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Friday, March 18, 2011

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Japanese Crisis Links

I'm posting some links, so that I can keep track of them, as well as making them available to anyone else who wants to read them.

Here is a timeline of events and news items about the nuclear power damage in Japan. It's helpful to see it all in one place.

Here is a sobering series of before-and-after aerial photographs of the damaged areas in Japan, from the Australian ABC news site.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Computers, knitting and knitting machines

Talking about computers and knitting machines gets complicated fairly quickly because we vary in our background and, to be honest, in our level of interest in both computer and knitting machine arcana.

The heyday of machine knitting was the 1980s, which preceded the invasion of computers into our daily lives. So much of the information about how to use computers with knitting machines assumes a fluency with machine knitting, but a very basic and somewhat anxious knowledge about computer technology.

Today there is a new generation of knitters who take computers completely for granted, but have never seen a knitting machine. The way to present information about computer-aided machine knitting to this group needs to be completely revamped.

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Knitting machines are the new stash

Somebody said that on Ravelry, and they are so right. I'm feeling pretty happy to be doing a little bit of destashing. A week ago I bought a gorgeous Passap pinky from a local knitter for a song. But what I really wanted was the motor drive I could see in the picture. Last night I was able to deliver the machine to someone else, and get my couch back!

I've also found a buyer for the PE-1. Very good to find new homes for some of the unused equipment around here.

If you're interested in a machine to play with, get in touch. There are several unused standard gauge machines lingering in odd corners of my house.

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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Machine knitting road trip PART 1

At the end of February I had a lovely visit with Morgan Hicks of All Points Yarn, south of Seattle in WA. It's great to put a face to a name I've seen online for years. Morgan was very helpful to me last year in brokering the upgrade from Design-a-knit 6 on diskettes to DAK7 on CD, and in helping me get some landmarks in the sometimes Byzantine task of navigating North American DAK support.

It was interesting to be able to talk machines and DAK, and to hear about Morgan's recent work with a blind machine knitter, and efforts to allow DAK to provide the interface required to navigate it with accessibility software. Actually, it sounds like these changes might make the software more usable by those who could see, but would rather keep our eyes on our work while we are knitting.

All Points Yarn has a great feel to it. From the outside it's narrow, but inside it is open and inviting. The front looks a lot like hand knitting stores I've seen elsewhere, but through a wide doorway to the back room there is a conversation grouping of chairs for knitting, visiting and learning, and rows and rows of cone yarns. And, in the back room, I spied a midgauge silver reed machine, and a set of shelves with boxed up machines and accessories.

Oh, and the bookshelves were amazing to browse. Many books I hadn't seen before that were new and interesting. I came away with two: a book on modern twinsets to feed my imagination, and a book on understanding charted knitting, which I will used both to understand, but possibly also to write charted designs.

And I also bought some super wash yarn to knit a scarf for DH on my soon-to-be-new-to-me Brother 965i with Gcarriage.

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Friday, March 4, 2011

Ordering MK computer connections in Canada

After a bit of cost comparison, I've decided that the best option for me is to order from the Netherlands from this site:

I ordered an upgrade from my SilverLink4 to a SilverKnit4 on a Saturday morning and had it installed and running by Saturday evening. That was a firmware upgrade, which is a software program, but it had to be customized to my serial number, so wasn't a completely straightforward transaction.

Within Canada I haven't yet found a good DAK dealer to work with, and there's no one local, so I'm waiting for the mail anyway. If I'm going international, there's not much difference between the us and Europe, because US mail seems to get routed through Toronto anyway. And the products are made in the netherlands, so that end is more straightforward. List prices for the Cartridge system with today's exchange rates are about $60 cheaper from ibab than other advertised prices.

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Wednesday, March 2, 2011


DD keeps growing up, but not out, so I thought I would make her some leg-warmers to cover the gap between socks and the bottoms of her pants. We'll see if they fit, and if she likes them.

This was a simple non-pattern on my SK155 + ribber bulky knitting machine, with a Bernat Jacquard self-patterning acrylic yarn.

Set up for 1 by 1 rib, 14..14 on back bed, 13..13 on front bed, Circular cast-on at T0/0, [RC000]. Increase from T3 for the first full row, up one dot each row until at T5/5. Knit 20 rows of ribbing [RC020]. Transfer all stitches to main bed, K40R @ T5 [RC060]. Transfer every other stitch back to ribber. K10R @ T5/5. [RC070] Knit 3 circular rows, then transfer back to main bed. K1R at T4 [COL, RC074]. Back stitch bind off with a tapestry needle, then stitch up the side and bury the ends.