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Accordion hat

I had a skein of hand spun yarn (mine) that I wanted to get rid of and didn't really know what to do with it. I didn't know what gauge it would work up to, and I don't like swatches, so I decided to do a top-down earflap hat like one I published earlier on this blog. But once the increases were finished it looked kind of boring, so I did a row or two — three, really — of purl, and another three rows of knit... And then finished with a rolled hem. I really like it. So here's an attempt to write down what I did.

Cast on 6 stitches. I used a circular cast on that I kind of figured out, but really Emily Ocker's circular cast on is great.

Transfer the stitches to a longish circular needle, increasing in each stitch as you go. That gives you 12 stitches. I used the magic loop technique, so I had the loop pulled through so there were 6 stitches on each side.

K1, inc in the next stitch all the way around.
Knit one row,
K2, inc in the next stitch all the way around.
Knit one row.

Keep on going like this, increasing in the stitch above the increase bar on every second row,  until the increase section is long enough: about 3.25 inches for a child's hat, 3. 5 for a woman's, 3.75 to 4 inches for a man's.

Now begin the straight section, where you'll get the accordion effect. You can change to 16" circulars if you prefer, or keep on using magic loop.
Knit 3 rows.
Purl 3 rows.

Keep on like this until the straight part is long enough. If you can, measure the target head from the top to the earlobes. Or longer if you want a slouchy hat.

When you have done enough, change to slightly smaller needles and knit 5 - 10 rows until the rolled edge suits your tastes. Then cast off, not too tightly.

Your materials will depend on the yarn you're using. My handspun was sort of bulky, so I used 5 mm needles. My medium-sized hat took 90 g of yarn. But YMMV (your mileage may vary).

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Getting rid of yarn

I don't plan on doing any more knitting on a standard-gauge machine, so I have some yarn to get rid of. Fifteen cones, in fact. Here's a screen capture of my Ravelry page (

For more details click on the link. I'm asklng $10 plus postage for most of them; $5 per 100 grams for the Carver acrylaine.

I've also uncovered one piece of hardware to pass along. This is a brand new (to me, and I think unused before me) KA8300 transfer carriage, used to transfer stitches from the ribber to the main bed. It wouldn't work on my funky machine, but I'm sure it would on a good one. I would like $40, plus postage.

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Taking apart the knitting machine

So I got down and dirty (literally) with my KH 930 today and dismembered it. Someone on Ravelry may want the circuit board and the timing belt, so I thought I'd find out what things look like inside. Here's what I have now:

The most interesting thing (besides my toes peeking in at the bottom) is the metal bar between the main bed and the circuit board part. It has a sponge layer on it, and that layer has completely rotted. It went underneath the springs that hold the needles in place. This may be why my needles were sticking.

Anyway, if you see any bits and pieces you need please let me know. 
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I Give Up!

My quirky and battered KnitKing KH 930 standard gauge material has given up the ghost. At least I'm giving up on it. It was battered by UPS when it was shipped to me from the previous owner, and I've been able to make it work okay most of the time, but finally a bit broke in the carriage as well and I realized it was not really any fun to use. I need to get rid of it, and I think I'm going to get out of machine knitting altogether. I will post items for sale as I get organized to photograph and price them, Here's the first batch.

First there's the main machine bed. As I said, it's battered. I think there are issues with the springs holding the needles in place. They get stuck in the furthest in or furthest out position. Just sometimes, but it's maddening. I think there are probably lots of bits and pieces that can be salvaged, and I'd be happy to pass it along to someone who can use them, just for the cost of shipping. The electronic card is good, and the timing belt for two. I'm not including the needles - I'll sell them separately.

The case is badly battered, too; you can have it if you want it.

And then there are the bits and pieces. The main carriage is damaged: there's a little metal piece out of place on the bottom (that's from when I just couldn't help it any more and lost my temper. There are surely lots of bits and pieces that can be salvaged from it, as well. It too is free for the cost of shipping.

Of course there's  the sinker plate, too, and I think that works just fine. I would like $10 (OBO) plus shipping for it.

Here are some of the other bits and pieces I want to get rid of:

Extension rails
Power cord and carriage lockTension assembly and mast.

These bits and pieces can be had for $10 each or whatever you consider a reasonable price. Postage will be extra.

I have several other tension masts that are available to those who need them.

More bits and pieces will be posted as soon as I can get the box out from under our bed and photograph them. That will include a ribber that really does work, and lots of transfer tools.
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French Press Cozies

I've been having fun recently machine-knitting various sorts of cozies. The favourite among visitors to Art in the Park in Canmore (where I am trying to raise money to help the Canmore Museum continue restoring our NWMP Barracks) is the French press (Bodum) cozy.

It's not all that hard to make. First you want to measure your French press. Our 1-litre Bodum is 7 inches tall and 12 inches around. You've made a swatch (haven't you?) so you know the stitches and rows per inch you're going to get. So now you can figure out how many stitches to cast on, and how many rows to knit (if in doubt, go a little short).
I used an open cast on for these Fair Isle models, bcause I'm going to want to use these stitches for the bottom. I used a Fair Isle pattern from the Stitchworld set that my standard machine (Brother 930) came with. You could do anything for the body - tuck, ribbing, whatever you like. Just figure out the gauge first and calculate the stitches you'll need to cast on from that.

At the top I used an i-cord bind off. First I knitted separately an 8-inch length of i-cord, and used these stitches to start the bind off. After binding off was finished, I continued to make another 8-inch bit of i-cord. These tails turn into the ties to attach the cozy at the top.

I like a closed bottom on my cozy, to provide a bit of protection for the surface the hot coffee pot will be sitting on. You could just make another tie and i-cord bind off at the bottom if you like.

To do the closed bottom I lapsed into hand knitting. I picked up the cast on stitches with a circular needle (or 4 dpns) and purled the first row to make a nice edge. Then I knitted around, decreasing 8 stitches evenly spaced every other row. When 8 stitches were left I cut the yarn, pulled the end through the stitches, and sewed it in. You need to sew the side opening up about an inch or two from the bottom, too, to make it look tidy.

If the fit is a bit snug, there will be a gap in the middle of the opening. I like to make a couple more i-cord ties and attach them at the middle of the
opening, so you can tie the whole cozy closed.

I made a ribbed version with heavier yarn on my bulky machine. Because it's a real nuisance doing i-cord on this machine, I hand-knit the cords and bind-off.
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Shadow knitting

Our local CBC station marked Craft Month by inviting listeners to make something using the CBC logo. This is what I made:

Because the CBC logo is trademarked I don't feel like I should share the pattern, but here's how I did it.

1. Grab the picture off the internet. Any CBC web site has it. I used IrfanView to change it to black and white and double its size - you can manipulate as you need to.

2. Make a spreadsheet with columns the width of a stitch and rows the height of four rows. Put a border around each cell.

3. Add the picture as a watermark in the background, making it light enough to see the cells above it.

4. Make an x in each cell that is above a part of the picture. Leave the background cells empty. Print the result without the watermark. Here's part of my spreadsheet:

5. Calculate the number of stitches you need to make the pattern, allowing a suitable number for a garter stitch border on the sides, top, and bottom. Cast on and knit.

Each row in the spreadsheet represents four rows of knitting.
Row 1: knit background colour
Row 2: knit empty cells in background; purl the cells with an x in them.
Row 3: knit foreground colour
Row 4: purl empty cells in foreground colour; knit the cells with an x in them.

The result: the stitches that you knitted in the background colour and purled in the foreground colour will stand out and show the pattern. 
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Cheap knitting tools - part 1. Knitting machine yarn holders from CD boxes

I can't stand throwing things out. I look at something - packaging in particular - and think "I'm sure I could use that for something." So I have a small collection of CD boxes from the days before USB keys and MP3 files. I use one of them to hold my yarn for my knitting machines.

The boxes have a spindle part on the bottom and a big cover.

I stick nicely-wound balls of wool or yarns on cones on the spindle.
Messily wound balls go into the lid. I've cut sort of a hook into the side of the lid in imitation of a yarn bowl, but it's not necessary most of the time and often a nuisance.

These yarn holders keep my yarn from getting tangled with the mess that's usually on or under my knitting table.
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The Museum project

It all started last winter. I love wearing my rainbow scarf/shawl with my bright red winter jacket. It's made from Kauni Effektgarn EQ, the rainbow colourway, and the pattern is Tuch/shawl *Marella* by Birgit Freyer. For some reason people seemed to stop me last winter and ask where they could get one.

A year before that, our museum, the Canmore Museum & Geoscience Centre, had been devastated by a broken-pipe flood in its building. No artifacts were lost, but the shop and the museum display equipment were wiped out. A total redesign of the displays was needed, and funds were short. So I decided to raise some money for them.

I love knitting shawls, especially Birgit Freyer's, so I decided to offer my work to those who want it. I charged $15 to cover the cost of the yarn, plus $50 to be given to the Museum. I've raised close to $200 that way.

Starting this Sunday I'll be selling my work at the Museum's Art in the Park. There will be mostly shawls for the same sort of price, but also some other stuff I've enjoyed making. That will go for twice the cost of the yarn, with the profit going to the Museum. We're going to get that place working again!

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Knitter's Rag Rug

I made this rug to use up two sorts of scraps: leftovers from socks, and my husband's ragged t-shirts. 

Rag rug

To make it I used
- an EmbellishKnit I-cord maker
- a 20" Ashford Knitters' Loom
- a rotary cutter and cutting mat
- steel ruler
- a couple of years' worth of ends of sock yarn
- two XXXL t-shirts
- strong string for warping

I used the EmbellishKnit to make I-cords of varying lengths from the sock yarn leftovers - no idea how many. As I was weaving, if I needed more I churned out more.

Using the rotary cutter, I cut circles the width of the ruler from the t-shirts. A good tug broke them into strips for weaving. 

I warped the loom using every other slot and hole because the weft was so thick. 

Five or 10 rows of weaving with the warp material and we're ready to go with the scraps. This isn't supposed to be a regular, tidy thing of beauty, so sometimes I used one t-shirt strip and a short length of I-cord, and sometimes more. Keep going until you're running out of warp or scraps, then finish off with 5 or 10 rows of weaving with the warp string again. 

Cut off the weaving, make the fringe and you're done. 

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Top-down earflap hat

I made a hat like this for our grandson when he was here over Christmas,
but I didn't have time to document it. So I'm making another and writing down what I'm doing. This is going to be a work in progress and more of a recipe than a pattern.

Materials, gauge, etc.
For Dima's hat I used one skein of Berocco Hip-Hop - very big and bulky so it took no time at all to knit up. This time I'm using some of my own worsted weight handspun. My gauge was 14 stitches = 4".
You can use anything you like. Gauge doesn't matter - you're going to knit this thing to fit.

You'll be knitting in the round, so you'll need a set of double-pointed needles, two circular needles, or a single circular needle in a size that suits the yarn you're using. I'm using a 40"  5 mm circular needle because I prefer Magic Loop.

You're going to need to know two things: the circumference of the wearer's head, and the distance from the top of the head to the middle of the ears. Instead of taking the second measurement, you can just try the hat on.
My head is 22.5" around and 6.5" from top to mid-ear.

For Dima's hat I cast on 6 stitches and knit 1" in I-cord. For mine, I just cast on 6 stitches and joined them in a round.
Row 1: Increase 6 times.
Row 2: Knit around.
Row 3: Knit around, increasing 6 times evenly spaced.
Repeat these last two rows, increasing 6 stitches every second row, until you've got a circle of the right circumference. You can determine that using a bit of math. Remember your elementary school geometry? The circumference of a circle, C, is 2πr. You should knit until the length from the start (which is r) equals C - the circumference of your head - divided by 2π or roughly 6.25. My head is 22.5" around, so I increased until I did 3.6" (or 3.5" or something close). I had 78 stitches at that point.

Knit around and around until the hat comes to the middle of the ears.

Border and earflap tops
We're going to use a k2p2 border around the front and back and a garter stitch border around the edges of the earflaps.
Round 1: Work

  • ~35% of the stitches in k2p2 ribbing for the front (30stitches in my case)

  • ~20% in plain knitting for the first earflap (15 stitches)

  • ~25% in k2p2 ribbing for the back (18 stitches)

  • ~20% in plain knitting (15 stitches)

Round 2: Keeping the ribbing as established, purl 4 stitches at the beginning and end of the earflap sections, setting up the garter stitch borders.
Continue like this until the ribbing is about 1" deep.
Cast off the front and back sections.

You will be at the beginning of the left earflap at this point. Continue working it back and forth for another inch or so, keeping the garter stitch border. Then decrease a stitch at each end of the needle once or twice (depending on your gauge). After that decrease one stitch at each end of the needle every row until you have 3 (or 5, for finer yarn) stitches left. Work I-cord on these stitches for 15" or so.

Join the yarn to the remaining stitches and work the right earflap and i-cord the same way.Earflap hat