Monday, May 5, 2008

Knitting Machines - Part 2

OK - how DO you get the designs in there? My scarves are done in machine knitting fairisle. Fairisle is repeating small patterns done in 2 colors - like you see in sweaters and mittens. Fairisle in machine knitting is using 2 colors, carrying one behind the other, regardless of the pattern.

Patterns can be machine knit in 3 ways - hand manipulated, punch card and electronic. All of these involve moving the needles to accept or reject the yarn. I use electronic. My ideas are drawn on a computer using special software. Since I was a computer engineer, I feel very comfortable with this. The computer screen is a grid that I 'draw' on. I can use jpegs, photos or text in my designs. It takes a long time to design a scarf. Sometimes what looks good on the screen does not transfer well to yarn. It is trial and error.

When I am happy with the design, I begin to knit. The carriage can accomodate 2 strands of yarn, one for the background and one for the pattern. The carriage is set to 'fairisle', the yarns are placed in the carriage and cast on to the machine. Weights are placed on the knitting to keep tension on the needles. My yarn comes on 4 lb. cones.

The pattern is fed electronically from the computer to the carriage, moving the needles into position. I have a motor that moves the carriage for me to eliminate repetitive motion damage to my hands. This way I can do 100 scarves in a reasonable amount of time.

The scarves then have to be finished - the long seam linked together, edges surged to prevent unravelling, the scarf steamed and blocked to size and then the fringe sewn on. Voila! A scarf!

Next - how do you do the blankets with the names?

www.YORKnits.com
www.blazingneedles.etsy.com
http://www.icraft.ca/member_products.php
http://lov.li/users/4483

5 comments:

Mickey and Madeline Art Glass said...

Very cool!!! I love the scarves that you have pictured there....what a great thing for team activities.

Sixsisters said...

You do great work Barb ! Love this blog...

ZudaGay said...

Oh my goodness, this is a marriage of your skills and talents all in one, how cool is that? I think what you do is amazing!! I am so NOT technical!

Chauncey said...

I'm really learning here, Barb. Great feature.

Judy Nolan said...

Barb, it is really interesting to read about the process you go through to knit your scarves. Thanks for sharing this with us!--JN Originals