Monday, December 19, 2016

Mermaid tail afghan and Shark afghan

I have been intrigued by the Mermaid's tail blanket (bag) for some time and finally decided to try it. First I purchased the pattern from theanswerlady. It is in her book Kid Stuff for Girls.

I checked out all the patterns on Ravelry for ideas also. Then I really tried to closely follow the instructions in the book. I did a tension swatch. Hey, that is something I usually skip!! I had to substitute the tuck stitch design I used for the body, because I could not find the punch card for the specific tuck stitch shown in the book among the huge amount of punch cards I have scattered around my house (Embarassed look on my face!!)

The card I substituted tucked the stitches for 4 rows instead of the 3 called for in the book. But it looked good.

I checked into DAK to slightly revise the design for my 8 year old granddaughter....I THOUGHT it should be a bit longer than called for...who knows? She won't get it until Christmas!

I knit the design and used a variation for sewing the back seam....I crocheted it together by doing a double crochet on one side, chain one, then double crochet on the other side......sort of a hairpin lace style which I usually use to join afghan panels. I don't know if it is best, probably not, but it is a mostly flat seam in the tuck area and I am happy with it. The seam goes from left to right in the photos

Here is the compete mermaid. It looks lumpy and crooked just from the way it is placed on the couch. 

Here you can sort of see the tucks that look like fish scales. 

My Shark blanket is still a work in progress. I adapted it from Kathryn's pattern to use as a smooth not-tucked design. I changed the top area to make the mouth, added blood and teeth like I had seen on various blankets on Ravelry, changed the direction the tail fits onto the body, and added a fin on the back. I still plan to put fins on the side. I designed the fins and the shape of the head in DAK. I had to learn to crochet to do the teeth and eyes! Not the greatest, but perhaps it will please my 5 year old grandson!

The shark has hairpin lace for the seam on his tummy. You know that method...unravel 2 stitches on one side and use the latch tool to pull them through 2 stitches on the other side. (I could not do that on the mermaid because I forgot to not bind off the last stitch on each side so I could ravel it down.) 

I also still need to press the shark!

Hope the kids like these.....and hope they fit into them!! 

Christine's shawl

In October the Carolinas Machine Knitters Guild held a Knit-a-long for Christine's Shawl, famous on Ravelry and various facebook groups. I, along with some others, finished the challenge and knit the shawl, which was an easy to do item!

I love my shawl. It travels well, is useful on airplanes and in restaurants in Florida. My version is done with 2 strands of 2/24 acrylic yarn and a basic stockinette (with a needle out of work every 4th needle) and using the holding position. I like this shawl because it stays on my shoulders and is cozy. I also find the point in back to be flattering.....please don't burst my bubble!

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.