Baby Knits: It’s a Wrap

I actually finished this baby cardigan weeks ago, but stashed it away in a rage because it’s not as perfect as I would have liked. I won’t tell you where I found fault with it, and if you squint you hopefully won’t notice either…

Baby Cardigan FO 2

Despite its imperfections, it’s very cute, and was a great, easy pattern that you can put your own stamp on – I went for stripes, with plain contrast sleeves and neckline. I also made the cardigan totally seamless by joining the shoulders with a three-needle bind-off (instead of casting off and sewing them), and knitting the sleeves on in the round (I had to restart my first sleeve because I forgot that garter stitch in the round is alternating rounds of knit and purl….duh!).

Baby Cardigan FO 3

I’m slightly dubious about the sizing. My gauge was bang on, and I don’t know much about babies, but if you ask me it’s way too big for 3 to 6 months. I do know that babies grow at an alarming rate though, so at least it’ll fit eventually.

Baby Cardigan FO 4

The overall look is a little bit boyish, but luckily for me, mystery baby arrived a few days ago and he’s a boy!

I hope he’ll like his elephant, and fit into his gigantic cardigan one day…

DIY Sponge-bar Repair For Knitmaster 120

NB. This post will only be of interest to knit machine owners, but I thought I’d put it here in case someone else has a Knitmaster 120 and is tearing their hair out…

¬†Social Fabric recently invested in a knitting machine – a second-hand Empisal Knitmaster 120 Chunky, which was in pretty good shape but had a predictably disintegrated sponge-bar. Given my…ahem…encyclopaedic knowledge and wealth of experience…I was asked to try to fix it.

Knitmaster 120 Spongebar

This machine has a particularly narrow sponge-bar that is no longer manufactured by Knitmaster, and, as far as I’m aware, no-one produces DIY sponge replacement kits for this model either. The only other option was to use spongy insulation tape (or weather stripping, available in most DIY shops) to replace the original sponge, and find a way of cutting it down the middle to make it narrow enough to fit.

Unfortunately, once the old sponge had been cleaned off I realised there was just no way I would be able to cut and fit a length of sponge into a 3mm wide channel. A botch job was required!

Knitmaster 120 Spongebar 1

After a bit of a brainwave, I decided to flip the metal bar upside down, and stick the insulation sponge down along the length of the underneath of the metal bar. I then used a rotary cutter to trim off the excess sponge at the sides, by running it along the bar, flush to the metal. I secured the sponge at each end of the bar with sticky tape, and left the plastic backing on the top of the sponge layer to protect the machine needles (the insulation tape I used was sticky on both sides).

Knitmaster 120 spongebar 2

I seem to have gotten away with it, because when I put the bar back in the machine it worked perfectly! Obviously, insulation tape isn’t designed to work in a knitting machine, so I have no idea how it will stand up to regular wear, but it would be pretty easy to replace again if it disintegrates.

So there you have it, a simple solution to an annoying problem!

If you want more detail about fixing sponge-bar trouble, you can find it in this post.

A Full Plate

Oof! I have to admit I’m feeling pretty burned out. Work has been great, but really busy, and it’s so tempting to become a TV watching, net surfing slob during down time.

Nevertheless, I’m making slow progress with the baby cardigan, which now has one sleeve. With only a few weeks to go until my friend’s baby is due, I’m feeling the pressure to finish. My inner selfish brat is also starting to nag me about all those other projects waiting in the wings…

bolt tee colours

One of those will (hopefully) be a machine knitted Bolt Tee. Currently, I’m locked in a lengthy internal debate about the colour scheme. I’ve set my heart on using Fyberspates Scrumptious 4 ply which narrows the choices down somewhat. I’d quite like to use the gold colourway in it somewhere¬† (mustard yellow is my fad colour at the moment) but I also really loved the colours of the ‘Rivage’ scarf I knitted for my sister. Decisions, decisions…

Lino Yarn

Also in the pipeline is something involving these six balls of Lang Lino in (surprise, surprise) mustard yellow. I uncharacteristically bought this without a specific project in mind just because I liked it (ok, and I got a generous discount from work…). It’s very similar to Quince and Co’s ‘Kestrel’ – 100% aran weight linen, spun into a ribbon structure – and I should have just enough to knit a top or small sweater (I’m eyeing up Pam Allen’s ‘Davis‘ pattern as a possibility). I’ve become quite intrigued by the idea of knitting linen and I’m so ready to get started.

I’ve got a baby sweater to finish first though…