Monday, August 29, 2011

More Machine Knit Wraps

Machine knitting can be relaxing.

If you have ever tried to use one of these machines, and gave up in despair, you might laugh at this idea because in truth the learning curve is very steep and it can be very stressful.

Continuing experimentation on the machine last month, after creating the two wraps in the summer giveaway, led me next to another bias knit wrap, again out of rayon, but this time with a different stitch pattern. It was a fairly relaxing undertaking to knit on the bias in this second attempt.

I am on the hunt for some over-all stitch pattern to love in bias knitting other than the drop stitch. This black and taupe sample uses rows of yarn-overs. Yes, they look like they were done on a diagonal, but they were actually done in rows which only look diagonal because the knitting was done on the bias.

Don't you just love the drapiness of rayon? This particular yarn is a loose three-ply of mostly black, some taupe and a tiny bit of charcoal.

Next up, I challenged myself to considerably more hand manipulation while making the Fiesta Wrap:

This project called for high use of the garter bar. For those of you who have never used a knitting machine--it has a series of latch hooks, each of which holds one stitch. A carriage is passed over the latch hooks causing them to knit, creating a stockinette knit (or jersey) fabric facing away from the operator. Facing the operator is the reverse stockinette (purl) side of the fabric.

The garter bar is a tool that can be used to lift the fabric off the bed of needles, flip the fabric over, and rehang it on the needle bed so that the side of the fabric that was preciously facing away from the operator is reversed to face the operator.

It is called the garter bar because it is what you would use to create a garter stitch fabric. The removal, turning, and replacement of the fabric slows you down because it is all hand manipulation. There is nothing automatic about the process.

This piece required a lot of hand manipulation. It took 210 garter bar turns to create it. In addition, the use of two different fibers required the alternate feeding of the yarns through the carriage at the designed intervals.

The mimosa pink fiber is 90% cotton and 10% nylon. It is knit in a welted pattern with a series of knit rows followed by a series of purl rows. In the center of each welt is an insertion of seven strands of thread in magenta, turquoise and purple. Each end of the insertion row is bead knotted to create a little fringe at the side of the wrap.  All hand work. All slow going.

This project perhaps should not have been attempted as a calming one.

1 comment:

maggi bloice said...

Hi there, interesting piece, did you know if you have a Brother machine (certain models only) you can buy a garter carriage that runs automatically - ok so a bit slow but it does produce some nice stuff...