Crochet revisited in a caravan

We are in our caravan. It’s a bit windy to sit in the awning even though it’s quite warm. So I decided to practise my crochet skills. I want to make an Afghan (granny square blanket) for the caravan, so tried a wagon wheel square in some rather garish DK acrylic yarn I have here.

The instructions are US terms, so I’ve become a bit stress trying to convert it UK terms.

I think I got it right.

I can’t make it in acrylic. All those hours of work that will be needed should be rewarded by working in wool, so I can’t start until I get home and sort some out.

Although the dog will sleep in it so it will have to be fully washable.

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Tying a blowline knot

For years when sailing I managed not to really learn how to tie a bowline – I mean not so that I could tie one without thinking, or behind my back, or with my eyes closed as my friends could.

This summer, whilst caravanning in Scotland I tried to re-capture my rather dismal knot-tying skills, with poor results. Google-in-hand I tried and tried; the little pneumonic about the rabbit and the hole failed to click, and I vacillated between laughter and tears at my ineptitude. What I thought was a successful bowline ended up undoing itself and losing the dog’s ball-thrower. All in all a bit of a disaster.

So imagine my joy to find a page showing a different method. Its called Aegean Sailing School and makes so much sense. Aegean Sailing School how to tie a bowline knot.

So anyone with the same problem, give their method a go. I hope never to lose another ball-thrower!

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Brother ScanNcut

Last week I made a bit of an impulse purchase of a Brother ScanNcut machine. A friend at a dinner party had mentioned that these existed, and I became intrigued, did a bit of web-trawling and found the CM900 on offer. So I pressed ‘buy’!

It took a week to arrive, which was frustrating, and then I had to go into work and other various things stopped me opening the box until this morning. My first test cuts were not successful, until I discovered it’s necessary to close down the handle of the knife holder! Ha ha, silly me!

After that it was a matter of testing the blade depth, based on the recommended depths, until the blade cut the paper but did not go into the mat too far. I’ve discovered that it seems to always mark the mat, but when thinking about this, to cut through its probably always going to do this.

The other thing I struggled with a bit was how to position the image and paper so that the cut is where you want it. A bit of maths and spatial understanding is needed for this, and I am still getting the knack.

The built in patterns are fine for practising on the machine, but I aim to work on the Canvas software later on today and transfer files by USB or wifi.

Editing on the machine’s screen is quite easy, you can resize, crop, flip, mirror and combine (weld) images to make your own outlines. So far I have made scallop edge with a cut out border above, not brilliant, but testing out how it all operates.

My first real cut – using an installed image, resized.

Scallop edge with a cut out border, made by combining two installed patterns

Apparently there is dust inside the lens of my phone, hence the dark spot at the top of the photos, great

Another technical glitch!

Any way back to the ScanNcut, so far I love it! Can’t wait to try other papers/cards and fabrics.

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From fair-isle to football boots

This was a talk that I gave at the Textile Institute. In it I discussed seamless knitting technologies, their historical roots in hand knitting methods, and the potential the ‘new’ technolgies are bringing to commerical knitwear and knitted outputs. The audience had the opportunity to handle samples produced on flat-bed Shima Seiki Wholegarment and Santoni circular seamless machinery.

This was in 2014, and since then mass produced knitted footwear of varying degrees of sophistication has become common on the high street (and it is so comfortable).

I recently purchased a pair of hi-top elastic knit trainers, with flechage (short row) shaping on the ankle and other technical knit structures on the upper and toe, for a very moderate sum. In 2014 they were still expensive and quite exclusive – so we can see the impact on footwear without looking further than the high street (or online shopping of course).

I recently heard of a business in the US that knits custom made climbing boot uppers, fascinating!

Follow this link to my media page to read more about the talk.

 

 

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What’s inside ‘Translating Between Hand and Machine Knitting’?

Lace knitting – see more about this on my Translating Between Hand and Machine Knitting page, but in brief, yes this is explained in loads of detail, with helpful photos and diagrams, examples and step-by-step instructions.

The book does not include garment patterns, it explains how to knit different stitches by hand and machine, and why some stitches are more suitable for hand and others for machine knitting.

Posted in book, books, craft, Creative machine knitting, creativity, educational, hand knitting, Knitted textiles, knitting, knitting machine, knitting patterns, knitwear, Machine knitting, Machine knitting; knitmaster;silver reed; knitting, making, Textiles | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hand and machine knitting – using a ‘lifeline’ when knitting lace

When hand knitting lace it is so easy to make a mistake or drop stitches, even on the plain rows, (I have a habit of dropping the yarnovers).

To save yourself the hassle of having to unpick and rediscover your pattern, adding a lifeline is a real life-saver; although it may seem tedious at the time.

A lifeline is a piece of thread passing through all the stitches along one row of the pattern so that if a stitch unravels some rows above it cannot drop below this retaining thread.

Decide where you want the lifeline to be, this would usually be at the end of one full vertical repeat of a lace pattern, on a non-patterning row, (usually a purl row). If it’s a short lace pattern repeat that is only two or four rows high, then you might put a lifeline in after every four or five repeats of the pattern.

To prepare and insert a lifeline:

  • Choose a contrast colour that’s no thicker and preferably thinner than your knitting yarn. On fine lace sewing thread is ideal.
  • Cut a length of yarn that is 20 cm longer than the width of your fabric.
  • Thread the yarn into a large eyed bodkin sewing needle. Avoid using a needle with a sharp point as this may split your stitches.
  • Using the sewing needle thread the yarn along the stitches on the needle, making sure the thread goes through each stitch.
  • Pull the lifeline gently so that there is an even length of thread at each side of the knitting.
  • Remove the bodkin sewing needle and knit the row as normal.
  • Once you have threaded another life line in place at your next chosen position you can remove the first one.

You can use a lifeline in exactly the same way when machine knitting, it is just a little bit more fiddly to thread the yarn through the stitches. But believe me, its worth it!

The image below shows a lifeline (yellow yarn), being inserted into lace knitting being worked flat, but using a circular needle. A circular needle has a thin wire in its centre (in this case its a red wire), and sliding the stitches onto the wire before inserting the lifeline creates more space inside each stitch, making it easier to thread the lifeline through.

A lifeline being threaded into lace knitting. Insert the lifeline after working a plain row. This gives you easily recognisable loops to work into.

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‘Translating between Hand and Machine Knitting’ – publication date is 31st August

Cover of Translating between Hand and Machine Knitting

The cover features a voluminous and irresistibly tactile 3D knitted textile by Marie-Claire Canning

Posted in book, books, craft, Creative machine knitting, creativity, educational, Flechage, hand knitting, Knitted textiles, knitting, knitting machine, knitwear, Machine knitting, Machine knitting; knitmaster;silver reed; knitting, making, Short-row shaping, Short-rows, Textiles, Uncategorized, Wool | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Using snap on presser feet with a Bernina 1030 – take care with some types of adaptors

I have been using snap-on feet on my Bernina 730 and 1030 machines for years with the aid of a clip-on adaptor screwed onto a low-shank Bernina adaptor. This combination allows me take the adaptor apart and use the low shank adaptor to attach low shank feet, such as a ruffler.

Bernina feet, whilst clearly the best option, are exorbitantly expensive and I can’t justify this cost for some of the more exotic feet that I may only use for part of one project.

Through the years I have also acquired a Bernina clip -on adaptor with a metal lever at the back with which to ‘clip’ the clip-on feet to it, which is also brilliant at the job but obviously lacks versatility as it doesn’t allow for low shank feet to be used.

Recently I bought a set of 48 (? I think), clip-on feet to expand my collection at a reasonable price, and another ‘Bernina style’ clip-on adaptor which has a red plastic lever at the back rather than a metal one. Now for the weird bit.

I used the knit foot and then the cording foot from the new set, both with the combination adaptor, and all was well. Then the next time I sewed, I attached the rolled hemming foot to the machine using the adaptor with the red lever, and the needle smashed into the foot. Not having used this foot before, I thought the foot was a fault, and so, being in a hurry I sewed the hem with the standard foot instead.

Today I attached the knit foot to the machine, and picked up the adaptor with the red lever as it was at the top of the box in which I keep the clip-on feet. Lo and behold, when I started to sew (with a straight stitch), the needle collided with the centre plate of the foot and smashed! I was confused, this foot had worked last time, what was the problem! Having forgotten which adaptor I had used last time I spent some time fiddling around checking what could be wrong with the machine. Then I thought about it a bit more, and realised I’d most likely used the combination adaptor as this is always stored in the actual machine’s own accessory box. I swapped the adaptors, and sure enough, no collision and no broken needle.

A little analysis and test-driving was needed, and after re-checking it seems that the red-lever adaptor positions some clip-on feet too far forward, so that the machine needle hits the centre plate of the foot. I haven’t tested all the clip-on feet with both adaptors yet, but have written big notices one the storage box, machine and accessory box to remind myself to use the combination adaptor with the knit foot and roller hem foot, and to check any others carefully before starting to sew.

A lesson learned!

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‘Translating between hand and machine knitting’ is about to be published

i have just received my pre-publication copy of ‘Translating between Hand and Machine Knitting’, it was waiting here on my arrival home from holiday. It’s a great welcome home present.

Holding the book

My pre-publication copy just out of its wrapper.

Here are some sample pages.

Posted in book, books, craft, Creative machine knitting, creativity, educational, hand knitting, Knitted textiles, knitting, knitting machine, knitting patterns, Machine knitting, Machine knitting; knitmaster;silver reed; knitting, making, Textiles, the knitting book, Uncategorized, Wool, yarn | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Adding wifi to Lumix FZ38

I have a Panasonic bridge camera, the Lumix FZ38, which is a great all round camera. I’ve used it for photographs for research and for my books, and it performs really well. However, once its on a tripod its a pain to remove the camera each time I want to see a large screen version of the photo to check colour, compostion, focus etc. The FZ38 won’t tether to my Windows laptop, and hasn’t got wifi to send the photos, so I either chance it that the small screen is showing me enough. In extreme cases where the camera is poised on the end of a boom and its hard to see the back screen, I just hope!

I was at the point of thinking of purchasing a new camera; and considering a DSLR with wifi and/or that would tether, when I came across wifi SD cards. I did a bit of reading around online and came to the conclusion that a Toshiba Flashair might work in my bridge camera. It will take SDHC cards, and that seemed to be the basic critera. If it worked, it would mean I could continue to use the camera that I know, and that isn’t too complicated, and takes a great picture that is perfect for my needs. So I ordered a 16gb Toshiba Flashair (version 4) and it arrived yesterday.

cat on a computer keyboard

The cat was helping me, so he gets his photo used as an example of my new set up with my wifi enabled Lumix FZ38

I couldn’t get to play with it until today, and it was a little un-nerving to start with, the instructions were OK, but didn’t tell you what you were trying to achieve, so it was a bit of a leap of faith. Fortunately my techie son was at hand to give me help when the PC failed to connect to the card. The reason for this turned out to be the a conflict between wifi and wired connections; I don’t have great wifi in my office, so use a wired ethernet connection. He discovered that I have to unplug the ethernet cable (or at least disconnect from ethernet connection) for the wifi to find the Flashair card – and as that worked I didn’t want him to spend ages trying to solve the problem. Someone may be able to tell me why? I just have to remember to disconnect from ethernet first before turning on wifi and connecting to the card.

For some reason the Flashair interface that should enable the easy drag and drop doesn’t seem to work, so he mapped the card as a drive, so it appears in Windows Explorer. This is better than the web browser interface as saving the photos is easier via Explorer.

So I have by Panasonic Lumix FZ38 sending pictures to my PC almost seamlessly. OK, the distance can’t be very far, a few feet is all, but thats fine for my uses. It means I don’t have to take the camera off the tripod to check my shots. Brilliant!!

Then next step is to install the Flashair app on my iPad and try viewing the photos on that as well, (I don’t necessarily want to save them on it). I can’t see it will be a problem, but just need to give myself a bit of time to sort this out.

I also want to test the card in my IXUS and see if it will work as well in that, wow this is so exciting!

The card cost under £30, so compared to updating my camera thats a good deal.

I think that because it makes a mini-network of its own, I could wifi pictures between the camera and laptop without being part of a wifi network as such – for example when out and about without a wifi signal – we shall see, that is something to experiment with later on.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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