Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!

From Me To You, All The Best!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

A Bit Of Italy On Christmas Day

For those that have emailed me, you probably know from my last name I am Italian; Panciarello.  Both of my Grandfathers were from Italy and came to the U.S. (settled in New York) as so many did in the early 1900's.  My Grandmothers were born in the U.S. but full fledged Italian.  You would have thought my Fathers Mother was from Italy, but no. My Mothers Father was "Landi" I love that name.  Anyway, as we all know back in the day no one measured or wrote anything down as far a recipes are concerned.  Luckily my Mother (a very, very smart woman) who was an Executive Secretary for the President of a Company that is now part of Armstrong Carpeting.  She had beautiful handwriting, took short hand and could type (on the old manual machines) like  a crazy lady while she was conversing and never looked at the keys; I can only imagine how fast she would be on todays computers.  She would watch her Mother cook and bake and before she added anything into a bowl or pot she would measure it and write it down.  Boy am I glad my Mother did this!

My Fathers side is from Bari, Italy and my Mothers side from the northern suburbs of Naples.  Two distinct styles of cooking and living.  My Mothers side always seemed reserved, quiet and the food was lighter.  The opposite held true for my Fathers side.

Both sides of my family made the below Christmas "Pies" recipe, each a bit different than the other.  My Mothers side made it lighter and sprinkled (dipped) sugar on the little pies, my Fathers Mother saturated them in honey.  If my knitting friends in Italy know the proper name of this wonderful Christmas treat please let me know.

Here is Grandma Landi's recipe for "Christmas Chocolate Pies":

1  lb. dry Chestnuts, soak overnight, boil until very soft
2  Cans Garbanzo Beans (15 oz ea)
1-½ lb. Mixed Nuts (in shells) OR  24 oz unshelled mixed nuts
1  Large Can Pears (in own juice)
6-12 Ginger Snaps (grated with roasted nuts)
1/2 Cup Sugar
1/2 Cup VERY strong espresso
Grated Rinds of 2 Oranges, 2 Tangerines & 2 Lemons 
½ lb. Milk Chocolate, melted
½ lb. Semi Sweet Chocolate, melted
3 tablespoons Grape Jelly (odd huh?)
3 tablespoons Candied Citron (can't find it?  leave it out)
¾ Teaspoon Cinnamon (I like a bit more)
Pine (Pignoli) Nuts (place 2 in each pie, I leave these out)

NOTE:  You can find dried chestnuts in Italian specialty stores or Asian markets.  If not, you can use fresh, do not use the prepackaged shelled variety.  If using fresh you must allow for the weight of the shells, purchase 1-½ lb.  Cut a cross in them and boil for about 20 min.  Take them out and while hot peel them.  Place back in boiling water and cook until very soft, drain.

Roast mixed nuts in oven until their color start to deepen, 5-10 minutes turning as needed.

In a blender or food processor, grind up the roasted nuts with ginger snaps (until similar to bread crumb consistency), add the Chestnuts and pears (use pear juice if needed to process).  Pour into a large container.  Blend remaining ingredients EXCEPT citron and pine nuts (in batches as this make quite a bit).  Pour into container and mix well add the citron.  The mixture will be VERY thick.  If not add some more ginger snaps.  Refrigerate overnight.

6-7 Cups Flour
3 teaspoons Baking Powder
1-½ teaspoons Salt
3 Sticks Margarine (1-½ Cups)
2 Large Eggs (slightly beaten)
Orange juice 

1 beaten Egg White (to brush on edge of each pie)

Mix dry ingredients then work in margarine with hands until well incorporated.  Add eggs and some orange juice, keep adding the orange juice until the door holds together.  Turn out onto a smooth surface and knead well until dough is elastic and smooth.

Cover dough and let it rest 15-30 min.

Taking about 1/8 of the dough, roll out on a floured surface into a large circle (the bigger the better will reduce the rolling).  Dough should be thinner than regular pie crust. Cut with a 6" bowl into individual circles.  Brush ½ of each circle with egg white and place 1-2 tablespoons of filling on each (this is where you can add the pine nuts).  Fold over dough and pinches edges with fork (dipped in flour) to seal them.

Fry the pies in oil heated to 375℉, fry until rich golden brown, drain on paper towels or brown paper.  Cool completely and store in refrigerator.  Pies are best when fully chilled as filling sets up and flavor is at it's peak.

I dip mine into white sugar then shake off the excess.  You could try the honey by drizzling warm honey on them just prior to eating.  This recipe can be cut in half as estimated amount of above is 100 pies.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Tom's Butter Horn Recipe

Nope, not about Machine Knitting today.  Thought it would be nice to post a recipe that goes back in my family more than 50 years.  I remember my mother getting together with her friends to bake these for a fundraising dessert.  As they baked, I played in the horse corral with another kid my age, hearing the ladies chatting with the sound of the rolling pin going back and forth.

They have been a Christmas tradition ever since.  Not having any family to pass my recipe on to you I thought I would share with my machine knitting family.  Hope my friend Katherine in Idaho makes them (and you too!).

P.S. So easy to make!  I usually double the recipe.

2 cups all purpose unbleached flour
1/2 lb. margarine (2 sticks) - make sure it is very cold
3/4 cup sour cream
1 egg yolk slightly beaten


3/4 cup sugar
1 lb. chopped walnuts (substitute what you like)
1/2-1 teaspoon cinnamon

Blend flour and margarine in bowl with hands until well incorporated and crumbly (like making biscuits).  Add sour cream then egg yolk.  Mix well, dough will be wet and sticky.  Cover and refrigerate 3 hours or overnight.

Pre-heat oven to 375℉

Divide dough into 4 equal sections and roll out on a well floured surface with a well floured rolling pin to about a 12" circle (and slightly thinner than pie crust).  Cut circle into 8-12 triangles (depends how big you like them) and sprinkle generously with the filling.  Roll up like a crescent starting with wide end.  Place on an ungreased baking sheet and form a crescent shape with point on underside.  They can be close together on the sheet.

Bake approximately 20 minutes, until light golden brown.  Cool and eat.  These always taste better the next day.  Store in covered container.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

I Can't Get Enough Of Vanda's Creations!

Please take a look at Vanda's beautiful work, you need to follow her blog!  Just click here:

Vanda's Blog

Monday, December 17, 2012

Brother Electronic Machines Have MORE Than 555 Built-In Patterns!

Did you know that?  If you own a Brother or Compuknit Electronic with 555 pre-programmed patterns in memory, there are more!  Why wouldn't they tell us?  We'll never know...


Pattern 601 thru 626 A-Z Upper Case
Pattern 627 thru 652 A-Z Lower Case
Pattern 653 (a period) "." (use isolation setting)
Pattern 881 1X1 Alternate Selection (seed stitch - changes each row)
Pattern 882 5X5 Needle Selection
Pattern 883 1X16 Needle Selection
Pattern 884 1st Row: 1 needle selects every fifth needle
                    2nd Row: 2 needles select
                    3rd Row: 3 needles select
                    4th Row: 4 needles select
                    5th Row: all needles select

All variation switches can be used on the above patterns.  Remember when knitting letters, you must wrap your yarn to avoid holes.  Use the letters in the isolation setting and can be double high and wide!  There are more hidden, can you find them?

My 930 update:  The new one arrived, in bits an pieces...I want to scream.  Thank goodness for shipping insurance, I hope...

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Brother 930E Update...

As you can see from the posting below, my battery change went well.  Unfortunately, this did not "fix" the problem.  The board(s) in my 930 seem to be toast. (there are more than 1).

So, being in love with this machine (my ribber and Garter Carriage are also "E's) and being an A type person, I sought some help in my search for replacement boards.  All I can say is EEEEK!  The price I got for the main mother board alone was more than I paid for the machine.  Then if it was one of the other smaller boards I would really be up the creek.

Some people I know and contacted looking for the boards were wonderful, others no reply or could not offer any help.  Dorothy at Custom Knits & Mfg. was wonderful as was Norm at Newtons, special thanks to them!

So, I decided to buy another machine and use it for replacement parts.  I was very lucky, got a great price on a very well kept one original owner machine.  They are getting harder and harder to find and the ones available are pricey and not in the greatest of shape.

The machine should arrive soon and I plan on offering the items I won't need (carriages, rails, tension mast, combs, tools and etc.) to those Machine Knitters who may be in need.

I'll post once the machine arrives, so much for all the holiday gifts I had planned for this machine.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Changed 930E Battery Today

Last post I was whining about my knitting carriage not selecting needles for lace patterns (below post).  Odd as when I select KCl or KCll the pattern knits.  With that in mind, I decided to change out the battery as on this machine I haven't done that.  The original sales receipt and product registration card that came with the machine is dated 09-29-88, 24 years old with the original battery!

Typically, you know your battery is going when the machine starts to make that "pinging ring" or you can't program in a new pattern.  That was not an issue for me and the original owners patterns were still loaded.

A few months ago I bought a back-up 3V battery from "Digi-Key" they carry the batteries we need for our Brother machines.  You can't beat their price either, $5.85 per battery.  Need a spare battery (for all Brother machines except the 970) just click here: 

It is easy to replace the battery and you should not be intimidated by it.  The hardest part was removing the solder from the holes so I could insert the new battery.

For those who have not looked at a knitting machine mother board and battery, here are some photos:

Battery Located In Upper Right Hand Corner

Close-up Of Old Battery

Cables Pull Out & Go In Easily 
All back together, took about 40 minutes start to finish.  When you plug your machine back in, you will probably get error code 888.  No worries, depress the "step & input keys" at the same time, then release, depress the "input key" once.  The machine will reboot in 30-60 seconds and return to normal.  BE WARNED: Changing your battery will result in any patterns you entered being deleted.  You may want to back up your files first.  The factory installed programs will not be deleted.

And guess what?  The needles are still not selecting when carriage is set to N-L and lace pattern is in play.  On to the next fix, I hope!

Hmmm, wonder if Ye Olde Yarn Shoppe in Grandville, Michigan is still in business (where this machine was purchased)?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

L A C E - What Happened?

I decided to whip up a few lace scarves and thought I would sit at my Brother electronic standard tonight to get gauge, size and pattern ready to go for tomorrow.

Not sure what the heck happened but each pattern I programmed gave me the same design.  Being that I don't normally do this type of lace (I prefer FNR lace for scarves with ultra fine yarn) thought maybe I am doing something really out of whack.

So, I actually pulled out the instruction manual from the machine (I felt like a rookie again) and followed along as a beginner using the step by step instructions.  Same thing happened.....I tried my dial on N-L, KCl & KCll thinking that would fix it....NOT.  Interesting when I set the carriage dial on N-L per the Brother manual, I get stockinette.

Has this ever happened to you?  Maybe I should go back to my FNR scarves?

Perhaps I am just too tired from two very long days at is my mess for the night.

Stitchworld 112 & 120 Same Results

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Magic Scarf - Inspiration...?

Found this by accident, take a look at the Magic Scarf.  Easy to do with a ribber or without.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Purple Rollers...Check Out This Sweater!

Anna, is an awesome knitter; I really love to look at her blog, Art Machines.

Check out her recent project HERE - translated project name via her translate button is "Purple Rollers" - I like the translated name and the sweater is beautiful in any color.

I Can Convert Your Sweater Hand Knit Pattern To Machine Knit

I like to assist other machine knitters.  If you would like a hand knit sweater pattern converted to a machine knit pattern (with schematics) just email me the below information.  Click on the "email" button on the top right side of this page to get started!

  • Photo of item (if your pattern has one) or "type" of garment
  • Size you would like to knit it in (measurements in inches if not included in the actual pattern)
  • Any adjusted measurements for your selected size (longer torso, sleeves and etc.) if different from pattern you send me
  • Stitch gauge per inch
  • Row gauge per inch
  • Tension dial setting used for gauge 
  • Yarn you plan to use
  • Any other design differences you would like (different from the pattern), crew neck changed to v-neck, zipper instead of a  button band, folded hem instead of a rib hem, short to long sleeved and etc.
  • A simple scan of your hand knit pattern and the above info and I'll email back the machine knit pattern and schematics.  Just give me a couple of days to get it back to you.
All free, just because... 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Have I Lost My MInd?

I have converted the men's cardigan hand knit pattern (see below posting) for machine knitting.  It was fairly simple and along the way I created my own calculator and schematic designer to convert patterns.  WOW, is it easy now!  If you have a favorite hand knit sweater pattern you would like converted to a machine knit pattern let me know I would be happy to do it for you and email it back with the schematic, all I need is your pattern, size you want converted and the gauge you want to use.

So, I had the flu not so long ago, DR stated it was not from the flu shot but if I had not had the shot it would have been worse; can't imagine.

Now I am back to my knitting the mens cardigan.  During my first attempt I made a beginner mistake and knit too many rows for the folded hem (the hem is a different color than the body); I ripped and rewound, I got frustrated and waited until I calmed down.  Started again and was working on the front right side where you begin the decrease for the raglan by casting off 5 stitches.  Well I did that but, on both sides (including where the front zipper band is) and knit on.  When I realized it, I ripped again.  Then I messed up on the raglan decreases.  Being persistent as I am, I have re-knit the front and have stopped at the decreases.  My error was due to my eyes picking up the wrong written line; the pattern is good.  Time to grab dinner, then, off to knit the remaining portion.

Just wanted to do a quick post and let you know where I am with the mens cardigan or better to say where my head was not!

It happens to all of us at some point!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Knit PIcks Designer Jesse Loesberg Men's Patterns For Machine Knitters

It's a guy thing...?  Machine knitters know there is not enough practical designs that we guys would "really" wear.

I have a few original designs I will someday put together and publish but I am always looking for inspiration.

While cruising through the internet looking at mens sweaters and vests I took another look at Jesse Loesberg's designs over at his website and at Knit Picks.  He is also found on Ravelry.  They are very timeless.

I got in touch with Jesse and asked if he would mind me converting his hand knit patterns for machine knitters. Of course there will be changes but maybe not enough to call them my own or maybe there will be, we'll see.  In any case I would mention his original design and provide credit for his original.

Good news!  He said sure thing go for it.  Thanks Jesse!

Below are samples (Jesse's hand knit patterns) I will be working out for us machine knitters.  I am thinking of a soft, squishy coned yarn I have in my huge stash....maybe two yarns knit together.  In any case, I will write up the patterns, test knit and offer them here on the blog.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

MAO's Great Offer!

You all know Mary Anne Oger (MAO), her designs are always cutting edge and published her own magazine for quite a while (Knitwords), sadly,  no longer in publication; I follow her blog, I like her straight forwardness.  If you get the chance to attend one of her seminars do it.  Mary Anne also has the Pattern Of The Month (POM) she publishes each month.

Here is a great chance to get 6 issues (buy 3 get 3 free) of Mary Anne's new old stock of Knitwords for $30 AND this includes shipping!

Please visit her website for more info and this very reasonable offer:


Monday, August 27, 2012

I Have Been Knitting Slippers...

I have been busy knitting away, test knitting for Diana Sullivan for  her new slipper book.

She has some terrific patterns in her book, they look great and easy as can be too.

Diana's creation, "No Sew Slipper" is lined, warm, squishy and NO SEWING!  Perfect for me as I avoid it when possible.

I whipped up her moccasin style slipper last night.  Takes little yarn and really looks great.

This past week, I  received my first computerized sewing machine, you name it it has it and does it.  Tested it out briefly and so far so good.  Another machine to learn!  Hoping when I get it down I can incorporate some of the stitches and features into my machine knitting items.  I am not new to sewing, my grandparents on my Mother's side were in the garment industry. My Grandfather (from Italy) was a tailor and made many suits for the Movie Stars of the day; most of his work was done by hand stitching, especially the collars.  My grandmother, owned a dress manufacturing business.  I still have her old Singer factory machine.  There are a million attachments and this machine was built like an army tank.  She taught us all how to sew, make patterns and design our own items.  She had the knack to look at a dress (or any garment), sit down with old newspaper (I do this!), sketch out the pattern and make a duplicate.  She did this for my sisters wedding when the Flower Girl dress was not available and my Sister wanting the Flower Girl dress to match the Bridesmaids.  Truly amazing.

I thank them for teaching me how to do these things, especially to have patience.  And in the end, if it doesn't look right, rip it out and redo it or throw it out and start again.  You learn as you go, not making the same error twice.  Gee sounds like our hobby of machine knitting doesn't it?

Below are the test slippers I made this week:

Sunday, August 19, 2012

iPad & Machine Knitting

I have some neat app's on my iPad which I use for my machine knitting.  If you have an iPhone or iPad, there is a great gauge calculator app out there, I use it often to get gauge.

Tonight, I was testing out a slipper pattern for Diana Sullivan and wanting to not print it (trying to be green) my iPad was in my lap.

About 3/4 of the way through this great slipper pattern, the iPad scrolled to the last page.  When I noticed this I scrolled to where I "thought" I was and not where I "actually" was.  What a mess.

It was frustrating me as I kept reading and reading where I thought I should be and none of it made sense, thinking, what in the world did Diana leave out?!?  Not a thing.

Funny, how our minds work, me thinking and knowing something was missing why didn't I re-read everything I did?  Well this is a lined slipper, my gauge was a bit off as my yarn tension mast was acting up when I started to knit.  This being a test slipper I just released the knitting off of the machine.  When I test knit for someone I always do two-(2) of whatever I am testing.  The first is for me to work through the pattern and get the mechanics down.  The second is to really "test" the authors instructions and etc.

There you go, if you want to use an iPad as you knit DON'T LEAVE IT IN YOUR LAP!

P.S. Diana's book and companion DVD "Footnotes" are going to be wonderful, one of her best!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Diana Sullivan's Blog Follower Request

Diana Sullivan on her blog (Diana natters on...about machine knitting) this past weekend offered up some great pictures of projects her followers sent.  She did this to instill inspiration (we all need some of that at times).

A couple of my projects were shown and subsequently, the pattern for a dog sweater I make was asked for.  I knit dog sweaters for my "Mikey" - he is pictured as a young puppy below.

Some measurements you will need:  Tail to collar (for back), width at chest (around front legs), legs (ankle to body) and width between front legs (for chest panel).  Mikey measured and pattern for: Chest 17", body 12.5" sleeves 4" and width of chest panel 3".

So, seeing the request here is my "Mikey's Dog Sweater" pattern:

A few years ago I found a dog sweater pattern I liked online.  The origins of the pattern are unknown to me and I used the pattern as a base for MIkey’s sweaters.  I wish I knew who designed the original so I could offer them credit.  I have changed it around quite a bit from the original (just like a recipe for the kitchen) so, I will call this one my own.  I have used both a punchcard and Garter Carriage for his sweaters and had terrific results with both!

I used Tamm fingering yarns as I wanted an acrylic so I would be able to throw it into the washer and dryer on the standard machine.  The entire sweater is knit on together on the machine with the exception to the chest panel; this is sewn on later easing it in like a sleeve as in sewing.

I used T7 on the main sections and T5 for the ribbing (basically my sock gauge).  

7.5 st & 10 rows to one inch.

RC000 - T5
Cast on 99 stitches for ribbing (MB - 49/50 RB 48/49).  Reset RC to 000, Knit 20 rows (or how many rows of rib you would like).  Transfer all to MB and knit 2 rows, RC022.

Place carriage to HOLD, move 42 needles to D position opposite carriage.  K1 row and wrap.  Now pull 42 needles opposite carriage to HOLD, K1 row and wrap.  Needles in work are now centered between needles in HOLD.

*Push 2 needles opposite carriage to working position, K1 row and wrap*.  Continue until all needles are back in work (repeat from * to *).  Adjust weights (Iuse 2 claw weights under the last needles in HOLD moving as needed).

If using a Garter Carriage place on machine and set punchcard or program an electronic (I have used both) for row1; change to MT7.  Adjust weights so work is weighted evenly.  If using a punchcard set carriage to K all needles, (plain knitting).

Knit in your pattern of choice until RC078 - this is the body of the sweater where you can shorten or lengthen for your dog.  Mikey is longer than most in his body but lean!

Reset RC to RC000; cast off behind gate pegs 12 sts., Knit one row (still in pattern).  Cast off 12 sts behind gate pegs; K1 row.

K27 rows (adjust if needed - this is depending on the width of your dog’s shoulders).

RC000; e-wrap on 12 sts; K1 row; e-wrap 12 sts.  Adjust weighing for even results; I suggest claw weights on the e-wrapped sts.

Set punchcard/Garter Carriage to K17 rows (length here depends on your dogs length between front shoulder to base of neck).

Remove on WY.

RC000; cast on 27 sts for rib (again based on your dogs girth - you can add stitches based on measurement of dog’s underside) RT5.  K20 rows.

Transfer sts to MB, set to MT7; release card/program electronic; RC000, K25 rows. If you increased or decreased for back, you would want to add or subtract rows here as well.
Place markers on end needles.  K25 rows, place markers on end needles.  K18 rows.  Remove on WY.

RC000, with private side facing, hang neck edge stitches, decreasing 16 stitches.  Rehang Chest Panel neck sts, decreasing 5 stitches.

T5, K1 row, transfer sts for rib.  K in rib for 36 rows (crew neck), then last row at T8; double rows for turtle neck + 1 row at 3 T higher (turn row).  For turtle neck I knit 35 rows, 1 row at T8, then 35 rows at T5.

Cast off using chain stitch method this allows stretching easily over the dogs head.

Join shoulder and neck seams only to form leg openings.

RC000, rehang leg opening, private side facing on 50 needles.  K1 row at T7.  Set punchcard/electronic pattern - Garter Carriage for pattern; K28 rows, Again, lengthen or shorten here.

RC000, transfer stitches for rib, T5 K 33 rows, last row (R34), K at T8.  Chain stitch cast off.  Do the same for second sleeve.

Join remaining seams.


Garter Carriage Used - Crew Neck

Garter Carriage Used - Turtle Neck

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Red Socks!

If you read my past post I was complaining about my neck and how I messed up while attempting to knit socks.  In my case I guess it is "pain no gain!"

Oh well, the neck is much better so I restarted the red socks, one down and one to go!

Something About Red Socks!
What's hangin' on your needles?

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Where Have I Been...

I work in the travel industry here in Las Vegas, with the airlines have doing so more than 30 years.  At the end of last month we were busy getting ready to move to a brand new Terminal (at the end of June).  This was exciting and exhausting.  A few challenges with long days and weeks.  So, at that point too tired to knit, my brain would not function anyway.

With that behind me, I was assisting with some baggage and ended up with a pinched nerve in my shoulder/neck...ouch!

So bending my head and huddling over one of my machines was out of the question.  It still hurts, but, getting better.  I should really go visit my Chiropractor (I knit for her and her staff) but, I am stubborn.

Well, yesterday I decided to give it a go on my standard and knit a simple (Garter Carriage) sock.  WHAT A MESS I made.  The Garter Carriage (I was playing with) decided to not free up the yarn and dropped all the knitting off the machine when I walked away.  The nerve!  Okay so, I rewound the yarn (scarlet red fingering) and went at it again.

This time my neck was irritated (like my mind) and I made two biggies (I am not a novice); I did not set the tension dial at all on the Garter Carriage so the stitches were huge, THEN, I forgot to decrease on the correct side to center the pattern.  ENOUGH for last night.

So, I just rewound again...should I go at it now or wait???  Don't you hate when something like this happens to you?  I bet we all have our stories as to "when things go wrong on our knitting machines!"

Keep in mind, I am one to say try to knit a bit each day if possible, but not when you are in pain; it will only cause more pain!
Scarlet Red Fingering

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Ribber Cast On & Weighting Your Ribber

Sorry haven't posted in a few, been very hectic at work as we just moved to a new facility and it was very chaotic with very, very, long days.  Now I am back to my usual self and routine.

If you read patterns and watch videos everyone seems to have their own concept on when to hang ribber weights during the cast on process.

I am sure, if you are like me, you have tried following the pattern instructions on how to cast on with your ribber and "when" to hang the weights.

As a result of my getting distracted one day I found what works best for me, that is....
  • I do my zig-zag row at the tightest tension
  • Hang the comb (enough weight in itself)
  • Knit at least (sweaters I do 5) three-(3) circular rows at T1
  • Change to plain knitting (ready to rib) and knit two rows at MT
  • Hang the weights and continue to knit per your projects instructions

When doing this I find a neater,  stretchier and even cast on.  Give it a go, you'll like it!

P.S.  Take a look at how nice entrelac can be (even though not finished yet); Diana's idea "in progress" is an evening bag:

Monday, July 9, 2012


Check out Phil's latest creation over at his blog, it's an Irish Bishop design. Evolution

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Tuck Stitch Pattern, Origin Unknown

So a few of you have asked for the tuck stitch pattern I used on my swatch (two posts down).  Really have no idea where it originated, would love to give credit where it is due.  This was a partial photocopy on an old flyer that came with one of my KM's.  I scanned it and cleaned it up a bit.  If you know it's origins, please let me know!  If it is your design or have rights to the design and do not want it published let me know too!

I entered this in one of my electronic machines and used the "-" for the tuck.

Stand Back From Your Computer To See Pattern
It is a 24 needle and 12 row repeat.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Gauge - Why Get A Match?

Today, I received an email from a very nice lady asking me how I "match" my gauge to that of a pattern.  She was trying to match 7 stitches and 17.5 rows to the inch.

I sent a rather lengthy reply explaining the in's and out's of "attempting" to do this especially with her using a different machine and yarn.

So, to keep it simple (and stop the insanity), use YOUR gauge for YOUR machine and YOUR yarn.  Simply do the calculations (conversions) BEFORE you start the project.

The pattern will tell you the gauge "they" used, simply divide the rows and stitches (needles) by their gauge to get the measurements (cm's or inches) "they" had.  Then use YOUR  gauge with those measurements to get the correct stitches (needles) and rows for YOUR gauge.  Do the same for any decreasing and or increasing.

Simple huh?

I had the exact same way off gauge on the swatch I posted last (below).  The calculations are done and it's ready to go just a very long, long week at work and too exhausted to sit at the machine. When I am tired I don't chance any knitting, I've learned my lesson before!

Also, I am an Apple fan, not just for eating  but for computers.  I am typing this on my iMac and use my iPad more frequently.  There are "free" apps that calculate your gauge!  I have one I use on my iPad.  You simply enter the stitches, rows, width and length and it is done for you.  No errors!

This week I hope to get going on my Summer T-shirt with the swatch below (last post).

Hope you are enjoying your Summer!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

In Search Of The Perfect Tuck Stitch...

I recently purchased some Yeoman cotton/acrylic yarn (color is "oatmeal") during a yarn co-op over at Knit It Now.  My reason for this purchase is to make a summer shirt for myself.  I can't believe I'm doing that as I NEVER make anything for me!

So I have been in search of a stitch pattern (tuck) that I like enough to start the project.  You would think with all of the pre-programmed stitches in my standard machine and all the books and magazines I have I would find one.  Nope!

So, I got resourceful and started looking at the punchcard patterns I have on CD's and actual punchcards I have. Again, nope.

Then I stumbled across a flyer I had (who knows from where) that had a punch card pattern of 24 stitches wide X 12 rows.  Having no clue what this would look like knitted up, I programmed the pattern into my machine (I do this when I find a punchcard pattern I want to use).

Got busy testing the pattern with some partial ball of sock yarn I had in a bin , liked it enough to test and swatch with the new Yeoman yarn.  EEKK!  I am at tension 9 on this as the cotton is a bit dense and you know how soft and easy to knit cotton yarn can be (NOT!).  all kidding aside, this may be the one.

Yeoman Swatch

Yeoman Swatch Diagonal

Interesting tuck huh?  The swatch has been laundered and dried flat.  Now to measure my gauge and go from there.

And what's hanging on your needles...

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Dragonfly, Way Off Topic

Today is a mish-mosh of little things I need to do for the upcoming hectic work week.  No knitting yet but, it is on my agenda for after dinner (rotisserie glazed, bourbon brined pork tenderloin).  Having a late afternoon coffee, I noticed my odd plant (agave aloe thing) with it's 6' flower stalk (ready to bloom) had the below hanging on it's very tip (even though it's 105 deg F at the moment).

Here is it's description:

Dragonflies are agile and have bulging eyes that often occupy most of the head and a wingspan of about 6 in. (16 cm). The dragonfly is one of the fastest-flying and most predaceous insects; in 30 minutes it can eat its own weight in food.

And, here is my pond it was next to:

Thought I would share, nature sure is amazing huh?

You Can't Take it With You...

I live in Las Vegas, NV, USA where it's HOT, very hot from May through September.  Each day our normal high temperature is well over 100 degrees F, yes, its a dry heat but, still HOT!  This morning before the sun started to heat things up I sat on my patio grafting toes on some socks.  I find the outside lighting the best.   Sitting next to my pond listening to the water trickle out of the stream while koi eat breakfast is very relaxing.  As I was grafting, my mind started to wander...

Over the years I have met some very wonderful machine knitters. They have shared things with me and me with them.  Not too long ago a very nice woman from California saw I was listed as a "Knitting Buddy" in the UK publication "Machine Knitting Monthly."  She had some questions about her Brother electronic and sent me an email as she was having carriage and programming issues.  We emailed back and forth & I ended up sending her a carriage, yarn masts, and extension rails.  She offered to pay me but I refused.  Then she offered to pay me for the shipping, again, I refused.

Very recently, I read on another machine knitting blog a woman had just purchased a 4-color yarn changer.  She had some issues with the seller and did not have the punch cards.  I contacted her then emailed the scans of the punch cards she was looking for.  She was so tickled I did that (so was I).

Then I started to think a bit more, isn't that the same thing teachers do?  They share their "knowledge" with others?  I am no teacher, but I do share what I know and have learned.  In addition I send people what they need if I can.  Why?  Guess part of me thinks it's fun to make people happy, the other part of me wants our craft to continue on and flourish.  Trust me, I am not thinking "It will come back to me 10 fold."

Example:  A friend of mine who I am sure you know, Diana Sullivan, teaches machine knitting and all the knitting machine techniques that she can.  As you know there are plenty of her videos free of charge on YouTube or you can purchase the DVD and books from her blog/website.  Do you really think she "makes" money doing this?  Think of her valuable time (she has a rewarding full time job), the equipment she needed to purchase to make the videos, the supplies (DVD's to burn, books to make, mailing envelopes, postage and etc.).  She does this for the love of the craft and to help people; not the money.

So, what's in it for me?  Not a thing other than making people smile.  Recently and unexpectedly, I received well over 50lbs of coned yarn from another machine knitter (who also sells supplies for our craft).  She, when I asked why she was sending me the yarn simply stated, "I know you will make nice things and give them to charity!"  She did not ask me to pay for anything...WOW!

Please share your knowledge, your techniques, send some one something they are looking for.  You can email patterns, punch card designs, manuals (PDF's) and etc.  Promise you will make friends along the way and it feels so darn good too!

As the title says, "You Can't Take it With You!"

Sunday, June 10, 2012

A Great Knitting Machine Website - Knit It Now

Let me start by saying I have no affiliation with the below website I would like talk about (other than being a paid member).

Many of you know Sue Jalowiec from seminars and etc.  She also has a machine knitters website: 

The Knit It Now website is wonderful!  When you are there, browse through the categories:  Store, Learning Library, Home Study, Stitch Library, Pattern Library and My Library.

You can purchase patterns, gadgets, yarn (we all need more-LOL), watch, tutorials,  "1 Minute Tech Tips" and more.  Sue will email you with 1 Minute Tech Tips links and when she conducts her yarn co-ops.  You can save some cash with her co-ops!

When you need inspiration for a garment, stitch and etc. the Knit It Now website is sure to do the trick.

I have emailed Sue for her opinion and guidance a couple of times, she does email back quickly!

Have a look at Knit It Now and join up, it's worth giving it a go.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Great Machine Knit V-Neck Men's Sweater

Take a look at Alex's newest creation!  Alex, like me, states he is an avid machine knitter (another machine knitting guy!) and has just started using Brother Knitting Machines, I see he has gotten the hang of it!  Alex has a nice blog,  Adventure's With Machine Knitting.

His men's v-neck machine knit sweater is a click away:  Men's Machine Knit V-Neck Sweater

Saturday, June 2, 2012

My "Newer" Buttonhole, What Do You Think....

I fiddled with this, mostly in my head.  I searched and searched through my books and DVD's, searched online, emailed my knitting buddies, looked at blogs and etc.

None of it was doing what I wanted AND to keep it simple.  Too much ravel cord, needles in hold, WY, snipping, sewing and sometimes crocheting.

So, I came up with's pretty close to what I want the end result to be.  Simple and quick to do, tailored, lays fairly flat and no droopy hole.  This is a combination of a gate peg bind off and e-wrapping.

Swatch Right Off the Machine
Swatch Pinned Open To Show Buttonhole Edges

Let me know what you think....

Friday, June 1, 2012

Buttonhole Idea Challenge Photo

"Blonde" left a comment for me to post a picture so you can get a better idea of what I am knitting the buttonhole and band on (help us help you).  She was right, how could I expect "new" ideas if you didn't see the project.  I am looking for a neat, trim and tailored buttonhole, wanting to knit a stockinette band right on the edges.

So, a big thank you to "Blonde" and here is the project:

Looking For A New Button Hole Method
Any new ideas or method?

Thursday, May 31, 2012

30 Pounds Of Free Yarn & The Buttonhole Challenge

30lbs Of FreeYarn:

Last night after work, I found a big box at my front door.  I was expecting it but was too tired (and HOT- this is Las Vegas) to open it and "get involved."  So, decided to wait until tonight to do so.

The photo below is the 30 pounds of yarn packed in the box.  There is some GREAT yarn here - "Velveen and Mohair" some of my favorites!

30lbs Of Free Yarn

Now where to store it all?  I still have two-(2) cones of yarn being shipped and should be here soon.  A big THANK YOU to the wonderful person who sent me the free yarn.  Now I have a promise to live up to and start making good use of it including knitting for charities.

The Buttonhole...CHALLENGE:

I have another baby sweater all done with the exception of the button hole bands (Tamm @ T7).  I don't want a ribbed band which would essentially hide the button holes (we've done those).  So, I plan to knit the bands directly on the edges of the sweater.  I have used my tried and true - transfer two-(2) stitches to each adjacent needle, knit one-(1) row then e-wrap the loops the carriage just made (by turning the stitches 180 deg, hang claw weight), then continue knitting.  That just isn't fine enough or should I say tailored enough for my liking.  I have used it over and over and the ribbed band methods too.  Just searching for a better way.  Most of what I have done or have seen just isn't hitting me with"this is it!"

So, if you have a great, new or different method of making a neat, slim and tailored buttonhole, let me know!  No rush, mother not even close to labor and boy or girl is not known (what side to make the buttonholes).

Thanks and knit on...

Monday, May 28, 2012

Machine Knit Baby's Raglan Sweater & MORE Yarn...

The baby Raglan Pullover I had made was completed (no UFO on this), seamed and washed this weekend.  I rarely block items, usually wash them and dry in the method suggested for the yarn used.  This one was acrylic so into a little mild detergent and in the dryer it went.  Here is the finished project:

Baby Cardigan - Size 6 Months

Amazing how the stitches "puff" up and fill in once washed.  I like this as it is perfect for a boy or girl.

Now for MORE yarn.  Last year I built a knitting studio in my home; plenty of room for a bulky and standard knitting machine to always be set-up, complete with granite counter tops, many size drawers, bins for yarns, closet lined on one side with peg board to hang my knitting gadgets, shelves in the closet for more knitting paraphernalia, well, you get the idea.  To totally dedicate this as a knitting studio, I made color copies of knitting publications and had them framed for the walls.  No mistaking what this room is!

When it was completed I had more than enough space for all of the different yarns and even drawers for the end of skeins or leftovers for waste yarn.  I was organized.  Being the "Neat Nik" (as Diana Sullivan lovingly referred to me as) I was happy as could be and quite proud of my studio. hit.  Yarn, lots of it.  What am I thinking or was I?  Sales here and there, buying some online, I had recently had 10 lbs of it sent to me free (a gift) AND now another 30 lbs of free yarn on it's way not to mention the additional Yeoman yarn I just ordered.

Needless to say I am out of room and it's making me nuts!  So as I was trying to organize things to make room, I found a large box in the closet with 4 huge cones of 2/24.  Eeeeeekkk!

So, considering myself lucky (thinking positive here), I have decided to take charge and knit away.  Have another two-(2) expecting mothers I could whip up some baby items for (although not a lot of yarn used for those projects) and then there is charity.

Not having a family narrows down who you can knit for.  So, since I love the rhythmic sound and feel of the knitting machines & the creative outlet I have decided to keep at it then give it away.  Why not?  it is such a great feeling when others appreciate what you are doing for them.  How nice to know you are keeping someone warmer at night when it's chilly (yes it gets chilly here in Las Vegas during our "2" seasons of hot & cold).  Then there is always knitting for the US Troops.  I have a box ready to send off as I speak.

I had to ramble (sorry) and maybe you too will think about using up your excess yarn to knit for a charity.

And, what's hanging on your needles....?

Monday, May 21, 2012

Transfer Carriage - Set Free!

I am currently knitting a button down cardigan for a 6 month old.  As I knit the ribbing I heard some yelling, "LET ME OUT!"  I looked around and the yelling was coming from the cabinets in my knitting studio...

Then, it hit me, it was my Transfer Carriage yelling at me!  I opened the drawer and saw this:

Brother Transfer Carriage

So I quickly opened the box took the poor thing out and put it to use!  The yelling stopped.

Brother Transfer Carriage

What was I "not" thinking the hundreds of times I had to transfer from rib to main bed knitting??? They are really very easy to use, here's how I did it for 1X1 ribbing:

1. Removed all weights just leaving the ribber comb attached.

2. Brought out all MB needles to B position (working position) including three extra needles on each end.

3. Transferred one-(1) end ribber stitch manually to the MB.

4. Placed the carriage on the right hand side, lever in left hand corner down (check the manual as different needle selections require this lever to be up), you can see the lever in the photo above; then slid it across the beds.  All stitches transferred to the MB.

5. Removed the Transfer Carriage and gave a gently tug on the cast on comb to seat all the stitches on the MB needles.  Slid back the empty MB needles before I started MB knitting.


Easy, I will never lock up the Transfer Carriage again, well, I'll put it away until I need to transfer again!  Give it a go, you'll be so glad you did!

Just wish they made these for the 9mm machines...

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Beautiful Top At Art Machines

I really like this top Anna has made. A summer classic in style with just enough edge design without being too much.

Check it out!      ANNA'S KNIT TOP

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Vanda's Blog!

Vanda, who lives in Italy has a great blog and she does some beautiful machine knitting. She contacted me this past week and asked if she could post links and pictures on my method for whitening knitting machines. I was flattered and of course I said yes. Scroll through her blog: "My world of wool and..."

Monday, May 14, 2012

10 Pounds Of Yarn - FREE!

Wow, there are some really nice people out there.  Today, I got home and there was a box at my door.  I had ordered some replacement fine knit bars from "Leanneco" over on eBay last week.  They sent the yarn to me just because they are nice, 10 lbs of it.  The message from them was "I know you will make something nice!"  Leanneco, I promise I will.  And to top it off they did not charge me for the shipping.

So, now my wheels are turning, what can I whip up with that mohair...then there is the gold which will be perfect trim for the Christmas Stockings I am already planning...or maybe the mind never stops.

A B I G Thank you!  And please visit their eBay store when you need items for your knitting machines, again, not affiliated with them in any way; just darn good service!  100% positive feedback with nearly 3,000 transactions!

Here's the link to their eBay store:

Monday, April 30, 2012

Baby's Crew Neck Raglan Sweater

I made this sweater for my Chiropractor as she is expecting mid-summer and don't know if it's a boy or a girl (ahh, the good old days, as long as it's healthy!).

Thought I could sit down in one afternoon and whip it up.  Well, the weather here in Las Vegas has been warm & beautiful which allowed my gardening chores to pull me from the knitting machines (some nerve huh?).

It was probably just as well, had to made the neck three-(3) times as I kept making really dumb mistakes.  The worst was having the neck done then realizing I had knitted a permanent cast on (with WY) without ravel cord.  So, I thought I would cut it away very carefully, hmmm, I wasn't that careful.  Doesn't that just eat at you when you do things like that?

Enough of my complaining, this was just taken off the machine and I haven't even set the stitches, blocked or seamed yet.

This is for a six-(6) month old, raglan knit neck down, all one piece.  Adapted (re-sized) from adult sweaters I make.  Yarn was some leftover "Finch" in an off white.

No Flash Used So Pattern Is Visible
Now to seam...

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Knitting Machine Replacement Parts

Okay, we all need them or "want" them and have I got a place to get them. They, Leanneco, have everything from new Brother Knitting Machine rivets to EXCELLLENT and reasonably priced sponge bars.

Can't find what you need?  Ask them and they may have it or even get it for you!  Shipping prices are very good and they automatically refund for combined shipping of same or different items.  I am not affiliated with them in any way, I'm just a very satisfied repeat customer. 

And their feedback rating is at 100%, I am not surprised.

Please take a look at (click here):  LEANNECO'S EBAY STORE

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Balloon Stitch Swatch #2

Blogging can be frustrating!  I wrote this huge article and when I went back in to edit, the post disappeared.

So, being this happened, below is a shorter post and photos of my second swatch with needle arrangement.  I used Tamm "Trenzi" for this one, I did try a cotton ladder yarn first but it did not knit up smooth.

Full Needle Rib - Then Transfer 

Stretch Out The "Dropped" Stitches No Blocking Done

Pulled Lengthwise

Pulled Widthwise
It is very simple to do and similar to drop lace.  I plan on posting the instructions soon.

This stitch would make great edging to a jacket, a baby's afghan, across the chest of a light weight "summer" sweater and there I go again...

Balloon Stitch Scarf Swatch

Several months ago I was intrigued by a stitch pattern I saw over at Anna's blog, click:   Art Machines

It was in my head and just didn't get around to giving it a go.  This past week I made a beautiful full needle rib lace scarf for a co-worker in some single strand "Krinklespun" yarn.  Knitted about 750 rows, blocked it and when ready to go I placed it on my piano so I could grab it on my way to work yesterday.  When I walked back in the room my dog (still a puppy) had decided to play with it and had it in shreds.

My fault, I should have known better.

So, this morning I took out some leftover yarn (who has that?  LOL) and decided to give the "Balloon Stitch" (my name for it) a try.  The needle arrangement is fairly simple the change I made was some 1X1 ribbing on each end for a stronger edge.  The tension I used was 6, I may drop it a bit; once I decide on the yarn I will do another swatch.  Below swatch is directly off of the knitting machine:

Open & Lacey
Nice Dimension
This (Above) was done with some leftover silk blend yarn, I'm thinking mohair would be nice...this was to fine and a bit stiff.

Click the link above and check out Anna's work, she does some amazing things.

What's on your needles...?

Friday, April 20, 2012

A Friends Sweater

A friend who I met via Machine Knitting Monthly (I am a knitting buddy there) when she needed help with her computerized KM, is a fantastic knitter (and one nice lady!).  We "clicked" right away and have been exchanging ideas, patterns, problems and the projects we work on.  It's nice to have someone who really understands a machine knitters frustration when things go poorly.

Anyway, she sent me some photos today of her latest projects.  Hope she doesn't mind me posting this.  I like the way this sweater turned out, don't you?

Boys Sweater

Monday, April 16, 2012

Angelika's Yarn Store Seminar!

We all know Angelika, she has quite a line up for her upcoming seminar in May. She also has Lily Chin teaching a Workshop! Check it out:

Pacific NW Knitting Machine Seminar

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Inspiration From Diana Sullivan - Of Course!

I've been playing nurse to a friend who had some surgery this past Monday and in between my patient being knocked out (from the heavy duty drugs) I decided to knit a few E A S Y & FAST items.

So, slippers and socks were first then I had some inspiration sitting on top of the piano ready to be mailed out.  You see, recently Diana Sullivan asked for some knitting jokes as she was celebrating her 1 million YouTube views.  Yup, ONE MILLION what a huge accomplishment.  So I sent her a very corny one I had read years ago on line.  Whoever she received a joke from she sent one of her DVD's and book to.  I have test knitted recently for her upcoming book and we have been emailing each other (sharing knitting and life stories) for quite a while; so, did not expect a gift to be sent.  Diana emailed asking what I wanted.  I then thought of a friend who had just returned to machine knitting and would truly appreciate one of Diana's books.  Diana sent me her "Beautiful Ribber Scarves" DVD and book (if you don't have this you should!).

This morning (while my patient was sleeping) , I decided to make a scarf.  This took less than an hour from start to finish and is a silk/rayon blend done in "full needle rib tuck" - 600 rows:

In Natural Sunlight

Close-up With Sunlight Peeking Through
Thanks Diana for the inspiration!

Want to see more about my inspiration? Click here: Diana's Beautiful Ribber Scarves

Monday, April 2, 2012

Cleaning...Again! This Time A Brother Standard Gauge Ribber

So, instead of finishing the hoodie I am making for my Chiropractor who is expecting, I decided to clean up my latest acquisition, a standard ribber.  Keep in mind, I have one that works wonderful BUT, this one matches my "E" Brother machine.

As you know a picture speaks a thousand words, here are a few thousand for you.


Very Yellow
Full Of Fuzz & Old "Grease"
Sparkly - Like New
All Back Together & CLEAN
P.S.  It works GREAT!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

My Favorite Knitting Machine Tools; Cheap Too!

I correspond with Machine Knitters all over the globe, I am a "Knitting Buddy" in the UK publication Machine Knitting Monthly.  Readers who have questions about Brother machine(s) contact me via email for help, it is very rewarding to be able to assist a fellow MK'r when they need to "fix" something.

Oddly, this past week a couple of people asked which are my favorite knitting machine tools.  So, I started thinking during my charting out a baby hoodie I am planning to start today (a gift for my Chiropractor who is expecting and loves the socks I bring her and her staff).  The picture below is of my two-(2) favorite tools (not gadgets) that are not sold with a knitting machine:

My Most Used & Favorite Tools
  The yellow brush, purchased years ago at a local $1 store is the BEST for taking out all fuzz/lint from any machine.  The bristles are just under 3" long, don't come out of the base and gets into each channel of the main and ribber beds.  When I take out my sponge bars to clean the channels (with a long bottle brush) there is hardly any fuzz to be removed!  To clean your knitting machine brushes, use a hair comb.  You got it, a comb, simply comb the bristles from base to tip to remove the fuzz much like you would clean a hair brush.

Then there are the blue clothes pin, again, a $1 store find - 6 in a package.  The nice wide arch in the pin makes it ideal for fitting on my tension masts and etc.

For $2 these "Are A Few Of My Favorite Things" - just like the song from the "Sound of Music."

When out shopping keep your eyes open, you never know what you may find and subsequently add to your cache of "favorite" tools.