Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Newborn Baby Hat on the SK155 Knitting Machine

In a community group on Facebook, someone shared that the local hospital has not been getting donations of baby hats lately, and could anyone help. Of course!! There was a hand knitting pattern supplied: With DK yarn, 3.75mm needle, cast on 70. Rib for 3". Switch needle size (but I never did) and stockinette for 2". Decrease 7 stitches every other row (Row 1: Knit 8, Knit 2 together and repeat; Row 3: Knit 7, Knit 2 together, repeat; Row 5: Knit 6, Knit 2 together, repeat; etc).  The pattern was written for knitting flat. If you do, I suggest adding a stitch so when you seam, you still get the decreases at the top spread evenly. I knit them in the round--Magic Loop style--so no seaming needed. I also use an alternate cable cast on. It's really nice for ribbing. I got the instructions from Montse Stanley's "Knitter's Handbook" but I assume instructions can be found online these days.

Although they didn't take me long to hand knit, I really wanted to machine knit some because of course it will be faster, right?

Oh Emm Gee. I won't go into details, but every, and all, and then some, mistakes that could be done on the SK155, I did. It was the only machine I had accessible, and I thought I could do DK on T1. It was too loose.
The pink and white striped one at the 9:00 position was the first (finished) hat on the SK155. The other pink striped, two purple, dark rose, and autumn colours ones were further attempts.

Well, I have lots of worsted, so on with that. I kept tweaking the pattern, getting back into the MK groove. I think the latest result is the closest to the hand knit version. My number of rows in the ribbing is a bit different in this hat than the pattern because I was worried about running out. I added two rows in the stockinette section to compensate. I ended up with yarn left over LOL

4.5st=1", 7 rows =1" on T1, SK155, worsted weight yarn

Cast on 50 sts, for 1x1 ribbing, using zig zag cast on and Tension "R".  Hang cast on comb. Do two circular rows (knit only on main bed one row, then the ribber bed for the next row).

Rib for 18 rows. I gradually increase the tension, one dot at a time, from TR to 0 to T1. Some of the yarns needed T1** because they were just a little stiffer.

Transfer stitches to main bed, or do what you need to to knit circular stockinette

Knit 14 rows.

Decrease 7st every other row. From right edge: move 2nd stitch to the left, count 5 needles; move next stitch to the left; repeat across row. I like to move stitches over to fill in empty needles. Knit 2 rows.

Next decrease row: move 2nd stitch from right, to the left. Count over 4 needles, move next stitch to left; repeat across the row. Knit two rows.

Keep doing this until 8 stitches remain (I think).

Thread yarn end through stitches and tighten. Sew up with mattress stitch, taking half a stitch from each edge.

I actually like to knit two more stockinette rows in the main part, and then when doing the decreases, on the last couple decrease rows, I eliminate the plain row in between the decrease rows (so, do the K2tog, knit 2 across, then the next row is K2tog, knit 1 across, then next row is knit 2 together across the row.
Allow 30gr of worsted weight yarn. The grey and fuchsia hat weighed in at 25 grams, after sewing and trimming ends. I think it was Loops and Threads "Impeccable".

Yarn In:  3344gr
Yarn Out:  6051gr + 402gr = 6453gr
Balance:  3109gr more OUT than in!
Costs: $42.35/182 days = $0.23/day

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