Adventures in Machine Knitting Part Deux

Adventures in Machine Knitting Part Deux – Brother KH965

Having everything set up this week has actually made me a bit more determined to get the hang of machine knitting.  I’ve joined a very friendly Ravelry group who have been really helpful, and with a bit of practice I’ve got the hang of threading the machine correctly.  I think this was why I was dropping stitches – and today I even managed to pick some back up again!

Owl attempt 3 Machine Knitting
Scruffy owl attempt 3

Here’s owl no.3 – looking slightly better than my first attempt, although he’s a bit scruffy as the colours have laddered slightly.  I’ve learned what caused this now – that the contrast colour also needs to go all the way to the edge of the knitting, which wasn’t something I’d considered when programming in the picture.

So rather than the stress of re- programming the image, which I think I’ll put on hold for a bit, I thought I’d have a go at some of the patterns already in the machine.

Here are some rams:

Rams! KH965 Machine Knitting
Machine Knitted Rams on the Brother KH965

And some elephants!

Knitted Elephants KH965 Machine Knitting
Machine Knitted Elephants on the Brother KH965

I’m definitely finding using the knitting machine easier with practice – like all new things I suppose.  I even found I was looking at patterns for jumpers (I’d like a nice lacy one please) but had to slow myself down.

Not much else to report today – it was beautifully sunny outside and I stayed in doing this! I will get out more tomorrow 🙂

What have you been up to?


An Inspirational Saturday at Bristol Southbank Arts Trail

An Inspirational Saturday at Bristol Southbank Arts Trail

I woke up yesterday morning feeling like death warmed up.  A combination of a full working week, followed by my first shift in the pub and a sleepless night left me in urgent need of some coffee and some good food.  So after my friend Lucy asked me to meet her at the Old Bookshop I was more than happy to find this in front of me!

Breakfast at The Old Bookshop, Bedminster

We were about to embark on the Southbank Arts Trail, and I had no idea what was in store.  As it turned out, this breakfast was to set us up for the day, as we hit the streets on our bikes for the next six hours to cover only half of what we wanted to see.

One of the first places we entered was The Bed Workshop, which was decorated wall to wall with illustrations and would be hosting a ukelele rock opera later in the day.  Sadly we didn’t get to see that, however I did pick up these lovely cards by Melanie Wickham.

Bristol Hand Printed Card by Melanie Wickham - Southbank Arts Trail
Handprinted by Melanie Wickham

Handprinted Card by Melanie Wickham - Southbank Arts Trail

I also bought this print by Lou Archell, who I have just discovered also has a lovely blog!  I fell in love with this print – I seem to be rather attracted to tree type imagery at the moment.  Now to find a frame!

Lou Archell Tree Print - Southbank Arts Trail
My lovely new print by Lou Archell

We entered an array of houses and public spaces exhibiting everything from illustrations and photography, to pottery, glassware and textiles.  It was a real inspiration how motivated these artists are, and I found myself feeling a little bit overwhelmed!

Divaweaver's beautiful patterns - Southbank Arts Trail
Divaweaver’s beautiful patterns – click for facebook page

The artist that stood out the most to me was Angie Parker – aka Divaweaver – who took the time to show me how she makes her beautiful rugs and upholstered chairs.  I’ve never seen any weaving done before and was mesmerised by the loom and how the fabric came together.  Angie also had a great tub full of coloured yarn that I clocked as soon as I walked in, from which she had chosen some wonderful colour combinations for her rugs.

Heading homeward I decided I need to be more proactive when it comes to making things. I’ve been having trouble sitting down and getting things done recetly – I’m hoping this will all change when I finish working full time.

My knitting machine set up
All set up and ready to go!

So after knitting a few rows of my bolero and feeling sorry for myself this morning, I thought I’d give my knitting machine another go.  I want to make some fair isle purses for Art on the Hill, and that means knowing how this thing works!  I persisted and learned how to programme in my own pattern, taken from an image I’d found online, which I converted to a bitmap in Photoshop.


This is where I need some advice.  To programme in your own pattern on the Brother KH965, as far as I can tell, you have to sit for ages pressing one of two buttons, which makes the same shrill noise every time you press it with no option to turn the sound off.  I know this is an ancient piece of kit, but after an hour and a half this drove me nuts!

Finally I finished programming and rechecking, I’d done some practice rows of knitting, so it was time to knit the owl 🙂  I hadn’t anticipated what to do when the stitches come of the needles when you are knitting with two colours.  When hand knitting, I always fix mistakes from the right side of the work, but with the machine you have to work from the back, which is hard because you can’t see what’s going on in the pattern.

A poor attempt at machine knitting
Sad owl that looks like a cat

So here he is.. a sad, fat, pale owl because in my haste I forgot that I should have charted him in rectangles rather than squares, to allow for the fact that stitches are wider than they are high.  I felted him slightly, largely because I wondered how the yarn would react but also so it would like flat for a picture.   Not bad for a first attempt I suppose, though I am put off by the frustration I went through trying to programme this guy in.

I think what I really need is someone like this lady to come and rewire my knitting machine so my MacBook can talk to it:

Any volunteers?



Some Knit-tastic Machinery..

Finally I got around to playing with my knitting machines!

It was my new years resolution to get my head around my knitting machines, which have been sat under my bed for about two years.  I bought them from the PDSA shop with the intention of making myself tons of new clothes, and some stuff to sell on Etsy.  TMy problem was, I bought two – a Brother KH260 and a KH965.  It turned out that I thought the 965 was FAR more exciting, as it’s electronic and knits fair isle, so I tried to run before I could walk and started trying to knit pictures from day one. Whoops! So when the stitches came off the needles, I got frustrated and packed it away, intending to learn properly someday.

The KH965 in action

Last week my friend Jen from our weekly Stitch n’ Bitch came over to help me master the beast.  Firstly we got the 260 working and made a small swatch in stocking stitch, before getting excited by the possiblities of the 965 again.  Thinking it might be a wiser decision to practice using one colour, rather than going straight to two again, we thought we’d give this tuck stitch pattern a go:

Our little swatch!

That managed to take us all of about 2 hours to master, despite the manual being really well written! It was nice to kick start my motivation to get to know these machines though. I’m intending to do the Brother Home Study Course on the KH260 to learn how to use the latch tool properly and make it my friend! (Currently I just think it’s easier to hand knit, but I think it would be a nice extra skill to have..)

If anyone has any other links that might be useful for a beginner, throw them my way! 🙂