! To spice it up, I switched the yarns around for the second slipper (the tops are the same green though). These ones gave me some challenges...you can see on the right edge of the lower one that I had the card locked again. I also forgot to stop the Fair Isle at the tip of the toe on one, so the Fair Isle continued up onto the top of the foot for a few rows. I also had settings wrong, forgot to turn back to stockinette, etc.... But that didn't stop me from casting on another pair with this pattern; the first one is still on the machine....how many will I end up making? Not sure yet!
I'm using the Singer 155, T7, Patons Classic Merino/Classic Wool; about 117gr per pair.













7 comments:

Jemajo said...

The blue and white are my favourites there, but then I have a weakness for blue.
Love, love, love those slippers!

TracyKM said...

Mmmm...Jemajo...the blue ones are two shade of blue, not white and blue. Interesting how it appears different on different computers. I love them too but they're a bit too tight. It'll be interesting to see how the more contrasting ones felt up!

Jemajo said...

Oh! Two shades of blue? That does explain why some colours are really "off" when I order yarn....hmmmm!

Sheryl Evans said...

Could you do a birdseye tuck stitch for a double layer foot that should felt up really nice?? Sheryl

LeAnn said...

Jemajo... there should be a setting on your monitor to adjust color or there might even be an 'auto adjust'.
I'm curious to see how the contrast colors come out!

TracyKM said...

I think tuck stitch would be a great option too! It might widen the slipper (I heard someone did that to adjust for her wider feet), so a few more stitches on the top portion should probably get added. One reason I did Fair Isle is that I have a LOT of partial/odd balls of Classic Merino and I wasn't sure how much it would take (and it always takes more than I expect! LOL). Tuck could also be done in mulitple colours, and Fair Isle could also be done with two strands of the same colour...

carrie said...

I dont know a thing about knitting but I do know I love those slippers! Cute!