This baby blanket was a double bed knit on a Passap machine, inspired by the woven patterns found is early American coverlets. Blue, red and white are in use. Because of the knitting technique as colors knit one at a time the alternate colors “bleed through”, giving the illusion of more or even different colors.
One perspective: Johanna Blakley on the subject, TED
After hand washing the piece, blocking wires and pins were used to help it retain desired shape while drying. Its final measurements in inches are 20W by 68L, its weight 3.25 oz . Steaming alone helped stabilize stitches for corrections and is often enough for many pieces in terms of blocking, but flattened the surface excessively in this case. Texture returned and became more apparent with use of the former method. In the image below the center, pivoting point of the mirrored pattern is evident.
The first half of the shawl as it appears on the machine in the process of being knit after several false starts. Gaping holes were typical of potential stitch “drops”. Yarn was knit at loose tension for the effect, in turn resulting in gate peg issues at intervals, but tolerated the lace transfers and hook up problems without breaking, an absolute necessity in a piece such as this. Studio brand ribber comb provided the best source of even weight.
MacKnit was a very short lived American machine knitting magazine (1980s). In Number 5, beginning on page 40, Susanna published a lace shawl pattern that included several transfer lace types. Garment shaping was achieved through an intriguing series of triangles joined during the knitting of them. Using her lace graphs, so far I have the resulting swatches below. There are 2 errors I need to sort out; the fabric is intriguing. The top pattern rows become the triangular edging. The yarn that finally “worked” for me was the Valley Yarns 2/14 Alpaca Silk blend from Webs.
The swatches were very quickly steamed. Lace is one of those fabrics that actually require “real” blocking for best results. Some hand-tooling is mixed in the repeats, stitch formation needs to be constantly checked. Will sort out problem areas, then see where that takes me while keeping any first project as simple as possible.
Generally when I decide to explore a fabric unfamiliar to me, I begin obsessively gathering information which at times can amount to an act of procrastination. I like to solve the different kinds of resulting problems, am involved with the techniques, and attracted the complexities of the resulting structures and design. As much as the main fabric pattern, edgings in lace items can make an important contribution to the finished look. Borders with shaped edgings appeared in very early Brother punchcard books. Typical graphs seen in hand knitting reference books were provided for the on machine hand technique. “Brother Fashion” volume 4 included the graph and instructions for a shaped edging on a blanket, Tessa Lorant published a small book on edgings (1981) that included some punchcard designs for such edgings as well. In her usual kick butt fashion Susanna Lewis included a pattern in “Machine Knitted Guide to Creating Fabrics” (1986) that took the process a step further by using slip selection with the knit carriage to automate the shaping process. Working out the separation required for the repeats can be doable but quite time consuming. A “modern” publication on the latter subject can be found here.
Winter inventory was completed long ago. I live in the northeast which has had a notoriously snowy winter. Many an hour has been spent in snow removal, few hours knitting anything “new”. I have completed some hand knitting projects, and as one, I attempted re knitting a lace shawl successfully completed multiple times before. Having trouble tracking its complicated pattern, I journeyed back to taking “another look” at machine knit lace. Multiple transfer lace on the machine can be slow, tedious, and requires patience in original set up, as one must have yarn that tolerates transfer across fixed metal parts without breaking and the “perfect” weight to allow stitches to knit off properly. Though I like designing my own stitch patterns this is not anything I am ready to do in lace.
The first foray in my explorations resulted from a discussion on a knitting yahoo group I belong to with regards to a lace chart published at in 2 parts.
Below are images of the resulting fabric:
Blocking is one of those knitting preferences that can arouse strong pro/con arguments, and goes the range from casual to nearly compulsive with wires, pins, and assorted tools used to achieve desired results. My shawls continue to sell well: the photos below illustrate part of the process and 2 of the most recent in their family. All shaping and joining are achieved through the knitting process; the shawls are reversible, may be worn and draped in a variety of ways.
before steaming and pressing
detail shot after steaming/pressing
one way to wear, purl side facing out
Bodies knit on Passap E6000, trim with “lights off”
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