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.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Hand to Machine Knit Stitch Patterns


On Saturday, November 19th, 2011 the Sophisticated Stitches club held their monthly meeting. As is our custom at the beginning of our club year we discuss what we would workshops and demonstrations members would like to see and who will do them. The top four items on the list were cut and sew, converting a hand knit pattern to a machine knit pattern, children’s clothing and double bed jacquard.

Our club decided to do a cut and sew workshop over several months. The workshop will be broken down into parts so that members can work on their skill set. But more about that next time. The most interesting discussion centered the second choice: Converting a hand knit pattern to a machine knit pattern.

What was most interesting is that when an inexperienced machine knitter or an inexperienced hand knitter see a hand knit pattern they tend to think it is possible to directly translate a hand knit pattern to a machine knit pattern. More experienced hand machine knitters know that not every hand knit pattern can be directly translated to a machine knit pattern.

As the members perused the current issue of Vogue Knitting magazine, the discussion naturally drifted toward pattern selection. That is looking at photos and deciding if the garment featured was worth trying to machine knit. Members quickly realized some of the hand knit stitch patterns were just too intricate to attempt to machine knit. Other hand knit stitch patterns could be machine knitted, but the amount of time needed to machine knit the garment would make it impracticable to machine knit. After all the primary reason most machine knitters buy a machine is to speed up the actual knitting process. While many machine knitters like or tolerate hand manipulation, most machine knitters want to limit that task.

The one-for-one translation process brought up the issue of what design elements of a hand knitted pattern could be incorporated into a machine knit garment as embellishments. For example, I-cord can be used as mock cabling and sewn onto a garment; bobbles can be sewn on the garment rather than knitted in. Another modification example is to use a find a stock punchcard or electronic stitch pattern that closely approximates the hand knitted pattern used in the garment instead of trying to translate K1, P1, YO, K1, P1, M1 (knit 1, purl 1, yarn over, knit 1, purl 1, make 1) etc. into a machine knit pattern.

Tricia Shafer’s book Translating Hand Knit to Machine Knit is a good reference book on this topic. It gives practical guidance on how machine knitters can adapt or not a hand knit for the knitting machine. Most useful in the book is the list of common hand knit abbreviations, and the explanations of transling stitch designs and stitch symbols from hand to machine.

After the discussion I realized the hand to machine knit topic deserves a more indepth discussion. Hopefully the Sophisticated Stitches club will do just that during the upcoming club year.

Below is the upcoming schedule for the Sophisticated Stitches club and our location. The time is from 10:00 AM to noon. All are welcomed to attend a meeting without joining. Hope the readers of this blog will take us up on this offer.

December 17th, 2011, Demonstration with Donna Streets
January 21st, 2012, (Pottstown Knit Out, Snow date January 28th, 2012)
February 25, 2012
March 24th, 2012
April 28th, 2012
May 19th, 2012
June 23rd, 2012
July 28th, 2012 (Place to be determined)
August 29th, 2012 (Place to be determined)
September 29th 2012

The First United Church of Christ
145 Chestnut St.
Spring City, PA 19475
(Parking in the back.)