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CAN THESE BE CABLES?
This book details a multitude of cabled looks for all knitting machines that require no crossing of stitches at all! No crossing means less stress on the yarn and fewer limitations on where and how cables may be used.
The book is 72 pages. The first part consists of tutorials on each technique in many variations. The techniques may be applied to any project you wish. The second section is a collection of patterns. You may download the first 5 pages for free so as to have a full understanding of what the book covers. These pages include the table of contents and photos of all the patterns. $20
Your downloade will be delivered by Ravelry
TABLE OF CONTENTS:TECHNIQUE TUTORIALS
Latched cables, Decreases that look like cables, tuck cables, slip cables, smocked cables, lifted stitches, cheaters cables, laced cables, stitches through eyelets, worm trim, woven cables, I-cord cables, worm cables.
PATTERN INDEX Almost Aran [bulky] , Baby Bebe [standard], A New Twist [bulky] ,Cable Quest history of cables, Carefree Cables [standard], Cheaters Cable [standard], Crazy for Cables [mid-gauge and bulky], Emergency Afghan, Feminine Frills [standard], Gone Fishing [bulky], Laced, Cable Afghan [all gauges], Ravishing Ribbon [bulky], Sneaky Scarf [all gauges],Wonderful Woven Tote [standard] Click this link to download the first 5 pages of Can These Be Cables for free. These include a more detailed table of contents
SPONGE BAR SORROWS-the trouble bad sponge bars cause and how to deal with it
© 2017 Kathryn Doubrley Www.theanswerlady.com
News & Views has limited publication rights. All other rights reserved.
If a machine utilizes a sponge bar, it's essential equipment. The function of the sponge bar is to press the needles down. Inside the bed, where we can't see, there is a comb spring pressing the needles up. the tension between these two forces keeps the needles positioned to perform optimally.
Some European made machines such as Passaps, Superbas and Orions use a spring to do more or less the same job. While the spring is a wear item, it lasts a lot longer than a sponge bar. A sponge bar may wear gradually or may seem to fail very suddenly.
What happens when a sponge bar stops working? The short answer is "mayhem." In greater detail, absolutely everything may start to go wrong, including but not limited to: occasional mis-patterning, failure of a cast on that should work fine, disastrous mis-patterning, failure to knit off some stitches randomly, total failure of fairisle and eventually terrible carriage jams. So, clearly, keeping the sponge bar in good shape is something every knitter wants to do. Sometimes, the machine continues to work fairly well in stockinette or work with extra weight but misbehave when under any challenge such as tuck stitch or fuzzy yarn.
A sponge bar that looks okay may or may not be. It should be puffy and bouncy with the sponge part extending well above the metal part. I'll call the metal part a tray because that's what it really is. It's a long skinny tray that holds the sponge. I have had "new" sponge bars that looked absolutely fine fail to function when inserted in the machine. Close examination showed that these had been stored for a long time. Though they were un-used, the foam had lost its bounce. This isn't a really common problem but is something to look for if your troubles continue after changing a bar. They don't last forever in storage. My old/new bars were part of an estate find. I'm sure that's how un-used bars got so old.
Some experienced knitters recommend removing the sponge bar from the machine when the machine is not in use. The reason for this is that the sponge remains compressed while in the machine but relaxes when it is removed. Allowing it to relax may extend its life. I don't personally do this but I knit constantly so the machines are hardly ever not in use. I do see the sense of the advice.
Original equipment manufactured sponge bars have become both expensive and sometimes hard to find. Some brands are simply unavailable. Recently, we have been hearing from a lot of customers who had trouble with brand new sponge bars. I've done a good deal of research and bought some after market bars myself and here is what I think is happening. Inexpensive copies that are a pretty good fit for the machines are being made in China. Some of these my be fine but the ones I have bought were not good performers. Some of them just didn't do the job well and others rusted almost immediately. Customers have told us of bars that didn't fit properly, too. My sense of the matter is that those manufacturing the bars don't have enough knowledge of their function to produce exactly what we need. So at this point, we are recommending spending the extra money for original equipment from a dealer or re-building your old bar.
Re-building is actually quite simple. It involves a careful cleaning of the tray and replacing the old, worn sponge with fresh sponge. I have a video on the subject. But re-building has its hazards. The first thing to beware of is the sponge itself. I personally use only sponge from spongebar.com It has been satisfactory every time. I use the self-adhesive kind and the adhesive is good. But this product is not cheap and similar looking sponge is available at much lower prices from eBay sellers. I don't recommend it unless you are very experienced. The reason is that an experienced knitter will know right away if the sponge is or is not working well. She can afford to risk a few dollars on a potential bargain and discard it if worst comes to worst. A newer knitter won't be certain and may suffer endlessly and even damage her machine.
The link to my video is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=06MmooHAkZ8
Easier than copying the link is to visit theanswerlady.com From the home page, click on the video index. It's on the right side of the page. All of our videos are indexed there with direct links.
Another popular way of re-building is to find weather stripping or some kind of craft foam that fills the bill. The process is the same and this can be a real bargain. World wide, the available options vary considerably and this makes things tricky. I know several knitters who have perfect records re-building using hardware or craft store materials. I know of quite a few epic fails, too. I think the issue is that what is sold in my neighborhood under a certain description may not be the same product as sold in your neighborhood under a similar label. The process for re-building with this sort of sponge is the same as with purpose-built sponge. Again, I recommend this approach only for experienced knitters, not newbies. If you find ideal weather stripping and it is self-sticking, don't trust the adhesive. Add your own.
All re-builders must be extra careful that the ends of the sponge are firmly fastened to the tray. Otherwise, when the bar is inserted into the bed, the sponge will ripple up into a nasty wad. It requires a total dismantling of the machine to undo this quick, easy mistake. I have known machines to get discarded over this issue! So be careful. Removing and replacing the end clips or taping the new sponge securely are both acceptable options but security is a must.
A sponge bar is inserted above the needles with the metal side up and squishy sponge side down. When it is in correctly and in good shape, the needles should be flat on the bed. Some models will lay flat even without the sponge bar in position. But extend a few needles and push up from below them with your fingertip. It should take some pressure. They should not rattle and should snap back down. If all that is true, very likely you are ready to knit.
TWO CONES ARE BETTER THAN ONE Kathryn Doubrley Www.theanswerlady.com
News & Views has limited publication rights. All other rights reserved.
MATCHING TRICKY COLORS. I was trying to match an unusual color recently and having trouble. The goal was to knit a fairisle trim to make a jacket coordinate with a skirt that already had a dramatic lace trim in an odd red. As far as I could determine, there is no yarn anywhere that matches. So I cheated and it worked wonderfully. By running a skinny strand of bright red along with a skinny strand of fuchsia yarn, I came up to the correct size and got a match. It’s not literally true. A close examination of the fairisle shows some stitches look redder and some pinker but the effect when viewed as a total in the pattern is convincing. [photo at right]
This fact got me to thinking about how many times and for how many reasons, running 2 thin strands of yarn together to create 1 proves useful.
TO CREATE A SOFTER DRAPE. On the surface of it, 7 stitches per inch = 7 stitches per inch, right? That is the gauge of the jacket for which I needed the fairisle trim. But the jacket itself is knitted in 2 strands for several different reasons and drape is one. It is a kimono shape, which is basically square. I am not basically square and have no desire to appear so. Therefore, the fabric needs to drape softly around the body. Careful choice of fiber helps with drape as does knitting a little bit loosely and so does the 2 strand solution. This is because if those strands were twisted together and simple became a single larger yarn, the twist would make them a little bit firmer in a way that running them alongside each other doesn’t do.
TO GET SUBTLE COLOR GRADATIONS. My kimono jacket is long and designed to be worn over a skirt that is also long. The primary color is navy, which is classic and flattering and I like it. But it did seem to me that a whole body covered lengthily in the identical color might be a bit much. Still, I wanted navy...A bit of pondering produced an inspiration that worked well. Each piece has one strand of yarn in common and the second strand is different. So the skirt is navy and black while the jacket is navy and a slightly lighter blue run along. They share tone and color family and blend together nicely due to the common yarn but the jacket is lighter in hue. It worked out very well.
TO MAKE A SKINNY YARN MORE ROBUST. The main yarn on this outfit knits fine by itself on the standard gauge machine. But kimono jackets are designed to fit loosely. To get the fit I wanted, the thin yarn would have required a few more needles than were available. Adding the second strand made it knit-able at the top of the stitch dial resulting in more than enough needles for me . Had I been knitting for a larger friend, I would still have had enough.
TO REINFORCE A WEAK YARN. My yarn stash includes a very thin green cotton yarn with sparkles. I bought a colossal cone of it, intending to wind off multiple balls and run about 4 strands together to create a normal standard gauge yarn. HA. Total failure. Being cotton, it has no resilience and the multiple strands simply tangled and broke over and over and over. Before giving in to despair, I tried using a single strand of the skinny green with sparkles along with a more ordinary standard gauge acrylic yarn and the problem was solved. Using the novelty yarn as run-along contributed a little bit of color and sparkle but the other yarn took all the strain. The same trick works with many very delicate yarns and with those spun loosely for hand knitting that fail to feed well through the tension mechanism of the machine.
TO SALVAGE DAMAGED YARN. Back to the navy outfit. The reason I had enough navy yarn for the whole thing was that I once bought a huge bargain cone of very nice rayon blend navy yarn with high hopes for a dressy suit. Unfortunately, it arrived damaged with lots of broken pieces showing at the bottom of the cone. We all know what that means: knit, knit, knit, disaster, drop stitches, fix it, it proceed, repeat. The prospect was daunting but I couldn’t quite bring myself to throw away such a big cone of nice yarn and rewinding seemed pretty daunting, too. So, second cone to the rescue! Running 2 yarns together meant that I could knit along, carefully watching for the broken spots to appear. But if one got past my eagle eye, the result was part of a row knitted in the other yarn rather than the entire piece crashing to the floor. I could simply un-knit that row, rethread with both yarns and proceed. This prospect gave me the courage to proceed. In fact, out of at least a dozen broken ends, I caught most before they fed through. Only twice did I have to un-knit a row. That’s not such a big deal. The knitting is done and my sanity is intact.
ECONOMY. Very often, industrial yarns are available at excellent prices, but they are a bit thin for home knitting machines. Multiple strands of such yarns run together achieve the necessary size. Sometimes high quality industrial yarns are available for as little as $6 a pound, making nice outfits and blankets very, very affordable.
TO STRETCH A LIMITED YARN SUPPLY. The navy outfit serves as yet another example. Though my cone was large, I wasn’t quite convinced I truly had quite enough for the outfit I wanted if using the yarn as a solo performer. By adding a second yarn to each piece, the supply was effectively increased and was more than enough to make the entire outfit.
MATCHING SINGLE BED WORK. Double bed fabrics make terrific jackets and blankets. Passap knitters will be especially aware of this, though it is true for all machines. But generally skirts and baby clothes work best in single bed fabrics. What do we do about the occasions when we’d like to make a matching baby blanket, onesie and booties for a new arrival? And what about matching jacket/skirt sets for ourselves? A few yarns do knit well in both circumstances. Tamm Estilo is an example of a yarn that makes great double bed and single bed fabrics. But on a Passap, the largest hip circumference achievable in a two piece (one front, one back) skirt is about 40”. The majority of adult women need the finished hip size to be larger than that. Running 2 strands of Estilo together for the stockinette skirt changes the gauge entirely and makes a more suitable skirt weight fabric, too. Two strands of Estilo knit just fine for single bed work. The jacket may be made in some wonderfully double bed stitch using a single strand and the stockinette skirt made with a double strand of yarn will be a perfect match. The same principle applies to many thin yarns.
Two cones is not actually a limitation of any kind. I’ve covered the floor with cones of thread-like yarn and fed all through the same feeder. This allows for some unique and beautiful blends. So have fun experimenting with multiple cones.
The pattern for the pictured jacket appears in my new book: Great Knitted Gifts Volume 3.