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.  


Blogger steel breeze said...

Have you checked the yarn tension on the overhead thing? Perhapsit is pulling the yarn too tight? My km does it occasionally, you just have to keep an eye on it.

6:54 AM  
Blogger Amoonsinger said...

I have switched to using the standard machine and I have had some of the same problem. So I experimented.

I think that my idea of what is a fine, extra fine, worsted, or bulky yarn compared to what the manufactures of the old brother machines is way off.

I have found that the carriage tension is way to tight for the yarns I am using.

For example on the standard, doing a thread lace with two strands, one fine and one fingering weight (which I thought would be about medium), I started out with tension dial at 6, but I was getting non-worked stitches on the end needles and sometimes the yarn getting caught on the gate pegs.

So I switched to working with these same two yarns at tension dial 8 and I have had no problem.

So now I need to go back to the bulky machine and try a different tension on the dial with the same yarn I was using and see if that keeps the end needles working right.

I will also watch that tension mast and see if that could be part of the problem.

Thanks so much for the help.


7:36 AM  

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