Buttonhole Sandwich Band – Delicious!

This buttonhole band has been around forever and is still a winner! The method of attaching the band can be applied to any sandwich band – plain, picot, patterned. The chained effect is on the inside of the garment (if you follow my directions) and a sort of back-stitched effect shows on the knit side, just as they would appear if the band had been applied on a linking machine.

The width of the band is up to you, but I recommend always including a technique that will produce a sharp crease on the fold. In this video, I used two turns with the garter bar, but you might do as well with one row on size 10 or a row of picots. If you have a double bed machine, you can knit the band in rib, ending it with some circular rows to sandwich the fabric between.

When applying a band like this to cut-and-sew necklines, you should serge or zigzag the cut neckline edge to make sure nothing drops down and runs later. Also, there should always be some “meat” inside the sandwich. That is, a couple of rows of knitting or, as I did, two stitches from the edge. Otherwise, the band is barely attached to the garment and tends to turn up (or down). I would never attach a band like this to live stitches with no bulk inside the band or it looks flimsy. Take my word for it ….. I know from experience!

When working a neckband with this method, you should be able to join one shoulder seam first and apply the band to the entire neckline. With V-necks, you might need to apply the band in two pieces that overlap the center front.

There is a free Tips and Techniques (Bands That Bind) on my web site that goes into a bit more detail and I recommend that you download it to help you the first few times.

Remember that the beginning and ending buttonholes are usually spaced just a few stitches from either end of the fabric, but that the remaining buttonholes will have larger spaces between them. There are always more spaces to account for than buttonholes. There are several magic formula calculators on line that are very helpful in spacing out the buttonholes.

I have used this method of attaching bands to front, lower and neckline edges and I have also used it to add trim and to finish hand woven fabric. Enjoy!

If you live in the Northeast, try to join us for the spring meeting of the Northeast Machine Knitters’ Guild – we had a great meeting on Saturday at Webs in Northampton, Massachusetts. Check out the Facebook page and follow along: https://www.facebook.com/groups/535504566785989/

(PS – I filmed this video at the end of raspberry season when I had some free time – apologies for the arm scratches!)

More Free Downloads!

Tucks and Twists is one of my all-time favorite sweaters.

I’m really happy to tell you that Knitter’s Magazine just gave me permission to share all of the patterns I did for them back in the 90’s. I have been busy scanning and have finally got them all added to the free downloads on my web site.

I think that most of the patterns have stood the test of time quite well. Just be aware that the yarns will most likely no longer be available and you will have to do some substituting. There is a wide variety of techniques to be learned from these patterns and many of them were done for the LK150. As always, you need to be registered for the web site newsletter to enjoy all the freebies. Also, feel free to share these patterns with your knit clubs and friends, but please make sure my name and the credit to Knitter’s Magazine remains on any copies.

“Back in the day” when I was with Studio, we used to advertise in Knitter’s (and other hand knit magazines) so they were much more open to featuring machine knit patterns than they might be today.

These are the patterns I just posted:

24 Gold Carrots – a multi-color tuck stitch pullover with 24 appliqué’s gold carrots that was the inspiration for the issue called Fakes and Funnies.

Basket of Flowers

Basket of Flowers – a really gorgeous hand-manipulated stitch that uses woven stitches to create an undulating fabric.

Little Girl Blue – a child’s cardigan with smocking.

Mozambique Mosaic – a fabulous LK150 two-color tuck stitch (AKA Tuck Mosaic) worked on the LK150. There is also a Tips & Techniques download on mosaic stitch and, of course, a whole chapter in Hand Knits by Machine.

Peacock Tails – is a light weight, open mohair cardigan that uses a unique hand transfer method that, in fact, I am revisiting in the ladder chapter of the current book project. This is a great technique to stretch your yarn further because the fabric is more air than stitches!

Sideways Vest – I designed it as a women’s vest, but they wanted more men’s patterns for the magazine and decided that this one qualified as uni-sex. This one features sideways construction and a neat little added detail at the beck.

Tucks and Twists – This was one of my favorite sweaters ever. It is a lush combination of tuck stitch, twisted stitches and the Judith Duffy cabled edging.

Royal Hawaiian – this one uses a narrow short rowed zig-zag band for the edging.

I also uploaded the pattern for an intarsia vest, “Como se Llama?” that I did for Knit ‘N Style Magazine, which has been out of publication for years.The entire vest is worked in intarsia and the charts are all included.

Lastly, Gini Woodward sent me the original directions that used to come with the garter bars (or, rather the “garter stitch accessory” as they called it back then). I have added that with the Tips & Techniques.

Craftsy Class #2 is Up and Running!

I’m delighted to tell you that my second Craftsy.com class has launched! I’ve known the date for weeks, but was sworn to secrecy until the launch was official. You can watch the trailer for the class here and the link below will bring you right to the class page on Craftsy where you can purchase the class with a 50% discount – my thanks to you for following my blog and/or web site.

50% Class Discount

I have thoroughly enjoyed working with the folks at Craftsy. They are professionals who are committed to producing the very best on-line learning experiences. It’s a lot of work – to be sure! – but the end results are so well worth it. You’ll feel like you are sitting right next to me at the machine because there won’t be anybody else blocking your view or asking all the questions. You might be wearing your pajamas and it might even be 3:00 AM, but I won’t mind a bit! That is the beauty of on-line learning! If you have questions, just click and type and I’ll get right back to you…..though probably not until my day begins.

While the first class was aimed at new (or returning) machine knitters (almost 4,000 of them so far!), the new class is focused on three very specific areas: using the garter bar, knitting intarsia and working entrelac with holding position. They are all skills that will help move you forward with your machine and instill new confidence in what it – and YOU – can do!

Over the weekend I drew the names of five lucky blog subscribers who have each won a free class. (One from the U.K., 1 from Scandinavia, 1 Canadian and 2 from the U.S. Quite the diverse group of machine knitters!)

I plan to do more drawings this year as a thank you to those of you who have subscribed to my blog. In fact, on May 30th I will be drawing three more names. Those winners will each receive a free copy of my book, Handmade for the Garden. So, if you haven’t actually subscribed to this blog, make sure you subscribe (over on the right where it says “subscribe”) before the next drawing so you will be eligible to win!I won’t share your information with anyone else, but you will get an email telling you whenever I post a new video or blog.

Hope you all enjoy the new class!

Exciting News!

Its a wrap!
Its a wrap!

I’ve been leaking hints for the last few weeks, but it is official: Machine Knitting Special Techniques: Color and Texture will be released by the end of May on Craftsy.com.

This is my second class for Craftsy and I have to say that I have loved working with them. The preparation that goes into a Craftsy class is amazing – with highly qualified people assigned to every step along the way. I feel very fortunate to have these opportunities come my way!

How is THIS for close-up detail?!
How is THIS for close-up detail?!

This class is divided into three sections. First, we take a look at the garter bar. To say that the close ups are amazing is an understatement! I think you will agree, once you see it, that it brings each step clearly into focus and makes the process of turning work over (for one) a whole lot more understandable.

Peruvian Dancer Intarsia Sweater pattern (in four sizes) is included in the lass materials.
Peruvian Dancer Intarsia Sweater pattern (in four sizes) is included in the lass materials.

The next section focuses on intarsia knitting and the last section on entrelac knitting. The projects included in the class materials include a cap with a shaped crown, an intarsia sweater with an unusual edging and an intarsia tunic.

I chose the Peruvian dancer motif for the intarsia sweater because I have always loved Peruvian textiles. In fact, the charts I included for practice pieces are also Peruvian inspired – a cat and a jaguar – that you could use on any garment.

I worked the intarsia designs with Lion Brand Superwash Merino, which is a DK weight that knits beautifully on mid-gauge and chunky machines. For the entrelac tunic, I used Lion Fisherman wool. All of my samples were worked on the LK150, but these are methods suitable for all machines. Garter bar, intarsia and entrelac are all methods that do not rely on fancy machines and are worked the same on all brands and gauges.

The class is due to launch at the end of May – I’ll let you know when I have an exact date. I plan to give away FIVE FREE CLASSES to subscribers of this blog so if you have been linking over from Facebook or Twitter, make sure you are subscribed to the blog itself so your name is included in the drawing.

The Farmyard series features wrap-around motifs. I love the ducks!
The Farmyard series features wrap-around motifs. I love the ducks!

Free Intarsia Patterns for Children!!! Because I have had intarsia on my mind a lot lately, I contacted Vogue Knitting and was able to get permission to offer the children’s patterns I did for Family Circle Easy Knitting Magazine as free downloads on my web site. Just go to the “Free Stuff” page and look for Farmyard or Reptile Sweaters. You should blow up the charts when you print them out – magazines always try to save space and these were long patterns with lots of visuals. The charts are small.

 

The beginner class met in mid-april - a great group that hit it off right away - with each other and with me!
The beginner class met in mid-april – a great group that hit it off right away – with each other and with me!

Still time to enroll in a class here in Connecticut! 

The two classes I offered here in Connecticut are over or full, but the local Recreation Department, which is sponsoring the classes, has added another 2-day class on Saturday/Sunday, May 21 & 22. The cost is $150 and includes lunch both days – and dinner at my house on Saturday night. To register, contact the North Branford Rec Dept at 203-484-6017.

Happy Mother’s Day and Happy Spring!