Our February Meeting was a game of two halves. Elaine was sadly absent owing to family commitments, but Janice E stepped in to keep the Club running for the day.
The first half involved our annual February Bring and Buy Sale. Normally we bring yarns from our stashes which we aren’t likely use ourselves, and swap it for something more to our taste. There’s usually the odd knitting book or magazine too. This month we had the mother lode. A local Knitting Club at Pinner has closed down. They very kindly offered their library of books and magazines to MMK through Nita, a mutual member. Vivienne drove over to South Ruislip to collect them, after a little tussle with postcodes, and everything was loaded into her car boot, neatly stacked in boxes and carrier bags.
On the day of the meeting all the boxes were transported upstairs, mainly by Ronnie, and deposited onto the table. We had an interesting half hour going through them all. Most of the club Members already had copies of a number of the books but everyone found something to their liking and the pile diminished somewhat. The yarn was popular too.
Once the excitement of the Bring and Buy was over, we all settled down around the table where Jenny M had set up her overlocker. It was an awesome looking piece of equipment.
Jenny had brought an incomplete jumper which she blithely cut up into various sized pieces to demonstrate how the overlocker can be used to edge cut fabric neatly, and how edges can be securely joined together.
She showed us how the fabric is cut as it is sewn to give a firm very neat finished edge.
We all had a go at using the overlocker to sew odd pieces together. Jenny was very aware of health and safety, making sure that each of us was mindful of the very sharp cutting edge on the guide. No one wanted an inadvertent closely manicured finger nail!
It was interesting to see the uses and possibilities of this machine. Cut and sew, if not exactly a doddle, was certainly much more effective than using zig zag on a domestic sewing machine.
We all thanked Jenny for bringing the overlocker along and giving us such a comprehensive demonstration. Vivienne claimed the leftover fabric on a waste not want not basis, as she needed to construct a knitted rat – but that’s another story!
We looked at simple ways to achieve plaids by leaving needlesleft in non working position to create a vertical 'gully'. Then an embroidered chain stitch created the vertical lines of the plaid. The sample shown here combines intarsia with the embroidery to make this striking sample. For the instructions of how this was done and more samples, please press the More button.
In September we started to look at sideways knitting on the machine. Using this technique allows the knitter to create pieces of knitting that are broader than using all 200 needles for the usual ‘bottom to top’ construction of a garment. It also allows the knitter to create designs that turn horizontal patterns into vertical ones. We looked at examples from 3 very interesting books, The Rowan/Brother Designer Knitting Book, Super Machine Knits, and Knitting Reimagined. Some of the designs can be seen by clicking the More button below. All these books are available from Amazon.co.uk
Last month our club, Middlesex Machine Knitters, explored ways to keep the knitted edges of scarves, etc from rolling in from the sides. We tried a method used by Diana Sullivan where needles 2,3, and 4 from the edge are moved out so that there are 2 stitches on the edge needle and the empty needle four is filled by picking up the heel from needle 5 every second row of knitting. This creates a bias edge.
We then tried moving the stitches every 4th row so reducing the time it takes to create the bias edge. It still worked, but there was more of a tendency for the sample to roll.
The third sample shows the same technique, but this time I did not fill the empty needle 4. I only left the needle in working position which created a lace edging.
With the 4th sample, I pushed needles 1 and 3 at each edge to hold position and set the carriage to hold and knitted 1 row. I set it back to knit all the stitches and knitted 1 row. I continued these 2 rows to create a tuck stitch edging.
The last 2 samples were done by wrapping an extra length of yarn around the end needles. The instructions were from Brenda Bell that I discovered about 7 years ago. It involves setting the carriage to hold throughout, but after each row you use the extra length of yarn to knit those stitches back to working position.
Start with the edge needle closest to the carriage out in hold position and the second needle from the opposite edge to hold position.
Knit one row. Use the extra yarn to knit those stitches back to B/working position and push the end needle closest to the carriage to hold position and the second needle at the opposite end to hold position.
Continue to knit those hold position needles back to working position and push the other needles out for each row. Sample 5 shows the wrapped stitches in a contrasting yarn and Sample 6 shows the wrapping done with same yarn.
As the weather has turned so hot and we didn't want to think about knitting in woolly yarns, we looked at ways to produce lacy fabrics without a lace carriage. Leaving needles out of working position manually, or while using the tuck setting on the machine, produced many interesting fabrics.
We experimented with Card I by Kate Armitage. (Card 1 is the basic card that comes with most standard gauge machines). It's a bird's eye pattern. To see some of the samples knitted with it, press the more button below.
We have been putting together a collection of hand and machine knitted toys to donate to the playgroup that meets downstairs in the hall. They have occasionally moved the children out of the hall so that we can meet there if our room has been double booked. Saroj, the playgroup leader, came up to receive the toys and thank us for our efforts. The ethnic glove puppets were an instant success with the children.
We tried out methods of cut and sew necklines and hope that some of our members will take the plunge and try knitting them. I encouraged members to watch the YouTube video. I demonstrated the technique at the club.