Friday, December 19, 2014

Beautiful Button Holes In A Stockinette Band

Nyann is once again showing us her excellent and refined skills.  Watch as she knits a stockinette  button hole band and how nicely she exectutes the button hole finishing.

She finished the button holes in white nylon so you can follow her steps.  At the end she shows you the sweater completed.  Easy huh!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Quick Hat For Holiday Gift - No Seams!

With the Holiday's fast approaching you need to whip up a quick hat as a gift as you are short on time.  No need to seam up this one!  It comes off the machine with only two ends to weave in.

I designed this one a few years back as so many of us were knitting for the troops.  Diana Sullivan knit my hat and filmed it for YouTube.  You can click HERE to be taken to the post with the video links (it's in 2 parts).  Also, I was flattered further when a German machine knitter filmed a YouTube video of my pattern as well, in German.  Give it a try, any questions let me know via email.

Bulky 9mm Machine
T8 on both carriages
Set racking to H3
Set machine to knit normal   
To fit a men's avg size head

MB 17L 17R
RB 17L 16R

Cast on full needle rib with waste yarn, hang comb and 3 large weights.  Set machine for circular.

RC 000 with WY knit about 40 rounds (20 rows each bed) , in first stitch on MB add a stitch marker.  Knit one round of ravel cord. RC 000, change to MC and knit 44 rounds; if adding contrasting stripes here is the place to do so, if not ignore the 44 rounds and knit 76 rounds (if adding stripes begin MC at round 45 and knit through round 76).

Remove weights and comb, open up both beds to furthest "click"

Bring up the WY you knitted first from the bottom through the center.  Hang the stitches from first row on each bed (begin with stitch that has marker - this will prevent twisting) beginning with MB far right stitch.  Once all hung bring up beds and hang lots of weight (I used 4 large weights). To make it easier to knit the first round, you could bring out all needles on each bed to E position - DO NOT put your carriages in hold).  RC 000 Knit circular to RC56 (lengthen or shorten here).

T7 each carriage.  

On each bed do a full fashioned decrease (4 stitches decerased on each end of both beds) with triple transfer tool (decreasing 8 stitches per round), place needles in hold and knit row, bring next bed needles to hold and knit row, (this makes knitting that first round easier).  Do the same for the next three rounds, decrease tension one full # down each round down to T4 on last round,  you will have decreased 32 stitches.

Knit 6 rounds WY and release from machine.  Remove ravel cord/WY in cuff of hat and close top.


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Hooray For Hollywood!

Recently I was contacted by a Producer who asked me to knit a button down vest for a film shoot.  I received photo's of the vest they wanted me to produce, a vertical stripe, rustic boxey vest, with five buttons.

My first inclination was yes I'l do it.  Then, after going through all the yarns (cones) I could not find what I needed to even knit a swatch.  I turned down the offer and knitted up a sample of a vertical striped fabric on the standard machine.  Thinking they would see I could not come close to their request and the short amount of time they had given I emailed it to them.

No, they liked it and felt it would work.  Being the type of guy I am I would not do it if it couldn't be done the correct way AND after all my name would be attached to it.  Well, being that they were at odds with time and this was a key piece in the wardrobe this Knitter started a yarn hunt.

Not being able to come up with anything for the standard machine (ordering yarn was not an option as I had a week) I found some worsted.  After swatching again, this time on the bulky, I decided on a 2x1 vertical stripe with three yarns.  The single strip in a beige, the two remaining stripes in a soft grey with the third yarn being a lace weight mohair in a black/grey twisted in.  Knitted up another swatch and sent off the picture.

They loved it.  I did not take the measurements and had to rely on what they sent me.  The Knit Leader was out so I had to develop a pattern and knit at night after long days at work.  I got going with four days to hand it over.  My beloved dog, Mikey didn't help as he decided to play with one of the front panels.

I finished sewing the buttons on at one in the morning the day before it was due.  Sadly, I had to take artistic liberties due to the time constraints and being unable to find the buttons I was searching for.

They started filming yesterday and today I saw a screen shot of the character in the looked great.  I was invited to the filming this week and hopefully I can make it, that would be fun and bring back memories (another story for another time).

When I get film stills I will post them here and also the link to the film.  I wonder how my screen credits will look?

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Iron On Transfer Designs For Your Machine Knits

Take a look at how an iron on transfers change the look of a machine knit sweater.  Beautiful job on this one, I respect Nyann's attention to detail, it makes the world of difference in the end.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Short Rowing On Both Sides At The Same Time...

Yes it can be done!

I learned this lesson years ago when I was distracted while knitting short rows on a sock.  I had more needles in hold on one side then the other.  At that point if you rip back rows you can have a real mess on your needles due to the all of the wrapped needles.

So I thought how do I fix this.  Yep, it's easy. This technique is doable only if you have the purl side (side facing you on the machine) as the private side as it does create small floats.

When knitting a garment where you want darts in a bust line this is the way to go.

The traditional method of short rowing on both sides has it's rule of "you can only slide one needle into hold position at the carriage side and as many as needed on the opposite side" is not set in stone.

The video below also shows how to mark your Knit Leader Mylar Sheet with row #'s which is a good thing to do.  My KL Sheets have all kinds of notes (as the one in the video) including yarn and sizing information.

Take a look and if you need more direction send me an email.

Friday, September 12, 2014


Hope you are all still enjoying Summer even though it is winding down.  I've been so crazy busy at work it has been for me a non existent Summer.  Thankfully, things are settling down.

Have no fear I'm still knitting away.  I do have a few hand knitting patterns to convert for a couple of my  readers and I promise I will get them to you.  Some projects I'm working on and will post as soon as they are completed.

This past week I spent Monday with a very nice lady, Marian.  Marian, has owned yarn shops and sold knitting machines.  After years of being away she has returned to our craft.  Marian knits some nice machine/hand knit items and also creates beautiful hand loomed bags.  When I visited I showed her how to make socks and helped her get acquainted with the Knit Leader.  Only to find out it was not advancing as it should with each pass.  Luckily she had purchased it from a very reputable dealer, "Custom Knits", they are sending her a free replacement.  Did I mention Marian is 82 but you wouldn't know it.  She looks 60 and has a mind like a 40 year old! 

Vanda Midali, being a machine knitter (I follow her blog and we email each other) was kind enough to help me out.  So many knitters have problems with finishing a neck line or band.  When I asked Vanda to help she quickly sent me her below YouTube video on how she hand finishes a neck line.  Take a look, she is truly a great knitter and her finishing is superb:

Here blog is written in Italian, you can translate to your language, her blog is "My World Of Wool And..." < click there

I recently received a nice invitation from Jason of Carole's Country Knits at Rocking Horse Farm.  He asked if I would consider demonstrating or presenting at future machine knitting sessions.  I thought about it and remembered Diana Sullivan encouraging me to do teaching (which I have started) and buddy Katherine always encouraging me, so, I replied yes. When I have the dates I'll post them here.  I have done business with RHF's and could not be happier.  They have been in business for years.  Here is a link to their website:

Thursday, July 17, 2014

2X2 Ribbing Circular Cast On

It's no big secret I like making socks.  Main reasons, they take little time and I can make them without having to think so it makes it a great stress reliever.

Having received many questions about my sock knitting method I thought I would share my favorite way to make a neat and tidy rolled edge on the cuff of a sock.  This is tried and true for the 2x2 rib in the 2x1 needle arrangement which normally has a malformed cast on edge (due to the method needed to cast on).

Long ago, I found a better way to start a sock and the circular cast on for this needle arrangement.

With needles selected, pitch H, rack to 4, and ready to knit on all needles, set ribber slide lever to I (to the left).  Don't forget to add one end needle on the left hand side of ribber (needle arrangement will look like this):

                                         ll ll ll ll ll ll
                                         l ll ll ll ll ll

Cast on at T0 from right to left, hang ribber comb and weight(s).  Set carriages for circular knitting.  I always set my ribber carriage to knit to the right and slip to the left (most all machine knitters set their ribber carriage to slip to the right!).  Change to T1 and set ribber slide lever to ll.  Knit three circular rows.  Carriage is on right.

Take the extra needle on left side of ribber out of work and transfer that stitch up to the MB.

Leave in H pitch and rack back to 5.  Set ribber carriage slide lever back to l, set both carriages to knit all needles.  The needles arrangement should look like this:

                                      ll ll ll ll ll ll
                                       ll ll ll ll ll

Change to appropriate ribbing tension, continue knitting rib.  Once you are finished knitting, take a thin long needle or double eyed transfer tool and run it through the zig zag row and gently tug on the stitches to align and set them.  Your edge will look like the photo.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Design And Download Into A Brother 930 & 940

I subscribe to and watch different machine knitters on YouTube, always good to see what everyone is up to.

One of my most recent YouTube subscriptions is to "Knitlabo" she does not have voice overs just clear video.  Her most recent post is showing how to design a pattern using "Edge" which is a free App download for Windows, iPad and iPhones (no iMac).

It's simple, you design your pattern, hook up your USB cable and download into your 930 or 940 knitting machine (using 551).  Your pattern will be stored as pattern #901.

The website for the App is here : takabosoft

Here is Knitlabo's" video demonstrating the program and download into the knitting machine:

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Some Of My Yarn & Supply Sources

I've received requests to post where I got the recent yarn order from and where I but my sponge bars & any supplies for my knitting machines.  Here are a few favorites:

Recently received coned yarn I purchased from Peter Patchis.  A mill that has been in business for years now run by the original owners son.  He sells some tools compatible with Brother machines.  He is also the U.S. distributor for Taitexma brand of knitting machines.  You can sign up for his email club whereby he will send a monthly email with yarns he is offering (VERY reasonable prices).  My recent yarn purchase was for an acrylic blend, I purchases 5-2 lb cones at $5 (US) per cone!  The yarn is terrific and knits up great!.  If you are looking for a special coned yarn, feel free to email him.  He will reply and even send a free yarn card to you.

Click here to visit:  Peter Patchis Yarns

A few months ago I had problems finding King Cole yarns here in Las Vegas and stumbled across the Deramores website.  I ordered a favorite sock yarn there (Zig-Zag) which was just over $50 (US).  They include free priority shipping for orders over $50.  The yarn arrived in one week form their facility in the UK.  With the order came a coupon for an additional $10 off the next order.  Their website offers some other great deals as well.  Their prices are VERY good and they offer a nice selection of good yarn.

Click here to visit: Deramores

Now one of my all time favorite Sellers and person, Leanneco Knitting.  She is a great eBay Seller who has the best sponge bars I have found.  They are well made and last longer than any other I have used.  In addition she has some well made tools and parts for Brother and other knitting machines.  If you don't see what you are in need of, email her.  She just may have it (just not listed in her eBay store).  Shipping is fast and cost is low.  Tell her Tom from Las Vegas sent you.  I have to say again, she's one nice lady!

Click her to visit:  Leanneco

Happy Shopping...

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Yarns...Quality Is Key

I learned this valuable lesson many years ago by trial and error.  Often knitters, especially those learning to machine knit do a fine job knitting a garment or item only to be discouraged by how poorly the finished item looks or what they believe are their abilities; then, they give up.  Wait!  Not yet!

Many, many times it's not the knitters skills, machine or pattern but the yarn is the culprit.  All of us like buying yarn(s) at a good price or rather cheaply.  This works if you get great yarn at a steal of a price.

If you are spending some time knitting (or learning to knit) a beautiful pattern or style you have an expectation of how the item will fit, wear, drape, feel and look.  Use the best quality yarn your budget will allow keeping in mind the item you are knitting (is it appropriate for the item) and weight of the yarn.  The finished item will meet or exceed your expectations and even impress yourself.  Better yarns really do end up "making" the project.

If you are a beginner, so much of the frustration is eliminated and better yarn(s) actually knit better on the knitting machine.

I recently received an email from a machine knitter having issues with a sweater she made for a family member.  The item was not as expected, the drape was awful and the fit was just not right.  I read the pattern and looked at her pictures.  Everything was done correctly by the knitter.  After finding out she used a "big box store" yarn, I convinced her to try it again in a nicer worsted wool blend yarn.  There it was, a happy knitter and the recipient was thrilled.

This past week I received 14 cones of yarn.  One of the shipments was from a new to me mill that sells yarns to the general public.  Of course I was apprehensive but after receiving the sample cards I had to give them a try.  The quality looked excellent, price was too good to be true, $5 a pound.  The yarn arrived and looks terrific!  I am planning to knit the swatches soon sand see how it holds up after laundering.  If my results good I will post their information here so others can enjoy.

Hope you are enjoying Spring!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Beautiful Spring Jacket At Vanda's Blog

Take a look!  Vanda's Spring Jacket

Vanda and I have exchanged thoughts and patterns, her knitting is impeccable, stylish and elegant.  I enjoy how refined her finishing always is.

Monday, March 24, 2014

From One Blog To Another...Penny Candy Tee

Was reading through Riverside Knitting Blog tonight (Blonde's blog) and ended up clicking on the links as I was admiring Blonde's hand knot socks (Blonde is a great hand and machine knitter).  I ended up at "Yarnings" blog:

Take a look at the great looking Tee's Jennifer has hand knit.  She will also have this pattern on Ravelry.  They are trimmed with lace and knit with sock yarn.  This would be an easy conversion for us machine knitters!

On another note, I could not make it over to Newton's Spring Fling to shop and visit with Diana Sullivan.  Work had it's grip on me and I needed to be here in Las Vegas.  Diana, so sorry I couldn't make the 4 hour drive....I'll surprise you someday!!! 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

V-Neck Button Down Vest - The Knit Leader Way

I really like using my knit leader.  If you've got one take it out and get to know it again, it can be your best friend.  Mine is used almost solely for sweaters, vests and similar garments.

Have you ever read through a written pattern and thought this is simple and I can do this?  Then, only to find out somewhere during the project (usually at the end) there were typing errors or you missed something?  Not hard to skip a line when the phone rings, dog has to go out or any other unplanned interruption occurs.  With the knit leader you are simply following a road map row by row, increasing, decreasing and short rowing & etc.  the way you are comfortable with for the results you want.

You are following a drawn pattern one row at a time, if you stop and walk away your place is held for you.  Another nice thing is you can use pre-printed knitting patterns which are similar to sewing patterns.  Caution!  They aren't sewing patterns.  You can use "knit" sewing patterns just eliminate the seam allowance when tracing onto your mylar sheet.

Here, below, is one I just charted out, no tracing of a pattern, instead I traced from two different garments.  Yes you can take a favorite sweater or other item, lay it flat and trace away!
Button Down Vest
I didn't place the edge (center) of the vest on the center line.  This was done intentionally, more on that in another post.  Note how only one half of the project needs to be traced!  The front halves are in the dark blue and the back in orange.  Up the middle is the front band (rectangle) in green which I calculated to be 21 sts wide and 172 cm long.

My friend, Diana Sullivan has a great 2-DVD set she put together on the knit leader, she refers to it as a GPS for machine knitting.  You can check them out and order here:  Diana's Knit Leader Course

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Knitting Words

A reader posted a question on my blog post: Electronic Machines Have More Than 555 Built In Patterns

The reader asked how to program in the letters to form words, here is how I do it.

There is no space programmed in between the letters and there is no extra row of plain knitting to indicate you have completed the pattern.  If you are watching the knitting you will see when the letters are finished knitting.  Letters must be programmed in one at atime, you will want to use the letters only in "isolation" knitting.  You can make them double wide and double high.  Words can be programmed in using the isolation setting to form the words.  Remember to test out your programming and see where you need to wrap stitches to avoid holes.

I like using the Garter Carriage for letters, they are subtle, classy and no holes or floats to worry about.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Grafting Or Kitchener Stitch

I do like grafting stitches (Kitchener Stitch) even though I am not crazy about seaming a project.  Guess regular seaming can get to the point or boredom for me.  So, I trained myself to seam projects when there is something on television or I'm listening to something I enjoy, then, the boredom does not happen.

Since I do many socks, seaming is minimal as is grafting.  Not sure what it is but I truly like grafting stitches.  Guess I enjoy the rhythm and accuracy of it.  Both seaming and grafting give me a sense of satisfaction when impeccably finished.  When stitches are grafted so perfectly you can not see where the machine left off and the grafting is makes me feel proud.  Seams that are invisible, flat and smooth also make me proud of my work, ESPECIALLY since it's a bit of a chore.

Starting on the right, from the back of the loop (stitch) go through the first loop in front then into the loop to your left (follow the yarn) close to where needle eye is.  Then into the back stitch (where the needle tip is).
Then from the back, go into the new loop (stitch) to the left on the back, then through the same loop (stitch) in the front.
Each loop (stitch) will have two threads of yarn in each.  If you pinch your work together the stitch size you're creating should be perfect, just don't pull the yarn tight (firm up the yarn thread without pulling too tight).  You want to replicate the tension of the project.  At the end I go through the very last loop twice and hide the yarn end by weaving it in.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Sheepishly Sharing

I happened on this knitters site quite by accident.  She is in love with the circular knitting machines that we have all seen, Addi Express.  Her name is Margaret Olander, she possess a unique sense of humor too.

She knits some interesting items "in the round" which can be made on the Japanese machines when you knit circular.  Check out her whimsical scarf ideas.

You can click here to visit her site:  Sheepishly Sharing

Thursday, February 13, 2014

I'm Knitting....Stress Away!

I find machine knitting a way to relax and work off life stresses.  Moving needles and carriages back n forth seems to transport me into another place.

When "that mood" arises I usually rely on socks.  Socks only take about 40 minutes or so for me to make and I don't need to think about the next step or maneuver.  It's programmed into my brain so I can lose myself in the moment.  Knitting a pair seems to relieve my stress as the socks fly off the machine.  January found me making several pair of socks.

This hasn't always been the case knitting socks.  Years ago I made every mistake any of us could; it took me a week to make my first one from start to finish.  Each step and technique I conquered brought me closer and closer to a finished sock.

Here is one of the many stress relievers I've done recently:

Some new sock yarn (ready to relieve stress) and a great lavender yarn:

With some luck the remainder of this month will find me making less socks and a more intriguing project or two.

I promised to meet the owner of a new Yarn Store located in a design studio here in Las Vegas.  The owner is interested in having me teach machine knitting classes.  More on that as it develops.

Hope you are well and happy knitting...

Monday, February 3, 2014

Nyann, What Talent!

Not machine knitted but you have to admire her talent and patience!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Sponge Bar Replacement & KRC1000 Set-up/In Action

One of my favorite machine knitters (Nyann Goro in Japan) who knits beautiful items also does YouTube videos.  There is no narrative on her HD videos, the way she films them you don't need narration.

Below is one of her recent video's on how she replaces a tired and worn out sponge bar.  Not sure I would leave the original nylon ribbon in but it seems to work for her.

And another of her great videos, this one on installing and using the Brother KRC1000.  I could not embed the video, just click on this link:

Friday, January 3, 2014

What Have I been Up To...

Hi and hope you had great holiday's, Happy 2014!  All was quiet here in Las Vegas and luckily the weather has been fantastic.

Here are a few recent projects...

I whipped up this pullover simple cable sweater on request, used Tamm Bebe.

Then did matching fingerless mitts, used my own pattern for these Men's medium (kept it basic but could have done cable or other stitch pattern).  The thumb gore is knit "set in" style after the body of the mitt is made.  So easy!

This past weekend I made a few pair of socks, this pair is a bit "crazy" made in some Hobby Lobby "Walk Away" sock yarn I had in my stash (from a long ago sale).  Ribbing is 2x2 in a 2x1 needle arrangement.

This vest I made out of another stash coned yarn, an acrylic from  Caron (yes it's been in my stash a while) "Heirloom".
The vest was worn once and when washed it ended up with a pair of black jeans which bled all over the vest, staining it.  I tried everything I had in the house to get out the stains, no luck.  Then, I remembered I had purchased laundry "sheets" not that long ago that had remarkable claims on their efficiency.  I took the stained, damp vest and tossed it into a basin of cool water.  Threw in two of the laundry sheets and within 5 minutes the dye was gone!  Close call indeed...

I've lots of projects in mind for 2014 and more yarn just arrived (I really have too much).  With that in mind, I encourage all machine knitters to "just knit" - live outside the box a bit and don't worry if you make a mistake.  It's only knitting.  You can rewind the yarn and start over.  Don't fret if you end up with a row or two more/less (no one will know), don't worry if the carriage is on the wrong side, so what if you have one less stitch than you should at the end; it's only knitting and it really does not matter.

If you haven't the courage or expertise to knit something intricate, just do it.  When you are finished you will have the skills and a whole new level of courage.  Think of your family recipes that are a handful of this and a dash of that, why not do that in your knitting?  Being self taught, I've made my mistakes but I truly learned from those and they have made me a good knitter.

What matters is for you to enjoy your knitting and produce beautiful items that you and others will cherish.

Wishing you a peaceful new year!