Friday, November 4, 2016

Protect your electronic knitting machines

I have always unplugged my knitting machines and other hobby stuff (sewing machine, embroidery machine, fancy vacuum ironing board, etc.) as soon as I am finished using them.

While browsing the net this morning I came across Diana Sullivan's old posting April 2011 about the danger lightning can do!

Her friend Barbara had lightning strike her home and it really fried her Passap, so badly that it could not be repaired!!!

I know of the dangers of lightning as a corner of our home was struck close to 20 years ago. It struck  our gutter, traveled down the downspout, dug a hole to a tree and zapped the tree.  It fried our brand new whole house air conditioner, It killed a tv, which was not turned on. It played havoc with various electronics near that corner of the house.

Because of this minor damage to our house I never leave my electronic "toys" plugged in. Even surge protectors are not strong enough to stop the massive power that lightning has.

I also do not use my electronic toys, including the garter carriage, during a lightning storm. We have lots of lightning storms in NC.

Please protect your toys. They are not easy to replace!!

Friday, August 5, 2016

Working on my 100 hats for Country Knitting of Maine, News&Views Hat contest 2016......just finished number 80!! Even learned a new, to me, way to make pompoms quickly!! I found this very helpful

Of course my pompoms don't look as great as hers. She uses wool and I use acrylic. My pompoms tend to look more like fireworks! Especially when I make them in multicolors.
I love that I can quickly make 2 pompoms and as you can see, it is very easy to do multi-colors too! I don't trim mine extremely carefully, so they retain their handmade, messy look. It's a "Designer Element" and I am sticking to it!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Chick-Fil-A Cows

Sometimes we go crazy around here. Last year Frank and I decided to dress up for Chick-fil-a Customer Appreciation Day, because those dressed in some sort of cow costume got free food.....a complete meal if in complete costume or an entree if you wore a hat or a shirt or a mask, etc. with a cow theme.

As you can see we went all out. Yes this is knitting related!! I created the pattern for the cow hat and knit it. Here you can see it: Sorry I don't have a photo of it alone!

Since I gave away the cow hat from 2015, I had to knit another one for this year's Customer Appreciation Day. This time they changed the rules, so no matter how much you dressed like a cow, you got only the entree, not the drink or the fries too. Oh, well. We dressed up pretty much the same, but my new hat is a bit different. It still needs improvement, but I am getting there....and I do remember to keep a record of what I do! 

Here is how it looked on me this noontime at the mall!

Some of us will do anything for free food!

Sunday, July 10, 2016


I had a lovely time in late May and in early June at two seminars. I attended the Jan Richards 2 day seminar in Alcoa, Tennessee and had a great time. Jan had come all the way from Sydney Australia!

 Jan showed us a variety of garments which she had knit using a gc (ha, inspiration for me!!) and knitting them sideways. She also knit with lurex, which added a nice touch to the everyday short sleeved sweaters she was showing and wearing. She also showed us how to hang the cast on comb so that the tines faced me instead of facing the machine. She said this made the comb hang better and not fall off so easily.

I loved her designs and bought some of her patterns, but I still have to knit them. Shame on me  

The very next weekend I attended a 2 day seminar near Raleigh where Sandee Cherry showed us a variety of her garments and patterns and methods of knitting them. Once again I was looking at sideways knitting (think someone is trying to tell me something??) and once again a demonstrator was showing how much better it is to hang the cast on comb with the teeth facing me

Once again I was impressed and inspired to knit. Once again I bought a bunch of patterns

Now I have been reminded that I CAN knit for myself and not just for charity.

I have been practicing hanging the cast on comb in the way that both these demonstrators advised. I think maybe they are right.....alright, they are definitely correct in that the comb is more stable, seems to catch on all the stitches, and makes hanging a hem much easier. I have been practicing on my charity hats, and on a garment I knit for myself, see below.

After the Sandee Cherry seminar I searched my yarns and found just the right one to knit her sideways top (Book 48, Fun With Sideways Knits). It was an easy knit of just 2 rectangles. She used either needle out of work, or knit stockinette and drop certain stitches to run later. I did the drop stitches technique to make a more openwork fabric for our hot summers. I mostly followed her instructions and pattern. I prefer a slightly longer top, so there is no gap in the back waist when I bend over So I planned my rectangle to be an inch longer than her pattern. 

I am so pleased with the result!! I got that garment knit and put together in the  days between the seminar ending on Saturday and our TMK meeting on the next Saturday!!  I used a dress yarn in a taupe color. I wore it over black slacks and a black tank top. I looked classy......even my sister-in-law in Florida was impressed when we saw her later the next week. Next time I put it on, I will have Frank take my photo so I can post it!

You can get the pattern for yourself (remember it is pattern #48) from   Sandee does write patterns for those of us who are a bit bigger than the average lady
Hi Everyone. A lot has happened since my posting in January about my working to clean my garter carriages. I had some successes and some cleanings that did not help.

I have 9 garter carriages. Some were working okay, some with minor problems, and some with major problems. I managed to work on almost all of them.....I did not tackle the two which had been adapted to 2 color gc's. One of these works okay as a one color gc, so I did not mess with it as I did not want to cause problems with its delicate workings.....and I could not get it apart with the extras glued onto the top of the carriage. The second one has had the glue let go from the attachments on the top, so I did not mess with that one either.

Of those I worked with, I was successful with 6. One I kept thinking I had working okay, but it would keep stopping at odd moments, so I gathered it to send off to ASK JACK.

One gc had had a major problem from January 2015, when it was running but managed to throw out an axle and  stop with a loud noise. We had replaced the part, but the machine would not work. I took the gc apart to fix luck. After a few weeks I was sure I could fix it, but when I took it apart I could not even get it back together......OH NOOOOO!

So that gc also went off to ASK JACK, in parts......what a mess. I had better take out a second mortgage or hope that Jack tells me it is not reparable at all.

So that is where I stand with my gc stable.....I have 6 gc's that can work well (and I need to get the km's cleared off so the gc's can work). I have one gc waiting here for me to work on it (a two color one). And I have two sent off to ASK JACK (theanswerlady's husband). Jack plans to take his time and work on all the repairs the Triangle Machine Knitters handed over to him in the spring at our Knit in. He will return in the fall to give us back our machines which he has repaired (and maybe even the unrepaired ones, if my projects prove too difficult for him).

I have started to knit a summer sweater for me with Cotton Tale 8 coned yarn using my gc....or one of them I have to knit in the mornings and stop everything in the afternoon and evenings since we seem to have thunderstorms every day!! The front is knit and now I am ready to try the back. 

Sorry, no photos today.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Garter Carriages and repairs

As some of you might know, I have a bunch of garter carriages. I also have a bunch of knitting machines. They all are getting older and needing maintenance. (We'll not mention Rita herself, who is also getting older and needing maintenance !)

I frequently watch the youtube videos that Ask Jack posts about cleaning and maintaining knitting machines. I have watched the videos he has done about the garter carriages too. I even used the information on them to tackle cleaning up a gc or two in the past.

This afternoon I tackled a gc which was not counting down correctly and which also would stop at unpredictable times when it was no-where near being done. I have done so well on this gc that I am posting an open letter to Jack and Katherine for their help. If you need help, just email them and ask. Jack also does repairs at their shop, but he is kept very busy. Check their website

Here is my letter to them:
Thank you both for making those maintenance videos on the gc. I have a bunch of gc's which are slowly becoming troublesome. In the past I have watched Jack's videos and truly enjoyed them. I love the content and the humor that Kathryn adds, besides which she adds the non-mechanical woman's viewpoint. I definitely have a non-mechanical  woman's viewpoint. 

My most recent problems have to do with the counters. They tend to not count down. Sometimes the middle number will not flip when the far right one goes from 0 to 9. That is what Kathryn might have noticed me posting on a Facebook list about fixing it when I was "playing" with my gc.  

Today I opened a different gc that would not count down correctly and would frequently stop even when it had a number of rows to knit. I tried my best to get the gunk and fuzz out, and lubed it with the food grade stuff. I even managed to wrestle the circlip off and on by myself for the first time! Twice! Well, I had thought I was finished and put everything back together, then discovered that one of the levers on the top would not move and was not connected to anything, so I had to undo all those screws and the circlip and put the lever in the proper place. Now I am testing the gc. It seems to be running okay now, but I still need to put the sensors in the back and see if it will follow the km directions for patterning. It SOUNDS okay  

It was good to hear Jack mention on one of the videos that sometimes the gc will do all that stopping when it needs to be cleaned and lubed and that the stopping does not necessarily mean the motor is shot! 

It sounds like I have one finished and only 3 or 4 (or more) to do now

What a sense of accomplishment. It would have been easier to do years ago when my thumbs worked and my eyesight was better!  

Thank you both for all that you do. 

Saturday, May 30, 2015

My visit to Pacifically Passap Seminar

I have just returned from the west coast where I attended the great seminar, Pacifically Passap, which is sponsored by Pat Groves and the Metropolitan Machine Knitters (I think I have that last part right).

There were classes for Passap and for the flat bed machines such as Brother and Silver Reed. There were many great instructors, and it was a shame that  I could attend only a sampling of these classes. Here is what I remember.
I totally enjoyed attending Pacifically Passap this year....and all the previous years I have attended.

As usual I bought a bunch of patterns and even some yarn
I enjoyed the 2 lunches where we had informal modeling. I had to show off my green suit with a self designed waterfall jacket. I also wore my off white top made from the Passap Duomatic pattern book which Pat had for sale. Pat also wore her white top, so for one day we looked just alike....... .well, sort of!
This was the top which was on display on the Krinklespun table and was knit in a deep pink/rose/reddish color. 

I also modeled my garter carriage and lace top from the pattern by Danis (Just for Laughs). It looked really impressive and I got a lot of nice comments. Below are photos of it from the NC State Fair, 2014. 

Okay, I will admit that lots of other people had fabulous outfits to model, in the modeling and for just walking around attending classes. 

I could not attend all the classes, what a shame! Pat had tried to make most of the classes available more than once, which did help a lot when I wanted to take 2 classes which were scheduled for the same time!!

For me, a real eye opener was seeing Sharon Minrath demonstrate how to use the card reader on the e6000. She was just setting up the machine for another demo when I saw this. I did not start Passap knitting when there were dealers nearby, so I am self taught. I had used DAK to download patterns, but had never used or seen used the card reader. I was not the only one who was new to this. We discussed the need for the card sleeve and how difficult it is to find one now. (Sometimes our classes drifted off topic, when there was time. This was a real educational experience. We are so lucky to have such talented demonstrators who can think on their feet and both demonstrate and explain topics about our machines!) 

Billie Hall's class (You Can't do that on a Passap!) was lots of fun as she showed us that we can use the fuzzy yarns and heavier yarns on the Passap. She did her demos on the Duo so we did not worry about setting up the console or even using the deco. I could not believe the heavy hat she knit with 4 strands of 2/24 yarn!

I attended Sarah Etchison' s class on combining lace with tuck and weaving. She used a brother machine and we could easily see what she was doing because she used a camera and a tv screen. It was so clear that one lady in the group could remind Sarah to check for stitches which had caught on the gatepegs!
The lunches were delicious and plentiful. We had chicken the first day and salmon the second. The chocolate cake, almost a cheesecake in its richness, was to die for!!

Beth Bunch had a couple of outstanding outfits to model. One was a Carmen Reuter skirt (in orange) which looked like gathered tiers. The top matched it in color and looked absolutely lovely on her. I even bought that pattern..... .hope I get up the courage to tackle it!!

One young lady modeled a cute tank top she had knit just the night before.....I think they said it was her first machine knit garment. And it fit her well. 

That same young lady and a friend modeled a joke sweater which was hilarious! The dark sweater was very wide (even wider than I am!!), had 2 long sleeves AND 2 neck holes side by side!! BOTH LADIES were inside that one sweater..... sort of like siamese twins!! We kept telling them that they were really too close friends

Helen Koshak modeled various items, but the one which sticks in my mind is a shawl done in short rowing. It was a white shawl with some series of dark stripes. Sorry, my description is so poor, but the shawl was really both simple and eye catching. I think it might have been the one listed on Newton's website in the free patterns (bottom of the page for handknitting and shown in grey and black). That makes sense since Helen is associated with Newtons....a fact that I did not know before the seminar!
I am so inspired by what I saw at the seminar that I have begun knitting again on my Passap. Yesterday I knit 3 simple hats from Knitting with the Lights Off by Billie Hall. I even practiced using my transfer carriage U-100E because I attended Sharon Minrath's class and she showed how easy it was when you pay attention to details!.....I do need more practice