Machine Knitters, Southeastern, PA

This blog is now under the domain of Streets Smarts Fiber Arts. The transition from Spring City Knitters Club to Sophisticated Stitches Club and now Streets Smarts Fiber Arts has been quite a journey. Though this blog will undergo many new and exciting changes machine knitting will still be one of the fiber arts featured Look for information on sewing, machine embroidery, hand knitting, and many other fiber arts related subjects.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Summer Lace Top Instructions

Summer Lace Top Designed by Tammy Noble

The Summer Lace Top is a simple sleeveless garment with a boat neckline.

The instructions for creating the Lace Top are generic so that you can make it with any yarn and in any size. In the example shown, I am using my own measurements.

Measurements needed:

1. Bust circumference divided by 2 = provisional number of stitches to cast on. Example 34 inches divided by 2 = 17 inches x 8 stitches per inch = 136 stitches

2. Armhole circumference divided by 2 = armhole length measurement. Example 13 inches divided by 2 = 6-1/2 inches x 10 rows = 72 rows

3. Shoulder to Shoulder. Example 13 inches

4. Back length of garment. Example 20 inches

Measurement Tips.

a. Take measurements in your underwear.

b. When measuring the armhole circumference, measure around the entire armhole.

Sketch out the schematic of the top seen above.

Equipment needed:

Brother standard gauge machine 4.5mm

Brother lace carriage.

Brother G-Carriage.

Brother Stitch World Pattern 148 (lace)

Brother Stitch World Pattern 537 (garter stitch)

Swatch. Prepare a swatch, which should include the lace pattern 148 and the number of repeats you wish to knit. I would make a swatch that is 90 sts by 200 rows. A swatch this large will give you a sense of the garment’s final appearance.

In the Stitch World Pattern book, it states the lace pattern 148 is a 22 sts by 16 rows repeat. For my Summer Lace Top, I knitted three repeats of the pattern, which equates to 48 rows. How many repeats of the rows in the pattern is really your choice.

The yarn choice is up to you too. But, I would recommend a single ply yarn suitable for a standard gauge machine. I used a no name brand single ply 2200 yards/pound cotton/rayon yarn. The gauge of my swatch was 8 stitches per inch by 10 rows per inch after care and blocking.

If you want to machine launder your garment, then machine launder your swatch prior to blocking. Remember once your garment is finished you will need to machine launder the front and back prior to blocking and assembly.

Once you have calculated the stitches per inch and the rows per inch for your swatch and decided on the number of lace repeats you want then you are ready to write the knitting instructions for the garment.

How to Calculate Knitting Instructions

1. Cast-on stitch number will depend on two things:

a. Bust measurement.

b. Number of stitches in the lace repeat.

For me, we know my bust measurement was 34 inches.

Divide this number in half and you get 17 inches.

Multiply 17 inches times 8 stitches per inch to get 136 stitches.

We also know there are 22 stitches in the lace repeat for pattern 148.

Divide 136 stitches by 22 stitches to get 6.18 repeats.

Round down to a whole number to get 6 repeats.

6 are the number of repeats in 17 inches.

Multiply 22 stitches x 6 repeats to get 132 stitches.

Next, we need two stitches on either side of the lace repeat for seaming.

136 stitches (bust measurement)

- 132 stitches (lace repeat, 6 times)

4 stitches remaining for seaming divided by 2 = 2 stitches on each side of lace pattern

But I did a cable stitch on each side of the lace pattern, so I added 4 more stitches to each side for a 2 by 2 cable stitch.

Therefore the total number of stitches to cast on for me was 144 stitches.

After casting on 144 stitches, I let the G-carriage cast on an “e” wrap.

I knit one row back in plain knitting.

For the next 8 rows I did the G-carriage in Stitch Pattern 537, which is the garter stitch.

After the garter stitch row, I knit 2 rows of stockinette.

The Row Count (RC) should be 10 rows at this point.

Now I switched to the lace pattern and knit 3 repeats of the pattern or 48 rows. Note, the last 8 rows of the lace pattern are plain knitting. I continued to do plain knitting until I reached the armhole. But there was one small problem; at the armhole I needed 136 stitches not 144 stitches. So I had to eliminate 8 stitches. I did this by decreasing two stitches each side, 4 times every twenty rows or so.

One thing I mentioned above is that I did a 2 x 2 cable stitch at the sides of the lace pattern. I did this every 6 rows until I reached the end of the lace pattern. You of course don't have to add extra stitches for a cable stitch at the sides.

Once at the armhole, I needed to decrease until I reached the shoulder to shoulder stitches number. In my case, the Shoulder-to-Shoulder dimension was 13 inches x 8 stitches per inch, which equaled 104 stitches.

136 stitches (bust dimensions)

- 104 stitches (shoulder to shoulder dimension)

32 stitches remaining divided by 2 = decrease 16 stitches per side

I bound off 8 stitches on right side. Bound off 8 stitches on left side. Then I decreased 1 stitch each side, every other row, 8 times. At the end of the decreasing I had 104 stitches on the machine. After the last armhole decrease I knit two rows, then I when into my lace pattern again.

Remember your armhole length measurement is ½ the armhole circumference. Example: Armhole was 13 inches divided by 2 = 6-1/2 inches. Next multiply 6-1/2 inches x 10 rows, which equals 72 rows. This means you will need to knit 72 rows to get to the end of the pattern. However, the 72 rows much include the following:

Binding off for the armhole, and decreasing rows to get to 104 stitches

Knitting the lace pattern

Knitting 2 rows of plain knit before going into the garter stitch

Knitting 8 rows of garter stitches to match the bottom of the garment for a balanced appearance.

The number of rows you can knit the lace pattern will depend on how many rows there are between the last two rows knitted after the armhole decrease rows and the 2 rows of plain knitting before knitting the garter stitch rows. In my case I was able to knit 40 rows of the lace pattern.

Remember if you knit one or two rows more on either the front or back it won’t matter. Same thing goes for stitches, if you have 1 or 2 more stitches per panel it doesn’t matter. It only really matters if you knit an inch worth of stitches or rows. Then you have a problem.

Just before casting off, mark the shoulder stitches with a scrap of yarn. To be frank, I marked off 15 stitches. When I tried the garment on, it showed my bra. So I had to include an inch more of stitches on each side. This equates to 23 stitches for shoulder seaming.

Knit front and back the same.

If your swatch was machine launder, now is the time to machine launder the front and back. The block front and back panels. The best way to do this is to make a “full size” paper pattern and place the front and back panels on it (separately of course). Block to the paper pattern size. If your armhole is distorted, run a basting stitch through it to make sure it matches the paper pattern. Keep the basting stitch in until the armhole is “hung” on the knitting machine to attach the “piping”. After the garment is completed and you are satisifed with your armhole, remove the basting stitch.

Assemble front and back shoulders. Try garment on to see how it looks. If you need to adjust the shoulder seams now is the time to do it.

Next knit the “piping” at the armhole. Hold armhole up to the machine to determine number of needles for armhole piping. Note the number. Hang the armhole with wrong side facing you. In my case I needed 56 needles on the left and 56 needles on the right for the armhole piping. Once the armhole is hung, knit one row at garment tension. Then knit five more rows at one full tension plus 1 dot less than main tension. Bind off. Assemble sides of garment.

Try garment on to see how it looks. In my case I noticed the armhole at the shoulder was protruding. To address this issue, I did the following. I ran a basting stitch of the garment yarn through the piping. Then I tried on the garment and gathered the basing stitch to the desired armhole shape. Then I “steamed” the piping (with the basting stitch still in) in place. I also hung the garment on my dress form. I left the garment with the basting stitch on the dress form for several days. I tried it on again, and what do you know, my armhole looked great and the garment hung beautifully. I removed the basting stitch.

By leaving the garment on the dress form, it naturally created a “front” and “back” for me.

Hope you will think about making this garment.





  • At 10:05 PM , Blogger Chris said...

    Thank-You so very much for posting this pattern! I Have been looking for days for a summer shell pattern and this is definitely IT! Reading through the instructions was an AHA! moment. I'm a newbie, and these instructions MADE SENSE! Gave me many ideas for variations! Thanks! ~Chris

  • At 6:54 AM , Blogger Unknown said...

    wow! this is exactly what I am looking for - many thanks - Jane x


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home