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Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Machine Knitting Progress

Sorry, it's been a while I know but October brought an unhappy surprise - a broken foot in a split second while out traipsing after Goldenrod of all things!   So I did a lot of reading and knitting and then developed a trigger thumb from doing too much of that which although a bit painful, I thought was quite funny.  In any event, I viewed those incidents more of an inconvenience since we all have friends/family that are dealing with a lot more than that. But an inconvenience it was because I wasn't able to do a lot of things that involved standing for too long and it was exhausting carrying the weight of that 'moon' boot around.  Liberty feels good and makes me appreciate my good health so much more and makes me sad at the same time for those who can't rid themselves of their misfortune as easily.  Christmas decorating and baking was quite the challenge.

Just about everything in my life besides my most important thing of all - my husband and our family revolve around nature.  Working with wool, leaves, natural dyes, mulberry paper brings me unending joy that I can't see will ever end until I do!  The things that nature provides never cease to amaze - those little seeds; all that color, shape and form hidden in such a tiny space is really quite incredible when you take the time to think about it.  Trees, have roots that follow their canopy and the veins in their leaves follow the shape of their branches - just think about how amazing that is.  I've read studies where they have proven that tears can incorporate joy or pain and that water shows changes under a microscope once it has been blessed.  Oh yes! there is so much more to life than we know and I find that thought very interesting and exciting.  

Since October, there were things I couldn't do without further injuring my foot, so I reverted to learning my knitting machines which is a story all in itself.  I acquired these machines when we lived in Maryland and still working full time so learning a little as time permitted didn't really do them justice - the older grandchildren were young and they enjoyed making their own scarves and also fighting over using the Embellisher - it was like a sweet little sweatshop factory in my studio on Sundays and we all had fun and hopefully they learned something and we made some lasting memories together - my job as a nana as I was so fortunate to have a Nana and Grandma that left some great ones for me.

So back to the knitting machines - I have a Brother 260 and a Compuknit 940 (also a Brother) as well as a Garter carriage that truly knits on its own.  Don't think for a moment though that this comes at all easy; I really don't enjoy or have the ability for technical things - they frustrate me.  I'd much rather be felting or playing with color and texture but I am always up for a challenge!  I really have learned a lot and am coming close to meeting my goal of knitting fabric to cut and sew.

I knitted these panels on my Brother 260 which is a sturdy chunky machine.  Although there are limits as to what yarn can be used, you can, however, use any and all yarns for knit weaving but for these panels, I used a punch card using Berroco Aurora Borealis #8014 and coordinated with Pea Pods cotton green.  This created a really lofty fabric with cotton on the front and the mohair on the back - it will be very cozy.  The fun thing is that because the Berroco is variegated, the little designs are too.  When I began, I just knew I would be knitting panels but just wanted to see how the wool and pattern would knit but had no idea about what wearable design these panels would be.  So, I had one larger long panel, two thinner.  I didn't plan these very well because I would have been better off making two wide panels the same size and another for the sleeves. In any event, I bought up all in that colorway used it all up. Since there was no more of that colorway, I purchased another ball that I thought may be fun to coordinate with it in some manner (you can see the pink here), but they really didn't go well together with the violet/green/aqua hues so I used that for a lovely cozy cowl which is now at the Maye River Gallery.  Hoping some Northern visitor will want it to take home.

I looked at these pieces for a few days before deciding how to best use them and decided on a jacket.

So, I stitched a fine zigzag before cutting the pieces up.  One back panel, one panel cut in two for the fronts, and one panel cut in two for the sleeves.  I did a lot of reading trying to learn the best way to finish the inside of the cut edge and the hong kong seam seemed the way to go; however, after doing an okay job with this at the shoulders because of the high loft and the difficulty of having the silk covering the seam move too much, I ditched that idea and decided to hand stitch.  I can see a linker in my future if I keep on this path but I can't justify the expense at the moment.  The next issue I will have to deal with is the front panels are just to skinny for my liking - even for a small person.  I was just about to order more yarn when I had a bright idea - why not make some felt for the front edges which, if my idea works, will be a lot more interesting and I found the exact shade of merino wool that it needs in my stash - so wish me luck and keep tuned!

FYI and on top of all of that, I have become quite enamored with Fairisle Knitting and have ordered plant dyed wool in light and dark cochineal, logwood, weld and indigo which is coming all the way from the Shetland Isles to quench my thirst and I can't wait to get started.  I have dabbled in it before but didn't have the correct weight.  I have my graph all picked out and rather than practice on a scarf as was my first thought, I am going to make a cushion so that I can enjoy the  results of my labor (and maybe see my mistakes too!)

JUST in time to finish my post these came!

AND speaking of Fairisle, this is a small sample from the Compuknit 940 using Kaffe Fassett's Magic Ball technique - sooo many more possibilities!!!

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