Saturday, 9 January 2016

I promised photos of the insides

Knitting Nellie is now in bits; there must be over 1000 and we've not even tackled the carriage(s) yet.  Behold: the main body of the machine is in pieces.

Mr B has cleaned all 200 needles (because he's a legend) and together we've probably made it through half of the machine insides so far.  Just the J-linkage system to go (the bit with all the needle selector levers and punch card feeder).  Some of the linkages we've cleaned so far have been completely seized solid - no wonder the needle selection lever wouldn't move!  The old lubricants have gone solid with age and dirt and need to be cleaned away and replaced with new grease.

In this photo you can see that the sinker comb is made from 100 double-prongs stuck to the brown double-sided tape.  Also, check out that fluff accumulation!  No regrets about taking this to bits so far.  Actually, it's pretty enjoyable.  This machine is an incredible creation.

Knitting machine with a beard.
My new double-sided carpet tape has arrived which means we can put the sinker comb back together and start putting bolting the bits back onto the needle bed!  I can't wait!

Sunday, 3 January 2016

Knitting Nellie!

Father Christmas brought me something special last year!  A few days before Christmas, I took the boys to collect a wonderful new toy from a very kind lady who was giving away her late mother's knitting machine.  I am very grateful indeed for her kindness, and I only hope I can live up to the previous owner's skills.  I have zero machine knitting experience to my name so far, but my aim is fair-isle Christmas jumpers for the boys by the end of 2016.  I've got 12 months.

This is knitting Nellie!

It's a Toyota K747 punch-card knitter with lace carriage, intarsia carriage, knit tracer and a bunch of manuals.  Also blank punchcards!  Very exciting!

It also comes with a marvellous range of 1980s pattern books, which I am very excited to dip into and make the boys wear!  Fair-isle dolly mixtures!  What more can I wish for?

Note the reindeer, centre bottom.  You're looking at my 2016 Christmas jumpers right there!

The knitting machine has sadly seized since its last use, so needs completely cleaning and re-oiling.  Fortunately both myself and my husband like to take things to bits, and this marvellous blogger has provided the full service manual online.  That shortens the take-to-bits time considerably by telling us the order to take the bolts out, and giving us a preview of the guts and how they work.  Mr B wants to call this a "re-build" to set expectations as to timescale (lengthy) and I suppose that's fair.

The sponge bar had degraded to such a sticky mess that the first job was to remove all 200 needles and use meths to remove the gunk stuck to them.  Mr B volunteered to do the lot (what a legend) in return for me sometimes letting him do the screwdriver bits... ha ha.

Anyway, the stage we're at currently is that the main body is out of the blue casework and I've labelled all the plates using a marker pen using the terms from the manual to help us in our quest.  Mr B has spent 3 hours cleaning needles and I've purchased 4 rolls of draft excluder to try as the replacement sponge.  Over the next few nights we'll be taking the main body to bits to get inside the needle bed where the rest of the decayed sponge bar has disintegrated.  Then we'll be exploring why the needle selector mechanism has seized.  Mr B has brought the lithium grease in from his garage as a mark of his commitment to the knitting cause.

Expect very little sewing or hand-knitting progress in the meantime, and potentially many photographs of knitting machine insides.  YaaaaAAAAAY!

Last on the list

I cast on for this little jumper the night before my planned C-section for Baby B.  Since I was scheduled last on the list, I figured I'd have lots of knitting time while waiting my turn and potentially being bumped for emergencies.  I needed something to distract me from my rumbling hungry tummy!

Anyway, I did get lots of knitting done before and after the birth, because Baby was an easy and sleepy little mite on the postnatal ward.

The yarn is WI branded (for what that's worth) and is a acrylic 4 ply and wonderfully soft.  There aren't too many acrylics I'm prepared to knit with and this is one of them.  I suspect it's a cousin of Patons Smoothie?

The pattern is "Beyond Puerperium" and my notes are here.  It ended up as a baby gift for my little niece.  Hope she likes it!

I crocheted the saturn V and I'm ambivalent about the result

For our WI's annual entry into the craft competition at the Fenland Fair, I was persuaded to crochet the Saturn V.  The pattern is pretty cool and so is the subject, but nevertheless I had a bad attitude to this project, probably because of the cheap acrylic yarn in my stash that had to be used.  My white yarn was so cheap that it showed the darker stranding inside it.  Also, crochet stitches don't align on top of each other like knitting ones do, rather they are shifted about 1/4st to the right.  Therefore, the vertical black blocks look like they are twisting clockwise around the rocket (they are).  No idea how the designer avoided this fate - vigorous blocking perhaps?

Anyway, it made it back to be stuffed wonkily into Baby B's toy bucket, to look comically bent at me whenever I see it.  Banana rocket.  At least that bit makes me smile.

Saturday, 2 January 2016

I knitted a jumper very quickly

This jumper was finished in November last year, I'm behind on my posting!

In the search for yarn that's (a) cheap (b) soft (c) wears well, I recalled the Patons Smoothie DK that I remembered doing a baby jumper in.  Turns out the only reason it didn't pill was that baby grew out of it before it had been washed too much.  This jumper in the same yarn pilled pretty much straight away.  Boo hoo.

See my ravelry notes here, the pattern is the child's placket neck pullover, changed to be knitted top-down (instead of bottom up) and with a stripe pattern and colour based on someone else's project knitted to a different sweater pattern.

I should always do a tension swatch and this jumper is why.  Gah.  At least toddler big boy likes it, and the actual knitting went quite fast (at least, when it wasn't languishing on a shelf).  It's my third time to knit this jumper pattern, I still love it.  It's so easy to knit and wear.