Tag Archives: knitting machine

Knitting Machine Camp 2014

Last week I went back to Rocking Horse Farm for 3 days of Knitting Machine Camp.  I’ve been doing this for years (last year, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008) and every year I learn new things and come home with a head full of ideas for projects.

Here are the highlights from this year.  Day One:

lace scarf

Lace scarf

I learned why I was not able to make a lacy scarf — I was not using the correct kind of stitch pattern.  I also learned how to draw patterns on the pattern sheets that my knitting machine can read.  I’m looking forward to knitting some scarves with my dyed alpaca lace weight yarn.

tree ornament

Two for one!

If you read the post from last year’s knitting camp, you saw that I knit a little Christmas tree ornament sweater with hopes of using it for a gift card holder.  You also read why that didn’t work out so well!  This year I think I hit on a workable design!  This started out as a pattern for a pocket doll.  I revamped it to hold a gift card.  And it only took a few hours to knit!  Since this prototype, I have thought of a couple ways to speed the process.  I’m really excited to start knitting these!

Day Two:

cape on doll

Short-row cape

I made several little capes – all doll sized.  I learned the technique of short row knitting and how to add or subtract from the amount of flare in the cape.  This will make great capes, bed jackets or wraps for folks in wheelchairs.

poncho on doll


Sticking with the doll theme, I knit this poncho using a mock rib stitch – very simple by leaving every third needle out of work.  Then I learned a fun seaming method which shows off, rather than hides, a seam.

Day Three:

Thrummed knitting

Thrumming – right side

Above is little sample showing the outside of thrummed knitting.  This is a technique used to make super warm mittens or socks.  Short pieces of roving are knit into stitches at intervals across the rows.  This leaves a little / on the outside.

thrummed alpaca

Side view of thrumming

On the inside of the mitten, your hand is surrounded by soft alpaca fiber.  This will keep hands super warm and will eventually pack down and felt slightly – more so in socks than mittens.  While time consuming to do, the result is mittens that unparalleled in their warmth.  I hope to create a sample to use to take orders for these.

All three days were filled with good food, conversations with new and old friends and lots of tips and tricks to use in future knitting projects.  It is a treat to have three days to concentrate on knitting.  Now to put all those ideas into real projects!  Where should I start?


Dish cloths, anyone?

In the cold depths of this Minnesota winter, I’ve started building the inventory for the summer farmer’s markets.  It helps to at least plan for warmer weather!

First on the list is cotton dish cloths.  While not in my repertoire of alpaca fiber products, they are quick and fun and sell pretty well, so I buy 100% un-mercerized cotton yarn on cones.  Last year I knit about 12 cones.  Since those dish cloths are nearly sold out, I have 14 cones for this year.

14 cones of yarn

Yarn for dish cloths

I get about 18 – 20 dishcloths from each cone.  Do the math… that is a lot of dishcloths!

Up first is a variegated blue / violet color.

blue/violet dish cloth

Dish cloth

As I finish each color, they will be available online for $3.50 each.  They make great bridal shower gifts.  And any encouragement to continue knitting is much appreciated by me!

Camping again!

As long time readers will recall, I have attended Knitting Machine Camp for the last several years.  It is 3 days of knitting on and learning about knitting machines.  I’m fortunate enough to live close by Rocking Horse Farm, where it is held, so I don’t actually camp, but some knitters do. 

The first day, I made this bag.

drawstring bag

Draw string bag

It is made of cotton yarn and has casings for the drawstrings that are made as part of the construction.  A contrasting little ruffle is the guide of where to attach the knitting to create the casing. It was fun and will come in handy for toting knitting projects.  And I learned some new techniques.

The second day I made a sweater.



I learned about changing colors and how to move stitches over to decrease around the yoke using something called a garter bar.  But really….

sweater in my hand

It is tiny!

… it is meant to be a Christmas Tree ornament.  It is the tiniest thing, but still took so long to make.  I’m still trying to decide if I could figure a way to make these from left over alpaca yarn in a reasonable amount of time to sell them at a reasonable price.  But, dang, I think it is cute! 

On day three, I made shawls.   This is the first.

purple shawl

Shades of purple

It is still not finished.  I have enough yarn to add fringe, which I plan to do.  Then the ends will be woven in and it will be lightly steamed.

orange/pink shawl

Another shawl

This is the second shawl I made.  This one will not have fringe. You can see the pattern in this one much better.  It is not steamed yet in the photo, but it steamed wonderfully and is being shown at the Farmer’s Markets now.  The shawls are made from my 100% alpaca sport weight yarn that I dyed. 

I also made a prototype of the boot cuffs using acrylic yarn.  They are getting closer to what I have in my mind. 

The best part of Camp is that everyone gives and gets ideas from each other and the creativity is just thick in the air.

Arm Warmers…. DONE!

In between tests of patience while doing my taxes, I’ve been knitting the Arm Warmers that I designed the pattern for.   I was trying to knit a couple pair each day, so I could sew up the seams each evening.  This was working pretty well until the tax deadline loomed and knitting took a backseat.  But once the tax task was off my plate, I decided to go nose to knitting machine!  Today I finished the yarn that I had allotted for Arm Warmers.

arm warmers

A Rainbow of Arm Warmers


Here they are.   All 100% alpaca yarn, warm and comfy.  The bottom row is completed, photographed and listed in the online store.  The top row still needs finishing, but they will be there soon! 

Now I can move on to something else.  I need to make a few more headbands.  Perhaps that will be next.  I’ve been working out a boot cuff / boot topper pattern in my head.  It’s nearing the point of being ready for scribbles and calculations!  Does anyone out there wear boot cuffs?  What do you like about them?

More scarves for the Knit Wits

The Braham Knit Wits have been knitting for charity for a long time – since 1998.  We’ve knit and donated a lot of scarves, hats, mittens, baby blankets and more.  Last week at our meeting I brought a bunch of scarves that I knit.

8 scarves

Eight scarves

They are all knit on my knitting machine, so they took very little of my time. 

stack of scarves

Different widths

Some are wider than others, but all are the same simple seed stitch.  All have fringe the same length and with some white yarn added to the color of the scarf. 

purple scarf

Purple scarf

Since they are so similar, I could move from one to the next with little thought.  My goal was just to crank out some scarves and use up some acrylic yarn.  I did end up with a couple empty cones – like when I ran out of the peach yarn!

peach and white scarf

Peach and white scarf

Since the peach was enough to make just half the scarf, I finished it with white and used both colors in the fringe. I’ve got a lot more acrylic yarn and I see a bunch more scarves heading to the Knit Wits in the near future.  They will probably be kept until this fall when there will be more need of scarves, but it is good to get a jump the stock pile of goodies to be donated.

Whose turn is it to do dishes?

When I was a kid, we siblings took turns doing the supper dishes.  There was no automatic dishwasher back then.  We were the dishwashers! 

I’ve just finished up a bunch of pretty dishcloths that would make anyone a little happier to be doing the dishes.  I started with this:

cones of yarn

3 cones of yarn

This is 100% unmercerized cotton.  Dishcloths are the only thing I knit for sale that is not alpaca.  They are fun, easy and pretty quick on the knitting machine. 

pile of dish cloths

Pile of dish cloths

Before long I had the most of all three cones knit into dishcloths. 

dish cloth designs

Variety of color designs

I really like that the bright colors of this yarn pooled into different patterns on each dishcloth.  No two are alike. 


Ready to go

Thirty-seven new dishcloths are added to inventory.  They are tagged and folded and ready for sale ($3.50 each).  They’ll be at the farmer’s market as well as at the Elk River Arena show this weekend, Sept 15-16. 

Come for the fun

I hope you will stop by the craft show and find my booth.

Another addition

No, not another cria!  We are done with alpaca additions for this season! 

While discussing garage sale finds with the gals in a knitting group, I mentioned I was looking for desk or library-style table that I could use to hold my knitting machines.   I must have been in the right place at the right time because one of the gals, who happened to be hosting the group that day, said she had a computer desk she no longer needed.  So I checked it out and thought it would work.  I picked it up a couple weeks later.

It did take Darryl and I a few tries and some drawings on paper to figure out how to make the most of the shape in my some-what small knitting room.  But here is what we did.

knitting machine on table

My table

This table was in the center of the room before, with a machine on each side.  I moved it to the far wall.  There is room behind the table, so if I put a machine on each side again, I still have room to sit and knit on both. 

new desk

My new desk

Unlike for a computer, I wanted to use the long (back) side for a knitting machine  so the desk juts out into the center of the room.  There is just enough space to walk between the rounded end of this desk and the table in the previous photo. I think I could put a knitting machine across the desk from the one shown.  I have a machine without a ribber bed that I have not really been able to use since I didn’t have a space to clamp it to.  I think this will be its new home!  Oddly, there seems to be as much or more space in my room now as before I added this desk.

I’ve not had time to spend knitting, so perhaps it will get cluttered up once I start spreading projects out, but it seems spacious now!  I’m anxious to try it all out!   Thank you very much, Nancy!  Your desk has found a new home!

Going to camp again

I just have time for a quick post of some of the things I’ve done at Knitting Machine Camp.  These are from Days 1 and 2.  Today (Day 3) is the last day and I’ve got to get going soon to be there on time.  So here it is:

pot holder and dishcloths

Pot Holder and dishcloth sets


While the dishcloths are something I make often, the potholders are a new technique.



This is weaving, done on the knitting machine.  I think I did try it a few years back at Camp.


Close-up of weaving stitch

The machine is only knitting with the small gray cotton yarn, but the colored yarn is getting ‘caught’ in the knitting for a look of weaving.  The potholder is knit twice the size, folded in half and the edging holds it together.  Slick and fun and quick!  I’ve just got to weave in the loose ends on the dishcloths and these sets will be donated to our church festival coming up in July!


Lace sock

I had a goal of learning to use the lace carriage.  This sock is the result.  While I think the yarn is not a good one for actually wearing as a sock, I was really happy with how easy the lace was to do. 

top of sock

Lace top of sock

The sock is not sewn together, so you can see how the lace looks when laid flat.  I’m excited about the possibilities of adding lace to my alpaca projects. 

And there may even be some things I can do with the weaving stitch.  Maybe a vest?  Or ……  Oh the ideas whirl in my head!

“Four Scarves and Seven Years Ago”

My apologizes to President Lincoln.  For some reason that just popped into my head while I was taking these photos.  And since tomorrow is President’s Day, it seems appropriate – well, sorta anyway! 

I’ve been making knitted scarves again.  I use a Garter-carriage on my knitting machine.  It is the only hands off method of knitting on a home knitting machine.  The G-carriage chugs along the machine bed on its own – with the help of electricity, of course!  The other wonder of the G-carriage is that it can do both the knit stitch and the purl stitch on the same row.  This means that knits and purls can be piled on top of each other in consecutive rows in any combination.  An example of this is the common seed stitch.  On needles, it is knit one stitch, purl the next stitch, repeat.  The next row is purl one, knit one, doing the purls on the stitches that were knit in the previous row and vice versa.  This results in a piece that lays flat and does not curl.  Thus it is great for scarves.

yellow scarf

First Scarf

This was the first scarf.  It is the seed stitch and has not been steamed or pressed.  It is nice and flat.  Made from my acrylic stash, it will go to charity.

peach scarf

Second Scarf

For my second try, I used a pattern that has some geometrical diamonds in it.  Still lays flat with no curling at the edges.  Another for charity.

green scarf

Third scarf

My third scarf is skinnier, just 30 rows across.  But the pattern did not have the knits and purls evenly distributed enough on the edges for it to stay flat.  You can see the end on the right has the back side up and is curled in on the edges, looking like waves.  I can steam it flat, but prefer a pattern that doesn’t need that, especially for scarves going to charity – as this one will. 

blue and green scarf

Fourth scarf

This is my fourth scarf and the first in 100% alpaca yarn.  This is yarn that I dyed myself.  I opted for the simplest stitch – the seed stitch – because it stays flat and because the variation of the colors might overpower an intricate stitch pattern.  This one will be for sale! 



We made the last day count!

Adam and I were up early, got chores done, ate breakfast and then discussed what to do for the day.  Adam had been quite intrigued by my knitting machine so today he wanted to learn to knit.  The first thing he noticed was a cone of my acrylic yarn in maroon.  After looking further, he found another cone in a bright gold / yellow.  The colors of the Minnesota Gophers.   And soon the plan for a scarf was underway.  I started a simple 1×1 rib and let Adam knit away.  We had a minor catastrophe after about 160 rows and had to start over. 


Adam's scarf

But soon Adam had knit 250 rows and declared his scarf long enough.  I bound off the stitches and he had a scarf to wear when sledding this winter.  For his next project, he decided to try cotton dishcloths. 

Adam knitting

Adam knitting

This is a rather complicated process.  I showed him how to cast on, knit the first row, put a special bar called a comb across the stitches, add weight to hold down the stitches on the needles, set a dial, knit the second row, push in 2 buttons and then begin knitting. 


Adam knitting

The machine has a little counter that gets tripped with each row.  Adam had to watch the counter and at rows 15, 21, 106, 112, and 126 he had to adjust a couple of the buttons.  Then I showed him how to bind off the stitches.  With each dishcloth, he learned more steps and needed me less to help him.  Before long, he could do all the steps without my instruction.  He only needed help if he messed something up.

dish cloths

Dish cloths

By the end of the day, he finished 8 dishcloths – mostly by himself!  He also learned to change yarn and re-thread the machine.  

In mid-afternoon, his Mom, Peggy and brother, Jonathan came.   Adam took them to the barn to see the alpacas and feed them the remainder of the green beans and cucumber peelings.  I looked towards the barn and see Peg and Jonathan in with the alpacas.   Adam had given them a lesson in scooping poop.

in the alpaca pen

Cleaning the alpaca pen

Adam came back in the house and left them to finish the job!  He wanted to prepare for his next demonstration.  Adam then showed his mom and brother that he could knit a dishcloth.  The student had become the teacher!


Jonathan knits

Adam got a dish cloth started and showed Jonathan how to knit and follow the pattern. 


On his own

Jonathan was nearly done, when he had a wee problem and we had to start over. 


Completed dish cloth

Jonathan finished his dish cloth on the second try and I bound it off for him.  He declared it a success!  Adam also showed his Mom how he learned to card fiber.   And lastly, he packed up his overnight bag and took his Lucky Charms cereal and they were off on the long drive back to Wisconsin.  

We had a wonderful time with Adam on the farm.   He was a great helper and a quick learner.   And it was amazing to watch him absorbs new skills and then show them to others.  Thanks for all your hard work, Adam!