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Archive for the ‘Machine Knitting’ Category

Stop! Wait! Don’t drop that Ultimate Sweater Machine off at the thrift store. I know learning a new tool can be frustrating, but I’m here for you. I promise.

I’m a professional hand-knitter, but still relatively new to using a knitting machine. Using the Ultimate Sweater machine however, became crucial last fall as more and more companies began commissioning large, yarn-bombed pieces from me. Out of sheer necessity, I buckled down and got on board the USM train. Through trial-and-error, I picked up a few tricks that ultimately made my experience more successful. Now I’m sharing those tips, along with answering consumer questions, in 4 videos on the Bond America website. Give ’em a look, and put what you’ve learned to work on your own USM.

Oh, and don’t forget, there are also traditional how-to videos and 24-hour help available, too! Learn more here.

xx,

Vickie

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The Tree
Well, we pulled it off.  Two-and-a-half weeks before the show, Spinrite (the new owner of Caron) marketing exec Sara Arblaster and I decided that I should yarn bomb a 10 ft’ fake tree, live from the show floor. Normally, plans like these take months of planning. We however, like to live on the edge.
Thanks to the powers that be for approving it, the design wizardry of artist (and art director on Knitty Gritty) Dave Lowe who built us a tree, and to the knitting machine that helped me whip out the pieces to cover it lickety-split–our zany idea came to yarn-y life!
“Yarn Bombing” (aka knit tagging, knit graffiti) is a phenomena that saw a rise 5-7 years ago in the indie scene and has since gained popularity in the mainstream. Its purpose can be anything from making a statement against the stereotypical purpose of knitting/crochet, to challenge the modern perception of art, to offering a fun way to make a bright (but harmless) mark on an otherwise ordinary object.
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Sheep(ish) tree, yarn bombed on the CHA floor.
My creation
I made most of the tree pieces on the Ultimate Sweater Machine

Here they are, finished and ready to be packed for the trip!


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Screenshot of live streaming from the show floor.
Now that I know how to do it, maybe I’ll do more live events (only that aren’t 4 hours long!)
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Be-cozying in progress.
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Final touch: fabric tree “carving”.
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Fabric hanging: hand embroidered and machine sewn.

CHA Floor

Much like every convention in any industry, the CHA convention is wall to wall carpeting and booths. What makes this one different though, is an unusual amount of glitter, paint and yarn. Oh, and these guys.

Random CHA launch show.
Every year before the show doors open, a bag pipe procession plays through the aisles. Random.
Whipped up a Sheep(ish) cast cozy for Andrea from A.C. Moore
Andrea from A.C. Moore, kindly let me cover her cast in Sheep(ish).
Quick chat with my friend Deborah Norville at the booth. #CHAshow
Quick chat with pal, Deborah Norville.
Hope live body painting.
My friend Hope Perkins, painting a live model from the I Love to Create booth.
Last Minute Knitted Shade
Last minute lampshade cover, made on the USM the night before the show to fill space. Most of our stuff didn’t make it, so we had to do a wee bit of scrambling.
CYC Reception
White at CHA,  I attended the annual Craft Yarn Council reception. This is the meeting where the council presents to industry types, the data obtained through researching customer’s yarn habits for the previous year.  I always walk away with some interesting facts so this time, I thought I’d share a few. All information is based on the results of surveying 5,175 knitters and crocheters found via the web.

Out of the stitchers surveyed:

  • 63% both knit and crochet (This was a happy surprise to me! I’m so glad to see that the majority are bi-craftual. That keeps things interesting for us in the the design world.)
  • In 2011, 87% of knitters/crocheters said that they’ve taught at least one other person to stitch. (Recruiters!)
  • Hats and scarves are the most made projects (70-77% respectively)
  • Knitters and crocheters each averaged 33.4 projects in 2011. (This number blew me away! I suppose this speaks to the popularity of small projects. I’d also wager that many of these are charity projects.)
  • 98% of the stitchers surveyed, said they plan to make at least as many projects in 2012 as they did in 2011. (This is great news for local yarn stores, big box retailers, independent designers, publishers, and anyone else who’s in the industry or simply, loves the craft!)
For more information, check out the CYC website.
Stitch.Rock.Love,
Vickie

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I finally got back to the Ultimate Sweater Machine this past weekend!  I was feeling inspired after Cari had the machine set up here in the office to do some swatches.  And of course, we get these amazing projects from Kathy Perry every month. Just wait until you see what’s coming up! 

My experience on the USM was much more rewarding and much less frustrating than when I was first trying to learn how to use it.   I am thrilled to say that I made several hats over the weekend!  Though I’ve only done straight knitting (no shaping or fancy stitches),  I am VERY happy with my accomplishments!  How cool to be able to make a hat from start to finish in two hours!  Everyone on my Christmas list will be getting hats this year! 

I made the hat pictured in Simply Soft Raspberry and Grey Heather by following the pattern that is in the USM book.  The other hats I made by knitting a large square, folding it in half,  sewing up the side to create a tube, pulling one end up inside the tube until it meets the other end, gathering the ends up,  and stitching them together.  This creates a really warm, double layer hat. I even got into making stripes!  And as I am typing this, it occurred to me that this same method could easily be used to make a reversible hat.  So now I’m fealing inspired to get started on another hat, and this time reversible!!!!!!

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At last I have managed to complete a swatch on the USM!  I will be honest – there was A LOT of frustration.  No matter what I did I kept having stitches just drop off from the middle of my work for no apparent reason.  And when half of the row drops off, it winds up being beyond repair. Then I would start all over. Ugh. 
 
So I talked with Cari the other day about it.  Turns out that my problem was I was allowing the front of the carriage to lift up a little as I was knitting across the row.  I tried once again with this in mind, and voila!  I managed to knit a good sized swatch. 
 
I dropped a couple of stitches at the beginning of a row when the work got pretty long.  This was my first attempt to pick up/fix dropped stitches.  I know I didn’t get it perfect since If you look carefully at the left side of my work about half way up, you can see the flaw in my work, but I feel pretty good about it for  a first try.  Then I used the S hooks and rubber bands on the edges, and had no more problems. I have got to get some claw weights!
 
Now, time to bind off!  It actually wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be.  I used the chain method.  One note– make sure you leave enough yarn to bind off. I made the mistake of not leaving enough yarn, so I had to tie another piece to the end so I could finish. 
 
All  in all I feel pretty good that I FINALLY managed to finish a swatch. It has been frustrating for me trying to work out all the kinks in the process, but now I feel ready to attempt a real project! 

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Ultimate Sweater Machine

Well, after a lot of frustration, I got it figured out! Check out what I did! If you are having trouble learning how to use the knitting machine, you will get there! Really! Once you get it, you will wonder why you had so much trouble. I made a lot of attempts and just kept dropping stitches! FRUSTRATING! As I was learning to use the machine, I found the following to be CRITICAL. If you don’t follow these tips, you will end up with dropped stitches.

  1. The most important thing is making sure when you set the weight in place that the hooks are all open and the elastic is on every hook.
  2. The weight has to hang FREELY – My table has a rounded edge and the weight did not hang freely, causing stitches to drop.
  3. Make sure to hold the yarn somewhat tightly until the carriage starts picking up stitches.

If you are careful to follow these tips, you will save yourself a lot of trouble and frustration.

One thing is for sure– after so many attempts, I feel like I am an expert at getting the machine set up for knitting! 🙂 🙂

Now that I can get through basic knitting, my next step is binding off. Stay tuned!

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Hi everyone!  For those who don’t know me, I am the Fashion & Design Coordinator here at Caron.   I work with Cari Clement.  (Yeah, the Cari and Carrie thing can get a bit confusing to folks! )

Those of you who are Caron facebook fans know that I just got the Ultimate Sweater Machine. I have never used it before and am not a knitter.  My experience with knitting machines is limited to seeing my mother use some super huge industrial looking machine when I was a kid. It had these punchcards for making the designs some how.  That thing was scary! 

So anyway, in order to prepare for setting up and using the Ultimate Sweater Machine, I watched a bunch of  the YouTube videos on it.   I managed to get it set up pretty easily! The hardest part was figuring out how the weight went on. Well, actually it was finding the volume control on my computer (lol), but figuring out the weight took me a minute or two! 

I got the Ultimate Sweater Machine set up!

I set it up at my kitchen table and used the non-slip pad that comes with it. I couldn’t clamp it to the table because my table has a lip around the edge.  But the non-slip pad seems to hold it just fine.

The YouTube videos were extremely helpful. Now on to the next step – using it! I will let you know how it goes!

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