Hand Manipulated Stitches
It has taken me a long time to try hand manipulating stitches. I have spent so many frustrating hours at the machine trying to get the stitches to stay in the needles that the thought of letting the drop off deliberately, as you have to for ribbing without a ribber, struck fear into my heart.
Then I got a commission from a friend for a sleeping bag for a new baby. She wanted one of these and I got to wondering if it could be done on a machine.
In this case my friend had seen a picture online and asked if I could make one. Thanks to the wonder of Ravelry I managed to track down the original pattern (Confort in French of course, nothing’s every simple) and the translation which appeared in the comments, I love that site.
So I unpacked my Zippy 90, a machine which I haven’t used much because it’s so basic, no ribber, no patterning devices. I have been working through a course on Craftsy about Machine Knitting the tutor being Susan Guagliumi. She uses a model which is the next one up from mine. That made me look again at my basic machine. I found some lovely wool in John Lewis and I made a swatch. I then sat down with the swatch to see if I could translate the pattern.
The pattern called for cables. I must admit I find cables confusing at the best of times, with clear instructions and the option of turning the work around to see what’s going on on the other side. On a machine you don’t have that option. So I went back to the books. I borrowed Janet Nabney’s method of notation for cables and adapted it for my own design.
I got my tension wrong and it came up a bit big but beautiful. I am going to assume that the little lady will grow into it and leave it as it is.
Sometimes I love this hobby, it gives so many opportunities to succeed. I say this from the vantage point of mount smug of course. When I am next in the abyss of dropped stitches, unexpected snags from the tension mast, and the misery of forgetting to put the yarn back in the feeder and dropping the whole lot on your feet, weights and all, I will be saying something very different.
I am planning a shop revamp in the next month or two. I’ll let you know when the plans get close to fruition.