Friday, April 30, 2010

Converting Hand Knitting Patterns to Machine Knit

Jodi and Rebecca prepared a very informative and practical program for our April 27th meeting. They provided several handouts, including one on standard yarn weights for hand knitting,one explaining hand knitting terminology and abbreviations and lots of suggestions on achieving a good fit for our garments.

Rebecca described how she would "translate" a published pattern for her own use on the machine. Some of it involves a different interpretation depending on preferences and also whether the machine can perform the same maneuvers. Her method involves first converting everything in the printed pattern to inches and fractions of inches. Then she multiplies by her own stitch and row gauge times the pattern's dimensions. Most of it is straight forward. A set-in sleeve requires a little more attention, however. She pointed out that the sleeve cap height is in direct relation to the armhole depth, but it also depends on the width of the sleeve, which in turn is determined by the style of the garment. Whew! A narrower, more fitted sleeve will have a higher cap; a wider, more casual sleeve has a shallower cap. The average sleeve cap is about 1/2 to 2/3 of the armhole depth.

Jodi showed how to convert a hand knitting pattern to machine knit using the pattern's schematic. She emphasized that you must make a tension swatch. If it varies by just one stitch and one row from the pattern's gauge, the finished product may be all out of proportion. She went through the dimensions of the schematic and the pattern and converted it to her own gauge. She showed how to calculate the armhole curve using some pretty fine math.

Show and tell had some great items. Unfortunately the person whose turn it was to take pictures became awe-struck by all the fine work that she only got a few pictures. Apologies to all the great knitters. Hopefully it won't happen again. There was Marge Coe's All-in-one baby sweater. One completed and one in the process so people could see the construction. Tea cozy, mitts and American Girl doll hat "repurposed" from a felted Norwegian sweater.

There were shrugs, shrugs and more shrugs. Dog coats with a pocket for the dog to carry their deposits back home. (eew!) Felted slippers that didn't quite turn out and regular slippers for the troupes that did. Some darling baby clothes: a girly outfit made with baby jacquard yarn, a romper with built in snaps and a colorful raglan pullover. There was a cute felted floppy hat on a stick that will go into the MN State Fair exhibit "Knits on a Stick". A big hit were the necklaces that were made out of fancy and ladder yarn. This was a pattern demonstrated and sold by Diana Berns at Purls of Joy last weekend. Cheerfully modeled, I might add.

Last, but not least, a "Walkie" scarf that will be in the next newsletter. The pattern was written by Jemajo on Ravelry for keeping warm in the cold Norwegian winters when her dog takes her for a walk.

It was a great meeting with good attendance. We're having fun and learning at the same time!

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