Hal Spacejock: Second Course by Simon Haynes

Hal Spacejock: Second CourseHal Spacejock: Second Course by Simon Haynes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If you liked the first book, then this one is a must-read. It’s been years since I’ve had this much fun reading a book. I found it to be an excellent mix of a good old classic-style sci-fi adventure and light-hearted humour.

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The Academy (Lost Tales of Power) by Vincent Trigili

The Academy (Lost Tales of Power)The Academy by Vincent Trigili
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I enjoyed this book even more than Volume One: The Enemy of an Enemy. It’s fast-paced and scene changes are handled nicely. I like the mix of tech and magic so far in this series and am really looking forward to the next one coming out.

Nicely formatted and typo-free.

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Inserting a Zipper

The first part of the story of making this cardigan was in a previous post Cabled Cardigan

My favourite method of inserting zippers into knits is to use the garment yarn and a knit repair (mini latch-hook) tool to chain stitch the zipper directly to the band/edging.  This is based on the technique shown in this video:
Inserting Zippers into Knitted Garments – Knitting Daily

All of the information on how to prep the zipper and use the knit repair tool are shown very well in the video so I won’t repeat that here.  Zippers can shrink so it’s best to wash & dry it before sewing it in.  I prep the zipper in the same way as the video by marking and punching holes if necessary but, instead of chaining the yarn onto the zipper first and then attaching it to the knit, I attach the zipper & knit together at the same time.

Instead of inserting the knit repair tool through just the zipper, insert it through both the zipper and the knit material from underneath. Then catch your yarn in the hook and pull through as shown in video.  Be careful not to stretch the knitting while sewing as that will make it zipper buckle and ripple when it’s worn zipped up.

You’ll end up with a nice, neat chain on the inside

and a nice, even edge on the outside.

One advantage to this method it that it’s super easy to take out and redo it if necessary.  Just take the knit repair tool out of the loop, pull the yarn end and it unzips ready to try again.  Once you’re done sewing in the first side, pull the last loop extra big and leave it until you finish sewing the other side too.  Then you can try it on and make any adjustments if necessary before securing the ends.

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Cabled Cardigan

I am FINALLY almost done the cabled cardigan commission I’ve been working on!  All that’s left is to sew in the zipper.  This was one of those projects where, if it could go wrong, it did.

I had to reknit the back and one front after knitting them at the wrong gauge.   Then I totally messed up the cable pattern on one front and had to redo it.  Then the shaping was awful on the shoulder caps so I had to reknit those–ugh, ripping back with cables–NOT my favourite pastime.  The sewing went fairly smoothly but then after knitting the collar I did the bind-off WAY too tight (haven’t done that in ages) and, of course, I didn’t check it until after I cut the yarn so I had to rip back 2 rows to have enough left to bind-off again more loosely.

But I am VERY happy with the result!  Oh, and this was done on my Bond/ISM, 8mm plastic bed knitting machine.  The top pic is more accurate for the colour (on my monitor).

The post showing how I inserted the zipper is here: Inserting a Zipper

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Swatch it!

The project I’m working on now is a good example of why it’s so important to swatch when machine knitting.  It’s a cabled cardigan and as you can see from this picture it looks HUGE when on the machine compared to after.  The piece on the machine is the left front and the piece laying on top of the Bond is the right front–or vice versa, I forget! 🙂 Anyway,  they will be the same size when off the machine.  The piece on the machine goes almost right to the edges of the picture and is almost twice as wide as it will be.


When you swatch…MAKE NOTES on what you did!  I swatched for this project and liked the pattern but it was too loosely knit.  Made a second sample and it was just what I wanted.  Set it aside to rest a day, then washed and dried it.  In the meantime I did up a quick pillow for the dogs.  Unfortunately I put both keyplates on the table behind the machine and, when I started the sweater, instead of using the 2 (clear) keyplate I used the Dot 2 (clear) keyplate (makes bigger stitches).  Over a period of several days I knit the back, set it aside to rest, knit one front…measured the back…argh!!  Way too big!  Then I realized my mistake.  Yup, had to rip out the whole thing and start over.  Thank goodness for yarn winders!

I only have half of the second sleeve and the collar left to knit now.  Then finishing & installing the zipper.  Hoping to be done by the end of this weekend.

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Skinny Sponge Bar Replacement

Now, this sponge bar is NOT for the Singer 120 (or similar 8mm machines) but is a skinny one from an old standard machine I have, a Kappa Model 10. The weather stripping is 1/8” x 3/8” with adhesive on one of the 3/8” sides. I used either 3/4” or 7/8” wide satin ribbon that would cover the foam on 3 sides. I stuck the one side to the adhesive that is already on the weatherstripping and used double-sided adhesive (it’s on a roll like tape but it’s just adhesive, no tape) for the other side. A really thin double-sided tape would probably work too. You could probably glue it too but, if you do, WAIT FOR THE GLUE TO DRY before putting it back into your machine!! 😀
I didn’t glue the foam down into the channel on mine since so much of it is inside of the metal slot. I used pliers to help squish the foam flatter to get it into the channel.

You can see in the next pic that mine is a little too short but still extends past the needles (you can see the dents from the needles in the upper left). I would suggest cutting it several inches too long and then trimming off any excess. Either sticking the ribbon on and/or getting it into the channel made it a bit shorter and I started with a piece only a bit longer than the bar.

If you’ve seen pics of sponge bars for other machines, they taper down at the ends. I first tried wrapping the end with scotch tape but it fits so tightly into my machine that it just peeled the tape off when trying to insert it. I squished the end down to give the same tapered effect and now that I’ve got one end pulled out from taking the pics I’m going to cut a bit off of the bottom corner of the foam so that I can push the very end down into the channel farther–this helps prevent the needles from catching the end of the foam while inserting.

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Help IDing KM Sheet

I’ve got some paper sheets for a knitting machine but I don’t know which one they belong to.  Any help identifying them would be great!  They are 16 7/8 in. by 21 7/8 in. (43 cm by 55.5 cm).

Thanks to anyone who can help!

New stuff added to the For Sale page: weaving book and alpaca, llama and wool fibers for spinning.  More books being listed soon.

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Hooded Baby Blanket/Towel

Quickie project: hooded baby blanket/towel for friends of ours. I actually finished this a couple weeks ago but had to wait til we gave it to them to post it. 🙂

This was done in a promo yarn from Bernat called Pipsqueak & I’m hoping they put it into production as a regular stock item. It is VERY soft & fluffy. Everyone who’s seen it goes:
“Oh, that’s really nice… OMG!!! That is SOO soft!”

Oh, and this was yet another Bond project and it knit beautifully on the Bond in spite of it’s fluffiness.

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A Sweater for ME :)

Well, all projects got put on hold when I got a knitting commission last week.  Since I had to wait a few days for the yarn to come in, Dan suggested I use the time to do up a ribbed turtleneck I’d been planning for myself.  Frankly, I think it was mostly because said sweater matches Magnum’s sweater and Dan thinks that’s just adorable!

Since this was Mag’s first sweater and something of a prototype we went shopping for mill ends.  Dan found a colour he liked and we bought 2 of the 3 bags  (1 lb each) that they had so I’d be sure to have enough.  His sweater used almost exactly one bag.  When I mentioned there was almost enough left for a matching sweater for me, Dan thought that would be very cute so next trip to the mall we went looking to see if the third bag was still there.  It wasn’t, so I put the extra yarn away and started working on other projects.  A couple of weeks later we’re browsing through the yarn dept. and there’s another bag of the yarn!  Of course we scooped it up!

So here’s my sweater:

Ribbed TurtleneckI use  Knitware to create a basic pattern and then adjust for the pattern stitch & shaping.  It was knit on my Bond ISM in all-over 6×2 rib with 2×2 rib cuffs, hem & turtleneck–yes, I latched up every stitch of the ribbing by hand.  I’m really good at latching up now! 😉

Thanks for stopping by & enjoy the rest of the weekend!

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DIY 8mm Knitting Machine Tools

Here are some of the tools Dan has made for me for my Bond.

DIY_Bond_ToolsAt the top are two claw weights made from forks, fishing weights and s-hooks.  Across the bottom there are 2 claw weights made from forks and rolls of pennies. Then 2 transfer tools–my bunny tools for his ‘hunny bunny’ 😉 –made from bobby pins (hairpins), the handles from the forks at the top and PermaPoxy Multi-Metal Epoxy which can be found in the automotive department–this is AWESOME stuff!).  And, lastly, a needle selector made from a wide tooth comb that happened to have teeth spaced exactly 8mm apart.

We made the fishing weights first but I found I actually prefer using the penny roll ones.  They are slightly heavier and because they are solid I find them easier to move around.

Thanks to Cynthia for reminding me.  You should paint or coat the fishing weights so that you don’t have to worry about handling lead.  I wanted to get a pic of them uncoated so that people could see what they look like in the store.

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