Some New Russian You Tube Videos

Last week I got an email from a Russian machine knitter named Elena Luneva, asking if I would take a look at her You Tube videos and share them here on the blog. I think they are terrific! She has had the text translated into English on-screen titles and although I would love to have heard that rich Russian accent speaking English, the titles are probably easier for most of us to manage.

If you go to Elena’s You Tube page, make sure you click “Like” so that you are the first to know about any new classes she adds.

In the first class, Principles of Knitting Terry Cloth, Elena uses a ribber comb to work a hand-manipulated, purl-side looped fabric on a single bed.  

The following class, Knitted Baby Cap with PomPom from Terry Fabric, has patterns to use the looped fabric.

Her third class, The Principles of Formation of Elongated Loops, is about creating giant stitches and ideas for using them.My kind of fun!

Elena’s fourth class, Woven Insert,  features a truly unique way of weaving ladders right on the machine. I found this one particularly interesting because I am currently/still working on a chapter about ladders for TBTWNE (The Book That Will Not End) and can honestly say it never occurred to me to do what she does here. Truly innovative!

With all of the US/Russia controversy in the news these days, I really like the  fact that knitters all,  ultimately, speak the same language! Thanks for sharing, Elena!

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.

Silver Needles Electric Cone Winder

A couple of weeks ago, Barb Bankord contacted me and asked if I was interested in trying a Silver Needles electric cone winder. I have had a Simmet ball winder for years and was skeptical about whether or not I would use a cone winder, but I asked her to send it along so I could check it out. I am so glad that I did because right now I am going through yarn like “Grant through Richmond” working on The Book That Will Not End (TBTWNE) and all of the yarn, Cascade 220 worsted, comes in skeins that need to be wound into balls. Up till now I have been using the electric ball winder with a couple of little problems:

The ball winder requires me to tension the yarn through my hand and right now, in the dead of winter, the air is so dry that I keep building up static electricity that gets discharged when I turn off the unit. Ouch! The other issue with the ball winder is that it winds the yarn into a fairly tight ball and I usually have to re-wind each  ball to get a working tension on the yarn. I still love my electric ball winder, but I am also smitten with the cone winder and here is why:

First of all, it is hands free so no more shocks! The unit has a sturdy, non-skid base that keeps it in place even when winding directly from the umbrella swift. You can increase or decrease the tension on the yarn depending on how you thread the guide and there is also a knot detector. I didn’t bother using that feature to wind the Cascade because I almost never find a knot in their yarn (really) and I was afraid that it might put too much tension on the yarn as it came off the umbrella swift, but I’m not sure I needed to worry about that.

There is a little guide on the side that makes sure the cones fill evenly from end to end. You can use that stash of cones you have been saving (sorry, no more donations to the local nursery school unless cones are the wrong size) or you can order re-usable plastic cones with the unit. There is no comparison between the way yarn knits off a cone or a ball. I’ll take a cone any day, but up until now, none of the yarns I use had that option.

This little video will give you a good idea how the winder operates. You’ll also get a look at my studio space, which is next on the list for a good spring cleaning now that I have finished the charts for all 160 swatches in the 2nd chapter of TBTWNE. Just have to finish winding the yarn for the third and final set of swatches…….so the end is in sight.

I am really happy to recommend these cone winders. There are so few companies out there who cater to machine knitters’ needs. Silver Needles is a small, family owned business that has managed to stay in business since the 90’s. The winders are not inexpensive, but this time I think you will get what you pay for.

Contact info: Barb Bankord, PO Box 2722, Carefree AZ 85377-2722

Email: SilverNeedlesWI@aol.com     Phone: 480-488-2620

 

News, News, News

I have 4 things I want to talk to you about today – seems like everything happens all at once! – (1) The formation of a New England Machine Knitters’ Guild, (2) A class I am teaching in April, (3) A seminar in Minnesota and (4) some great used equipment for sale.

New Machine Knitters’ Guild!   

There are machine knitters all over New England and the Northeast and many (perhaps most) of them have few machine knitters in their area. Shops and clubs have mostly disappeared and people are on their own. If we all unite to form a single, large club/guild to meet twice a year, I think we could provide support and education for each other and help to keep machine knitting alive and well in this corner of the country.

With that in mind, I have reserved a meeting space for April 22nd at the Northford Recreation Department, 1332 Middletown Avenue, Northford, CT 06472 from noon to 3:00. Depending on how many people attend, we can assess whether there is serious interest in having such a group and move forward – or not. Northford is about 6 miles outside New Haven and fairly easy to reach from anywhere.

If we decide to meet again in the fall, we need to choose a governing board for the group. I am happy to get things started and to act as the conduit for this meeting space (a mere $20/hour for town residents!), but I do not want this to be the Susan Guagliumi knit club. I will be happy to see others step up to the plate and take on the roles of president, VP, secretary, treasurer, program, hospitality, etc. The membership may also have other ideas for a meeting space and that would be fine too. We need lots of input!

I really hope that as many of you who possibly can do decide to join and attend the meeting. We need to discuss what the most pressing needs are and plan our fall meeting accordingly. I would love to see some workshops for newbies and experienced knitters, to think about renting table space to vendors to bring in yarn and supplies, to work towards a full fledged New England seminar a few years down the road. How much can we charge for annual dues? Do we want to provide coffee? Lunches? Workshops in the morning before a general meeting – hopefully with a speaker or demonstrator? How would a club like this best serve your needs?

If anyone has any ideas about a short program we could offer on the 22nd in addition to all the business and organizational stuff, just let me know. I have asked the rec center to set up 50 chairs – I am an optimist! Please email me (Guagliumi@comcast.net) if you plan to attend the meeting so I can ask for more chairs if need be and so I have some idea whether I will have company on the 22nd. I hope to see lots of you there!

Machine Knitting Sweater Workshop

I have had a  number requests from begining knitters who want a step by step sweater class to get them started – so, here it is!

May 20 & 21,  Sat. & Sun., 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. STW Community Center, Northford, CT
Fee: $150 (includes lunch)
Description: This class will focus on all the steps of knitting a sweater by machine from charting and planning right through finishing. The instructor will advise students on suitable yarn for their machine and then students will purchase and gauge their yarn prior to the course. The instructor will assist in charting an individualized pattern for each student based on their own measurements and yarn gauge. Students may add embellishment or patterning to their sweaters based on experience and prior approval from the instructor.
Registration is through the North Branford Recreation Department, 1332 Middletown Avenue, Northford, CT. phone: 203-484-6017. Registration will not begin until March 20th.
Questions? Email Susan at Guagliumi@comcast.net

 

Minnesota Seminar March 24 & 25th!

I will be teaching a two day program for the Machine Knitting Guild of Minnesota and they have made space available to non-members on a first-come-first served basis. Click here MKGM Seminar for the registration info.

Used Equipment for Sale!

I don’t want this to become a bulletin board for selling used equipment, but a former student is no longer able to use her machines and I offered to list them here. You can contact her directly for additional info. The machines are located in Norwich, CT and can be picked up or buyer pays shipping. Click here for the list of Used Equipment.

2017 Retreat with Deborah Newton!

Deborah Newton

 

One of my all-time favorite knitters happens to be a hand knitter – Deborah Newton. I’ve known (and adored) her since we were both authors working on our first books for Taunton Press back in the 90’s and when I tell you she is bright and funny and incredibly talented, I am not exaggerating one bit. I know I am a little star-struck when it comes to Deb, but she really is the best and I am fortunate to count her among my friends.

A recent design from Vogue Knitting is perfect for a mid-gauge or bulky machine!(copyright Sixth & Spring)

You can hardly scan an issue of Vogue Knitting over these many years that doesn’t feature one of Deborah’s designs and, beginning with Designing Knitwear she has produced a trio of books that should be in any knitter’s library because what she has to say transcends needles or machines!

 

This is one of the garments from Finishing School.(copyright Sixth & Spring)

Finishing School: A Master Class for Knitters, her second book, is my favorite go-to book for finishing details and techniques (and a dozen great patterns). Her newest book, Good Measure: Knit a Perfect Fit Every Time is loaded with gorgeous illustrations to support the purls of wisdom she shares on how she designs sweaters – and tells you how to do it yourself! There are also 24 patterns included in the book.

While Deborah carefully explains various necklines and garment shapes, she also details design considerations for specific body types and fitting problems. I found it refreshing that some of the models are somewhat more normal sized women (i.e. not size 3!) which gives me a much better idea what the garments might look like on me and helps to illustrate some of her tips on fit.

I especially love the swatch photographs in Good Measure because they tell you so much about what the final sweater will look like. Deborah works out all the details on each swatch before she begins any project. If you are familiar with Deborah’s work, you know that perfect fit is the hallmark of her designs and it starts with the switching process. If you are a hand knitter, you are probably familiar with Deborah’s designs. But if you have only knitted by machine and tend to avoid hand knit patterns and books, you owe it to yourself to take a look at these books because she will open new worlds for you!

The inn on Block Island

OK. So – the books are fabulous and her work is the gorgeous and I am clearly #1 fan. Here is the best news – Deborah will be teaching a workshop for North Light Fibers in September on gorgeous Block Island, Rhode Island. Space is definitely limited so if you’re interested in giving yourself a special gift, use this link to get the details and to sign up for the retreat! Four days on an island with Deborah Newton sounds a little bit like heaven to me!

Cool Stuff from Vogue Knitting Live!

First I bought a Yarn Valet….

I had a blast this past weekend, teaching at Vogue Knitting Live in NYC for the fourth (or is it the fifth?) year. The classes were great and I loved meeting some of the students who knew me from Craftsy.

Once again, I spent some time cruising through the market place, resisting temptation as best I could. As always, however, I found some things that I just couldn’t resist.

First, I bought one of the yarn dispensers from Yarn Valet when I saw how perfectly it holds a wound ball or skein of yarn – and turns as the yarn is pulled from the outside of the ball. For a mere $16, how could I resist!

Then I ran into Dan Tracy ……….

A little further on, I ran into Dan Tracy Designs and found a beautifully made wooden version of a similar holder……what is a girl to do?! I wandered around the show for a few more aisles and then I wound my way back to Dan’s booth to buy myself a birthday present. After all, wood feels and looks so nice and these ball (or cone) holders are mounted on ball bearings so they turn so beautifully and with tax, it only set me back about $54. Happy birthday to me!

Don’t  get me wrong – there was a LOT OF YARN to look at and I did buy some silk wrapped paper yarn from Habu that I will show you once I knit with it. I’m just a sucker for great tools and stuff.

I didn’t buy any slipper soles from Joe’s Toes because I wasn’t sure what size I needed for some grandson feet, but once I knit their next round of slippers, I know where to go for nice thick felted innersoles and non-skid outer soles.

Somehow, sharing this info with you helps me justify my purchases. Heck, a girl can’t just teach, race to the train and head home – she’s got to indulge once in a while. Right?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Many of us here in the US have just put away all the dishes and the extra leaves for the dining room table now that Thanksgiving is behind us. I think I have had more than enough turkey to last me for a while! Thanksgiving is always a time for families – and ushers in the beginning of winter and the holiday season. I’m looking forward to less time in the garden, a lighter teaching load and more time here in the studio working on the book that will ultimately be titled something like: Hand-Manipulated Stitches: Eyelets, Ladders and Slits, (with a subtitle) Exploring Open Spaces.

I always have a tendency to get a little overly-absorbed in the projects at hand and I have found myself really enjoying the fabrics and techniques I am working on for this book. Right now I have taken a break from all the sampling and swatches to work on a gorgeous all-over 3-stitch eyelet pattern and once that sweater is done, I will post the pattern on the web site and let you know here on the blog.

linen5
Giant 3-stitch eyelets swirl across this linen pullover. Godets at fullness and drape at the side seams.

In the meantime, I just posted the pattern for the Swirling Eyelets Sweater I did a year ago. The pattern first appeared in Machine Knitting Monthly Magazine, but some of you may not subscribe (shame!) so I decided it was time to make the pattern available on my web site. Just go to the page called “Free Stuff” and you will see it at the top of the list. The model is my lovely friend, Anne.

The pattern features huge 3-stitch eyelets and godets that add fullness and drape at the sides. The sleeves are knitted down after picking up the armhole edge. Open spaces are all the rage in ready-to-wear right now and this sweater is easy enough for a beginner.

linen-detailMy sweater was knitted with some gorgeous worsted weight linen that I bought from Silk City. It has fabulous weight and drape. However, the yarn may no longer be available and, if it is, it was tough to knit with. Linen has no give at all and even on the bulky machine it was heavy, arm-muscle -building work! The concept and design will work in any weight yarn on any machine so be good to yourself and pick a nice stretchy wool or blend. I hope you like it!

 

A Great Tip!

I’ve always felt that my students have as much to teach me as I do them! These two tips came in recently from blog subscribers who were happy to share them with you!

This first tip is from Patricia Lewis and I think it is an ingenious idea!

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Hi Susan,

As I was working on a scarf project today, it occured to me that I should share my method of keeping track of which stitches need to be transfered.  I use “Avery Removable Coding Labels”in the 1/4” size, which are just the perfect size of dots to stick on the LK 150 needlebed.  I place the dots just above or below the numbers on the number strip.
The color coded dots indicate to me which stitches need to be hand manipulated.  I also place a matching color coded dot on the pattern text to remind me of what that dot means!
In the photo attached, you will see several different colored dots, this is allowing me to switch between working on several different projects without losing time to figure out all of the charting all over again.
These little dots are a “God send” as they are so easy to stick on the machine, do not interfere with the carriage & are easy to remove with no residue left behind.  I can pick them up at Walmart here in Canada and I assume you can get them in the USA Walmart as well.
 Pat Lewis
The second tip is from Carol Olson and will make it even easier for you to work the K2P2 bind off I posted a while back. She knits two rows of ravel cord before scrapping off the work, but knits each one in a different color so she avoids any confusion of which stitches to work! Makes it easy to distinguish the knits from the purls in the rib. Wish I had thought of that!
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New Craftsy Class!!!!

11259_machine_knitting-hand-manipulated_stitches_susan_guagliumi29578_11227_11259So excited!

My third Craftsy class, Machine Knitting: Hand-Manipulated Stitches, has launched and I really hope you will all be as pleased with it as I am! Although the title of the class is similar to the title of my first book and the companion video, be assured that this is an entirely new class!

Use this link to bring you to the class on the Craftsy site and, when you check out, use this code (over on the right side) for 50% off: b93ebedf-370b-498d-9cf0-4.(Limit one per customer. Cannot be combined with any other offers). This code will expire in mid-January so check my web site for a new code after that date.

Once again, we used the LK-150 for this class because it is really the lowest common denominator for the greatest number of machines. There are just so many new knitters out there with no place to go for help that we have decided to focus on them. The experts and old hands are usually not quite as hungry for instruction, but I hope that even some of them find the material in this new class interesting and challenging!

The class is divided into six lessons that cover cables, short row intarsia, Bridging, re-hung stitches, traveling and twisted stitches and some open spaces (the topic of the book I am still working away on!). The class materials include all of the charts and instructions for the samples I work on screen and, once again, the camera work is incredible!

During the filming of the class, my producer decided to play “20 Questions” with me so that my students could begin to get to know me a bit. I hope you enjoy this clip!

 

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!