Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Feel Good Yarn Company....Silver Spun

Have you heard of "Feel Good Yarn Company" the home of Silver Spun Yarn?

What a terrific company and great yarn.  The founder, Laurie when developing Silver Spun Yarn didn't give up until she achieved what she was after.  The yarn is made from American sourced fibers and spun in North Carolina.  Silver Spun is a blend of cotton silver, nylon & spandex (see photo). Take a look at Laurie's Company and story here:  Feel Good Yarn Company
Look at the nice bag the yarn arrived in!
The yarn has a nice blend of fibers with a terrific hand (feels like cashmere).  When I emailed asking if they had any feedback from machine knitters, they hadn't.  I've been asked to test knit Silver Spun on the machine and offer my feedback.  I want to make socks with Silver Spun as the blend of silver is reportedly helpful for people with Diabetes and circulatory problems.

Did I mention the silver in the yarn allows the wearer to use their phones without having to take off gloves or mittens?  I tested this with the entire skein on my Smartphone, it works!  They offer free shipping on your first order too.

Once I knit the socks, I'll report back on how the yarn does on the knitting machine.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Great Scarf & Stitch Pattern

Take a drive over to Diana's blog and check out the simple yet great looking scarf she whips up.  I really like the easy lace sticth (2 row repeat).

Diana's Slanted Lace Scarf

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Rocking Horse Farm Seminar This Month...Mary Anne Oger

My previous post I told you I regrettably had to cancel my being at the RHF seminar later this month (click here for RHF 2015 seminar info).  Jason has asked me to come up next year directly from the Finger Lakes Seminar I will be demonstrating at, I agreed.

This year I am honored to have been replaced by Mary Anne Oger!  See post here when I recently test knit for her "Man Friend Hoodie" - that's a great project, think about making one or more for the cool weather approaching!

I had a list of subjects and MAO has taken on the "Tuck Lace Rib" topic I was showcasing.  MAO does this well, REALLY well.  If you can make it to RHF and include MAO in your itinerary please do so.  She is an excellent teacher, thanks Mary Anne for jumping in for me.

Mary Anne also has a nice blog, go pay her a visit here.

I was worried Jason and Carole would be upset as it was short notice to get an event reorganized.  They couldn't be nice or any more understanding.  Great folks indeed.

Tomorrow (Sunday), I will be attending the Las Vegas Machine Knitters meeting for the first time.  Being organized through "meet-up" and look forward to it.  Some beginners and that's always fun and invigorating to help others through things.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Apologies, Apologies!

A quick post to apologize...

If you are attending the Rocking Horse Farms seminar this month in St. Cloud MN., unfortunately, I wont be able to make it.  Work beckons resulting in a scheduling conflict.  I was so looking forward to it, had the curriculum ready, airline tickets and etc. all arranged.  Last evening I had to email Jason Wurst and let him know.  Have not heard back from him, hope he isn't too annoyed (he's a good guy)!  Good news is I am participating as an instructor in next years Finger Lakes seminar!

Another apology, I never stated why my whitening formula (below post) is "better."  After some emails I thought I would let you know.  This is easier as you just dump it all in a blender, whiz it up and go!  Also, using the hair lightner creates less "bloating/swelling" after the whitener rests and starts working.

Now for Lynne who emailed asking about the whitener and was honest enough to say she found it hard to read the posts as the font color on the black background made it difficult.  Yes Lynne, I was looking for a bit of pizazz but not at the cost of losing any of you!  Thanks for letting me know.  Better I hope?

I am excited to find out there is a "Meet Up Group" here in Las Vegas for machine knitters!  The first meeting is this coming Sunday and I look forward to meeting the folks & exchange ideas. Thus far 16 members and hoping this will be a "regular club" for Las Vegas machine knitters.

Have you checked out Diana Sullivan's recent blog post?  Diana had mentioned to me in the past these wonderful ribber wires Helen Griffith sells (and some really reasonable yarns).  Check out Diana's post here and then go pay Helen a visit!

Reminder cooler weather is fast approaching as are the holiday's, time to start planning and knitting!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Updated Whitening Formula

I have used this on knitting machines, garter carriages, needle pushers, transfer and latch tools and they all come out like they were when they were  made.  All you need is a few basic ingredients and sunshine.  Just remember to remove the plastic items from the machine and or whatever it is attached too as this is meant only for plastic that has been discolored/yellowed from exposure to UV light.  This will not harm stainless steel but will oxidize reactive metals i.e. aluminum, tin, lead and etc.

If you need more information, advice and or encouragement please don't hesitate to email me.  I really like helping people rejuvenate their precious knitting machines to a brand new condition.


1 - Cup 40 Volume Clear Hair Peroxide (purchase at a beauty supply )

1 - Tablespoon Xanthan Gum powder (Wal-Mart Super Center has it in the baking aisle) - used by folks who avoid gluten, a thickening agent that does not need heat

½ - Teaspoon Glycerin (again Wal-Mart or pharmacy in the vitamin area) - this is optional - it is used to help the solution "stick" to the plastic

½-1 - Teaspoon powdered hair lightner - I have used Basic White (Clairol) and Blondor (Wella) - both available in a beauty supply - they are sold in single use packets which will last a long time as so little is used, any brand will work

In a blender, pour in all of the above, blend for approximately 5- 10 seconds.  The mixture is done.  It wont harm the metal blade in the blender as they are stainless steel.

I applied to the surfaces of the plastic using latex gloves (hair peroxide is a much stronger version of the one we use on minor cuts) and a silicone pastry brush. Once all areas were well covered, I either placed them in a zip-lock bag or wrapped them in kitchen plastic wrap (to repent drying). Now for the important in the sun! The UV rays that caused the yellowing will now act as the catalyst to remove the yellowing. After an hour in the sun, the difference was incredible. I check for "dry" spots and reapplied if needed. The "whitening" process took 2- 4 hours depending on how yellow the piece was. The items can also be placed under a UV light indoors, not a black light.  When all of the yellow is gone wash the plastic in a mild dish detergent, rinse and dry well.

Note:  For areas on carriage covers and etc. that are "set-in" to the beige/white plastic, (usually these are tan, grey or other color) I cover those with blue painters tape then apply the whitener.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Don't Let This Happen To You

Hi, it's been too long, hope everyone is having a nice summer.

Recently, a friend here in Las Vegas (a machine knitter) had her friend from Los Angeles drop off two-(2) knitting machines for me to help her sell and two-(2) others are mine to keep if I wanted them.  The ones she is looking to sell (due to moving out of the country) are a Brother 260 & Brother 930.  These machines purchased from a rather well known dealer in the Los Angeles area.  I've heard "things" about this dealer and had a not so good experience myself a few years back (another story).

She ordered the machines and did not open them.  She decided to weave instead, ordered looms and never went back to machine knitting (she was returning to machine knitting).

When I picked them up I too did not open them, I got them home and this is what I found on the 260:
Yellowed and dirty
You can see the original "white" is under the row counter
More filth 
When I took off the tool compartment cover, it too was white inside
The timing belt will only move about three inches before it jams, rust all over the machine inside and out (even the carriage is rusted), dirt everywhere (but that is an easy fix).

So, being the clean freak that I am, I took it apart, washed what could be and whitened the plastic,  The transfer tool is now rustless (first rusted one I have seen).  The plastic pieces, buttons, knobs and etc. are all back to their original color.  I am working on the timing belt issue.

During the process of whitening I have changed my recipe and I find it works so much better.  If you need to whiten your machine I can email you the whitening update along with instructions.  I doubt I can get this working the way it should due to all the rusted areas & the timing belt jamming issue.

Please, buy only from a reputable dealer.  There are many honest and trustworthy folks in the machine knitting community.  Know what you are buying before you hand over your money!

I am preparing to teach at the Carole's Country Knits at Rocking Horse Farm seminar on 09/18 & 09/19.  I have also been asked to participate in next years Finger Lakes seminar.  If you are in the area stop by, the more the merrier!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Fully Lined Mittens

The very nice machine knitter in Germany, Kirsten, who asked me to test knit her multi layered mittens has the pattern available for a digital download at her Etsy shop.

The mittens are knit "sew as you go."  The fit was great and even nicer after I washed and dried them (machine wash & dry).  This mitten pattern is intended for sock yarn.  I used up some of the oddments I had.  One can knit in any stitch pattern, fairisle or weaving as it is a single bed pattern.

Kirsten's Blog

Please stop by and take a look.  I really like her color choices and style.  Also, please visit her YouTube channel.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

More Test Knitting, Preparing For A Seminar & Hollywood Calls Again

Just off the heels of test knitting for Mary Anne Oger (great to work with her!), I received an email from a machine knitter/blogger in Germany asking if I would test knit.

I like a challenge and really love test knitting so of course I said yes.  The pattern is for a single bed fully lined mitten.  Kirsten sent me the pattern and off I went.  All done in sock yarn (I used my odds and ends).  Great pattern and well written.  The mitten is much like Diana Sullivan's "Footnotes" (I was honored to test knit for Diana) but, a bit different.  There are endless possibilities for patterning or color work one could incorporate in this mitten.

As soon as the pattern is available I will post the information here.  Kirsten has recently started a very nice blog, stop by and visit:

Kirsten's Blog

As I mentioned a few months ago, I will be teaching at Rocking Horse Farms (RHF) in September.  Starting to get my information together and so look forward to a trip to Minnesota where I can see some lush greenery!

Also, I was just contacted by a major movie production company  in Los Angeles asking if I would accept a commission to knit sweaters for an A list actor (very famous) that would be used in an upcoming film.  I promised to get back to them as need to decide if I want to take on that project.  Exciting to say the least!

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Test Knitting Done!

It has been such fun to work with Mary Anne Oger doing some test knitting for her.

She sent me some great mercerized cotton yarn to work with.  This yarn knits beautifully.  Mary Anne said wait until I wash and dry it (yes machine wash and into the dryer), you are going to like it a lot.  Wow was she correct!  Soft and cuddly, stitch definition is terrific and really holds it shape!  This project is all stockinette stitch one needs to be careful as any error (yours or the machine) will show!

The yarn is Bonita by Knitcraft.  I've seen this yarn suggested by Mary Anne for projects in her magazine "Knitwords" years ago but never used it, I'm sorry I hadn't.  Now I hear they may stop producing it.  Mary Anne will have the pattern available for purchase on her blog very soon - click here.  There is a ladies version too so make one for each of you!

Here are a couple of photos of the test knitting project "Manfriend Hoodie":

Just Waiting On A Proper Zipper

Zipper On It's Way
Knit In Pocket
Mary Anne Has A Great Technique For Hood Casing!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Updates And A Great Looking Machine Knit Trim

Time seems to fly doesn't it?  I've been busy with my full time day job but still knitting away.  Just started a soft pink vest and knit a bit every night.  Was starting a lace scarf for a lady who seems to love and wears some type of one daily.  As you know lace is not always cooperative and the yarn has to be perfect (for what is in my mind), that continues in between projects.

Rocking Horse Farm in St. Cloud Minnesota has asked me to teach at their September seminar.  I'm working through the topics  they want me to teach.  It will be fun, you can visit them here:  RHF

I gladly agreed to test knit a new pattern for Mary Anne Oger.  The yarn arrived yesterday and once she has time to finish the pattern (and send it off) I'll be creating sparks on the machine to get it done quickly.  If you would like to visit her website click on her name above.

Lastly, Diana Sullivan, in celebration of her more than 10,000 YouTube subscribers and over 3,000,000 views has posted a  beautiful tailored edge trim video on her blog & on YouTube.  I can see this trim on so many items.  Click here to check it out: Latch Tool Cast On Trim

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Finishing School A Resource For All Knitters

Machine knitting mentor Diana Sullivan has released her latest course "Knitters Finishing School" - it's been a while in the making.

I enjoyed lunch with Diana and her husband when she was here in Las Vegas.  We talked for hours and could have kept on going!  I remember us talking about this, I was excited this was in her "list of to do's" as I have received many questions on finishing.

Seeing she had released this I quickly ordered one.  It's a great reference tool for all knitters, beginners to experienced.

Take a look and learn from one of the best!

Click on the below link to take you to her blog and posting, you can order directly from this page:

Diana's Finishing School Course

Keep in mind you can knit really beautifully but if your finishing is not precise and professional your items will suffer.

Monday, March 23, 2015

A Returning Machine Knitter Who Is Awesome!

I received an email from Judy B. asking for some guidance with double bed knitting.  She was asking about double bed jacquard and yarn suggestions.  I have to agree with Judy, the different ways we have to select yarn weights can be confusing.  What was amazing to me is she stated "I am returning to MKg after many years. I am self taught which is probably why I'm struggling so now. "  Doesn't appear from her photos that she is struggling!  Judy, most of us are self taught that can be a good thing.

Judy was kind enough to send some pictures of her projects.  I  complimented her as the projects are awesome and asked if she minds me posting her pictures, she was kind enough to say yes. Judy also sent the links to some of the patterns she knit.  I see a Diana Sullivan Bunny in there!

Speaking of my friend Diana Sullivan, Judy used Diana's zig-zag scarf method for the blanket.  Judy stated:  "The zig zag blanket was done using Diana Sullivan's video for a ribbed zig-zag scarf.  The only change I made was to change racking directions every 10 rows rather than every 20 rows. I LOVE this pattern cuz once it's done, it's done - no need to add a binding/edging."

The bonnet was from this link - must scroll down to "Lacy Baby Bonnet" by Lora Kinnan:
The booties were from:

Nicely done!

 As an added bonus she sent this link to eliminate floats in multi color work.  I do know of this technique and have used it with great success.  I do like the slide show with pictures (like some of my posts) and I know of the artist and her work.

Thank you for sharing with us Judy and send more of your photos.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Mitered V-Neckband Method

I received an email today asking about V-Neckbands so I thought let me do a quick photo tutorial and post it.  When adding a mitered neckband to a V Neck sweater or vest I find it very easy to do it this way.  Yes there are other ways to do it but with this being so simple why not?  After all knitting is supposed to be "enjoyable" not tedious!

This is not to offer you all the ways to obtain the amount of stitches needed for a band or how to attach the band, just the method for obtaining the center point of the V (the miter) without transferring all the stitches.  Keep in mind for best results you should only be increasing after knitting two rows of the 1x1 ribbing.  So if knitting a ten row band you would increase four times, a stitch on each end for a total of eight stitches increased. The live stitches (see photo) are used to attach the band to the neckline.

Take a look below.  Note:  I knitted a sample on the bulky (easier to demo) to photograph for you (light blue yarn photographs very well).
Started using 10L-9R in 1x1 ribbing, cast on & circular rows completed then I knitted 2 rows of ribbing.

Transferring MB heel stitch from 9R to RB needle 10R.

Transferring MB 10L to RB 11L, then K2R.

Transferring heel stitch of RB 10R to MB 11R.

Transferring RB 11L to MB 12L, K2R.  Continue increasing one stitch on each end knitting two rows in between the increases.

After last increases have been made K2R, transfer to MB and K1R at garment tension (garter row).  The side facing you is to be used as the public side of band.  

Note the increases on each side and garter row just below the dark WY.  Also, the transfer tool is placed in the edge to indicate where you would be mattress stitching the miter together, it's not the usual bar, more of a "loop and knot." 

If you have a Brother Ribbing Techniques Book, this method is detailed there but I find it easier to look at the photos.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Beautiful & Neat Ribber Cast On

This ribber cast on is similar to a more common one where you cast on on with WY and ravel cord then knit a zig zag row and drop the ribber stitches.  I've tried that one and thought the edge was a bit too loose.  This one I really like.

I am not the creator of this, a friend sent me some notes she made years ago.  We both had to try it out and I think it's terrific!  No bulky edge, no split "Y's" on the edge, it lays flat, nice stretch and so simple to do.

I took some photos today on the bulky so you can follow along.  I have a description under each step by step photo.  Give it a try.
Park MY in between beds on left side.  T0/0 cast on with ravel cord from right to left - hang ribber comb and weight as usual - remove ravel cord from ribber arm and replace with MY.

Set ribber carriage to hold.  On my Brother 260 it is the silver tabs down.

Place all ribber needles to E position (hold).

With MY knit one row left to right.  Only the main bed will knit, ribber will place yarn around needles in hold.

Take ribber carriage out of hold and set main bed to knit circular right to left and ribber carriage to knit circular left to right.  Knit one row right to left (ribber will not knit).

Knit second circular row left to right (only ribber bed will knit).

Set tension on both beds to your ribbing tension, set machine to knit rib (cancel any part buttons) and away you go!

Just off the cast on comb.

Ravel cord removed.  Look at the nice edge stitches!  Snug and flat.

Here is the swatch stretched out over the gate pegs.
Note:  To do this on 2x2 (2x1 arrangement), follow the steps for cast on and knitting first row left to right.  Before you take ribber out of hold and knit the first circular row, place all of the main bed needles that are out of work into B position.  Knit the first row right to left then drop the stitches on the needles you just put into work and place needles out of work.  Continue as above.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Easy Fingerless Mitts

A friend who is a machine knitter asked if I had a pattern for fingerless mitts, I did and off it went to her.  She was kind enough to test knit a pair and helped clear up my instructions.  When I make notes sometimes there are several versions and I sent her a little from this and a little from that.  She was kind enough to help me get it sorted out.  This is for the bulky machine, I use a 260E but this will work on any bulky.

Here are the instructions and step by step photos (at the bottom) to guide you through.  The thumb is short row increased onto the mitt.  My hand measures 8-1/2 inches around widest part of the palm.  You can add fair isle, intarsia and etc.

Bulky Fingerless Mitts

Worsted Yarn (No. 4 med)
RB T-3; MB T-5
32 stitches, H2 racking
MB 16L-16R
RB 15L-14R


T-0, H2 racking, Slider I
MB 16L-16R
RB 15L-14R, bring into work purl stitch 17L (for cast on only)
Cast on for rib in 2x2 (2x1); hang comb and weights
COL, T-1, Slider II, set part buttons for both carriages to knit selvage
Knit 3 circular rows
COR, H3 racking, T-3, Slider I, release part buttons
Transfer left end ribber stitch 17L to main bed needle L16 and return empty needle to A 
K26 rows rib
RC 26

P2 racking
Transfer RB stitches to MB to knit stockinette (or any pattern)
K to RC 32
Place marker on each end for thumb
K to RC 44
Place second marker on each end for thumb
K to RC 50

Transfer stitches for 1x1 rib, decreasing one stitch (or left two stitches remain on MB)
K in rib to RC 56
K1 row (R to L) at T10
RC 57, COL
Transfer ribber stitches to main bed
Loose chain bind off (loop through loop from R to L)


Hang edge of thumb between markers - 8L-1L (for left side).  Then hang right side 1L to R7 (two stitches on 1L to prevent hole)
All needles in E position, start short row inc, wrap first needle ( 2R) as well as needle on carriage side.  Inc 2 sts each row (opp carriage), wrap needle on carriage side every row, on last row you will have 3 sts to increase.
Transfer stitches for 1x1 ribbing.
K1R right to left at T10, chain bind off.  Sew seams.
Note needle arrangement for 2x2 (2x1) and the left end needle on the ribber needed to cast on

Zig-zag row - note needle 17L on ribber

Have problems with a transfer needle?  Use the transfer tool instead!  Three  circular rows done, transferring needle 17 on ribber to main bed.

2x2 ribbing completed.

After transferring stitches to main bed for hand, knit stockinette.  Here I placed the first marker for thumb gore.

Second thumb marker added.   

All stockinette completed, transferring sts for 1x1 rib.

Hand done.  The red markers are the beginning of thumb gore.

With private side facing hang right side of mitt first on needles 8L-1L.

The ribbing facing you is the top of the mitt, the cuff is toward the back of the machine.  Hang left side of mitt on needles 1L-7R hanging the 8th stitch on needle 1L (prevents a hole forming).  Note two red markers are on same needle - (start of bottom thumb gore).

Needles 1L & 1R in FWP.

Yarn comes from carriage and over the needles in hold between needles 1 & 2R.

One row knit.  Wrap needle 2R with yarn tail.  Wrap needle 2L.

After short row increasing K3R.

Thumb stitches transferred for ribbing.

Thumb completed.

Tidy up your cast on by running a needle through the edge and pull stitched into alignment.  This makes the edge neat.

Seamed and ready to wear.