Felting Yarn

I first knitted with Yeoman Felting Wool last summer, when Yeoman donated a large box of yarn to the eTextiles Summer Camp. It's easier to hand-felt than other wool yarns I've tried, so I ordered a half dozen colors and started to play. It's fun to make detailed colorful designs, and perfect for holiday gifts. But there are a few pitfalls in creating your design. Read on for info about:
  • holes between colors
  • uneven felting due to pattern and color
  • felting technique
Holes

The designs pictured are "single motif": the pattern does not repeat and the contrast yarn stitches are wider than 5 stitches in a row. This results in long "floats" of yarn on the back side. Normally you'd "wrap" the edge needles while you knit to avoid big gaps caused by the edge stitches "laddering." Instructions for this are often included in machine manuals under "how to knit single motif". 
The edge needles are not wrapped in this piece. This resulted in laddering: large gaps and sagging stitches at the edge of each color. This is particularly visible around the brown in the middle.

Superba Second Yarn Guide

I recently had a lovely visitor from Germany, who came bearing knitting machine gifts. Katrin Kennedy (Ravelry user Rumpletasch) was in Chicago for work, and lucky me! she brought along some hard-to-find Superba parts for me. Here she demonstrates how to use the Superba Second Yarn Guide, a separate plate that hooks onto the carriage to hold a contrast yarn for jacquard. Read more for a step-by-step.

Machine Knit With Wire



I've been working on a method to machine knit with copper wire, for creating eTextiles.

the challenge:

  • wire needs to come off the spool with zero drag
  • 30-36 AWG magnet wire is super thin and breaks easily, also tangles
  • magnet wire spools are heavy, which means inertia and momentum if the spool spins, which will snap or tangle the wire.
  • it's got to be cheap

the solution (so far):
  1. place the spool on the floor in front of the machine
  2. mount a wisker disk on the top of the spool
  3. place a guide hoop above the spool for the wire to pass through
  4. attach a light-weight rope thimble to the tension mast, to minimize bending of the wire

things to improve:
a better stand
experiment with larger rope thimbles (maybe 3D print?)


I based this design on industrial coil winding methods. For instance:
 

This research has been a part of my Public Engagement Maker Residency at UIC/Mana Contemporary, working with Professor Sabrina Raaf. Also, props to Ed Bennett, for pointing out the tension mast wire-bending issue.

50 Ways to Love Your Linker

I recently found a Brother KA-8310 linker for $35 on eBay ("working condition"!). I hear these things break more than work, but for the price, I figured, why not? The linker arrived, in clean condition, with original packaging and manual. I knitted up a test swatch, followed the instructions and.... sure enough, it didn't work. Parts moved when I turned the crank, but it did not advance on the bed of my Brother 940.

Then I realized my mistake. I hadn't let Dan tinker with it first.

So, I brought it home, set the box in front of him, and said, "Wanna fix this?" He picked up a screwdriver and I grabbed my camera. (Thus began another romantic evening at home...)

Yeoman Yarn Samples

Color cards scanned on an Epson flatbed scanner, with a CameraTrax 24 Color Card for reference.

Superba Knitting Machine

Last month, I became the ecstatic new owner of a Superba S48, donated by Ravelry knitting machine angel fibremaniac.

This is my first Superba, and I’m thrilled to have it. I’d like to try the knitty hack. Before we get there, though, the machine needs repairs and cleaning. Lucky for us, Dan and I love taking machines apart to see how they work, and we're starting to get pretty good at it.

Deep cleaning the needles is much, much faster if you don’t turn the machine over. Just clamp the machine to a table as if to knit, and you can access the screws underneath. The screws won’t fall out once they’re loosened-- very convenient. 

To remove the needles, I used a bar magnet and was able to lift them out, ten at a time. I soaked them in denatured alcohol + balistol oil. Afterwards, I dropped each needle in its channel before putting the retaining spring back on. This is much faster than on the Passap, which requires working each needle in after the spring is in place.