Here’s the latest installment of my sampler project – the knitweave (or knit weave) sampler. In this technique, the resulting patterns look very similar to the fairisle sampler, but in knitweave the pattern is actually formed on the purl side. This is a rather involved technique because it requires the machine operator to move the contrast yarn from one side of the carriage to the other after each row. No zip-zip like some of the other techniques.
From left to right: cards # 1-4, 7-9, 11, 14, and 20.
Not all cards are suitable for knitweave. Long floats are bad enough on the inside (as in fairisle) where they can be protected with lining. On the outside of the garment, they’re a disaster waiting to happen. Even some of these cards produced floats that are not acceptable to me, although yarn thickness is probably a factor here.
I’m guessing that if I were to use a main color yarn closer to the higher end of the thickness spectrum that the machine can handle, the floats would be shorter in the end product. I’ve been knitting the Wool Crepe on tension 5 so the fabric is quite stretched on the machine. The contrast yarn has to cover the whole distance between the end needles during knitting so when the fabric comes off the machine and relaxes into its natural narrower state, there is extra contrast yarn length in each row. This is a problem when the floats are three stitches or longer. Any knitweave projects will require samples not just for gauge but for the resulting texture as well.
I really like #1 and 7. They would produce a lovely tweedy looking fabric suitable for jackets. I’m thinking a solid main color and a variegated contrast yarn. Or a nice boucle yarn that would be a PITA to knit (but easy to knitweave because it just lays over the needles as it’s woven into the fabric).
I also like #8, the herrigbone. I love herringbone – it’s such a classic pattern. With the right combination of yarns, it could be quite spectacular.
It’s a standard gauge (4.5 mm) machine that knits yarns from fingering to about sport-weight. I got it in probably 2001 or 2002, from a lady in Canada whose ad I found online. It was not working well in the beginning and it took a few years to find someone who knew anything about knitting machines. It turned out that it needed a new sponge bar, a part that is not mentioned anywhere in the manual. After that, it worked like a charm.
This machine has all the bells and whistles that a mechanical machine can have – a 24-stitch punchcard reader for patterns, knit radar for knitting shapes from sewing patterns (rather than row by row counts), and a built-in row counter. I also have a lace carriage for this machine; it comes with its own set of punchcards for lovely lace patterns. And I have a ribber, which is another long bed of needles that can be mounted in the front at an angle – together the two beds can produce ribbing patterns and other things that I have yet to explore.
Mary said “Very nice…makes me want to get a knitting machine now, but where would I put it?” Hmm… let’s see, mine is in what’s supposed to be the dining area. (We don’t have a dining table; we eat at the kitchen counter bar.) But then, we don’t have a traditional living room either because I needed the space for my sewing studio. It’s all a matter of priorities, right?