Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Brother KX-350

I decided that I needed a knitting machine that is not a standard that is very portable.  I have a standard Brother KH-341.  It is a little fold up carry with you machine.  It is  pretty neat but being a standard it won't take the larger yarns.

I don't know if they ever made the bulky Brother machines in a portable machine, except for the convertible ones. The problem with the convertible machines is you loose bed size for the bulky when you change the gate pegs and it converts from bulky to standard. That is not want I want to have happen and I already have that portable standard. So I checked out getting one of the Brother KX350 mid-gauged machines.

I saw several of these for sell on e-bay but most went for a price higher then I wanted to pay for a machine that is old and not tested. Then recently there was one that I managed to purchase for not too high a cost. I got the auction at $54.97 plus $15 shipping. So not too bad a price.

Then someone on groups mentioned that this machine you could add to and so make a longer bed for knitting. I figured that someday I might consider purchasing another for that purpose. Then I started looking at some other auctions for this same machine for a friend who wanted to purchase one. I found several and sent the links to her.

This friend has a bond machine but has been having trouble doing some fair isle patterns she likes to do. She is hoping that this 350 machine will work better and not drop stitches as much as the bond. She is also the one who gave me the Brother KH-930 machine I am currently using.

So back the the auctions. She watched one but says it went higher then she could afford. Then she bid on another but was outbid. While she was bidding on that one, I asked her about another that I had in my watch list at ebay. She said that was not the one she was bidding on so I figured, well if it didn't go to high I would give it a go. I won that one also. So now I am waiting for another machine to get here.

My friend did not win the auction for the 350 she was bidding on but she later found one at a reasonable buy it now option and she purchased that one. So now we will both have the same machine. It is too bad that we live the entire country, well almost, a part. We will both be learning a new machine but emails will do to pass on to each other what we learn. Oh yes, I know the machine will need a new sponge strip, I haven't ordered but will soon. I have been looking for a good replacement site to get a sponge strip, and have been told that there is one for another brand of machine that others have used. At this point where I have found the strips are the same places that sell the sponge bars and the price runs the same as a bar. I just cannot see paying the same price for a sponge strip as a sponge bar.

The first machine I won has a video with it, but they said no instruction book. I went to the online brother site that has many manuals and downloaded the one for this machine to look over. The second machine they said has the book but no video. So I will have both anyway. Both sellers say that all the tools and other parts are there, so that at least is a good thing. I need to find a source of needles, but those I have seen come up on ebay from time to time. So I will watch there and a couple other places. As it is for now, I will only be using one machine and the other can be a source of needles if need be.

According to group members, the KX350 will knit sports to worsted weight yarns. It is light in weight so that I can move it easily and it will be a machine that I hope to take to the yard with me. I am not a stick in the house during the spring and summer months. If I can be outside, that is where I will often be. I do have my knitting looms, needles, and my crochet and they go outside with me a lot, but a machine will be nice also.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

CinDWood Looms

I haven't had a chance to mention to you all that the little thumb loom that I bought from Cindy over at CinDWood Crafts is now available on the site.  It is a cute little ten peg loom that is 1/2" in gauge.  

I have used this loom for children to adult thumbs and it is also a very neat little spool/corker loom that you can use it for also.  I skipped pegs for the children's thumbs and it worked quite fine.

I thought that I should also tell you to watch the site for the new round looms that will soon be available.  Currently there are round looms available in 3/4" and 1/2" gauges but soon there are to be rounds in the 5/8" gauge also.  So watch for them coming out.  In the meantime, be sure to check out what else is available.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Angry at Yahoo

I am so angry.  I got an email a couple of days ago that was spam.  The problem is that this piece of spam was sent to my yahoo mail address from my yahoo mail address.  I DID NOT spam myself.

I sent the email along to yahoo asking them to check into this.  I have yet to even get an email back from them saying they are looking into it.  Yahoo sucks at this point.  You all, at least all who have used yahoo, know that they are so bad about taking care of problems.  Now I guess they are bad about even letting you know they got your request for help.

So what brings this up now.  Well, I just got another email from address to my address and it is in my bulk box.  In order to stop these spam message I must block my own address.  I really hate this.

I didn't want to have to change email address but now it looks as if I am going to have to do just that or suffer the want for being able to email my online friends.  I already have at least two different companies banning me as a spammer.  I have not spammed anyone, ever.  This just sucks.

So if you have emailed me and think that I have just not contacted you back, believe me I have tried.  I cannot even email my own Charter account from my yahoo account as Charter lists me as a spammer.  I hate this.  This so interrupts my life.  I am going to have a bit of work changing all of this and dropping an account  have had for many years.  Bummer.

As soon as I get the new address and work this out, I will let those I need to know the new address.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Is it True?

My brother sent me this and I haven't researched the exact numbers but I do remembering listening to the radio news telling me about the new "high" unemployment rates, I do know the higher prices of gas, the failure of the housing industry, see what is happening with stocks and mutual funds (getting personally zapped in that mutual fund area and listening to some saying we need to increase that zapping of what little I do have).  I know what I thought when I read this all put together.


for a sanity check

A little over one year ago:

1) Consumer confidence stood at a 2 1/2 year high;

2) Regular gasoline sold for $2.19 a gallon;

3) The unemployment rate was 4.5%.

Since voting in a Democratic Congress in 2006 we've seen:

1) Consumer confidence plummet;

2) The cost of regular gasoline soar to over $3 a gallon;

3) Unemployment is up to 5% (a 10% increase);

4) American households have seen $2.3 trillion in equity value evaporate

(stock and mutual fund losses);

5) Americans have seen their home equity drop by $1.2 trillion dollars;

6) 1% of American homes are in foreclosure.

America voted for change in 2006, and we got it!

Be careful what you vote for in November, you might get it again!

Can you afford it?

Friday, April 04, 2008

Baby Booties on the Knitting Machine

I got my first baby bootie on a knitting machine done, well except for the sewing up part.  At least it is off the machine and oh so cute.

I got the pattern from Berta's site Hobby Knitter  It is under the pattern link to the side and is just called Baby Bootie Pattern.  

Berta did a video to show how she does these little booties.  I actually had one other sort of done but since I was using different yarn and a bulky machine the size was way different then what I needed.  So I frogged that other one.  You can see the videos that Berta has here:  All hobbyknitters Videos  (click on the one named HKMT_bootie to see the one I am posting about.

I used the Brother KH210 bulky machine to make this bootie and hope to get the mate to it done tonight.  Then I need to make ties for it.  I plan to do those on the machine, Berta's was on a machine but instead of doing them on the 210, I will use the Brother KH930 for those with a single strand of the same yarn.

The reason I used the bulky machine is because I have been having so much trouble with it.  Some of the end needles do not want to knit off right, sometimes a decrease needle will not knit off the stitch on it and the decrease stitch, and sometimes it suddenly makes loops in the middle of a project.

So this little project was quite perfect for me to work, stopping every row to see just what those darn sinker hooks are doing.  That is where the problem seems to be.  The sinker hook is to this machine what gate pegs are to many other machines.  One difference is where the gate pegs do not move, sinker hooks do.  The sinker hook moves as your needle moves and if the yarn doesn't get under that sinker hook right you will form loops, stitches don't knit right, and you have a mess to deal with.  

Now I see why the lady who sold me this machine for a very low price was just interested in getting rid of it.  I think she may have been experiencing the same trouble I am having.  One big difference here is that I am very stubborn.  I will make this machine work.

So as I worked this bootie last night, I stopped at the end of every row to look at the needles and sinker hooks to see what was happening.  I read the manual as I went to see if it would tell me something about what I was seeing.  That manual for this machine is just awful.  It shows you how to increase, or decrease on the needles but doesn't mention one darn thing about how to deal with the sinker hooks while you are doing these things.  A very good way to get the knitting on this machine into trouble really fast.  At least this knitter.

So I knitted the first six beginning rows then started the hand manipulated rows.  At the start the cast on is very different then on the 930.  For the 210 the manual says to bring all needles out to position B, then every other needle out to position C, tension dial at 0 left cam at skip, right cam at plain, both L/R holding cams at N, yarn in B yarn feeder (this carriage has two yarn feeders that move in and out depending on which is to be in the working position), run the carriage across from right to left, then slowly back left to right.  

There is no cast on comb for this machine and I am not sure how you would hang one if there was.  Those sinker hooks would be in the way.  For larger projects I will use the cast on comb from my other machines (I have several of them as I have several machines), but that is on a larger project when several rows have been knitted so I can hang the comb.

Ok so far.  Now you change the tension to match your yarn.  I used a "dot" past 2 on the dial as I am only using a fingering weight baby yarn (double strand).  

You have to be extremely careful after the cast on and hold the yarn up (doesn't seem to matter on the holding tension spring), to make sure your yarn doesn't loop at the ends.  If that happens it's a start over.  I found that out the hard way in practice.  

Now there are decreases on both ends for several rows and there is part of the problem.  I am moving two so that the actual decrease is one in from the edge, thus giving the edge a nicer look. So you move two (using the 2x transfer tool), over on each end.  Now the second needle in on both sides has a double stitch on it.  Slowly run the carriage and what do you get, one or both double stitch needles have not knitted right.  Sometimes it is one sometimes it is both, cannot figure that one out yet.

So then I have to hand manipulate those needles to finish making them knit right.  Bummer, but I have to stop at this point to make the next set of decreases anyway so not that much of a problem.   At least I am getting the hang of using that transfer tool.  That is kind of awkward to me, but a necessary tool to learn.

At this point all the decrease rows are done and there is now the eyelet row you are going to do.
What a pain in the whatever for the eyelet row.  Here is the problem the sinker hooks move as the needles move.  Move a needle out the sinker hook moves out also, move the needle back in the sinker hook drops back in.  So there is a special tool that you put into place that keeps the sinker hooks from moving.  This tool has several uses with this machine.  The book calls it a sinker stop but it is also use to bring out needles from A to B position.  I recently bought a latch opening tool from Custom Knitting Mfg. and when it arrived I was so excited, it was a sinker stop, so I got two more from her.  Now I have enough to use across a wider project if I need to.

So back to the problem.  The sinker stop is in place but you can still move the needles in and out but that sinker stop has to be watched, it will pop out of place and the sinker hooks will move. Not a real big deal, but something to watch for.  So you move your EON stitches then remove the sinker stop and what do you have?  Well, you have some of the yarn in front of the sinker hooks. This doesn't work at all, also found out the hard way, because when you run the carriage those sections do not knit right, the yarn will loop badly at these sections.  (frogged many times to discover the problem).

Ok now work these EON moves with out that sinker stop but being careful to make sure the moves go under the sinker hooks.  That does a much better job and that row is done.

Now we have a mock ribbing to do after several knitted plain rows.  This was I think the hardest part of all because of the sinker hooks.  I used the sinker stop to keep the sinker hooks in place but I still wound up with yarn in front of many sinker hooks and these were for needles I wasn't doing the purl pickups for the ribbing.

So first bootie done and much learned about this machine.  Later I will try to get pictures and update this post adding some pictures to show the sinker hooks, and sinker stop together.  If I remember I will try to take those tonight when I am working the second bootie for this pair.

I took the booties in and showed my sister.  She thought it was really cute, and the hubby said it looked ok.  The sister crochets so she knows more about what she is looking at then the hubby does.  

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Double Rake Afghan

I have come to about 75% of the afghan I am working on being done.  I was to take pictures of it but my camera is at my son's house.  Their camera went down and we want pictures of baby Andrew.  This is good for me as well as for them.  I left my SD card in the camera, they will copy pictures to their computer or card, and I will have pictures of my grandson left on my card.  Works out great all the way around.  Well, except for the fact that I do not have my camera to take picture of the afghan.  

So I am driving home today thinking about getting my camera back for the weekend when it dawns on me that I bought my sister a camera and it is hardly ever used.  There has been an extra camera in the house the whole time and I have not even thought of it.  Doesn't that make you feel like you are having a duh moment?  Well, it does me.

So I am not going to worry about getting my camera right away.  I will just place one of my extra SD cards in my sisters camera (I have many of them), and take some pictures tomorrow.  I did the store thing today as my daughter wound up needing help with major shopping and two kids in tow.  I didn't mind one bit.  

Me and Mason went to the toy isle and picked out a couple of "Cars".  Mom tried to talk him out of one as he already has it but it was the one he wanted.  What's the deal, two cars the same only means two times the fun.  Doesn't she understand that one.  She did try to talk him into something else but it wasn't working one bit.  When she finally gave up and told him ok, he gave her the biggest smile and a huge thank you (he is very polite).

Then we went to find one of those little snack trays with the ham, cheese, and crackers.  We found a perfect set.  There are two trays with just enough for two little snacks for a little boy.

The best thing is that mom went to change the baby and feed him and we sat to wait for her to come back and the cousins showed up.  My son was in the store with his two oldest boys (mom was at the doc's office with baby Andrew).  Mason does love his cousins, Payton and Carter. Carter is a little shy with Mason but Payton has that big brother attitude with him. It is really cute and an excellent way for Mason to learn to develop that same thing for when his brother Tanner is bigger. Mason told me the other day to remember that babies are not toys, so you cannot play with them till they are bigger. ROFLOL (good job mom and dad)

I told the boys it was perfect timing as grandma wanted to go get them a little something. They already had an idea of what they wanted. So I got them the DVD of the Alvin movie. Even better it came with a CD of music sung by Alvin and his brothers. They also got little snacks. It isn't very often I get a chance to have all the boys right there and this was special.

So I hope to have the pictures of the afghan, even though not completed, tomorrow and then in a day or two get them posted. I will try to post the instructions for it as soon as I can get them written up. It is a simple little board afghan, very easy to do.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

I watched it and I didn't like what I saw

My brother sent me a link to a little movie he said I should watch.  I watched it.  Oh my, he said it would scare me and he was right.   

"Fitna" by Geert Wilders, a member of the Dutch parliament.  If you ever run across this film  and decide to watch it, please make sure the children are not present when you view it.

Larry said it is not for the "faint hearted" and he is so right.  There is all heck breaking out over this one.  A simple search of the internet will show you that.  I then watched Geert Wilders talking on a youtube video and watched Glenn Beck and Brad Thor discussing this film.  

Nope folks this one has nothing to do with crafting.  Just a very sad thing to see history repeating the mistakes made from before.  Once we had Hitler, and we all know what came of that.  What are we to have in the future?

Like I said beware the little ones viewing this one, but scaredy old me, well,  I was brave enough to dare it.  Shudder!