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This text is not about ready patterns, but a guide as to how you can produce your own patterns. It is my hope that it will be a useful reference for many years to come, regardless of changing fashions.
I have organized the text with the easiest things first. This is so in the chapter on Knitting samples, and in the following text about knitting from specific measurements, which I have divided into two chapters. The first of these, Knitting to measure, is for those who just want to concentrate on knitting straightforward jumpers in the easiest way possible, whilst in the later chapter, Garment patterns, I have written about fitting methods and how to create a basic pattern from that, firstly, showing the easiest method of doing this, and later telling how from the basic pattern, you can make alterations and adjustments. In this way, it is my hope that there is something for everyone. You may then use whatever part of it you want to use, but a condition for understanding the text is that you have read the chapter about Knitting samples, because it is a basic idea behind the whole text that you use your own knitting sample for all measurements.
But of course, there are many ways of making things, and the methods described should be conceived just as suggestions.
I hope that with this book, I can spare someone for making all the same mistakes as I have made myself during the 40 years that I have been machine-knitting.
Many thanks to my son Agner who has helped me with illustrations and advice and published this on the web, and to my son Kåre who has made an admirable effort to help with the translation.
This book was originally written in Danish ([]). The English translation has been carried out mainly by my son Kåre and other family members who have helped with translation and linguistic corrections. However, it has been difficult to find correct translations for many technical expressions, and I apologize for any misleading translations. I would be happy if somebody will correct and improve the English translation.
August 2003, Gudde Fog.
Gudrun Benedicte Fog, called Gudde, was born in Copenhagen on September 29, 1923, and died on June 10, 2014. She was married to professor Bjarke Fog.
This book is published in April 2009 by her son Agner Fog [].
What is a knitting machine?
A knitting machine is a long apparatus furnished with a row of hooked needles, or rather, casting-on needles. Usually there are 200 needles. They sit in a base which is called the needle bed. A part of the needle (the butt) protrudes through the needle bed and it is this which makes contact with the knitting carriage. The carriage, which is pushed across the stitches, has on its underside several 'cams' which govern the movement each needle will make as the carriage is moved across the bed. Every needle has a latch which may be tilted back and forth, whereby it opens and closes the access to the hook of the needle. The stitches sit in the hooks, and when you drive the carriage across the needles, they first are pushed up into the upper position, whereby the stitches push back the latches. Next, the yarn feeder lays new thread into the hooks. After that, the needles are pushed down again, whereby the old stitches push the latches forward, shutting off the needle hooks and sliding out over the needles. At this moment, the new stitches have been formed. In the oldest machines, these cams were quite simple, and therefore the machines could do little but knit forwards and backwards. Newer machines have various buttons that you can move or push in order to change the needle routes. This allows for textured and multi-coloured patterning. For instance the needles may be pushed completely forward, whereby they slip into a trail where they are not included in the knitting - unless you move another button, which again includes them. On older machines, you have to include them manually.
The needles have four possible positions:
- 'Out of work' position
- Those needles that are out of use are pushed completely back.
- Working position
- Brought forward about 1/2".
- Idling position, or upper working position
- Precisely so much forward that the stitches just do not enter behind the latches.
- Resting position (or holding position)
- Completely forward.
Some machine instructions use other designations, e.g. letter designations, but as the instructions of different machines use different terminologies, I have chosen to use the terms mentioned above.
In some machines, the system differs somewhat, e.g. PASSAP. But the system described above is the most common.
The oldest types that I have seen, are the so-called double-bed machines. The name refers to the fact that there are two needle beds, i.e. those bottoms on which the needles sit. The two apparatuses are oriented towards each other, at a slant upwards towards their midline. While you are working, the wrongside of the knitting faces outward. When there are two machines oriented towards each other, the front one will have its rightside facing the knitting person, but you cannot see that, because the knitting is between the machines. This means that one may have every other stitch on the foremost machine and every other on the hindmost, i.e. knit 1 plain and 1 purl, 2 plain and 2 purl, or other combinations. Or you may make circular knitting. The oldest machines demanded that very heavy weights were hung on the knitting, and if you knitted plain knitting, you would also have to attach side weights that must be moved for every tenth row. The foremost machine could be detached if you wanted to knit plain knitting. In very old machines, the needles could not be put into resting position, and even older machines did not have the idling position either.
Later, some more practical machines appeared. Various sorts of casting-off systems were invented, which helped so that you did not have to use so heavy weights, but you could not completely do without weights. On the knitter (the hindmost apparatus), it is possible to knit without weights. If you knit on both apparatuses, you need, with most machines, to use weights, but not as heavy as with the oldest machines. In many cases you also have to use weights with a single-bed machine, particularly if you knit patterns, but what you use is only a light comb, upon which small, light side weights are hung.
But one machine had a completely different system. This was KNITTAX. It did not use weights, but, instead of that, springs that sat in between every needle and held the stitches; and when the carriage was led across, it tilted the springs upwards and down again, so that they held the next row while the machine was knitting. KNITTAX was a single-bed machine. A ribber for it was available, but it was placed vertically in front of the single-bed apparatus and could still utilize the springs, so it did not need weights. But it had only every other needle, so you could not knit more than one combination of knit and purl rows - it was meant only for rib borders with 1 knit and 1 purl, and for fisherman's rib (In German and Scandinavian languages, this is called "patent knitting". It seems that "fisherman's rib" is the English word for it, but a dictionary had the term "raised ribbing"). The rib apparatus had no resting position. KNITTAX was a fine machine. It was easy to knit with, but it had no automatics. The needle distance was approx. 5 mm. The first machines that appeared did not have a yarn feeder. You had to put the thread by hand. This was possible because it had another knitting position than other machines; it knitted with the stitches behind the latches. This, plus a slightly larger needle distance, implied that you could use slightly thicker yarn. Eventually, machines with yarn feeder also appeared. If you want to buy a second-hand KNITTAX, you must check that it has a yarn feeder. KNITTAX also produced some smaller machines meant for baby clothing. They had too few needles to allow you to knit a large adult size.
Later, PASSAP took up the idea of having springs instead of weights. This was a double-bed machine that could knit rib without weights, but weights existed for it in case they were needed. It was the only machine that was able to knit patterns in circular knitting. It had slightly differing needle positions. It was an excellent machine, but the producers were not smart enough to follow up when the electronics appeared, so the result was that it was run down by the Japanese.
Today, the machines on the market in my country are mostly Japanese; therefore, this text is mainly about these. ROYAL and BROTHER are the most common, but others have been awailable which are no longer imported, e.g. JUKI. Japanese machines have a needle distance of 4½ mm. You may buy them as single-bed machines, which, in that case, are placed flat on the table. If you buy an accessory ribber, you have to slant the machine slightly. With the machine follows a clamp with which it can be lifted up in an upwards-slanted position, allowing the ribber, which is also slanted, to be attached. Of course, the ribber may be detached again, but that is not necessary, for it can be lowered, so that you can manage.
You can buy machines with punch cards that extend over 24 stitches. These are probably the most sold models, but they are also available with diskettes with countless patterns extending over the entire machine. You may make your own patterns on punch cards as well as diskettes. There have also been machines with print cards, i.e. transparent sheets with small squares where you could draw your patterns with a special pen. They extended over 60 stitches. Unfortunately, they are not available anymore. This is a shame, because here you had a better overview over your drawings. The latest new machines require that you have a computer screen if you want to see the entire pattern at a time.
With ROYAL, all patterns have to be made on punch cards; you can do nothing manually. With BROTHER, all needles are first pushed up into idling position, and the pattern is knitted in the row that follows. Thereby, you can always see what the machine will do in the next row and have a chance to correct something, if you want. You may also make simple patterns without having them on punch cards by pushing up the needles manually. Since March 2000, BROTHER is not imported anymore, but they have issued a guarantee that spare parts will be available for the next 10 years. The new models of ROYAL are now called SILVER REED.
Some older Japanese models had pattern buttons for a 6, 8 or 12 stitch pattern repeat. You could enter a pattern repeat once, and when you pulled a handle or a switch, the needles came into working position all over the machine, allowing you to knit a pattern over them. You may probably be able to find a second-hand machine of this type, if you are interested. But later, it became possible to knit a large single pattern (up to 200 needles on certain machines eg Brother 950i electronic), so machines were constructed that could meet this demand.
The most popular knitting machines have 4.5mm spacing between needles and are designed to knit from a 2-ply laceweight yarn through to 4-ply fingering yarn. It is possible to use Double Knitting (worsted) yarn but knitted on every other needle only.
There are 9mm spaced machines known as 'chunky knitters' usually having 150 - 180 needles that will knit from double knit through to very chunky yarn.
Yarns designed for machine knitting are usually wound onto cones. They are available from very fine single ply through to chunky quality. Several threads of finer yarn can be knitted together to create a thicker fabric if desired.
Making knitting samples
If you are the owner of a knitting-machine, you should be able to make your own models; otherwise it will be very expensive, because you have to buy yarn with knitting models included. To get maximum pleasure out of your machine, you must not be dependent on bought patterns, but make them yourself. Therefore, this text is a guide showing how to make your patterns yourself, and how to calculate the yarn consumption. This can be done in a simple or a more sophisticated way. In any case it requires that you are able to:
- Take the correct measurements
- Actually obtain the correct garment sizes when you knit on your machine
The latter may not be easy. Machine-knitted materials do not act like those knitted by hand. You cannot measure while you are knitting, as the knitting is stretched out as long as it is fixed on the machine. The width depends on the distance between the needles and is not the same as the width of the swatch removed from the machine. Also, the length will be shorter when the knitting is stretched out on the machine, so you cannot use that either. Therefore, you will always have to make a sample with the yarn before starting the real knitting. But you cannot just make a sample, remove it from the machine, measure it at once, and then go on knitting right away based on these measurements.
If you measure the length as soon as you have removed the sample from the machine, it will be too short, and the actual garment will in the end become much too long, because you have measured too many rows per centimeter (cm) in the sample that had been stretched on the machine. Therefore, you will always have to stretch the sample lengthwise by hand and leave it until the next day, and let it find its final shape. But even so you may easily make errors. You may have stretched the sample too much, so that it now measures too few rows per cm. In most cases you have to measure the edges, where the sample is a little shorter, because it is tighter there. This is so unless you have used a casting-on comb and weights. In that case, the edge will get the same length as the rest of the knitting. On the other hand, there are cases when the sample should be measured along the midline. It depends on the material. Inelastic yarn, e.g. cotton, has to be measured in the middle.
The width is usually to be measured in the middle, but only after the sample has been stretched lengthwise and been left until the next day.
Methods for casting on knitting samples
1. If you have weaving brushes, activate them. Push the needles into knitting position and every other needle in resting position, but in such a way that they are included in the knitting (look in the machine instructions how to do this). Then thread the machine and put the thread across the needles, winding it a single turn around the first and the last needle. Set the row counter to 0. Hold the thread, and knit one row. Knit a few more rows before you inactivate the weaving brushes. Do not worry about the knitting rolling inwards, that will not do any harm, for it will correct itself when you have removed the sample and stretched it. You always finish off with approximately 4 to 5 rows of waste yarn of another color (contrast colored yarn). After that, you simply run the carriage across without yarn; thereby, the stitches will fall off. Later, when you measure the sample, you measure until the bottom of the first contrast colored stitch.
2. Another method is loose casting on with a thread through the stitches: Push the needles into knitting position and every other needle in resting position, turn on the idling and knit one row. Set the row counter to 0 and release the idling. Put a nylon thread or some other smooth thread inside the gate, hold both ends tightly with one hand, knit approximately 4 to 5 rows before pulling out the nylon thread, and go on with the knitting. When you measure the sample, you have to pull the beginning thread, which otherwise hangs in curves, and then measure from the first row up to the bottom of the first contrast colored stitch.
3. You may also start with a few rows of contrast colored yarn, followed by one row of nylon thread or some other smooth thread. In that case you measure from the bottom of the first ground color stitch, i.e. the color used for knitting the sample, until the bottom of the first contrast colored stitch. The smooth thread may be pulled out later.
A procedure for making a plain knitted sample
When you have decided which number on the tension dial you want to use, cast on 40 stitches without using comb or weights. Knit 60 rows and a few rows with waste yarn of another color. Then remove the knitting from the machine without casting off. Don't worry if the knitting rolls. You stretch it when you have removed it from the machine. Then roll it sideways into a sausage and stretch it. Unroll it, and leave it for about 24 hours. The next day you attach the edges of the sample with pins on an ironing board. It should be smoothed out without tightening. Then, measure the width across the middle with a precision of one millimeter (mm). The width is most easily measured with the wrongside up, because the edges tend to roll that way. After that, measure the length. This is easiest with the rightside up, because in that way it is easier to see where one stitch ends and another begins.
Having measured the knitting sample as precisely as possible, you are to calculate the numbers of stitches and rows per cm. There are 40 stitches, so you take a pocket calculator and divide 40 stitches by the figure giving the width in cm (with a precision of one decimal point). Write down the result. Then calculate the number of rows per cm in the same way by dividing 60 rows by the figure giving the length in cm. Write down this, too. If you have chosen a suitable stitch size, you will recognize that your result fits fairly well with the knitting tension indicated on the label collar of the yarn.
Example: You have a knitting sample with stitch size 7, 40 stitches and 60 rows. The width is 14.6 cm and the length 15.0 cm. You obtain the following ratios:
40 stitches / 14.6 cm = 2.74 stitches per cm.
60 rows / 15.0 cm = 4.0 rows per cm.
From now on, it is easy to multiply any measured width or length (in cm) with one of these ratio figures.
If the yarn is cotton, measure in the middle of the sample. Mixtures of cotton and acrylic are likewise measured in the middle. Samples of these yarns need not be left until the next day, but may be measured after about one hour. By the way, remember that cotton will shrink about 5 % when washed. Therefore, add 5 % to all measurements when knitting cotton. Also, if the label collar has the text "shrink treated" or "shape stabilized", you may measure in the middle. You come across yarn with no such text on the label collar, but where it turns out that you have to measure in the middle anyway. The explanation for this must be that the factory has given the yarn some kind of treatment.
If, on the other hand, the yarn is wool or artificial material, you measure at the edge. However, not until you have stretched the edge a little (not too much). Hold out the beginning thread and measure from this up to the bottom of the first contrast color stitch. You have to attach the edge with pins all along. Below, at the beginning thread, the edge will curve a little. Do not straighten that curve, but measure straight along. If, instead, you measure in the middle, you attach with pins above and below at the middle of the sample. Here, you have to measure right from the bottom of the stitches up to the bottom of the first contrast colored stitch. To be able to take correct measurements, you must place the rightside up. Even if you do not use comb and weights for the knitting sample, you may still use them for the actual work, if you think it is easier to deal with in this way.
As to samples for pattern knitting: See chapter 8 on pattern knitting.
If the yarn you are using is a little too thick or somewhat hard to pull, you have to wax it. You do so by winding it on the yarn ball winder and at the same time letting it slide over a stump of stearin candle. A yarn ball winder is not always included when you buy a knitting-machine, but is practically indispensable. The waxed yarn runs more easily and gives a somewhat looser knitting. It will stretch further, so if you wax your yarn, you have to make the knitting sample with waxed yarn, too. Some machines are furnished with a piece of wax which can be put on the machine so that the yarn slides along it, but in my experience, this does not help enough.
Brother's knitleader is based on how much space 40 stitches and 60 rows take up. It is easy to use. If you have made your knitting sample as described above, you simply use the measurements of the sample. But if you only have stitch and row numbers per cm, you have to calculate the other way around: 40 stitches / (stitches per cm), 60 rows / (rows per cm).
ROYAL's knitleader is based on a knitting sample of 10 cm × 10 cm. If you have calculated stitch and row number per cm, you can just shift the decimal point. You need half size. Here it is very convenient to use chequered paper, with squares of 0.5 cm width, and then proceed as if one square were one cm. Then you draw the pattern with the measurements you need, and afterwards you put the roll of parchment paper on top and draw the pattern on that.
You see that the knitting sample is the basis of everything you make, whether you use a knitleader or just draw an outline to knit after.
If you have a sweater that fits you well, you can use its measurements and multiply by the ratios from your knitting sample.
If you want to follow a knitting pattern, you may in principle recalculate it according to your own knitting sample, as it is always indicated how many stitches there are to e.g. 10 cm, but rarely how many rows. Usually, only the height will be indicated in cm, and that may sometimes give you problems. Luckily, it has become more common to include a small drawing of the dress pattern with measurements.
If you want to knit something fitting tightly to the body, say underwear, or leggings that must not take up much space, you have to use an expanded sample. Otherwise the knitting, which expands when you use it, will be too short. You put the sample e.g. on an ironing board, fix it with pins on one side, expand it e.g. 20 %, and pin it on the other side the whole way around. Then you can measure how many stitches and rows there now are per cm.
However, you must always also measure the sample before you expand it, for a knitting will rarely become expanded everywhere. There will usually be some parts where the knitting has to be dimensioned according to an ordinary sample.
For tutorials modele de tricotat
How to calculate the consumption of yarn
If you want to know how much yarn you have to use, e.g. for a sweater, you must take some of the yarn, make a sample and find the area in cm2. Weigh it on a letter-balance. Divide the weight in grams by the number of cm2 to get the weight per cm2. The result will be 0.0...something grams.
Let us take the example of the acrylic sample referred to above. It measured 14.6 cm × 15 cm. Multiplying width with length gives us 219 cm2. Then we remove the contrast colored yarn and weigh the sample. It weighs 6 grams. Now we divide the weight by the area:
6 g / 219 cm2 = 0.027 g per cm2.
To find the area of the sweater, you first calculate the area of the body by multiplying the circumference (including as much extra width as you need) by the back length. To find the area of the sleeves, measure the upper arm circumference + wrist circumference (including the extra width) and multiply by the arm length from shoulder to wrist. If you had only one sleeve, you should divide the upper arm circumference + wrist circumference by 2 to get the average; but I suppose you have two sleeves. Add the two calculated areas, and you have the area of the whole sweater. Now you can multiply the whole area by the weight per cm2, and this tells you how many grams of yarn you need. You had better calculate with a little extra yarn, as you use some more for the selvedge and neck edge, especially if you are using rib knitting.
Let us take an example: We have a remnant of the yarn referred to, and want to know if there is enough for a sweater for a 4 year old child. The chest circumference is 68 cm, and the length of the sweater is 39 cm.
68 cm × 39 cm = 2652 cm2.
The upper arm circumference is 28 cm, the wrist circumference is 20 cm, the sleeve length is 37 cm.
28 cm + 20 cm = 48 cm.
48 cm × 37 cm = 1776 cm2.
The body area 2652 cm2 + the sleeve area 1776 cm2 = 4428 cm2. Weight per cm2 is 0.027 g.
0.027 g × 4428 cm2 = 119.56 g.
That is, we need 3 balls of 50 g each, or perhaps 2 balls plus a remnant. If there is not enough, you may have some other remnants which may be inserted as stripes or a pattern.
Knitting samples with KNITTAX
The KNITTAX machine is no longer sold, but as there are still many used machines around, I will nevertheless describe a method to make a knitting sample. It deviates in several respects from all other machines. Firstly, the needles have a different knitting position, the same as with intarsia carriages, however with the difference that the stitches sit behind the needle latches. This allows you to place the thread by hand, which by the way was necessary in the oldest machines. They had no yarn feeder at all. For the person who is interested in intarsia knitting, it is ideal, because it is the only machine that can knit intarsia knitting and colour patterns simultaneously. It does not do this automatically, but you may go empty back and fetch the next colour. Another difference is the platings which hold the knitting, so that you do not need weights. Weights do not exist for KNITTAX. This makes it easy to knit on. And, lastly, it has larger needle distance, about 5 mm.
When I was knitting on KNITTAX, I had to unpick everything three times. It would never fit. Finally I used to cast on 100 stitches and knit to the end of one yarn ball, pull it, and leave it until the next day. That made things fit approximately, but not completely. The knitting was always a little too large in both directions; the length was the most difficult to make fit. Not until I had knitted on other machines for several years and had experimented with knitting samples, did I find out a method, which may be a little awkward, but is nevertheless effective.
When I make the knitting sample, I put the thread by hand, and for every row I prevent it from going down around a plating at the edge. Thereby, the outermost needle is not knitted properly, but then I have to knit it manually. In this way I obtain the firm edge which is obtained in other machines if you do not use weights, and then, by measuring it after having stretched it, I get the correct length. As to the width, it has to be measured 1 - 2 cm below the contrast coloured yarn, provided that you have knitted 4 - 5 rows with contrast colour, and removed the stitches so that they stand loose. If you have a machine with a different needle distance and with a different casting off system than the Japanese machines, I will recommend that you experiment yourself with how to make the knitting samples. You may keep the knitting sample till you have knitted a complete piece, e.g. a back, that has been left for 24 hours, and then compare it with the knitting sample. Thereby you may learn something about where to measure the knitting sample.
The ratio between stitches and rows
It is a clever idea to realize what the ratio is between stitches per cm and rows per cm. In a normal, plain knitted sample, the ratio will be somewhere between 2 to 3 and 3 to 4. Henceforward, I will designate this as "normal ratio between stitches and rows". It may fall a little outside without making any serious difference. But it matters when you are to increase or decrease the stitches, for instance if you are to decrease for an armhole, or slant a sleeve. So long as the ratio between stitches and rows is approximately the same, it does not matter whether you knit with thick or fine yarn, or what stitch size you use. The slants will be the same, and you can always decrease for an armhole in the same way, or increase or decrease with the same number of rows in between. This is especially important when you knit an arm cap, in the case that you sew in the sleeve. The same is true if you cast off a shoulder e.g. with 7 stitches at a time. This too can be done every time, as long as the ratio between stitches and rows is normal. If, on the other hand, there are many rows relative to the stitches, then there has to be greater intervals between the de- or increases, and fewer stitches are cast off at a time on the shoulder. In some pattern knittings there are more rows relative to stitches, e.g. tuck, and with colour patterns the opposite may be the case, especially if you knit with large stitch sizes. In that case you must have fewer rows between the de- and increases, and cast off more stitches at a time.
If your knitting is very tight, there are more rows relative to stitches, but then it has to be very marked before it is noticed. This applies maybe mainly to small stitch sizes below 5. The other way round, if you knit very loosely, the stitch and row numbers per cm will approach each other, for instance if you knit on every other needle even though the yarn is not thick.
If you cast on many stitches and knit few rows, e.g. on selvedges, the knitting will expand, whereby there will be fewer stitches and more rows to a cm. The other way round, if you cast on only few stitches and knit many rows, for instance for shoulder straps, belts or bands, the knitting will be pulled long and narrow, especially, of course, if you hang a weight on it.
If the ratio between stitches and rows deviates much from normal, it may be an indication that the measurements of the knitting sample are wrong. It could be that you have not left it long enough before you measured it, or forgotten to stretch it, but it could also be because you have knitted too loosely or too tightly. Especially, it may be difficult to knit with fine yarn with small stitch sizes. In this case it may be wise to make the sample larger. Knitting is something live, you see, and if you have not tried before to measure a knitting sample, it may be difficult. By checking the ratio between stitches and rows, you have a guiding principle. If you keep the knitting sample until you have knitted a complete piece, which has been left for 24 hours, then you may compare it with the knitting sample. If they differ a lot, then you must find out how you should have measured.
Here follow some examples of how to calculate the ratio between stitches and rows:
Pearl acrylic stitch size 7: stitches per cm: 2.74, rows per cm: 4.0.
Let us first try as 2 to 3.
We say 2.74 / 2 = 1.37
1.37 × 3 = 4.11.
Actually, the row number is 4.0, so this gives slightly larger distance than in the sample.
Next, we try as 3 to 4:
2.74 / 3 = 0.91.
0.91 × 4 = 3.65.
Here, the distance is less than in the sample, i.e. the sample lies between the two ratios, and is closer to 2 to 3 than to 3 to 4.
The supermarket's stocking yarn, stitch size 8 1/3:
2.65 stitches and 3.65 rows per cm.
2.65 / 2 × 3 = 3.975. That is slightly too long.
2.65 / 3 × 4 = 3.52. That is slightly too short.
So, this sample too lies between as 2 to 3 and as 3 to 4.
Another sample of pearl acrylic, knitted somewhat tighter relative to the thickness: Here, there are 2.68 stitches and 4.29 rows per cm.
2.68 / 2 × 3 = 4.02.
We see that this is slightly closer than as 2 to 3. Then we try as 3 to 5:
2.68 / 3 × 5 = 4.47.
So, it lies between as 3 to 5 and as 2 to 3.
If you have drawn your pattern on chequered paper in the right proportion, e.g. 1/2 or 1/4 size, and take care that the pencil is pointed, in order to draw as exactly as possible, you may, instead of calculating how often you have to increase or decrease, measure the angle of the slope relative to vertical, and read in the table below how often you must increase or decrease, even if you have another ratio between stitches and rows than the normal one. The drawing shows how you measure the angle of a sleeve slope.
|rows/stitches||Decrease or increase at every:|
If, for instance, you knit with an expanded knitting sample, the ratio between stitches and rows will be much changed, so it is an advantage to be able to use the angle table. Likewise, various pattern knittings may give another ratio. But of course, you may always calculate it instead, if you think that is easier.
You may also use the table the opposite way around. If you want to knit a raglan sweater and want to make the pattern so that you decrease at every other, then you can find out how to draw the slope for the armhole. If you have the normal ratio between stitches and rows, you have to count on a figure between as 2 to 3 and as 3 to 4, and if you look in the angle table, this will be between 36.9° and 33.7°, so let us say 35°. This is the angle that the slope must form relative to vertical.
You cannot always find an exact figure, but then you take the figure that is closest (look in the table).
Raglan is described in the chapter garment patterns.
Knitting to measure
Knitting to measure
Abbreviations of measurements:
- Back length
- Sleeve length
- Chest circumference (across the breast)
- Upper chest circumference (above the breast)
- ½ neck + 1 shoulder
- Armhole height
- Upper arm circumference
Knitting to measure is simple if you knit a straight up and down sweater. In that case, it is enough to have two length measurements and two width measurements.
The back length (BL) is measured from the nape of the neck and as far down as you want the sweater to go.
The sleeve length (SL) is measured from the middle of the shoulder rounding to the underside of the wrist bones.
The chest circumference (CC) is measured just around the chest, without tightening (afterwards, you may add more or less, depending on how wide you want the sweater to be).
NS is measured from the middle of the nape of the neck to the middle of the shoulder. This is the measurement that we need in order to know how far we shall decrease for the armhole. Even if you knit a sweater where the sleeve is tacked straight on, without a sleeve cap and without rounding the armhole, you still need this measurement to be able to calculate the correct sleeve length, because the length that the sweater drops over the shoulder has to be subtracted from the sleeve length. NS may also be used as the height of the armhole.
Drawing the knitting sloper
Before drawing the pattern, you must decide how much you will add to the measurements. Naturally, this is a question of taste, and also of whether the sweater is to be a thick sweater worn over something else, or whether it is to be worn close to the body. There is nothing wrong in knitting exactly to the measurements, for knitted work is elastic. But if, for instance, you want 1 cm free space all the way around, you add 6 - 7 cm to CC. You may also add much more. If you knit in the easiest way without rounding the armhole, you must add at least 14 cm and could well add 16 cm or more. A rule of thumb: The height of the armhole should be 2/9 of (CC + additions).
If you do not know NS, you can use 2/9 of UC without additions. 3 × (2/9 of CC) may also be used as the sweater length until the hips, to which the rib border may be added.
Figure 2: You start with marking out the back length along a vertical line; this is the middle of the backside. Then you mark out 1/4 of the chest circumference perpendicular to the back line at its bottom end, and continue until you have a rectangle. You may round the neck a little, or draw it straight. Draw the neck opening as a square measuring 1/2 NS both horizontally and vertically; that leaves space for a neckband. Elongate from the shoulder outwards with the sleeve length, which starts at the NS mark.
Normally, the upper sleeve circumference is 2 × AH, and the circumference at the wrist is = AH. But naturally this depends on how you want the sleeve to be. However, you only draw half of the circumference. Draw the underside of the sleeve as a horizontal line, and the upper side as a sloping line. These measurements agree with standard measurements where height and width fit together, but not always with personal measurements.
Although you do not decrease for the armhole, it is a good idea to mark the deepest point of the armhole with a little strand when you are knitting. Then it is much easier to tack on the sleeves.
This is the simplest way to make a sweater pattern; but you can make more out of it, e.g. slant the shoulder and draw a rounded armhole. See Figure 3.
In case of knitting a ladies' sweater, you can do it a bit more exactly by using both CC and UC. First, measure the UC just under the armpits. Then you press the arms in to make the tape measure stay in place on the back side; and on the front side you pull it down over the thickest part of the breast. The difference between these two measurements is divided by two, giving you the measurement of one breast (B). When drawing the pattern of the back side, you use 1/4 of UC (including any additions). When you draw the pattern of the front side, you likewise use 1/4 of UC, but you add the width of a breast in each side. That gives you a deeper armhole on the front side, and the sweater will fit better.
In figure 4, the back and the front are laid over each other.
You cannot use this method if you knit without rounding the armhole, because then the front and the back piece have to be equally wide. In that case you must make ample additions all the way around. The sleeve, too, needs more width, because it must fit with the UC.
When you have taken your measurements and decided how much you will add, you draw an outline and write the measurements on it. Next, you transform the measurements to numbers of stitches and rows according to your knitting sample as described in the knitting samples chapter. The outline in itself needs not be very exact or have the correct ratios, if only you have added the correct measurements. However, if you want it to have the correct ratios, you can draw it on chequered paper. You may let one square represent 2 cm. If the squares on the paper are 1/2 cm, you will get your pattern in 1/4 size.
Above the outline, you write whom the sweater is for, the name of the yarn, the stitch size and the stitch and row numbers per cm.
First, you mark out BL along a vertical line; and perpendicular to that, at its bottom end, you mark out 1/4 UC for the back, and 1/4 UC plus half the difference between CC and UC for the front. Having come so far, you turn again upwards at right angles. On top, the shoulder line is drawn perpendicular to the back line. Along it, you mark out NS, and from there, you turn down at right angles and mark out AH, which may be equal to NS or slightly more, if you want. At the last part of it, you round out outwards to meet the sideline. You find the neck by halving NS and use the same measurement vertically and horizontally. You may slant the shoulder line as shown in the drawing, but it is a matter of maximally 2 cm.
On the outline you draw horizontal lines where the armhole begins, where the neck begins, and where NS begins. If you start slanting the shoulder at the same time as you close the neck, then it fits with having space for a neckband of 3 cm. If you want no neck border, you must reduce the neck opening by these 3 cm in both directions, unless you want a large neck opening.
On one side of the pattern you write the cm measurements, and on the other side the row numbers. In the corners you write the needle number. A number below showing which needle number you cast on with, and a number above, at the shoulder, showing at which point (NS) the armhole is decreased, and another showing how far the neck opening goes.
Knitting a sweater in the simplest way
You only need four measurements:
- Back length (BL)
- Sleeve length (SL)
- Chest circumference (CC)
- ½ neck + 1 shoulder (NS)
Before you make a pattern you have to decide how much extra width you want in the sweater. If you knit in the easiest way without allowing for the armhole you had better add at least 14-16 cm to the chest circumference (CC), as referred to above.
You cast on with one of the methods described in the edges chapter.
When you reach the armhole, you decrease the number of stitches. You may bind off half of the stitches at once, and then the rest of the stitches by one at the beginning of each row. This is the simplest way. But you can round the armhole more nicely if you bind off nearly one fourth of the stitches twice, then 2 or 3 stitches for each row, and then one at a time, or perhaps at the end bind off one stitch for every 4 rows. It depends on how fine the yarn is that you are using. If it is the back you are knitting, you continue to the shoulder. You can cast off all the stitches, or you can shape the neck and shoulder in the following way:
The carriage is on the shoulder side. Put half of the needles + most of the neck into resting position and knit 1 row. Turn and push down 1 extra needle on the neck side and push e.g. 6 stitches in the resting position on the shoulder side. Turn and push 1 more needle up on the shoulder side on the way back, and 1 or 2 more on the neck side, turn and push 1 more up on the way back and 6 more on the shoulder side and 1 more on the way back. Continue in this way, and calculate so that you reach the neck point at the same time from both sides. Put back the shoulder needles and knit one row. Now you can cast off all the shoulder stitches except the last one. Release the rest of the needles and knit one row. Now the carriage is on the other shoulder side. Repeat the process in reverse. You can make the neckband now, or you can leave the neck needles until you have knitted the front. If you leave them, you can knit a few rows in another colour and drive them off with the carriage. You may press the stitches if the knitting is left for some time.
On the front side you stop at the row number you have calculated for the neck to begin. Now push half of the needles + for example 6 needles in the resting position. You cannot shape the shoulder at the same time, but only one side of the neck pushing for example 4-3-2-1 needles by the time and one more at the way back and finally only 1 needle a few times until you come to the needle you have calculated for the neck to begin on the side. Knit straight up to the shoulder and slope it in the same way as the back shoulder. You have better note how you did it, so you can do it in the same way in the other side. When you have cast off the shoulder you move the last stitch a suitable distance away from the neck and pick up stitches for the side of the neck. Knit one row the whole way to the other side, put back the row counter to the row where the neck begins, and knit the other side of the neck in the same way in reverse. When you have picked up the stitches for the side of the neck, knit one row. Now the neck is ready for a neckband.
The easiest way of knitting sleeves is to pick up stitches from the armhole and knit it from the top and downwards.
For a plain knitted sleeve, the height of the sleeve cap is 7/12 of the armhole height.
You will automatically get the right size if you do it in this way:
After having sewed the shoulder seams together, pick up the needles in the armhole of the sweater one stitch from the edge. When you have measured the upper sleeve circumference, you calculate how many stitches you have to use and which number needle in each side. You place the bottom end of the armhole on these needles. Then you pick up the needles in holding the position. At the shoulder seam you pick up one needle on each side and continue to pick up needles in the middle until the space between them is so little that you can pick up the rest of them without measuring. When you have all the needles, set the row counter and knit one row, so the needles go down. Now put half of the needles against the carriage, except for example 5, in the resting position. Pass the carriage to the other side. Push half of the needles in the other side except 5 in the resting position, and knit one row on the 10 needles in the middle. Continue knitting pushing 2 needles down in the end of each row, until you have reached a little before half way. Then you push just one needle down at the front but still 2 at the back until all the needles are down at the back. The rest of the needles in the front you push down at the same time. Now you have made the sleeve cap. Note what the row counter shows. Subtract the number of rows the row counter shows from the number of rows you calculated for the whole sleeve from the shoulder to the wrist. Say you have knitted 38 rows for the cap, and the whole sleeve length is 208 rows. 208 - 38 = 170 rows. Then you have needle 54 at each side and will increase up to needle 33, then you have to increase by 21 stitches in 170 rows. 170 / 21 = 8.1, so we increase by 1 stitch at each side for every 8th row. If you want a rib band at the wrist you subtract the length of that before you calculate how often to increase the stitches. Before you make a band at the wrist, you may increase by a few stitches dispersed through the knitting.
Remember, when you make the other sleeve, that now the front and back sides are on the opposite sides.
If you have not made rounded armholes but knitted straight up to the shoulder, and have only put a little strand where the armholes were supposed to be, you just pick up stitches between the strands and knit the sleeves from there. To get the right sleeve length you subtract the little amount from NS to the edge, because that is where the shoulder seam drops down the arm.
Casting on edges on a single bed apparatus
Cast on edges without ribbing
You can make a finished edge by twisting the yarn once round the needles. Do not make the loops too tight. However you do not do that very often, as you usually begin with a hem.
Cast on with weaving brushes
Set the weaving pattern levers. Bring every other needle into the knitting position and every other needle in resting position but so that they are taken down on the next row.
Thread the yarn and lay it over the needles in the resting position, and fasten it to the first and last needle by twisting it round them. Hold the end of the yarn while you are knitting the first row. Make a few rows before you release the weaving brushes.
Casting on with a thread through the open loops.
Bring the needles into the knitting position and every other needle into the resting position. Set the button for idling position. Place a nylon thread or other smooth thread inside the gate. Set the tension dial to 0. Hold both ends of the nylon thread while knitting the first row. The needles in the resting position go down. Adjust the tension dial to the required number and make a few rows before you draw out the nylon thread.
You can use this method if you want to knit a rib by hand. Do not begin with the rib, as maybe you will not be able to stretch it far enough to the required needle number. The thread going through the loops is holding them, so just draw it straight. Notice that every other stitch to be picked up is turned.
Cast on beginning with a hem
This is easiest if you have a casting-on comb. Bring the needles into the knitting position and every other in the resting position. Hang the comb on the gate pegs and set the idle button. Knit the first row with the tension dial on 0. Release the comb from the gate pegs and pull it down. Adjust the tension dial to one or two numbers lower than the rest of the garment. Make twice as many rows as required for the height of the hem. Then bring every other needle into the resting position again and hang the loops from the comb on these. You can use one or both extension rails to lay inside the hem to avoid the stitches falling off. Adjust the tension dial and go on knitting.
This hem is likely to roll although you make it high. It helps a little if you begin with a high number on the tension dial and gradually go down to where it starts to bend, and then gradually go up again. However, there is another way to do it. Cast on with every other needle with half of the required number on the tension dial, until half way along of the back side of the hem, and then bring all needles into the knitting position and the tension dial to the right number and make the rest of the hem. A row of holes will come where you added the rest of the needles, but it will be on the wrong side. In this way the hem will not roll. You can also add the rest of the needles where the hem is going to fold down, if you want a mouse-tooth edge.
Make a hem in the same way but only use every other needle and half the tension dial number for the whole hem. When you have finished the hem add the rest of the needles and hang the loops on the opposite needles. Adjust the tension dial. Do not make the hem too small.
Casting on with very fine yarn
If you use very fine yarn, you may prefer to sew a hem after having finished the garment. Then you may secure the open loops with tape, or just with a zigzag before you hem it.
Lay the fine knitting bar inside the gate and hang the comb on the gate pegs. Begin with a fairly high number on the tension dial and use all needles. Lay the nylon thread inside the gate. Knit one row. Set the tension dial at the very lowest number and knit a few rows to secure the first row. Adjust the tension dial to the required number. After some rows you can pull out the nylon thread and carry on.
Casting on with the ribber
You can either cast on with two rounds of circular knitting as described in all instruction books, or you can do it by racking the needles, if you want an elastic border, say for socks.
Bring the needles up for 1/1 knitting (1 knit, 1 purl) while the racking grip handle stays at 5. If the last needle on the plain knitter is on the left side, you shift to 3 at the racking grip and if the last needle is on the right side, you shift to 7. Make one row, hang the comb and weights in and shift back to 5. Then go on knitting.
Casting on for 2/2 knitting
Bring the needles in position for 2/2 knitting (2 knit, 2 purl) while the racking grip stays at 5.
Shift 1½ number to the side where the outermost needles on the plain knitter are. Knit one row, hang in the comb and weights, do two rows of circular knitting, and shift back again. You can leave out the circular knitting, but then you will end with one needle on each side.
Knitting with every other needle
You may cast on as usual with every other needle and use a bigger stitch size. When you transfer the stitches to the single bed you must place them on needles which already have stitches. However, you can also use every third needle on both needle beds; then you must move the racking grip handle half a number. You cannot transfer the stitches, so you had better make the ribber after you have finished the garment and allow excess yarn. Then place the garment on the machine with the right side out and the ribbing over it and cast off both pieces at the same time.
Casting on by hand
If you want the beginning to look as if you have knitted it by hand, you can make a finished casting on at the single bed and then knit one row. Connect the ribber and transfer every other stitch to that, let down the ribber half way, and place the comb carefully. It must only go between the stitches, not inside them. Push up the ribber again, hang weights on and go on knitting. This way of doing it takes more time, but it looks nice. In any case, this is for experienced knitters.
Casting on with fine yarn
If you are using fine yarn and use a stitch size less than 5, you cannot make the ribber with every other needle, as that will be too loose. Do not knit the ribber until you have finished the garment. Afterwards you can make a rib using each needle and half of the needle number that you used for the jumper. Be sure to use a stitch size that is big enough, so the knitting can be stretched to the double width. Make the last row in a bigger stitch size. Knit a few rows with contrast coloured yarn, and cut the yarn off. Release the knitting by pushing the carriage over it. Now you can hang the casting on loops from the jumper with the right side out on the machine. Place the stitches from the rib underneath the contrast colored yarn, and avoid pulling them behind the latches, but leave them on the hooks. Unravel the contrast colored yarn. Then you can cast off both pieces at the same time.
Before you make the rib, you can do a little test to make sure that it can be stretched far enough. Cast on until needle number 12 in each side, for example, and hang on the side hooks instead of a comb and hang a little weight through the two holes in the hooks. Make about 20 rows, and afterwards a few rows of contrast coloured yarn and release the knitting from the machine. Lay it on an ironing board and pull it so the circular rows are stretched. Pin it all the way round. Now you can see how far the rib can be stretched by measuring how many stitches there are per cm and how many rows you have to make.
This process takes a rather long time, but instead of making a rib, you can do some circular knitting with all the needles, perhaps a little tighter than the rest. Afterwards you transfer the stitches from the ribber to the back needle bed. This hem is also likely to roll, but not as much as if you made it on the single bed.
If you want a non-elastic border, you can rack the rib stitches. Cast on in 1/1 rib and do two rounds of circular knitting. Make one row and set the row counter on 4 (1 casting-on row + 2 rounds circular knitting + 1 row rib = 4). Turn the racking grip 1 number, whereby the needles shift their position. Knit 2 rows, and turn the grip back again and make 2 rows. Continue in this way until the border is high enough. This edge is especially nice for the front border, and if you use that, it is nice to make the rib in the same way. It also has the advantage that you can count how many stitches there are per cm when you make the front border.
Neckband for single beds
You can either make the neckband when you have made the neckline, or you can end with contrast colored yarn and leave it until you have made both the front and the back, so that you do not need to have a seam in each side of the neckband. If you make a cardigan, it is nicer to make the neckband the whole way round, but if it is a jumper you can just as well have a seam in both sides, as you must have a seam in at least one side.
When you have made the neckline, you begin the neckband with the same size stitch or bigger than you used for the jumper. You gradually reduce the stitch size making 2 - 4 rows with each size until you reach size 1 or 0. Now you make one row at 10 and go down again to 1 or 0. Then enlarge the stitch size again in the same way until you reach the same stitch size as the first row, but knit the very last row on the largest stitch size. It is then easier to seam. End with a few rows of contrast coloured yarn, and release the knitting. Afterwards you iron it by covering it with a wet cloth, unless it is synthetic yarn, in which case you can moisten it or put the stitches on a knitting needle. You can iron it anyway if you are very careful not to hit the right side of the hem but only the last few rows of the inside. How you seam the open loops down, is described in the chapter about mounting.
Neckband with the ribber
Begin with the same stitch size that you used for the ribber at the beginning of the jumper, maybe 3 or 4. It depends on how fine the yarn is, that you are using. Reduce the size gradually by 1/3 stitch size, and make 2 - 4 rows with each size until size 0 or even less if it is possible. Then you gradually enlarge the stitch size in the same way as you reduced it. You knit the last row on stitch size 5 or 6, so it is easier to seam down. End with contrast colored yarn and release the knitting from the machine. When you iron the neckband it is important not to stretch it, because then the stitches will be smaller and difficult to get rid of. Instead, you can iron them at both sides, so both the knit and purl stitches are ironed.
If you have only used every other needle for the sweater, you need not transfer every other stitch but just push up the needles at the ribber. You can use a smaller stitch size. A row of holes will appear, but it will not show very much because the purl stitches hide themselves.
Of course there are many other ways of finishing off a neck. For example, you can knit some rows of plain knitting and cast off. Then the edge will roll by itself. However, remember that the pattern is calculated with a 3 cm neck edge, so then the neck will be bigger, unless you add 3 cm to both the width and the depth. If you knit a dress for a little girl and want to include a collar, you can simply cast off the neck as it is; it will not roll, because it is round. But remember that the pattern is calculated with a 3 cm neckband.
On the back of the neck you use contrast coloured yarn. At the front you can begin tapering the neck at the same time as you begin to cast off for the armhole. It will be suitable if you decrease one stitch in the beginning of every third row. The angle will then be 25° vertical. You can seam one shoulder, and knit one side of the neckband and the back neck at the same time or you can make the three pieces by themselves.
On the back neck you pick up the stitches behind the contrast coloured yarn, which you ravel off afterwards. On the sloping side you pick up the stitches one stitch from the edge. Pick up two stitches next to each other and pass over one stitch. It will be suitable if you have cast off for every third row for the tapering. In the same way as for the round neck you gradually reduce the stitch size, make one row on stitch size 10, and enlarge gradually again. Make the last row on stitch size 10. At the same time you cast off one stitch on the tapering side on every row (not only in the beginning of the row). At the backside of the hem make a stitch on the tapering side again on each row. Knit contrast coloured yarn and take off the knitting.
You sew the tapering together and afterwards you sew a row of chain stitches in the middle, so it looks like you have knitted it by hand and decreased one stitch on every side of the tapering. That must be done before you sew the seam down.
With the ribber
You do this in another way. You do not pick up stitches, but make the border separately. Measure the rib at the beginning and place it on an ironing board and stretch it, so that the circular knitting lies smooth. Measure the whole piece. Divide the number of stitches by the measurement of cm. Now you know how many rib stitches there are per cm. Measure the sloping sides of the neckline and multiply it by the number of stitches per cm. Now you know how much to cast on for the sloping sides. Count the stitches at the back neck. You have to make two pieces, one for the sloping side where you add the back neck stitches, and one for the other sloping side. You can also count the number of rows and decide how many rows you want for the neckband. You do not make the neckband double, but begin with two rounds of circular knitting and a low stitch size and enlarge it gradually to the stitch size you used beneath. Transfer the stitches to the single bed. Move the comb and weights. Place the neck edge with the wrong side out, and pick up first the end stitches, then the middle and continue to pick up in the middle until there are only a few stitches between them, so that you can distribute them yourself. Do not pull them behind the latches, but leave them on the hooks, otherwise it is difficult to cast off, which you do without making a row.
You sew together the tapering by catching half a knit stitch in each side, and next time you catch the stitch one row higher and two stitches aside, so you only use the knit stitches. Please look at the figure. In this way you will get the correct angle for the tapering. Two little seams are left on the backside. You can seam them down by hand and afterwards sew a row of chain stitches over the seam.
If you have made a waistcoat, you want an edge round the armholes. You can make the armholes deeper, to make space for an edge. If you want a 3 cm wide edge, you can calculate 4-5 cm, because it will be sloped, as you sew it together in the same way as the tapering neck.
If you have made a cardigan with two front pieces, you may want an edge, unless you have made the pieces so wide, that you can make a double border.
For single bed
You pick up stitches one stitch from the edge. You can use this rule: Skip a row two times and take the row besides one time. You can use a stitch size one number lower than you used for the cardigan. You make the border double width. If you make buttonholes you can spread them by pushing up the needles to use a little, so that you can chance the distance between them if you find that it is not exact enough. If, for example, you make the border 24 rows (12 rows wide), you can make holes after 4 rows and after 20 rows. Move 2 needles to the neighbouring needle on each side. After one row turn the thread over them 180° and place it on the needle again. After 24 rows you knit contrast coloured yarn and release the knitting. Instead of moving the stitches to the neighbouring needles, you can knit 2 stitches with a little piece of yarn in another colour and then go on knitting. When you have finished the border you can iron it with a wet cloth or with steam. Then you can pull out the little strand. Before you seam the border, you must sew the buttonholes together and use the same yarn you used for the knitting. Fasten the yarn inside the border and sew alternately a stitch from each layer and some in between at the ends of the hole. If the yarn does not tolerate ironing, you can use the first method.
Selvedge in rib
You measure the length of the edge including the neckband and the rib at the beginning, and note the measurement. Then you measure the rib at the beginning; it is easiest at the back, because it is the longest. You know how many stitches there are, so you can divide by the measurement in cm. So you know how many stitches there are per cm. Multiply it with the measurement of the selvedge. Now you know how many stitches to cast on for the front borders. If you have rib borders below and on the neck, you had better use a few more stitches where the rib borders are, because they will move up or down a little. You can also measure how many rows you want. Don't pick up stitches, but make the selvedge separately. Cast on with circular knitting, this gives a nice edge. Say you have decided to make 16 rows. You can make buttonholes after 10 rows. You can move 2 stitches, one to each side, one at the back needle bed and one at the front. Push up the empty needles again. Knit one row. Turn the thread over them 180°.
If you knit the front borders by racking every other row as previously mentioned, you can make the buttonholes in another way. When you have racked after 10 rows, make one row before you make the buttonholes. Choose them so that they will be racked after next row, then you need not turn them. After 16 rows you take off the comb and weights. Now place the one front piece on the machine with the wrong side out (Be sure to have the buttonholes in the right side). Place it on the needles over the border, but do not pull the needle up in the resting position; let the stitches stay on the hooks of the needles, otherwise you can't cast off without knitting a row. Place the end stitches on the edge and the middle in the middle. Place some more stitches where the rib borders are, and then gather the middle of the knitting and the middle of the needles, until you can spread them by yourself. Cast it all off at once.
If the cardigan has a tapering neck, you can make the front borders in the same way, maybe one piece together with the back neck, if there is enough space on the machine.
Rib knitted collars
If you do not want a big neck, add 3 cm both in the height and width.
If you only made one front piece, you must make a slit. You divide the front where the slit is going to begin, and knit one side at a time. You can cast off a few stitches in the middle to give space for front borders.
Make the neck as described in the chapter knitting to measure, but before you knit contrast coloured yarn, move every fourth stitch to the neighbouring needle. You need not move the stitches together, but just knit contrast coloured yarn over the whole. Before you release the knitting, count how many stitches you have the whole way round.
Cast on for the collar in rib, and use half as many stitches as the neck has. Knit straight up until the collar has the desired width. Transfer the stitches to the back needle bed. Move every other needle to the neighbouring needle. If you have a lace carriage, you can use that, otherwise you must do it by hand.
Knit one or two rows with the half stitch size, and knit contrast coloured yarn on before you release the collar.
Now you have both the collar and the neck with contrast coloured yarn. You can sew the stitches together from the wrong side and afterwards ravel off the contrast coloured yarn. See how to do it in the chapter mounting.
If you want the collar to lie flatter, you can cast on twice as many stitches as the neck has. Then you do not need to decrease every fourth stitch on the neck, because when you have decreased every second stitch on the collar, you have the same number of stitches on the collar and on the neck.
Instead of sewing the neck and collar together, you can cast them off together. Leave the collar on the machine and place the neck stitches over it. It can only be done if you have two front pieces. If you have a slit, you cannot stretch it enough. However, you can divide the contrast coloured yarn into two halves, and only place half of the stitches on the collar; and when you have cast off the majority of them, you can place the rest of the neck and cast off.
When knitting you have the advantage as when compared with sewing, that you can shape without cutting and making tucks. Horizontal tucks, for example breast tucks in the side, can be made with shortened rows by bringing some needles in the resting position and turning the carriage. To make vertical tucks, move stitches with a transfer tool comb. It requires some practice, and you will have to move stitches several times if the tuck is near the middle. It takes a lot of time. But in some cases, you can transfer a vertical tuck to a horizontal. Say you want a tuck in the shoulder seam. When you have made a design of the garment, draw a horizontal line from the tapering of the tuck to the armhole. Cut this piece and turn it so that the tuck is moved to the armhole instead. This new tuck you have to disperse over several rows. For instance make 1 or 2 shortened rows with 4 or 6 rows between them. The shoulder seam will then be straight or may turn a little upwards.
If you are knitting a pattern, instead of making shortened rows, you can make the armhole higher; and when you place the armholes on the machine, you pick up stitches for the sleeve with a bigger space between the needles nearest the back of the shoulder. If a person has a round back, it is important to make a sweater longer, otherwise it will not only be too short, but also make sloped folds.
If you want the sleeves to fit nicely, you can make the extra width for the breast in the armhole higher too. When you have sewed the shoulder seam and picked up stitches in the armhole, you do it the following way: Pick up the two 1 needles ca. 1 cm in front of the shoulder seam, then the sleeve will be turned correctly. The bottom of the armhole you place at the needle numbers you calculated for the upper arm circumference. In the straight first piece under the arms, you pick up in each stitch, and the same in the first half part of the sloped piece. Then you begin to pick up with bigger spaces between the needles until about the middle, or a little longer, of the vertical piece. You must disperse the spaces, so you can use all the extra height. The rest of the way to the shoulder seam you use the normal space between the needles. On the back you now have a little extra height. Therefore you can make bigger spaces and begin a few cm behind the shoulder, but not such big spaces as in the front.
You can design a basic pattern (sloper) for knitting, which you can draw at your knitleader or just calculate your measurements from it. Use the ordinary pattern in the chapter knitting to measure.
You can construct the breast tuck from that. For this you must use half the difference between the upper chest circumference and the breast circumference, which we call B. Let us say it is 3 cm. Besides that, you measure the breast height from the neck point, round the neck and to the widest point at the breast.
Now you can draw the pattern on chequered paper, which has squares of 1/2 cm. Name the squares 1 cm or 2 cm. Then the pattern will be 1/2 or 1/4 of your size. Place the neck point as shown on the drawing. Place the tape measure on its edge and measure 1/2 or 1/4 of the breast height round the neck and downwards, but subtract B (3 cm), otherwise the tuck will be placed too far down. Draw a horizontal line through the breast. From the breast line you draw a vertical line down to the edge, at right angle to the edge and the breast line. At the armhole you find a point, which is about the same height where the breast begins to get thicker. Draw a sloping line from this to the breast point. Now you have divided the pattern into 4 pieces. Name them 1-2-3-4 as you see on figure 1.
Cut the pattern and cut the 4 pieces from each other. Place them on another piece of paper in this way: Piece 1 stays in its place. Piece 2 is moved 3 cm downwards (That is the reason why you subtract 3 cm from the breast height). Piece 3 is temporarily moved 3 cm to the side. Piece 4 is turned with the centre in the armhole until it touches piece 3. Then you move piece 3 downwards until the corners meet, and a tuck appears. Piece 3 may not go as far down as piece 2, but you then draw a line from the side and to the middle of the space between piece 2 and 3. If the pattern only goes to the waist, you begin the knitting with shortened rows, but if it goes further down, you need not do this. The space between piece 2 and 3 is equal to the waist tuck.
If you have a knitleader, you can draw it to the right size or half size as the knitleader does it. But you may also use the little pattern if you place the right number of stitches and row on the pattern, and for how far the tuck goes both in the width and height. Calculate how many needles you must push up in the rest position at a time. At the armhole you measure where you are going to decrease and how many stitches at a time. Remember not to count the shortened rows. Put back the row counter for every shortened row.
If you have a very low breast, this pattern is not suitable. Then you should place the width in the waist.
How to move tucks
When you have made a basic pattern with a breast tuck, you can move the tuck, as you need it.
In figure 2a, the tuck slopes downwards instead of upwards; then there is space for a bigger armhole, but it still goes to the same point. The dotted line shows where the original line was. It means that instead of pushing all needles in the idle position and taking them down little by little, you do the opposite, push them up little by little and finally take them all down at the same time.
In figure 2b, the tuck is moved to the shoulder seam, if you are going to knit sideways. The dotted line shows here the basic pattern's original as well.
You do this in the following way: Draw an extra basic pattern. Draw it on transparent paper and cut it out. Make a mark where you want the new tuck, both on the pattern and on the transparent paper. Place the transparent paper on the pattern and the point of the pencil on the breast point, as shown on figure 2c. Fold the transparent paper as far down as the side tuck, make a mark on the shoulder where the mark on the transparent paper is now. Draw round the edge of the transparent paper from the mark and down to the original tuck. Then draw lines from the two marks on the shoulder and down to the breast point, so you make a new tuck.
In this way you can move tucks as you want, by first making a mark on both patterns and turning a sharp pencil in the breast point. Make a mark where the transparent paper reaches, when the old tuck has gone together, and draw round the edge of the transparent paper from the new tuck to the original tuck.
If, for instance, you want to knit a tight waist with a tuck, you can turn the waist tuck away and place it in the side so the breast tuck gets bigger. You can then start with shortened rows and at the same time increase in the side.
On the back you have to move stitches by hand because there is no place to put it. You can use a transfer tool comb.
Open all the latches on the needles you are going to move and place the transfer comb on them. Pull the needles towards yourself until the stitches slip behind the latches and push them back again until they slip out over the needles. Before you move the comb, use it for pushing back the latches so they are prepared for receiving the stitches again when you have moved the comb.
The easiest way to knit raglan sleeves is when the sloping line makes an angle about 35° to the vertical. If you have a normal ratio between stitches and rows, you can attain this by decreasing one stitch at the beginning of each row. You draw your pattern on chequered paper so it fits you in 1/2 or 1/4 size.
The front and back have to be the same size, and you lay them over each other. Now you can draw the sloping line, which must start a little way below the sleeve hole, and draw to the neck in the front and continue to the back neck. You can start decreasing stitches a little higher than the sloping line begins, and decrease a few more stitches the first time (look at figure 4). Where the back and front neck meet, you draw a horizontal line. That is the middle of the sleeve, and here you mark NS off the sleeve hole. From there you can measure the sleeve length. To get the little piece which belongs to the back neck, you fold over the shoulder line and prick the neckline to lengthen the front neckline. The sloping lines on the sleeve must also be 35°. The upper part of the sleeve is shown with dotted lines in the lengthening of the front and back neck. When you draw the sleeve, you start with the centre line. Then transfer the dotted piece and remember the shoulder point (NS). The sloping line on the front of the sleeve must be the same length as the line on the basic pattern from the neck and till the sleeve hole, and the back part must be the same length as the line from the back neck to the sleeve hole. That is to say a little longer than the front. The upper part of the sleeve must therefore be knitted with shortened rows. Now you can finish the sleeve. If you started decreasing a few stitches at the same time on the blouse, you must draw that on the sleeve in both sides too. But here it goes out instead of in. It gives a little more width under the arm. The sleeve length you measure from the shoulder point (NS), which you have marked on the centre line. The shoulder rounding will reduce some of the sleeve length, so you must either add 2 cm to the sleeve length or knit some shortened rows over the shoulder point. So you have to know exactly where the shoulder is, otherwise it looks awful.
Raglan with holes
Raglan sleeves can be knitted together with the blouse if you use shortened rows. Then a row of holes will appear and it may look nice on light blouses. Start with the front piece. When you come to the sleeve hole, you push for instance 4 needles in the resting position in the end of each side the first time. Then push one needle at a time in each side until you come to the neck. Note which number needle you pushed up the last time and the row number before you make the neck. Now push half of the needles in the resting position and make the neck round on one side. At the same time you still push a needle in the end of each row in the sleeve side. But on the neck side you push the needles shaping the neck in the end of each row, and one extra on the way back to avoid holes. When there is only one needle left, you note the row number, push down all needles, and move the carriage to the other side. Push the needles in the finished side up again, turn back the row counter to the number you noted before you made the neck, and knit the other side in the same way. Push the needles on the side in the resting position until you reach the row number you noted in the first side. Knit 4-5 rows of yarn in a contrasting colour on the neck needles and on each sleeve individually. The stitches you left belong to the neck. Don't worry that the sleeve hole will wrinkle when you knit the contrast coloured yarn onto them, because that will disappear again when you knit the sleeves.
Knit the back in the same way until you reach the same row number as in front plus a few more rows as you can see on the pattern. So you get more holes on the back. The back neck will not be round, so you just knit contrast coloured yarn on that as well, and on the sleeve holes on each side individually.
Calculate how many stitches you need for the upper arm circumference. For each sleeve you use the stitches from one side on the front and one side on the back and these you supplement with the number of stitches you lock. You cast on the extra stitches in the middle, and place the stitches in the idle position on each side. You pull them up through the last row with the neck side nearest to the new stitches, one side from the front and the other side from the back. Then ravel off the contrast coloured yarn. The needles stay in the idle position. Knit one row over the middle stitches plus one stitch in each side from the needles in the idle position. After that, you knit the sleeve higher at the back by making as many shortened rows as you have more rows in the back than in the front. At the same time, you take one needle from the backside down in the end of the row. Now there should be the same amount of needles in the idle position in each side. Continue pushing one needle down in the end of each row until there are 4 stitches left on each side. You push them all down at once. However, you must know how many rows you are going to knit before you come to the shoulder point, because from there the row counter must be turned back to 0. The sleeve length, you calculated, has to be about 2 cm longer because the shoulder rounding uses some of the length. Instead, you can make a few shortened rows over the shoulder point. But if you do that, you must note the needle number and row number, so you can continue from there when you have finished the shortened rows.
- Waist circumference
- Hip circumference
- Hip height
- Skirt length
There are many ways to knit skirts. You can make one in 4 pieces as figure 5 shows. You can make it with more or less width. The more width, the more you have to round it in the waist and below. If you do not want so much width, you must either make a tuck in the waist or wrinkle it a little.
You can avoid a seam in the middle of the front and back if you have a ribber and knit it half round, but then you have to shift the idling buttons for each row. You must decrease on both sides, both on the knitter and the ribber. When you come to the waist, you decrease a few stitches dispersed through the knitting before you make a waist band. You make it double height. Put a belt band or an elastic band inside.
A skirt can be knitted sideways with shortened rows. The number of times you make shortened rows depends on how much width you want in the skirt. You can make it as a whole or a half circle if you want, but you can make less width too. You divide the width below by the waist width, and the result is the amount of shortened rows you make for each whole row.
Figure 7 shows half a pattern, a front piece or a back piece. The whole skirt will be a half circle. But it is possible to knit the skirt in one piece so that you only have one seam at the back. Afterwards you can pick up stitches in the waist and make a waistband or maybe a whole dress. You must always make the waist wide enough so that you can decrease some stitches dispersed through the knitting.
If you want to know how much yarn to use for this skirt you must calculate the area of the skirt. Let us say it is half a circle. If you multiply the radius squared by 22/7 you will get the area of a whole circle, but you only use half of it. Then you can weigh your knitting sample on a letter balance as described in the knitting samples chapter and calculate the weight per cm2 and multiply it with the area.
You can also knit a skirt as a straight piece and wrinkle it more or less in the waist. You can for example cast on twice the waist circumference, start below, and when you reach the waist, transfer half of the stitches to a knitting needle and place two stitches on each needle. Then do the same with the other side. Afterwards you make a waistband or maybe the upper part of a dress.
If you have a ribber, you can make the skirt with pleats in the following way: Use thin yarn and all the needles. Then take for example every nineth needle out of function, and place the stitch on the neighbour needle. Do this both on the ribber and on the knitter, but shift it so that the holes on the ribber are in the middle of the space between the holes on the knitter. A pleated effect will appear. Make some samples with different stitch sizes and different spaces between the holes, so that you can choose what looks best with your yarn.
Basic pattern for skirts
If you want to knit a fitted skirt, you measure your waist and your hip, and add at least 6-7 cm. You also measure the distance between the waist and the hip and the length of the skirt. You add at least 3 cm to the waist for a tuck. When you knit this, you will have to use a transfer comb. In the side you draw an arc from the waist to the hip. As a rule, the waistline bows upwards a little in the side, so you must make a few shortened rows before you make a waist band. It might be a good idea to make a lining.
When you have designed the basic pattern for your skirt, you can make different fashions as figures 8 and 9 show. You can draw a vertical line through the middle of the tuck and down to the edge. Then cut the line and fold the pieces away from each other so you get more width. On figure 8, the pieces are folded until half of the tuck disappears. Besides, there is a little extra width in the front and the side. These pieces must only be half the size of the piece at the tuck, as the pieces will be twice as wide because you only draw 1/4 of the whole skirt.
On figure 9, you fold so far that the whole tuck disappears. The hip rounding disappears too.
The patterns may be knitted in 4 pieces or on both machines half round knitted.
Cast on the whole width below and knit a few rows before you make shortened rows in order to make it round.
Sewing together by machine
It is easier if you iron the edges before you sew them together; but if the yarn cannot be ironed, the edges can still be sewed together.
If you have picked up stitches in the sleeve holes and knitted the sleeves downwards, you can sew the sleeve and the side at once. Start pinning the pieces together and place the pins at a right angle to the edge. You put one pin under the arm and then one pin at each end. Spread the pins levelly. If there are stripes or pattern you put a pin in each stripe or pattern, to make sure they lie over each other.
When you sew the edges together it is important that you do not pull the seams so that they will bulge. You can use a large needle and push the knitting under the pressure foot and at the same time smooth the edges to prevent them from rolling. Be sure to sew both layers. You may prefer to tack the seams together before you sew them on the machine. You can sew with a zigzag at stitch width 1 and normal stitch length. Then the seam will be a little bit elastic without bulging. If you have cast off the shoulder seams, be sure to sew them together behind the casting-off edge, otherwise this will show upon the rightside.
If you did not pick up the stitches in the sleeve holes but started the sleeves beneath, then you must sew the side seams and the sleeve seams separately. Afterwards you pin the sleeve to the sleeve hole while the person is wearing the blouse. Be careful that the sleeves are hanging straight down not turning so they make sloping folds. First you put a pin in the shoulder seam, and then at each side of the sleeve. You may want some extra width, preferably a little in front of the shoulder seam where the shoulder blades curve forward. It is not important that the sleeve seam lies on top of the side seam; it may overlap the side seam a little.
When you have pinned the sleeve, you sew three marks across the seam, one opposite the shoulder and one at each side underneath the extra width, and make another mark opposite them on the armhole. When you have pinned the sleeve so that it fits in the armhole, you can take out the pins, and transfer the marks to the other sleeve. You turn one sleeve inside out and put it into the other sleeve so that the seams lie over each other and pin them together. You put a pin in each mark and sew another mark at the other sleeve without sewing through both layers. You pin the sleeve holes together too, so that the shoulder seams and the side seams lie over each other, and transfer the marks in the same way. Now you can tack the sleeves and see if they fit exactly so that you can sew them by machine.
Rib bands are not so easy to sew by machine. It is difficult to make the stitches so that the rows of purl and plain stitches go straight. I suggest that you sew them by hand. You take a half knit stitch from each side, so that it looks like a whole stitch. Then you can start and end with a knit stitch when you cast on and do the same when you make the neckband and the wrist.
Sewing together by hand
Side seams: Place the pieces besides each other with the knit side up.
- Prick down half a stitch from the edge on the one piece and up again in the stitch above it.
- Prick down on the other piece half a stitch from the edge in the opposite stitch and up again in the stitch over it.
- Prick down in the first piece in the same hole where you pricked up the first time and up again in the stitch above it.
- Go back to the other piece and prick down in the stitch you pricked up before, and so on.
Assembling or seaming open stitches
To sew stitches together on the rightside
I am assuming that the yarn you are using can be ironed.
Use a needle without a point. See figure 2. The two pieces have not been cast off but end in a contrasting colour. Iron the two pieces each, using steam or pressing them with a damp cloth. Place the pieces so that the open stitches are facing one another. You may have left a thread hanging which you can use to seem the pieces together. Otherwise you can take another and stitch it on.
- Prick from below and up in the stitch that is connected with the thread.
- Prick from above and down in the opposite stitch on the other piece.
- Prick from below and down in the stitch beside it.
- Prick from above and down in the stitch you started at on the first piece.
- Prick from below up in the stitch beside it.
- Prick from above and down in the stitch on the upper piece which you pricked up from last time.
- Prick from below and up in the stitch beside it, etc.
In other words, you must prick two times into each stitch, once from above and once from below. In this way you make a whole stitch. Pull the stitches together just as tightly as the knitted stitches so they cannot be seen at all.
This method can be used for shoulder seams, stockings etc.
To sew stitches together from the wrongside
If the yarn cannot be ironed you can leave the contrasting colour and sew from the wrongside. On the first contrasting row there is half a row of contrasting colour, then half a row of the basic yarn, and that is the row you are going to sew in. (fig. 3).
- Sew from below and up through the lower half stitch.
- Sew from below and up through the half stitch on the upper piece.
- Sew from above and down through the next stitch in the upper piece.
- Sew from above and down through the half stitch on the lower piece, the same stitch you came from last time.
- Sew from below and up through the stitch besides it.
- Sew from below and up through the half stitch on the upper piece in the same stitch you came from last time. So you still sew twice in each stitch.
You pull it together just as tightly as the rest of the knitting. When you have finished the sewing you can ravel the contrast coloured yarn off.
To sew the open loops down
You can use this method for neckbands, wrists etc. You knit twice as many rows as you are going to use. Then you bend them and sew the open loops onto the purl side. The knitting will then be more elastic than if you had cast the edge off.
Neckband in rib
As described in the edges chapter you begin with large stitch size, and gradually go down to the smallest stitch size. Knit one row on stitch size 10, and gradually go up again to the biggest stitch size. Now it is easy to se where the edge is going to be bent. Leave a long thread for the sewing before you knit the contrast coloured yarn. You cannot leave the contrast coloured yarn because it will stay inside the seam. Iron the edge firmly before you sew the stitches down. If the yarn cannot be ironed, you must be careful not to press that part of the seam which is seen on the right side and only iron the outermost rows.
Use a needle without a point and proceed in this way:
- Make a stitch with the thread you left up through the first stitch in the neckband.
- Sew down in a loop on the blouse underneath the neckband.
- Prick down in that stitch on the neckband, where you pricked up last time.
- Prick up in the next stitch on the neckband.
- Sew down in the next loop on the blouse.
- Prick down in the same stitch on the neckband where you came up last time.
- Prick up in the next stitch on the neckband.
- Sew down in next loop on the blouse etc.
If you take a whole stitch on the blouse instead of taking a loop, it will be seen on the right side. Don't sew twice in the loops on the blouse, but sew twice in each stitch on the neckband, once from below and one time from above. See figure 4.
Make an extra knit stitch in the side where the last stitch is a purl stitch, in order to sew the neckband neatly. Do it in the same way as the stocking knitted neckband, but as rib knitting uses a smaller stitch size, you only decrease it by 1/3 stitch size at a time, say every second to every fourth row. You may go down to stitch size 1 or 0, but you do not make a row on stitch size 10, just go up again and end with a stitch size bigger than the first, so the stitches are easier to sew down. Knit contrast coloured yarn and release the knitting. Then iron the edge firmly with steam or a wet cloth, but be careful not to stretch it when you iron it, because then the stitches will be smaller and more difficult to find, when you sew them down.
Look at figure 5, and proceed in this way:
- Prick from below through the first knit stitch on the neckband.
- Catch a loop on the blouse underneath.
- Sew from above in the first knit stitch and from above in the next purl stitch.
- Catch a loop underneath.
- Sew from below in the same purl stitch you came from last time and from below in the next knit stitch.
- Catch the next loop underneath, etc.
Be careful so that the seam does not shift out of place. You can avoid that if each time you catch the loop you take the one just underneath the stitch. When you go from a knit stitch you catch the loop under a purl stitch on the neckband, because the neckband is bent over, and a knit stitch is a purl stitch on the other side. When you go from a purl stitch you catch a loop underneath a knit stitch.
If you have knitted a pattern and it is difficult to shape the neck, you can knit straight up, and afterwards cut the neck shape and perhaps the shape of the shoulder. You can do this in the following way:
Take a piece of wrapping paper and fold it together into half. Draw half the pattern of the neck and shoulder, so that the fold is the middle of the neck. Design it big enough to leave space for the neckband. Under the neck you must leave a plenty of space before you cut the pattern out. Unfold it so you have both sides of the pattern and draw a line in the fold. Fold the blouse along the middle and tack a line on the fold. Place the pattern on the blouse and pin the middle line on the middle line of the blouse. Pin it all the way round. Now you sew a zigzag seam on stitch width 1 on the machine along the edge of neck and shoulders. The stitch length can be 1 or 1½. Cut very close to the stitches, but be very careful not to cut in the knitted stitches. Take the pattern off and sew once more over the seam with stitch width 2, not wider, because then you cannot knit a row when you have picked up the stitches behind the seam.
Turn the purl side out and pick up the stitches. First you place the middle on the two 1 needles. If you are not sure where to place the last needles, calculate which needle number you should have had if you had knitted the neck as usual, and add some extra needles for the straight piece on the side of the neck. Make one row before you move the stitches for rib knitting, and do as described in the edges chapter. When you sew the stitches down, you take the loops underneath the zigzag edge, so you cover it. Do the back in the same way, but without leaving a piece for the side of the neck. You may store the paper pattern and use it several times.
You can cut a tapering neck in the same way. Instead of knitting the band by itself, you must pick up the stitches behind the zigzag seam and do it like a round neck. Look in the edges chapter for how to make a tapering neck.
If a stitch has been dropped
Put a safety pin into the stitch, until the piece is finished. Then crochet up the stitch with the casting on needle, but leave out the last loop, because otherwise there will be one stitch too much. You may fasten the starting thread firmly by making it penetrate the thread used for sewing.
If there is a pattern, then look somewhere else in the knitting and find out what colour the loop that you take must have, in order that the pattern is made to fit. If several stitches next to each other have been dropped, then it is more difficult to get a nice result. When you crochet up the first stitch, then put a safety pin into the other stitches. Usually, the loops will have small curves of thread if they have been knit and have been dropped afterwards. Use only what corresponds to the length of such a curve for every stitch, then the yarn will become distributed evenly. If you have not yet come very far in the knitting, you may pay better off to discard the knitting and start anew.
|Shoe size||Foot length (cm)|
|European||US male||US female||UK|
Measure the foot length from the middle of the heel to the tip of the toe. Look at figure 1. Measure the width round the leg just over the ankle where it is thinnest. Concerning the number of stitches, it is most practical if it is divisible by 4. It is an advantage if it is furthermore divisible by 3, but this is not absolutely necessary. 60 - 68 stitches will often be suitable for grown up people if you use ordinary stocking yarn and stitch size 8 - 8 1/3. If the machine can go up to 10 on the ribber, that might be the best.
Cast on 40 stitches and knit 60 rows. Pull the sample lengthwise and leave it for a moment before you measure the length in the side. If you know fairly well how many stitches you have to cast on, you can begin knitting at once. If you are not sure, you must leave the sample until the next day and measure the width. If you are going to make circular knitted socks, you use twice as many rows on the foot, because the carriage passes the row counter twice at each turn.
You can knit stockings either flat or circular. If you knit them flat, you have to sew them together afterwards. Even with a ribber available, many people prefer to knit the socks flat, because it goes very fast, but then you must use time for mounting afterwards. However, circular knitting looks nicer because it is more like hand knitting. The difficult point is to turn the two fourth pieces, and transfer them to the back bed, when you have finished the rib border. However, when you have practiced it for some time, you can do that quickly too.
Circular knitted socks
In this example you cast on 60 stitches for rib knitting. The rib border must not be knit too tightly, because that will make it difficult to put the socks on. Use the racking method (described in the edges chapter) which is more elastic, for the casting on. You must have an even number of stitches, otherwise there will be two stitches besides each other in one side of the knitter. But you may afterwards add a plain stitch, so that the leg may be sewed nicely together.
Knit the desired length, say 60 - 80 rows, not less, as it then will be difficult to turn the stitches to the knitter, because of the comb which must stay on the knitting. Knit the last row on a bigger stitch size. Move all the stitches from the knitter to the ribber and knit one row with the same stitch size as you will use for the circular knitting. Knit the first 15 stitches by hand, so the thread stays in the side, when you turn the stitches. Now 1/4 of the stitches (15) in each side shall be transferred to a comb with transfer tools or a knitting needle, then be turned and moved to the knitter.
Turning the stitches
Open all the latches on the knitter and leave the needles in non-working position (A), so you know they are placed in a row. Push down the bracket levers of the ribber and let it down one step. Hang the claw weight hangers into the stitches from number 1 till 15, and hang one of the little weights on each of them. It is important that the claws are well fastened in the stitches, especially in needle number 15. Transfer the outmost 15 stitches at one side to the latch tool comb. Turn the comb, be careful not to catch some of the knitting on a latch tool, and place the stitches on the knitter from needle number 1 - 15. If you drop a stitch and it runs down, do not try to pick it up - it is easier to crochet it up afterwards. Repeat the process in the other side.
Adjust the machine to circular knitting, move the weights in the side of the comb, and place only one of them in the middle. Knit for instance 10 turns of circular knitting (20 rows) before you start the heel.
Release the idle buttons, let down the ribber one step, and change the yarn leader to plain knitting. Adjust the holding cam lever. Now knit at the back needle bed. Push one needle at a time into the resting position at the end of each row until there are 10 needles in the resting position in each side and 10 needles left in the middle. If the number of stitches can't be divided by 3, you will either have a surplus or a deficit of one needle in the middle, but that does not matter. Now you have reached the bottom of the heel. Hang a side weight on the middle stitches, and set the row counter at 0. Now push one needle at a time down in the end of each row until all needles are down again. When you have knitted the last stitch in each side, you can place the thread round the last stitch on the ribber and knit it by hand, when you have pushed up the ribber again. You do that to avoid big holes in the side. When you have finished the heel, before you return to circular knitting, you set the row counter to twice as much as it was, because the rest of the foot is knitted in circular knitting, and the carriage passes the row counter twice in each turn. Change the yarn leader, push up the ribber and adjust to circular knitting, but so that you start the circle with the ribber, to avoid holes in the side.
Casting off the toe
When 30 rows remain before you reach the end of the foot (i.e. 3 times the number of stitches you have to cast off in each side), you cast off one stitch in each side, both on the ribber and on the knitter (4 stitches in total) for every other turn (4 rows). Use the double transfer tool (with two tools). When you have cast off 5 stitches in each side of both the ribber and the knitter, you cast off the next 5 in every turn, two rows. Now you have reached the foot length, and you have 10 stitches left on each needle bed. Then place two stitches on two needles in each side, corresponding to a total of 8 stitches, and knit one turn. It is a little hard, but it can be done. Now you have two options. You can move the stitches from the ribber to the knitter and cast them all off. In that case the casting-off edge will appear on the right side. The other option is to knit in contrast coloured yarn and afterwards sew the stitches together. Naturally, that will give the nicest result. How you do that, is described in the edges chapter.
Instead of turning the stitches after having finished the rib border, you can take off the knitting, turn it by hand, and place it on the machine again. Then it is important to do it as follows: Move the stitches from the ribber to the knitter. Knit one or two rows in the stitch size you are going to use for the circular knitting. Knit in contrast coloured yarn, not more than 4 - 5 rows, otherwise it will be difficult to place the stitches again; and take off the knitting, but leave the comb on. Iron it very well with steam or a wet cloth on both sides. The contrast coloured yarn must be smooth as well.
Placing the stitches on the machine
If you have knitted pattern in the leg, you have to reverse the sock to turn the rightside outwards. In that case, you cannot use the first method that I described.
Let down the ribber two steps. Place the two ends on the two 1 needles on the knitter, but it is important that they don't go behind the latches, because then they can easily fall off. Continue until you reach needle number 15 in each side. Raise the ribber one step and hang one of the weights on the middle of the comb. Place the rest of the stitches on the ribber, without pulling them behind the latches, but pull the needles in the same height as the stitches on the knitter. It is easiest if you have the crochet hook in the other hand to help placing the stitches on the needles. When you push up the ribber, you keep the needles down with one hand to avoid that the stitches go behind the latches. If the number of stitches does not suit the number of needles, you either have dropped a stitch or caught an extra loop. When all the stitches are placed, you ravel off the contrast coloured yarn. Adjust the idle buttons and the stitch size.
In the same way you can knit new feet on worn out socks. You can save yarn if you cut off the feet, try to follow a row, pick away those rows that have been damaged, and place the leg on the machine as described before. As the stockings have been washed several times, the stitches will not run down.
When you have finished the socks, and you find that you have knitted them too short or too long and have to ravel them up again, you have the problem that you don't have the contrast coloured yarn to keep the stitches from running down or to show which row you are going to pick up. After many troublesome experiments, I found this as the most secure way: At first you iron the socks with wet cloth on the last part of the foot on both sides. Count the rows down to the place where you are going to ravel up and place a pin. Take the nylon thread that belongs to the machine (or another smooth tread in a different colour) and then sew by hand into all the stitches in the row in question, so that it can be seen both on the wrong and the right side. After that, ravel up down to the thread and pick up the stitches in the row beneath it, so you don't cannon against the nylon thread. When you are sure that all the stitches are on the needles, you can pull out the nylon thread, and ravel up one row and knit it again. Remember to set the row counter.
Flat knitted socks
If you have no ribber, you can knit the socks flat. Say we cast on 60 stitches. Start with a hem and knit the leg to the desired length.
Push 30 needles in one side into the idle position and knit on the rest of the needles. Push one needle at the end of each row until there are 10 needles in the idle position on each side and 10 stitches left in the middle of the half row. Now you have reached the bottom of the heel. Put back the row counter to 0 and hang a side weight under the 10 middle stitches. Then push the needles down again, one at a time, and at last also the 30 needles in the other side. Knit until the row counter shows 20 rows before the foot length.
Casting off the foot
Push 30 needles in the resting position in the opposite side of the heel. Knit the toe in the same way as the heel. When all needles are down again, you knit in contrast coloured yarn and take off the knitting. A row of holes will appear at the end of the toe. If you want to avoid this, you can knit one or two rows at the end of the toe. You can do this by pushing down the needles you use for the toe, knit one or two rows over them, and push them up again before you take them down one at a time.
Press the socks solid, ravel off the contrast coloured yarn, bend the sock and sew the under part and the over part of the sock together in the open stitches. Lastly, you sew the sock together in the side (It is described in the edges chapter how to do this).
Socks with pattern
If you want to knit a pair of socks with a pattern which continues on the upper part of the foot, you can knit the overfoot and the underfoot in continuation instead of besides each other. The pattern requires its own knitting sample. And besides that, you must have a plain knitted sample for the underfoot. Knit the foot in the middle, and knit contrast coloured yarn on the outermost quarter of the needles in both sides. Set the row counter at 20, which is the number of rows you use for the heel. Continue knitting the pattern on the 30 middle stitches. Stop the pattern knitting 20 rows before you reach the foot length, and use the plain knitted sample for the rest. Cast off the toe by pushing one needle in the idle position at the end of each row, until you have 10 needles in the idle position in each side, and 10 needles left in the middle. Knit one or two rows on all needles and push them up again to where they were. Set the row counter at 0, and push one needle down again in the end of each row. Knit until 20 rows before you have reached the foot length, and then knit the heel in the same way as the toe. Knit in contrast coloured yarn and take the knitting off. Iron both the foot with contrast coloured yarn and the two little parts in the side. Ravel off he contrast coloured yarn and sew the loops on the leg and the foot together. Sew the foot together in the sides.
At first you make an ordinary sample and measure it. Afterwards you expand the sample in the width approx. 10 % (as explained in the knitting samples chapter), and use that for the legs. Use the ordinary sample for the feet.
Measure around the leg just underneath the knee and just over the ankle. Measure the length from the knee until just under the anklebone. Calculate from the expanded sample how many stitches and rows you have to use. Calculate the stitch number both at the knee and at the ankle. Cast on the stitch number at the knee and begin either with a hem or a rib border starting with the racking method. Divide the length into three. Knit one third of the length straight out, one third for the decreasing, and one third straight out again. The number of stitches to decrease in the middle piece is the difference between the number of stitches on the knee and the number of stitches on the ankle. To calculate how many rows to knit between each decreasing, divide the number of rows in the middle piece by the number of stitches you are going to decrease. However, to avoid that the transition to the decreases becomes too abrupt, you begin a little before the middle piece with one or two decreases with greater distance between them, and you do the same after the end of the middle piece. Then you knit straight out to the ankle. Now use the ordinary sample. Knit the foot as described in method 2, where you knit the over and under foot in continuation. Otherwise the seam with the decreasing will not stay on the back of the leg, when you sew it together.
Circular knitted knee stockings
Use the expanded sample for the leg and the normal sample for the foot. You can either begin with a hem or with a rib border. If you begin with a rib border, you cast on with the racking method (see edges chapter). Knit the desired number of rows and transfer the stitches to the back needle bed. Knit one or two rows plain with the stitch size you are going to use for the circular knitting, and knit in contrast coloured yarn. Take off the knitting and the comb. Iron it solid with steam or a wet cloth on both sides. Fold the knitting on the middle so that it becomes double-layered; the rightside must turn outwards. Push the comb through both layers and place it between the front and the back needle bed. Let down the ribber one step. Pick up the backstitches on the needle hooks on the knitter, not behind the latches. Hang a weight on the middle of the comb. Raise the ribber one step and pick up the front stitches on the ribber. Ravel off the contrast coloured yarn. Now you knit in the same way as the flat knitted stockings, but decrease only in one side on both the ribber and the knitter. Use the tool with two transfer tools.
When you have finished the leg, you must move the comb again. Knit in contrast coloured yarn and iron it solid. Now you get, very conveniently, a fold in the middle of the hind part, which will guide you when you place the fold in the middle of the knitter, so you can knit the heel there. When you place the stitches again, you use the same method as described for socks. Knit a few turns before you knit the heel and the foot in the same way as described for socks. Use the ordinary sample for the foot.
You can choose to knit the legs on the ribber. Then you must sew them together afterwards. Instead of decreasing on the middle part of the legs, you can begin with a big stitch size and gradually diminish it.
Mittens and gloves
You can make mittens either circular knitted or flat. However, if you want a pattern on the mittens, you have to knit them flat. You can make a gore for the thumb or just knit straight out.
- Round the hand just over the thumb. If the mittens are going to have a pattern, then you must calculate a little extra, because the threads on the wrongside take up space.
- The length from the wrist to the finger tips.
- From the wrist to the beginning of the thumb.
- The length of the thumb. It starts at the bone just under the thumb.
- If you knit gloves, you must measure where the fingers begin and how long they are.
Don't measure too tightly, neither in the width nor the length, because then the mittens will not be so warm.
You can begin with a rib border for the wrist, and do not make it too short. If you have no ribber, you can make a hem.
If you don't want a gore for the thumb, you knit straight up to the thumb. Then knit contrast coloured yarn by hand on a little more than 1/3 of the palm of the hand (look at the picture). When you have finished the mitten and ironed it solid, you can pull out the thread and pick up the stitches, which appear both over and under the thread, plus two or three loops in the innermost part of the thumb.
If you want a gore for the thumb, then increase one stitch in the beginning of each row in both sides. If you have a normal ratio between stitches and rows, then you will get an angle of 35° relative to vertical; and the combined number of stitches from both gores fit roughly with the width of the thumb. However, if you are knitting a pattern, you may have another proportion between stitches and rows, and that means that you are going to increase more times (find out by using the angle table). Knit contrast coloured yarn on the extra stitches and go on with the mitten.
When you have finished a mitten, you must fold it together so the end of the two gores lie next to each other, so you can knit the thumb. You can cast off both the mittens and the thumbs in the same way as described on flat knitted socks.
It is most practical to knit gloves with circular knitting. Otherwise you will have too many seams to sew afterwards.
Begin with a rib border. Cast on a number of stitches that can be divided by 8. The rib border must be fairly long in order that it can be reversed. When you have finished the rib border, you move the stitches to the knitter, and knit one row at the stitch size you are going to use for the circular knitting. Knit a few rows of contrast coloured yarn, and take off the knitting. Iron it solid on both sides and take off the comb. Bend it on the middle and push the comb through both layers. You only need one weight on the middle of the comb. Let down the knitter and place the back layer on the knitter by pulling the needles through the stitches behind the contrast coloured yarn, and be careful not to pull them behind the latches. Push up the ribber one step and place the front stitches at the ribber. Pull the needles to the same height as the needles on the knitter, but not behind the latches. When you are sure that all the stitches are placed on the needles, you push up the ribber while you keep the needles down by hand, so they don't slip behind the latches.
Now you use the measurements from figure 1, and calculate them to stitches and rows from your sample. If you don't want a gore, you knit straight up to the thumb. Knit one thread of contrast coloured yarn by hand on the stitches you need for the thumb, and then go on knitting up to the fingers. If you want a gore, you begin to increase in one side on both the ribber and the knitter for every turn. But the increases must be made at least two stitches away from the edge, picking up a loop on a free needle, otherwise you will get holes. You can knit the thumb now, or you can leave it with contrast coloured yarn and knit it after you have finished the glove.
If you knit it now, you only use the stitches from the gore plus 2 stitches from the hand. Push the rest of the needles both on the ribber and the knitter in the idle position and be sure that both machines are set right. You knit the thumb in the length you have calculated from your sample minus the number of rows you are going to use for casting off. That depends on the number of stitches. You cast off the 4 outermost stitches for each row, and pull a thread through the last stitches.
When you have finished the thumb, you pick up two extra loops from the thumb to the hand, so you still have the same amount of stitches. If you leave the thumb with contrast coloured yarn until you have finished the rest of the glove, you must pick up two extra stitches from the glove.
When you reach the fingers, you use a quarter of the stitches on both the ribber and the knitter for each finger. Begin with the little finger. It will get two stitches less than the other fingers. Push the rest of the needles into the resting position, and be sure that both carriages are set right. Some rib carriages have to be adjusted in both sides. Knit a few turns on the little finger before you hang a weight on; then you have a space to place the claws. You must have both a claw in the front and in the back of the finger, and hang a weight on both of them. When you have finished the finger, you cast off the outermost stitches in each side until you have 4 - 6 stitches left. Cut off the yarn and pull the end through every stitch. When you start the next finger, you must push the needles down by hand, and use the latch tool to place the stitches in front of the latches, otherwise the machine will knit the first row in rib, because the idling buttons are in working position. Pick up two loops from the little finger. This makes the other fingers have two more stitches than the little finger. Move the weights to the finger you are knitting now. Knit the other fingers in the same way, and pick up two loops from the last knitted finger. For the last finger, you can remove all the weights and just hold the glove a little down by the hand.
If you have knitted a gore for the thumb and have already knitted it, you have now finished the glove. If you have not knitted a gore, but just placed a thread of contrast coloured yarn, you iron the glove solid and pull out the excess thread. Let down the ribber one step, fold the glove and place it between the two beds. Place the upper stitches on the knitter and the stitches below on the ribber. Pick up two loops in each side. Hold the glove down with one hand while knitting with the other hand. You can cast off in the same way as you did on the other fingers.
Measure the circumference of the head behind the ears, but calculate a little less than this measurement, because a cap has to be a little tight so that it does not fall off.
Measure the head height from the earlap in one side, over the head and to the earlap in the other side. Use half of this measurement.
You can furthermore calculate an extra piece to bend up. Make a sample with the pattern you want to use.
Quickly knitted cap
Cast on the circumference of the head minus 15 - 20 % and begin with a rib band or a seam. If you have no ribber, you can make a fake rib, as described in the edges chapter. If you use fake rib, you shall not make it less than the head circumference. If you have a ribber, you also have the possibility to use English rib. Anyway, you knit straight up until you reach 10 rows before the head height. Then you knit the last 10 rows on every other needle and with half stitch size. If you have knitted English rib or ordinary rib, you transfer the stitches to the knitter to the needles that already have stitches, so you knit two stitches together. When you have finished, you cut the thread and leave a piece which is long enough to pull it through all the stitches, and pull them tight together. Fasten it well.
Sideways knitted cap with shortened rows
When you knit a cap sideways, you shall not knit it less than the circumference of the head, because it will not expand so much in the length.
Cast on the height of the head with a closed edge, so the cap can be sewed together in the end. Then knit shortened rows as follows: Push a little less than half of the stitches, opposite the carriage, into the idle position and knit one time forwards and backwards. Then push further approx. 1/10 of all the stitches into the idle position. Next time you push two stitches at a time, a few times, and then push the rest of the stitches up one at a time. When all the stitches are in the idle position, you start over again.
If the result deviates strongly from the number of rows that has been calculated for the head width, you may change the layout of shortened rows somewhat. But for the last many rows, only one needle must be pushed into the idle position at a time, because the cap has to be fairly flat on top.
The edge at the bottom will of course roll, so a rib band is necessary. If you have no ribber, you have to knit it by hand, because the cap can hardly be stretched so much that you can pick up stitches along the edge. If you knit it by machine, you must knit it separately. Make a little rib knitted sample to find how many stitches to use for the head width, as described in the edges chapter for selvedges. When you have knitted the edge, you leave it on the machine and take off the weights and the comb. As you cannot stretch the cap's edge very far out, you have to tuck up half of it at a time, i.e. you tuck up the center of the cap's edge at the two 1 needles and one half of the edge on half of the rib stitches. Hang a side weight on the side and close both layers at a time. When you approach the middle, you can tuck up the rest of the cap's edge and cast off all stitches. Only when you have knitted the rib border, can you sew the cap together. You use the open loops in one side and the closed edge in the other side. It is described in the mounting chapter how to sew open loops together.
A beret can be knitted sideways too. You can cast on the head height or a little more if you want. You can partition it like this: 2/3 will become the radius of a circle on top of the head and 1/3 will become an edge, which is bent a little inwards. Finally, you make a rib band separately. But the circle and the last 1/3 is knitted as one piece. You can for instance make the partitioning at the 1 needles. If the head height is 20 cm, you can partition it so that 14 cm are to the left side and 6 cm to the right side (this partitioning is made with regard to the row counter). The 14 cm will be the radius in a circle and the 6 cm will be the edge that is bent inwards. Multiply these two figures by the number of stitches per cm known from your sample. The circumference of the circle is 2 × 14 cm × 22/7 = 88 cm. Then 88 cm must be multiplied by the number of rows per cm to tell you how many rows you have to knit.
Cast on with a closed edge. Do not hang a comb with weights on, because then the innermost stitches will be pulled long and loose. At the circle piece in the left side you push one needle at a time into the idle position, and one more on the way backwards. When all needles until needle number 1 in the left side are in the idle position, you knit one row across them all and start over again. But in the right side you only make shortened rows for every time you start a new track. You must calculate how many shortened rows you have to knit at a time to reach the correct head width at the bottom. If for instance the head circumference is 60 cm, this is 28 cm less than in the circle which is 88 cm. How many tracks you are going to knit, depends on how many stitches make out a radius. It will most likely fit with 10 tracks, but you cannot be certain that this fits with the number of rows that you have calculated for the circumference, but that does not matter, because these figures are only approximate. But you can se when the knitting has become completely round, and even when it is not, you may think it is OK that it arches a little.
When you have finished, you knit in contrast coloured yarn and drive off the stitches.
Before you sew the cap together, you must knit the rib band, in the same way as described above for a sideways knitted cap.
A little hole will appear in the middle of the cap. Pick up 5 - 6 stitches in the edge of the hole, and knit a little end, one stitch size less than in the cap. Knit 6 - 8 rows and cast off very tight. The end will roll by itself, but you may sew it together with the end of the thread if you want.
At last you iron the edges, ravel off the contrast coloured yarn, and sew the open loops and the closed edge together, as shown in the mounting chapter.
Cast on half a head width. Begin with a rib band or a seam, and knit 10 - 12 cm, or as long as you want the neck to be. Read the row counter, and then begin to round the edge with shortened rows for the face to make it curve downwards in the middle. Draw a curve on a piece of paper, on which you note how many needles to push into the idle position at a time, so that you can do it in the same way on the other side. Start with half of the needles in the idle position. At first you push many needles up in the middle, and gradually you diminish the number of needles for every row, as you approach the side. Right out at the side there must remain a short piece that is not rounded. When you have finished one side, push all the needles down and knit one row. Put the row counter back to where you started the curve. Now make the curve on the other side in the same way as you noted on the paper. You can cast off the curve; it will not roll because it is round. Or you can knit in contrast coloured yarn, and later knit a rib band.
Cast on new stitches on the empty needles, either with a closed edge, or loose stitches with a thread through them. You may knit a few rows with a seam before you pick up the side stitches, or you may later pick them up to make a rib border. Put the row counter back to 0, and knit the head height minus 2 - 3 cm. Out of this, 2/3 are knit straight upwards, and 1/3 rounded with shortened rows like this: Push one needle at a time into the idle position in the end of each row. In the last two rows, you push at first 2 needles and then 5 needles into the idle position. The needles that still remain when you have reached the head height, are left. They will make out 8 - 10 cm (for children it should be slightly less).
Note the number on the row counter and put it back to 0. Now you knit the backside of the cap. At first you push down the needles in the opposite sequence, and then knit straight down to the same row number as on the front side. First the head height, then the curve height and then the neck height, and finally the rib band or seam. If you want, you can pick up stitches in the hole for the face and make a little rib band there. In the upper edge it is actually necessary, but you can omit it along the curve.
You can knit the cap without making a curve for the face, but instead knit a thread by hand on the middle piece. When the cap is finished, you iron it, pull the thread out, and pick up the open loops and knit an edge on it. But it is not as comfortable as if you make a curve.
When my sons where young, it was the fashion to have a shade on balaclavas. I cut a shade out of a plastic lid. Above the eyes, I picked up the edge stitches and used them for knitting a shade covering. I rounded it with shortened rows, put the shade inside and seamed the stitches on the wrongside.
Measure the hip circumference where it is largest, but close to the body. Measure from the waist to the groin.
Measure the seat height, while you are sitting, from the sides of the waist and down to where the buttocks touch the chair.
Measure how wide you want the piece between the legs to be.
First make an ordinary knitting sample, and measure it as described in the knitting samples chapter. Note the measurements. Next, stretch the sample to enlarge it by approx. 25 % and pin it up along all sides. Note the measurements.
Begin with a seam, or allow for an extra piece for seam and sew it afterwards. Knit according to the enlarged knitting sample until you reach the groin (i.e. where you start decreasing for the legs). Set the row counter at 0. From this point, you knit according to the ordinary knitting sample. Decrease until the needle number that you have calculated from the ordinary knitting sample. If you start in front, you cast off e.g. 6 stitches a few times, and then 3, 2 and finally 1 stitch at a time. Of course it depends on how large a stitch size you have, but usually, briefs are not thick. Instead of casting off, you may also put needles into idle position and cast them off all at once, until you have come to where you cast off only 1 at a time. When you have come so far that you have reached the calculated distance between the legs, you knit straight ahead, until you have made the number of rows that was calculated from the groin to the seat height. Set the row counter at 0, and now you knit the same number of rows on the backside. First a short straight piece. Next a piece where you increase 3 or 4 at a time. Now begin to make shortened rows, only 2 at a time, with 2 or 4 rows in between. Put only the outermost 3 - 4 stitches in idle position, also when you have increased. At the same time, you still increase 3 - 4 stitches at the beginning of each row; and when you have come halfway to the groin, you increase only one at a time. In order to have a less abrupt transition, you may increase by 2 a couple of times before that. How many times you shall make shortened rows, depends on how finely or coarsely you knit. Calculate with at least 4 cm, depending on the size. Go on with increasing one stitch at a time, until you have reached the same row number and stitch number as in the front. You may, at a pinch, increase the last stitches in one turn, if you are unable to reach the required needle number in the course of that number of rows that you use. Remember not to count in the shortened rows.
Now, set the row counter at 0, and go on guided by the enlarged knitting sample, the same length as in front, and again allow rows for a seam, or hang in the comb before you start on the seam, and finally hang it up on the needles and cast off loosely.
Before you sew the trousers together, the trousers' legs must have some kind of edge. If you have knitted with fine yarn, you may make a rib border on every needle, and sew it on with a machine with zigzag. If you do not have a ribber, you may pick up stitches and make a seam, which you seam on the other side of the edge, or maybe you choose to crochet a border, or just sew on a bias strip. You may also knit a ribbon and sew it on like a bias strip, i.e. bend it around the edge, and sew it on with zigzag. If you make a rib border on every needle, you have to make a small knitting sample. It needs be no larger than you can just use a side claw with a little weight in it. It is not to be cast off, but just knit e.g. 16 rows, knit in contrast coloured yarn and drive off the stitches. Fasten it with pins on an ironing board, and pull it out to the length of the selvedge. You can use it at once.
I have presupposed that you are using fine yarn when you knit briefs. But if you use thicker yarn, you can of course pick up stitches and knit the rib border on every other needle.
- Hip circumference at the broadest place, but a possible belly is not included.
- Seat height in sitting position, from the sides of the waist and down to where the buttocks touch the chair, i.e. to a point a little bit inwards from the sides of the buttocks.
- Trouser leg length, from the crotch and as far down as you want the trouser legs.
- The thigh circumference at the upper end of the trouser leg.
Use an expanded knitting sample all the way.
Knit two pieces that correspond to each other as mirror images. The width above is to be half of the hip circumference. But it gives the nicest result to begin at the lower end with a rib border or a seam.
Cast on the hip circumference. Increase regularly in each side until you reach 1/2 hip circumference + 3 - 4 cm for the gore. How frequently you increase, is calculated by dividing the row number from the bottom up to the crotch by the number of stitches that should be increased in each side. Or, if you have drawn a pattern, use the angle table.
Set the row counter at 0 again. Now you are going to knit the length of the seat height up to the waist. At the same time, you decrease for the gore (3 - 4 cm) until the knitting is as wide as half the hip circumference. Start out with casting off a few stitches in each side. Then cast off one stitch at the beginning of each row a few times. At the same time, you begin to make 2 shortened rows at a time in one of the sides (on the back). These have to slope towards the middle of the machine, with 4 to 6 rows in between, and for every time that you have made shortened rows, you set the row counter two numbers back. The first time, most of the stitches have to be set in idle position, and the next times, fewer and fewer, until you end near the middle. Those turns where you make shortened rows, you don't decrease on the back. Thereby, the gore on the back becomes a little more elongated. This gives you more width.
When you have decreased for the whole of the gore, and you have finished with the shortened rows, you go on straight ahead, till you reach the waist. Here, you can either knit a few extra rows and sew a seam, or you can hang in the comb, knit a piece twice as broad as the seam, and hang the stitches from the comb up on the needles, and cast off loosely, e.g. by knitting the stitch an extra time for every time you cast off.
If you want to hang in the comb to knit a seam, it can be done in the following way: Fasten the comb in the gate and push up every other stitch. Push the idling button and set the stitch size at zero. Knit one row while you hold the comb in a position slightly slanted towards the machine, so that the carriage will not run against it. Detach the comb from the gate and pull it down. Push the idling button and set the stitch size. Knit twice as much as the width of the seam. Now, the comb is to be hung up on the needles. Push again every other stitch up, preferably only into idling position. For safety's sake you may lay the elongation bars in between, before hanging the stitches from the comb up on the stitches that are in idling position.
If you have knitted the overall trousers with fine yarn, and then begin to make rib on every other needle, it will probably become too loose. But when you use an expanded knitting sample, it will become expanded anyway, so this is acceptable, especially if you have the possibility to set the machine for tight rib. Otherwise you must knit the rib on every needle, knit in contrast coloured yarn, and drive off the stitches. But in this method, you cannot be sure that the border may be stretched as far out as the double needle number, when you go on knitting plain knitting. At any rate, you must knit with a larger stitch size than in the plain knitting. Instead of this, you may use loose casting on, and perhaps crochet it on. Further, there is the possibility to begin with circular knitting and make a seam in that way, and afterwards transfer the stitches of the ribber to the knitter. If you are so lucky that you have a garter carriage, you can knit the border with that. But if you do not have a ribber, you must start with a seam instead.
Overall trousers with a gore sewn in
Make a knitting sample in rib on every needle. Fasten it on an ironing board. Stretch it so much that the selvedge is smoothed, but not tightened. Fix with pins all the way around. The sides will be longer than the midline, so you cannot measure the length here. The midline will be too short; but halfway between the midline and the side, where it starts to curve downwards, will perhaps make the best fit, for it had better be a little too long than a little too short. The sample may be used at once.
Knit two straight pieces 1/2 hip circumference wide. The length shall be trouser leg's length plus seat height. Start from below. When you have reached the trouser leg length, a strand is put as a mark in each side. It is from here and upwards that the gore is sewn in. Knit on until you have reached the whole length. Knit in contrast coloured yarn, and drive off the stitches.
Next, you knit the gore with plain knitting: Cast on 4 stitches, and knit 2 rows. Increase 1 stitch at the beginning of each row until the gore is 6 - 8 cm wide. Knit 4 - 6 rows, and now decrease in the beginning and end of every 4'th or 6'th row until 4 stitches remain. Cast off.
Sew together the trouser legs up to the mark. Then sew on the gore. Start at the broadest part of the gore, and sew it so that the two short sides will be on either leg. The middle of the gore is to be at the mark, and the tips must be up. Turn the trousers around, and sew the two long sides of the gore on either leg. Sew the trousers together in the middle of the front and in the middle behind.
Put on the trousers, and fasten pins along the waist all the way around. Sew a zigzag border or multi-stitch zigzag approx. 2 - 3 cm above the pins. Cut off with caution, so that you do not cut into the stitches. Sew an extra time, before you bend down the seam and sew it on. Make a little opening for the rubber band.
|NS||½ neck + 1 shoulder|
|UA||Upper arm circumference|
|BL||Back length until hip|
|SL||Sleeve length from shoulder|
|LL||Leg length from crotch to ankle|
|Age||0-3 months||3-6 months||6-12 months||12-18 months||2 years||3 years||4 years||5 years||6 years||7 years||8 years||9 years||10 years|
|Height||60 cm||70 cm||80 cm||86 cm||90 cm||100 cm||110 cm||115 cm||120 cm||125 cm||130 cm||135 cm||140 cm|
Of course, you can knit a baby cardigan in the same way as you knit one for adults, with or without armhole. But there are many other ways to do it, quick ways as well as slower ways. Here I will show some examples:
Quickly knitted cardigan in one piece
You begin at the bottom and cast on the measurement of the chest circumference. The sides are the middle of the front. Knit straight up to the armholes. Knit in contrast coloured yarn on 1/4 of the stitches in both sides and release the knitting; but you have to knit the outer 1/4 of the stitches before you enter the contrast coloured yarn; otherwise the thread will not be where you need it. This part will become the lower part of the front pieces, which are later bent around to the plain side and stitched upon the upper part of the front pieces.
Put the row counter back to 0, and cast on new stitches for the sleeves with closed casting. There must be slightly more new stitches than you had for the front pieces.
If you want, you can slope the underside of the sleeves with shortened rows, thereby making the sleeves narrower at the bottom. It will fit if you push 3 or 4 needles in the idling position at a time. When you have finished the sloping, you must note the row number, so you can make the same number of shortened rows on the other side of the sleeves. At the bottom of the sleeves you can increase one stitch, say for every fourth row, as you see in the picture. When you reach the middle of the sleeve you increase one stitch again for every fourth row, but at the same time you have reached the back of the neck in the other side. You cast off the stitches for the neck or knit in contrast coloured yarn. Then push the stitches on one side in the idling position and knit each side separately. Note the row number, so you can begin on the same row when you are knitting the other side. Finish one sleeve at the same time as you make the front neck. Knit a few rows straight and then decrease one stitch a row a few times and then cast on the rest of the stitches to the middle of the cardigan. Knit straight up in the neck side until you have finished the sleeve. Knit in contrast coloured yarn on the front piece separately and the sleeve separately.
When you have finished both sides, you remove the knitting from the machine. Iron the edges, bend the bottom pieces of the front, sew the open loops together with the upper part of the front as shown in the mounting chapter, and sew the sleeves together by sewing the open loops together with the cast on loops.
You can crochet an edge on the neck and front, or pick some stitches up and make a rib border with buttonholes.
Cardigan with a round yoke
You can knit a round yoke transversely, by knitting shortened rows. You may knit a pattern on the lower end. Choose a coloured pattern which is equal in both directions.
Calculate the neck circumference to about 25 cm, using your knitting sample to find the number of rows per cm. This is half of the rows you are going to knit, because you make shortened rows twice so that only the bottom piece has a pattern. On some machines, the neck piece will get small stripes, because you push the needles down from the idling position to the C position and the coloured yarn will knit the needles in C position, but only at the return strokes, so the stripes come on every second row. Knit until the row counter has reached twice the length which you calculated for the neck. Then cast off.
Now the yoke is partitioned like this: 1/8 for each front piece, 1/4 for each sleeve and 1/4 for the back, and mark it with pins or tack marks. It is probably easiest to start with the sleeves, because here you need not knit shortened rows. Pick up stitches in the edge of the yoke. Make a stitch in the beginning of each row, until you have the amount of stitches that you have calculated for the upper arm circumference, and then increase one stitch for every fourth row in each side until you have reached the sleeve length. If you are not sure about the sleeve length, fold the yoke and measure, from the middle of the back, the length NS, and make a mark. Measure the piece from that mark and till the end of the yoke; this piece must be subtracted from the sleeve length. The line in the middle of the picture shows NS, from which you can measure the sleeve length. You may finish the sleeve with a rib border.
At the front pieces and at the back, you must start rounding the piece so it suits the rounding of the yoke, when you have picked up the stitches from the yoke. At the same time you pick up a stitch from the sleeve in the side, or you make a stitch, until the sloped piece has the same length as the piece at the sleeve. When you have finished the decreasing, you put the row counter back to 0. Knit straight down to the same row number on the back and the front pieces, and finish with a rib border. Knit neck border and front borders in rib and make buttonholes in one side.
Sidewards knitted cardigan with shortened rows
Start making a front border either by rib knitting or by making a seam. You can knit buttonholes at this border or wait until you have knitted the whole cardigan and come to the other front border.
Now you knit shortened rows in series of three. The bottom piece must be the longest, maybe as long as the two other pieces together, or a little shorter. Push the needles from the two upper pieces into the idling position and knit one time forwards and backwards, then push the needles from the middle piece down and knit once more; and at last you take all needles down and knit the whole way over. Continue knitting three times forwards and backwards, first the bottom piece, then the bottom and the middle piece, and then the whole way over, until you come to the sleeve. Then you knit the bottom piece once, so the thread stays there. Place the bottom piece stitches on a safety pin or on a transfer tool comb with a rubber band to halt the stitches. Now you cast on new stitches for the sleeve. Knit the sleeves the same way as the front piece, but leave a few stitches for the wrist and knit them the third time together with the neckpiece. If you find that this is too tight, you can knit it only every second time, or whatever you think is suitable. The sleeve must be as wide as twice the armhole depth, which you calculate from your knitting sample. Now you can pick up the loops from the casting-on edge and place them on the needles. Cast off the whole together. In this way the edge will appear on the plain side, but under the arm. If you don't want that, you can knit in contrast coloured yarn and sew the open loops together later, but make sure that you finish under the arm. Now take up the stitches from the safety pin and continue the knitting in the same way as for the front piece until the back is twice as wide as the front piece. Knit the other sleeve in the same way as the first sleeve, and then knit the other front piece. Finish off with the other front border, and buttonholes if you did not make them on the first front border.
The neck requires a border too, either a rib border or a crochet border with holes for a string, otherwise it becomes too large. Likewise, the bottom edge and the wrist edge must have a crochet border, otherwise they will roll.
Cast on 2 - 3 stitches and knit as long as you want. Hold the starting thread lightly, at least in the beginning. The string will roll by itself.
Knit two pieces that are laterally reversed.
If you want to avoid a seam in the middle of the front and the back - e.g. if you want to make a pattern on the belly - you may proceed as follows: Cast on half the hip circumference for the front. Start at the crotch with contrast coloured yarn in two halves divided at the middle. Thereby you can knit upwards in the pattern that you want, and need not knit the pattern from above, which not all machines can do automatically. Knit until you reach the armhole, cast off a few stitches, and increase one stitch in the beginning of each row. Finish with a rib border or a seam and make a buttonhole in each side. Knit a back piece in the same way, but leave a few stitches in each side for shoulder straps and place them on a safety pin. The sloped edge will not roll, so it is not absolutely necessary to make a crochet border.
Now, take half of the stitches from the front and half of the stitches from the back, so the middle of each piece will become the side of the trousers' leg. Then you are going to decrease for the gussets. Calculate 1/12 of the hip circumference (including nappy) for the gusset in front and 1/8 for the gusset in back, which must be bigger. You do that by sloping the back half with shortened rows, while the needles in the front are staying in the idling position. This will fit because the trousers have to be higher in the back anyway.
Put half of the needles in idling position. This will become the front side. Increase one stitch at the start of each row on the back. On the front you activate a few needles for every row, and one extra stitch at each return stroke. Knit as many shortened rows as corresponds to the number of extra stitches in the back gusset relative to the front gusset. When all stitches have become included, you begin to increase one stitch at the start of each row in the front as well, still increasing also on the backside, i.e. you increase one stitch at the start of every row. If you increase e.g. 8 stitches in the front gusset, and you have made four shortened rows in the back, you will now have to increase 12 stitches in the back gusset.
Now we are going to knit the legs. You may decrease a few stitches before you knit the legs straight downwards. Thereby you get a flat piece where the nappy can lie. Decrease by equal space until you have the leg length and the ankle width. You can decrease a little more in the back until you have the same needle number in each side. Finish with a rib border or a seam.
If you want to knit feet, you can make a row of holes, so you can pull a string through. See in the other garments chapter how to knit the feet.
Shoulder straps: You can knit shoulder straps on the back needle bed by using the tuck buttons. Push every second needle in C position, knit one or two rows, and put the opposite needles in C position, etc. This knitting will not be liable to roll. Ordinary rib knitting will stretch too much, which all long and narrow pieces will do, but not if you do as described.
Naturally, you may also begin the rompers from above and knit until you reach the gusset. From there, you must knit in contrast coloured yarn divided into two pieces, and proceed as described above.
Rompers with a seam in front and back
Begin under the arms and make a seam or rib border with a row of holes. Knit two laterally reversed pieces. When you reach the crotch, you push the front needles in the idling position and knit shortened rows on the back piece while you decrease one needle in the beginning of each row. When you have finished the shortened rows, you knit the whole way over and decrease in both sides, so that the gusset gets bigger in the backside than in the front side. You can then increase the stitches from the gusset again, or only some of them, and knit the legs straight down or slope them.
When you have knitted the two halves and sewn them together, you can pick up stitches from the upper seam if you want, or just use the trousers alone.
If you knit a flap, then do not make it too wide, as it will fold. You can increase and slope it, so it is not too wide at the neck. Finish with a rib border or seam, and remember buttonholes. On the back, you can either make a flap that is similar, except that it has shoulder straps, or shoulder straps may be fixed just by picking up stitches on the back seam. If you have buttonholes in the front and buttons on the shoulder straps, you can make the shoulder straps a little too long, so you have the possibility to move the buttons when the baby has grown. You can pull a string through the seam, or for bigger babies a rubber band.
Furthermore, there is the possibility to start at the bottom of the legs with a rib border. The leg length is calculated from the widest part of the gusset. If you do not want a seam in the middle of the front and back, you can knit in contrast coloured yarn on two pieces, and when you have knitted the other leg, you can proceed as described above.
Patterns with single bed machine
Many pattern knittings must be knitted with comb and side weights, but this makes it more difficult to make the knitting sample fit exactly. However, if you have some practice, you may not always need weights for the knitting sample. On the other hand, this does not prevent you from knitting the work itself with weights, if things proceed easier that way.
If, for example, you knit with colour pattern all over, you may omit weights, and in that case you may knit the sample just like you make a plainly knitted sample, and measure the length along the edge. However, if you want to make a single pattern, e.g. in the middle of the plainly knitted piece, you usually have to use weights. If the pattern makes up only a small part of the whole, you may be guided by a plain sample, but if it makes out the main part, you may simply choose a random pattern for the sample, which you then knit without weights.
One will usually start with a few rows of plain knitting until one begins to make the pattern. But you should not set the row counter until you begin the pattern, and only from then on should the length be measured. Obviously, more stitches go on colour knitting, because the threads on the wrongside draw the knitting together. Therefore, if you make borders of colour knitting alternating with plain knitting, you have to knit the colour pattern with a stitch size larger than that of the plain knitting.
There is a limit to how small a stitch size you may use for colour knitting, because the threads on the wrongside get too long if you knit less than e.g. stitch size 5 - 6. The length of the threads depends on the distance between the needles, and not only on the stitch size. If only a single piece of pattern is involved, you may probably manage just by hanging the longest threads on a needle; this will not be visible on the front side. If there are many long threads, you may crochet them, and attach the last stitch to a needle. You have to begin with a short thread, or even better begin by drawing the first thread in below a stitch, whereby the crocheting becomes fixed in the middle. Only if you use relatively thick yarn as pattern thread will this be slightly visible on the front side.
If you want to knit with three colours in the same row, then you must, instead of the colour button, use the idling buttons. It is most practical to have all three colours in the same side, knit them one at a time, returning empty and fetching the next colour, until you have all colours on the other side. I.e., you have to make the card in such a way that you leave out a row in those turns when you return empty. When you start on a new row, you will not have to leave out a row, because now all colours are on the same side. Of course, the more colours you use in the knitting, the longer threads you get on the wrongside. I will not recommend knitting with more than three colours; the machine is not so "happy" with it. At least, mine is not.
If you knit with yarn that is too thin for colour knitting, you have another option, which I call "imitated jacquard". Thereby I mean a type of patterns that consist of two rows of pattern alternating with two rows of base colour. For every colour, a few stitches are detached loose. On the machine, this is done by using the idle position, i.e. those stitches that are not to be knitted, remain in knitting position, and those that are to be knitted, are set in idle position. Those stitches that are not knitted will extend into the next colour and form the vertical lines in the pattern. There may never be several stitches next to each other out of function, just as there may never be more than two rows with each combination of needles. The dots indicate which needles are not to be knitted. These are every other round in a pattern row and every other round in a base colour row. The pattern may not go in an oblique direction, because then the needles would have to be out of function twice in succession.
Evidently, these patterns become fairly compact, and therefore they are best fit for borders. A typical example is the classical Greek meander borders, but once you have understood the principle, you can make many other patterns yourself.
Here you see some examples of imitated jacquard: Figure 1 shows how to draw the pattern. Begin with the lowest row that is a pattern row. Here, the white squares with dots are to be set out of function. Knit two rows. After that, two rows of base colour are knitted, and here the dark squares with dots are set out of function, etc. If the pattern is to begin with a row of base colour, you must start with a stripe of the pattern colour.
Figure 2 shows another pattern as it looks when knitted. Here you see that if you want more than one stitch in between, you may manage that by making dots; thereby the pattern becomes less compact.
Figure 3 shows on top the pattern, below that how to make your card if you can knit a negative and twice as high, and at the bottom how to make the pattern if you cannot. The black ones are pattern rows, the red ones are base colour rows, the white ones are the needles that remain in knitting position, and thus are out of function.
These patterns take approximately twice as many rows as stitches, but as you knit two rows with each colour, the patterns become approximately equally large in each direction.
If you want to make patterns yourself, then draw on a sheet of chequered paper, and try to place dots like in the figure. Then you will see if it is feasible.
In lace knitting, the garment will be looser than in plain knitting. How loose it gets, depends of course on how close the eyelets are positioned. If there are only few eyelets, you can use a plain knitted sample as guide. If you have a lace carriage, you will always have the lace carriage to the left and the ordinary carriage to the right, unless the lace carriage is built in. Therefore you have to knit at least two rows between every row with eyelets. If you do that, and assuming that the eyelets are evenly distributed, the following rule applies: If the stitches have been shifted only one step, the pattern has to be knitted one number lower than in plain knitting. If the stitches have been moved by several steps, thereby producing a structural pattern, you can use the same stitch size as in the plain knitted sample. If you knit eyelet patterns alternating with plain knitting, you must reduce the stitch size by one number every time you are doing eyelet knitting (unless you have shifted the stitches by several steps), and go back to the original size when you return to plain knitting. Thus, in lace knitting you may manage with just a plain knitted sample.
Tuck is a structural pattern that appears on the wrongside. You can make tuck knitting by putting those needles in idling position that are to be "tucked"; thereby, the threads settle over them, and when you activate the needles again, these threads are fixed by the next row. There must not be several tucked threads next to each other.
Tuck may also be produced with the tuck buttons. This looks nicer, because if you put the needles in idling position, the knitting stretches a little. When the machine is set for raised ribbing, only those needles are being knitted that are in idle position, and the thread will settle over those needles that are in knitting position (On a ROYAL you cannot see which needles are involved. There, you set for raised ribbing, and then the punch card takes care of the pattern). You may knit two or several rows with every needle combination. For example, you may knit honeycomb pattern by knitting every fourth stitch as rib, go on to knit 4 - 5 rows, and then shift by two stitches and knit 4 - 5 rows. For such patterns, most machines will probably require a comb with side weights. However, with a small knitting sample you may manage without weights. In that case the sample fits more easily, and you make it in the same way as a plain knitted sample. The sample should be smoothed out in transverse direction, however, but without making it tighten. If you have been using weights, the edge cannot be utilized for the length measurement, but one may hold the sample a bit together lengthwise, if only not so much that it makes folds. There is no problem in knitting the work itself with weights, even if no weights were used for the knitting sample.
It is possible to make some beautiful lace patterns e.g. by knitting on every other needle, and then tuck the threads on every fourth or every sixth needle. These may be shifted relative to each other. There are many possibilities.
May be made on a single bed machine as follows: Instead of having a purl stitch on each side of the cable to set the cable off, you may leave out a stitch and put the needle in starting position, so that a hemstitch appears.
Weave patterns appear on the wrongside. You can only make them if you have weave brushes, either built into the machine, or loose, as extra equipment that may be put on.
Knit the base with thinner yarn. The weave yarn is placed by hand and led by a notch at the side of the carriage. It must be thicker than that below, and may even be thicker than what can usually be applied on the machine. Thus, you actually knit with two different thickness of yarn. The weave thread will become fixed in those places where there is a shift between those needles that are up, respectively down, i.e. in knitting position and idling position. The thread may just as well pass over needles that are up as needles that are down. It is the shifting between them that causes the fixation.
There are many possibilities for weave knitting. If, for example, you want a regular pattern effect, you may change between a base where every other needle is put in idle position alternating with having the opposite every other needles in idle position ("salt and pepper"), and a pattern where you extend over several needles. Such patterns have to be relatively simple.
Knitting samples for weave knitting may be used at once. The weave threads fix the knitting. Weave knitting has the property that you may cut in it. The stitches will not run further than to the first place where the weave thread has been fixed.
Intarsia knitting is made with an intarsia carriage which is extra equipment. It knits with the needles standing in idling position. Thereby, you can place the thread by hand, allowing you to place different colours into the same row and then wind the threads around each other where they meet. You may make intarsia knitting with only two colours that separate either medially or at a slant, or whatever you want. You may also make squares of different colours, equally sized or in different sizes, or other shapes.
If you have many colours, it may soon become a mess, unless you do as follows: You must constantly take care that the yarn on the outward way is twisted one way around, and on the homeward way twisted the opposite way around. If you use only little of every colour, you may make small figure 8-shaped balls of yarn, where the thread is pulled from the inside. These balls are made by winding some yarn around your hand, keeping the beginning of the thread free, and finishing it off by winding a little yarn around the middle of the ball. The balls should not be so loose that they fall to the floor, but they do have to hang somewhat down. On the other hand, the thread must not be so tight that it is tedious to pull it out. If you need slightly bigger balls of yarn, you may put each of them in its own little plastic bag fixed with a clothes peg that keeps the thread as tight as is suitable. Here, too, the thread should be pulled from the inside of the ball.
If you have a knit leader, you can knit pictures. The pictures are drawn on the dress pattern on the sheet, so it can be read where the colours change.
If you have a plating yarn feeder, this too may be used for intarsia knitting, because you can see the needles, so you can change thread in the right place; but unfortunately, you cannot at the same time knit a colour pattern. The plating yarn feeder is meant for adding an extra thread, e.g. a thin gold or silver thread, which is knitted together with the thread proper, and which is seen either on the wrong- or the rightside, depending on whether you put it in front or behind.
If you have a garter carriage, you can make wrong/rightside patterns coded by punch cards. It is possible to make these patterns without comb and weights, at least on BROTHER. The sample is made in the same way as a plain knitted sample. The garter carriage knits by itself, but on the other hand it works very slowly. I would guess that a hand knitter might knit almost as fast. The advantage is that you do not have to sit next to it. But if the stitch number has to be decreased or increased, you must take care to be there in time, otherwise it will last several days to knit one piece. If you want to shut off the machine, e.g. during the night, you may risk that the pattern has become displaced when you turn on again. Therefore, you should always, if possible, encode the pattern so that it stays in right place.
Patterns with the ribber
In addition to knitting various versions of rib, 1/1, 2/2 etc., you may rack stitches or rib stitches. If on the ribber you leave out a needle e.g. in two positions near the middle, so that there are two empty needles instead of one, you may rack the stitches between these two needles, but not in the rest of the piece. If you do it in the opposite way, the racked stitches will appear on the sides but not in the middle. In this way, you may produce either stripes or check patterns by alternating between having racked stitches in one side and the other side.
You may also do raised ribbing on the knitter guided by a card, and ordinary rib on the ribber. In this way, something appears which resembles a lace pattern. The pattern must be made on all needles (full rib), unless the machine has a button that can make the pattern twice as broad, which is the case with certain machines.
In addition to these patterns, some of the newer machines allow you to make multi-colour-rib (jacquard). This requires a colour changer, which is available with four colours and a yarn feeder dimensioned for four colours. The pattern is knitted with two rows of pattern alternating with two rows of base. You begin with one row of base. Thereby, the rows become staggered so that the alternation is less visible. Some machines have a button that automatically changes the pattern on the card for jacquard. On the other hand, if you have to make the patterns yourself, it becomes very tedious, but it is feasible. After all, when you buy the equipment, it includes pattern cards meant for jacquard. The advantage of jacquard is that you avoid threads on the wrongside, which would especially be bothering if you knit large patterns or large single motives. The spaces will instead by knitted on the ribber.
There are three ways to make the patterns:
- On all needles
- With every third needle on the ribber and all needles on the knitter
- On every second needle
Method 1 is most feasible if the ribber has a button that can be set so that every other needle is taken when going outward and the opposite every other needles are taken when going homeward. Here you must look out if you increase or decrease in one side, because then the system is messed up, the same needles being taken every time. You can avoid this by pushing up needle number 2, because the machine will always begin with that one. But if you have the same needle number in both sides, this does not happen. If you increase or decrease in both sides, you must use both threads in the side where the colour changes, otherwise the machine will lose stitches when it changes colour.
Method 2: Method 1 produces a relatively thick garment. But it is sufficient to include every third needle on the ribber. In this case you have to shift by one half stitch, placing the needles between each other. On the knitter, there will be 3 needles in between. This requires a little more stitches on the knitter than in plain knitting, because the purl stitches draw the whole a little together.
Method 3: Rib on every other needle. This method requires a button that makes the pattern twice as broad, unless you make special patterns that only use every other needle.
With this kind of knitting you may, for example, knit a name into the rib border on stockings. You have to make the letters both upside down and mirror imaged. If, on the other hand, you have a machine that can knit downwards from above, the letters shall not be made as their mirror image, as they become so when they are turned upside down. Remember that stockings are knitted downwards from above. If you have a punch card covering 24 stitches, there will only be room for the initials. Only if you have a print card or a diskette, you will have room for the whole name. If you have cast on 60 stitches for stockings, there will be room for a name with 5 letters, or, if one of them is i or j, it can be 6 letters.
For jacquard, the stitches have to be 1 to 2 numbers lower on the ribber than on the knitter. With large stitches, it will be 2 numbers, and with smaller stitches 1, for the very smallest maybe only 1/3.
Most machines require weights for all rib patterns. Therefore, you have to make the knitting sample in another way. Cast on e.g. 60 stitches and hang only a few of the small weights on the middle. The sample has to lie for at least two days, and preferably several days.
Length as well as breadth have to be measured along the midline. Only in raised ribbing, the breadth must be measured a few cm under the contrast colour yarn, which must likewise be knitted with raised ribbing. Knit e.g. 10 rows of contrast colour yarn, corresponding to 5 rows of ordinary knitting, and cast off the stitches without closing. If you knit with very fine yarn, e.g. on stitch size one, it is necessary to have a little weight in each side. Therefore, this too has to lie for several days.
Problems with the knitting
When you buy a knitting machine, you are usually told that it will run easily, i.e. that you do not need to use force. This is actually true, provided that there are no problems with the yarn, that it is not too thick, and not uneven. Of course, if a knitting machine is demonstrated to you, the shop will use problem-free yarn. But in practice, you will probably use yarn of many different types. As referred to above, it helps a lot to wax the yarn with a stump of a stearin candle. Some machines have a little peg meant for a bit of wax along which the yarn can slide. Personally, however, I do not think that this helps sufficiently. When you wind the yarn on a yarn ball winder, you may simultaneously let it slide over a stump of stearin candle.
The carriage should be moved like you move an iron. You press a little on the hind end, depending on how easily the yarn runs. It is a good idea to hold both hands on the carriage; it is hard on your arms if you use only one hand. It is also important that you sit at the right level. If the chair is too low, you put a strain on your shoulders, and if it is too high, you put a strain on your back. For some machines, a motor is available, but that is an expensive investment, and the knitting does not run faster - far from it. The only advantage with the motor is that it spares your arms.
If you get problems with the carriage getting stuck, you will first have to check to see if there are knots or tangles in the yarn causing it to tighten, or if a needle has become trapped. If these things are not the cause, you must try carefully to winkle. Different machines each require their own way to be winkled. You will gradually learn this as you become acquainted with your machine. In some machines, the carriage has to be pressed somewhat harder down towards the needle bed, some have to be winkled a little out and in on the bar, but always with care. With a machine that does not use weights, you may pull down the knitting. However, if none of these attempts help, there is no other way than taking off the carriage. Maybe there is some mess under the carriage; maybe a needle has been trapped after all, which you just could not see because of the carriage. If you use force, you may bend or break needles. Some spare needles are always included when you buy a new machine, but if the needle is not too badly damaged, you may yourself try to straighten it out carefully with flat-nose pliers, the needle being fixed in a vice. Also, the latch may have become bent. This can usually be corrected with the pliers, but if you are too violent there is a risk of breaking it. Be aware that needles that you have straightened out yourself may in certain cases cause problems; but it is nice to be able to cope with the situation at a pinch.
If the machine has been standing out of use for a long time, you could oil the moving parts under the carriage, the bar on which the carriage slides, and the needle feet. You do not need to do this very often. A knitting machine is easily kept up; you just need a little brush to clean off dust. But in case there are problems with the machine, it may sometimes help to oil it. If you have bought a second-hand machine, you may clean it thoroughly by taking off all needles and putting them in kerosene.
I have found that sometimes my machine could not be used with the ribber - it stuck in several places. It turned out that the needles were sitting too high; they have to lie flat on the machine. The cause was that the needle holding bar was worn, i.e. the rubber below it was worn down, and therefore it did not press down the needles sufficiently. So, the needle holding bar had to be changed, and the needle bar to be cleaned. By the way, this machine had been bought second-hand; it had been used for demonstrations.
You may often have the problem that some loops get stuck in the gate pegs; and after you have knitted a few rows, the casting-off system does not function with the needles that are nearest to them. This may especially happen if you have unpicked, or carried out something manually with the knitting. What happens is that the thread between the stitches gets inside the gate, and then it remains there. Therefore, it is important to look carefully, after having unpicked, that all loops go outside the gate. There must never be anything inside. But that may be hard to see. Once you have begun, it may go on to be tricky. The cause is that, once you lift off some loops from the gate, new loops will easily get in instead. You can avoid that as follows: After having felt with your hand behind the knitting and discovered where something is wrong, you have to put several of the needles around that place in resting position, which allows you to lift off the loops with the crochet hook, or to nudge them up with a finger, without causing anything to happen with the rest.
If you are knitting with two or several threads of machine yarn, you may get the problem that now and then the machine takes only one of the threads. This, too, may easily cause some loops to get stuck in the gate pegs. The cause may be that the machine needs oiling. It may also be that you are knitting to loosely. Sometimes it is sufficient just to reduce the stitch size by 1/3 number; that will not be visible in the knitting, or make any greater difference in the knitting sample. For safety's sake, you may knit a few additional rows.
If you knit with several threads of machine yarn in different colours, it may give an interesting effect. If you simply take the threads directly from the cone, the knitting will come in random stripes, varying according to how the yarn lies. Sometimes, one colour is at the bottom, sometimes another. But if it occurs that you unpick and wind the yarn jointly, it will become twisted, and the knitting will become speckled instead of striped. If you have wound the yarn before you knit and afterwards have to unpick, it will be wound in another way, it becomes twisted an extra turn, and the specks will look differently. So, you have to wind the threads separately.
If you have some remnants of yarn, or somebody has given it to you, and you do not know if it is wool or artificial material, you may carry out a burning test. You place a small bit of yarn in an ashtray and add a lighted match. If the yarn melts into a small clump or ball, it is synthetic; but if the ash keeps its shape and smells of burnt hair, it is wool. If it is a mixture, some of it will behave like wool, and some will melt. This may be hard to see, however, if there is only little wool in it. There are many different mixtures.
Cotton is recognized by making a thread wet; thereby, it will become stronger. You may first try to break it when it is dry, and afterwards make it wet. But cotton, too, may be mixed. Then, it will still be stronger when it is wet. But you may also try to carry out a burning test. The synthetic part will make it shrink, but there will still remain a thread. It smells quite differently from wool, rather like burnt straw, but cotton too keeps its shape.
Examples of patterns
Continuous patterns by 24 stitches
Other continuous patterns