Sunday, 20 November 2011

Fruit with Attitude for the Teacher

I have finished knitting the last of the fruit with the help of my creative kids.  Patterns will hopefully be up in a couple of weeks after exams are marked and reports are written. 

Here is the fruity class of 2011.  The apple in front has a lot of attitude, so look out for him and Bashful Banana is a rather shy girl.  Note how she is wearing her peel pulled up.

Fruit Medley Class Photo

Apple Friends Forever

Merry Melon and Alan Apple are
 very tough lads in their workboots

Bashful Banana is about to pirouette 
off  into the distance on her ballet slippers

Ainslie (5) even discovered that they stack with ease as well.

Watch out Ainslie that stack
is about to topple over

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Apple with Attitude for the Teacher

My daughter (Ainslie – 5) loves making things for her teachers.  With the end of the school year approaching fast she decided that she would like to knit an apple for one of her teachers and give that apple some attitude.  This apple is soon to be joined by a Bashful Banana for her second teacher and a Merry Melon for her Teachers Aide, so look out for them in future posts.  This apple was knit on the original Bond knitting machine that belongs to my 6 year old son (Alan).  It has been specially shortened to 25 needles for him.  The apple can be knit on any Bulky machine just check your gauge by knitting a swatch.

Please be considerate in using this pattern as I have spent many hours developing and testing it.  You may make a copy for personal use, but not post elsewhere on the web or sell this pattern.  Apples made from this pattern should be made as gifts for teachers or for that fruit lover in your life, but not sold for profit.

Yarn:  Worsted weight red or green (8 ply Australia, 4ply US);  Oddments of plain green for leaf and brown for stalk

Other items:  Pipe cleaners (approx. 16 cm in length;  Dimensional fabric paint; 
                     Goggle Eyes

Gauge:  20 sts 28 rows to 4” using KP2

Abbreviations: KP = Key Plate;  COR = Carriage on right;  COL = Carriage on left; 
RC = Row Count;  HP = Hold Position;  K = Knit;  FWP = Forward Work Position;  
Rs = Rows or Rounds;  st = stitch;  sts = stitches;  St st = Stocking stitch; 
dec = decrease;  inc = increase;  WP = Work Position

Hang hem on 25 needles and knit 8 rows with waste yarn.  Knit 1 row with ravel cord ending COR.  K1 row with main yarn and set RC to 000.  COL

Row 1: Push 8 needles on right edge into HP and K1 row.
Row 2: Push 2 needles on left edge into HP and K1 row.
Row 3: Push 2 needles on right edge into FWP and K1 row.
Row 4-9: Repeat rows 2 and 3 ending COR.
Row 10: Push 8 needles on left edge into FWP and K1 row.

These 10 rows represent a completed wedge.  Knit till 8 wedges have been completed (RC = 80)
Remove from machine on waste yarn leaving a long tail of main yarn for grafting.
Draw tail of yarn through edge stitches and fasten tight.  Graft starting row stitches to last row stitches.  Firmly stuff the apple.  Draw tail of yarn through edge stitches and fasten tight. 

Pick up three stitches from the centre top of the apple (the end were the tail of yarn is).  Hang weights from the bottom of the apple.  Knit a 1 ½ inch length of i-cord with the brown yarn (approx. 10 rows).  You may need to hand knit off the first 3 rows.  Cast off the 3 stitches to form a flat end for the i-Cord.

Optional Attitude
You may decide to leave the apple plain or to give it some attitude.  To turn this apple into a fruity person with attitude knit some i-cord arms and legs with matching feet and hands.   Placement of legs and arms is up to your own personal preferences.  The ones on the apple shown have been placed so that from one side we see an apple with attitude and on the other side just a plain apple.

For legs: 
Using earth brown yarn, pick up 4 stitches, using top and bottom of 2 sts making sure the bottom of the apple is facing away from the machine.  Knit 30 Rs of i-cord.  Change to green or red and KP1.  K1 row increasing 1 st at each edge (6 sts).  K 10 rows St st. 
Toe: Short row dec to 2 ndls in WP and then Short row inc to all ndls back in work.
K 2 rows St st. 
Heel: As for toe. 
Knit 3 rows St st.  On next row dec 2 stitches and knit row.  Cast off. 
Sew seams of foot inserting a rolled up pipe cleaner inside the foot.  Shape the foot as either a ballet slipper (girl - shown) or boot (boy).

For arms: 
Using earth brown yarn, pick up 4 stitches as for the legs and knit 25 Rs of i-cord.  Change to green or red and KP1.  K 2 rows St st. Inc 1 st at each end of next row. K 3 rows.  Complete short rowing as for toe.  K 3 rows.  Dec 1 st at each end of next row. K 2 rows. Cast off.  Sew seams of mitts.

Make sure legs are knit, so that the shoes face in the correct direction.

To give the apple some extra character, give the apple a face using either dimensional or puff paint.  Maybe try a set of fancy goggle eyes.

To give the apple more shape attach a doubled over piece yarn to just under the stalk.  Thread both strands of yarn through the centre of the apple from top to bottom making sure that the strands exit separated by at least one stitch.  Pull firmly to form an indent on the apples top.  Fasten off and weave in any loose ends.

If you need further clarification of this pattern leave a message below.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Lanofix Knitting Machines

It has been awhile since my last post and I have been busy designing and collecting vintage items from the 40s and 50s.  My latest addition to the knitting machine collection is a Lanofix "Mininitter".  It's an unusual machine in that it has no carriage, but can knit stocking stitch with ease and other stitches by manipulation.  These machines were produced in the later 40's to very early 50s in Italy.  With an advertisement for the machine being produced in 1949 (

The Lanofix company of Negri Milano first started production of knitting machines in 1938.  I also have in my collection the first model Lanofix made by this company.  It knits garter stitch as well as stocking stitch and other stitches by hand manipulation.  The photo for this machine is below.

Lanofix 1938 Model with complete set of tools

This machine was given to it's original owner as a wedding present in 1943.  She was not sure if was new or not, but I suspect that it may have been a second hand machine at that time due to World War 2 and lack of production facilities.  The machine was only used once and then packed away as she preferred to knit with needles.  This appears to be the case with many of these vintage knitting machines.

Here are some photos of the Lanofix "Mininitter" before cleaning.  All it will need is a light dusting, hooks polished and a light oiling.  The machine appears to have had minimal usage and then been stored away.

Lanofix "Mininitter" unboxed
Lanofix "Mininitter" Tension dial and Latch Hook Bar

Lanofix "Mininitter" Tools and manual

The Lanofix machine was also produced as a double bed machine in the early to mid 50s.

Lanofix Double Bed Machine, with weights, clamps,
transfer combs, and other tools in original pouch.
There is even the table top from the table that was
originally bought new with the machine in the mid 50s.

Please note that I am unable to provide valuations for these machines as it depends on overall condition, vintage knitting machine market and potential buyers.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Despicable Me "Minions" Hat (Almost!) - Miners Lamp Hat

My adventures into knitting the Despicable Me hat for my son's has been very long.  The first hat was way to big to fit the one eye in between the ends of the eye strap, so I went with a smaller size and a rolled brim.  To my surprise and that of my 10 year old I came up with a totally different idea.  The pictures below are of the 2 miners hats that I came up with as a great mistake.  Don't worry I am still working on the Despicable Me hats and there won't be alot of differences to the way they are knit from these hats (except no rolled brim).  The hats have been knitted in different colours with a large 3D Miners lamp on the front. The pattern for the miners hat will follow in a later posting along with the adaptations for the Despicable Me Minion hats.

This is Callison (10) wearing his miners hat.  The rolled brim makes the brim of the hat stick out just like that of a miner.  The hat and the miners lamp were knit entirely on the Ultimate Sweater Machine.  The only finishing was whip stitching the lamp to the hat and using ladder stitch on the back seam.

The red miners hat was knit by Callison on the Ultimate Sweater Machines and was knit up in less than 2 hours.  It is an easy pattern and anyone will be able to knit it up either on any bulky knitting machine or by hand.

Friday, 29 July 2011

What I have been up to with knitting

I have just returned to work, so posts will probably be once a month at this stage. Soon to come will be a pattern for not one, but 2 versions of a Minion hat just like the Minions from Despicable Me.  Callison (10) has asked for his to have one eye and a blue mowhawk.  Alan (6) wants his to have two eyes.  I hope to have this pattern up in the next few days time permitting.
Oh and that cute horse that I knit up (as seen in my profile picture) has finally been published in "Country of Maine News and Views".  This is a publication for machine knitters.  Just click on the link for their website in my "sites of interest" and order Volume 6 Issue 1 for the pattern for Hamish the Sock Horse.
Happy Crafting with Fibre

Friday, 1 July 2011

Inspired by Edith’s Hat in Despicable Me

My daughter just loves the movie “Despicable Me”.  On seeing the movie for the first time at our local cinema she asked me to knit her a hat just like the one that Edith wore.
This pattern was inspired by the movie and was knit on an Ultimate Sweater Machine using KP2 to fit child size 21” head.  This hat is stretchy, so it will fit larger sizes as well.  Use less stitches for a smaller size or more stitches for a larger size.  The height of the hat can be adjusted by knitting more rows evenly in stripes 1, 2 and 3.
This hat is knit from bottom up and can be knit on other mid gauge or bulky machines as long as the gauge is matched.  I have used a schematic to try and explain how to knit this hat, so work from the bottom of the schematic up.  If you see any mistakes let me know, so they can be corrected.  Enjoy knitting this hat in shades of pink OR maybe shades of blue, orange or even green.

Craftworks Acrylic 8ply (DK or Light Worsted) /100g/320m in pink & dusty rose

     USM KP2   18 sts 24 rows to 4” (note that the gauge for i-cord is slightly looser)

Special instructions:

Piping:  Knit 3 rows count down 3 purl bumps and rehang these stitches continue knitting next section.

Ear flaps:  Put 56 needles at end opposite carriage into HP;  K 1 row;  Put 11 needles at end opposite carriage into HP;  dec 1 st each end of next and then every 3rd row to 4 sts;  reverse shaping increasing back to 18 sts. of earflap;  put these 18 needles into HP;  return next 45 ndls into UWP;  K 1 row;  put 27 back into HP (18 needles in WP for next ear flap); shape second earflap as for first remembering to push all needles in HP back into UWP for last row; K to end.

Instructions:  Knit from bottom up.

Ainslie wearing her new hat.

Friday, 24 June 2011

Spiderman Spider Web Afghan

Spiderman, Spiderman
Does whatever a spider can
Spins a web any size
Catches thieves just like flies
Look out, here comes the Spiderman

Most of us remember the theme tune from Spiderman.  Here is a pattern for a afghan that is sure to please any spiderman fan.  My nephew Kai (13) has been an avid Spiderman fan for most of his life.  The pure look of joy and the big hug from him on his thirteenth birthday told me more than words how much he loved it.  He quickly took to wearing it like a cape and when it came to bedtime the afghan followed him.  This is my second attempt at posting this. The first time it became garbled, so hopefully it now makes sense.

(Photo of Kai with his Afghan)

This pattern has been written for the Ultimate Sweater Machine (USM), but can be knit on any bulky knitting machine just match the gauge and set your machine for partial knitting.  Make sure that you knit a test swatch to determine the gauge your machine knits at as each machine (even other USMs) can vary.  For those who would prefer to hand knit this afghan instructions will be posted soon.

YARN: Carnival Australian 8 ply (DK or light worsted); 400g Red (MC) & 100g Black (CC) (or colours of own choosing); Acrylic; Machine wash

GAUGE: 19.0 sts by 23.0 rows per 4” in stocking stitch
      Bond USM using KP2

      Main Panel            42.0
      Border                    1.8
      Diameter              45.6

Note: True diameter is smaller as the border will roll to form a pipe like trim.

       COL – Carriage on Left                      WY – Waste Yarn
       COR – Carriage on Right                    MC – Main Colour
       HP – Hold position                              CC – Contrast Colour
       FWP – Forward work position            ndls – needles
       RC – Row Count

SHORT ROWING (increase method)
1.    With COL place all ndls into HP. 
2.    *Next row: return the indicated number of needles to FWP (latches open), work 1 row, wrap the next ndl in HP, work 1 row, returning to COL. 
3.    Repeat for number of times indicated. 

1.    Using a 5mm crochet hook and CC held at back of work attach yarn to first spoke of afghan near the centre.  The distance from the centre is not important as the spiral needs to be random just like a spider’s web.
2.    Crochet the spiral by following the stitches in each wedge and crocheting in between 1 and 6 stitches up the next spoke.  Repeat around the afghan.
3.    Finish where the border meets the final spoke.  (Refer to schematic at bottom of post.)

1.  Cast on 100 sts in WY, using KP2 and open edge method.  Work 8 rows WY.  COR.  Change to CC.  Reset RC000.  Start working in Stocking Stitch. 
2.  First wedge.  Work 1 row across all sts.  Put all ndls into HP.  Change to MC.  Short row 3 sts every other row 24 times, then 2 sts every other row 13 times.  Total 75 rows.  Bring remaining ndls to FWP (latches open).  Change to CC.  Work 1 row even across all sts (slip centre st to keep centre hole small). 
3.  Repeat first wedge 11 more times.  (Each wedge is 76 rows, total for all wedges is 912 rows). 
4.  Change to WY.  Work 8 rows.  Remove sts from machine. 

1.    Using KP2 cast on 8 sts in WY.  Work 8 rows.  Change to CC.  Reset RC000. 
2.    ... Grafting:  work the last stitch of every other border row together with a stitch from the main panel, in the ratio of 1 border row to 1 main panel row.  Make sure the right side of main panel is facing away from the machine. 
3.    After cast-on, work 1 row across all sts.
4.    Starting at cast on edge of main panel, right side facing, work 76 rows of stocking stitch, grafting to the main panel (1 border rows to each 1 main panel rows). 
5.    Reset RC000. 
6.    Repeat for each section, until the border has been worked completely around the main panel.
7.    Change to WY, work 8 rows, remove sts from machine. 

1.    Graft the afghan together along the inside seam.  (Step by step instructions can be found here.)
2.    Work spiral as indicated in special notes.
3.    Darn/weave/sew in all loose ends.
4.    BLOCK.  It makes a big difference to the way the afghan looks.  If you see any mistakes let me know, so that I can make corrections.


Saturday, 18 June 2011

Adventures into Knits N' Everything Fibre...

I have been toying with the idea of creating a Blog for some time now and finally decided that the time has come. I hope to share my knowledge of anything to do with fibre and its use from nearly 35 years of experience. In time I will make some of my own designs available for you to try. Here are some examples of my creations. Enjoy them as much as I did in their creation.

Feathers Scarf - HK

Christmas Miniatures - HK

Holly & Berries Christmas Thumb Mittens - C

Hamish the Sock Horse - MK

Sock Monkey - MK

Spiderman Web Afghan - MK

Edith's Earflap Hat from Despicable Me - MK

Easter Thumb Mittens - C

Calico Sock Cat - MK