Second Attempt At Cut And Sew

The last jumper I knitted on the Bond was a black aran one with blocks of beige down the centre front. I hardly used any of the beige which was on a 400g ball so I had a lot of it left. I decided to knit a long strip to use for cut and sew but had already packed away the Bond and set up the Knitmaster 302 which is a standard gauge machine. I couldn’t be bothered to take the 302 down and get the Bond out again so I decided to have a go at knitting the aran on the 302.

I knew that it wouldn’t knit on every needle with much success so I cast on every other needle and set the carriage at tension 10. I was expecting it to struggle but it didn’t, the carriage moved effortlessly and in no time I had knitted all of that huge ball of aran.

When I first took it off the machine it looked like this:


After giving it a good tug it looked like this:


So now I know that it’s possible to knit aran on a standard gauge machine. The only thing is that because it’s knitted on every other needle, when you pull it to shape the fabric ends up a lot narrower so knitting an adult sized jumper might not be possible as there wouldn’t be enough needles on the machine.

Now that I had this long strip of aran, what was I going to do with it? I needed more fabric to make a jumper out of it and I only had a part 100g ball of blue aran so that was no good. So I decided to put together something using an old dressing gown (don’t laugh) that’s been in the bottom of the wardrobe for the past year because it was in too good a condition to get rid of. That’s what happens when your Mam buys you one for Christmas two years running! So this is what I had to work with:



I wasn’t sure how this was going to turn out or if it would even work but I had to try it anyway.

This is what I came up with:







I am so pleased with it, it came out exactly as I had pictured it in my head and it fits me perfectly. I love the collar but it might not have worked out so well if I hadn’t read the pattern instructions before I started sewing it in place as Ihadn’t marked it for the centre front. Good job I checked those instructions.

My second attempt has made up for the disappointment of my first attempt. Do you think anyone will guess that I made it out of an old dressing gown?

Posted in cut and sew, machine knitting | 33 Comments

First Attempt At Cut And Sew

Yesterday I finished the cut and sew top and although it didn’t turn out exactly as planned it’s not a complete disaster and hopefully I will have learnt from my mistakes.


The seams aren’t brilliant, neither are the hems and the neckband is atrocious!


I made a complete hash of the neckband, there’s no getting away from it. The pattern instructions said to use bias binding which I didn’t have so I decided to just knit a length of stocking stitch and sew it on. As you can see I made a mess of it. It might not have looked so bad if I’d managed to get my stitching straight but I didn’t – it’s about as straight as a dog’s hind leg! It also gapes at the back:


This is how it looked before I added the neckband and hemmed the bottom and the sleeves:


Anyway, now that it’s finished, would I do it again? The answer is yes. With practice I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to do a lot better than this and there are things I would do differently.

I wish I hadn’t knitted a patterned fabric for my first attempt, I wish I’d just done plain stocking stitch. To make things more complicated for myself my patterned piece wasn’t long enough (due to it coming off the needles when it shouldn’t have) so I knitted a plain piece and joined the two together. This might not have been a problem if the join had been smooth but of course it puckered and the only way I could flatten it was to steam and press it which ‘killed’ the acrylic so I ended up with a lot thinner fabric than I had originally. It ended up more like a thick T-shirt fabric than a woolly jumper fabric.

I didn’t knit enough fabric to make long sleeves so I had to make short sleeves instead.

I have a Brother sewing machine which I bought about twenty years ago. A couple of years ago I won a Silver Bug sewing machine in a giveaway and decided to use that one to sew up the top. I figured it’s a newer machine so it will be better but I was wrong. I couldn’t find the right zig zag stitch to use on the edges to stop it fraying, every one I tried made the edges stretch out and go wavy. It wasn’t until I put the neckband on at the end that I decided to try the Brother instead and after a quick read of the manual I found the recommended settings for an overlock stitch. I tried it and it worked perfectly. I wish I’d used the Brother from the start, I will definitely use it for my next attempt.

I do have an idea for my next cut and sew project and hopefully it will turn out better than this one, I think I just need a little more practice.

Posted in cut and sew, machine knitting | 55 Comments

About To Try Cut And Sew

As I mentioned at the end of my last post, I am going to have a go at cut and sew. I have done cut and sew necklines but never a full jumper so I don’t know how this is going to work out.

I was knitting a length of fabric on the Orion in a racked pattern and all was going well until it decided to drop some stitches at the start of a row (it was probably user error). I wasn’t even going to attempt to get it back onto the machine so instead I cast on the Knitmaster 4500 and knitted a length of stocking stitch.

So I now have two more or less equal lengths of fabric with which to make my jumper. I’m thinking I’ll probably make it patterned from the bottom to the armholes then plain the rest of the way up.

I searched ebay for a sewing pattern and found one that I think will be suitable which I bid on and won. It arrived this afternoon and after having a quick read of the making up instructions I think I will be able to manage it alright (famous last words!).

I’m hoping to get it done by the end of this coming weekend.


Posted in Misc | 23 Comments

Another Jumper On The Bond


I finished knitting this last weekend. Like the last jumper I knitted on the Bond, this one has knitted up the wrong size. The previous one came out bigger than expected, this one came out smaller. I don’t understand why as I washed and dried both swatches before measuring them. I must have mis-counted on both of them.

Despite it being a bit smaller than intended it’s still wearable so it’s not a complete failure.

I received a Bond USM carriage for my birthday and used it for this jumper. It is of far inferior quality than the original carriage and does feel rather flimsy. I really don’t think this one will last the 30 years that my old one has!


However, I did find it better than the old one would have been for knitting the contrasting blocks on the front of the jumper. The old one has a wire fabric guide so it’s a little trickier to change colours while knitting the row. With the new carriage you can take out the first colour at the exact point that you want to change and just put the second colour in.

I’ve put the Bond away for now and am now concentrating on the Orion that I talked about in my last post. I’ve started knitting a piece nearly the full width of the machine in a racked pattern. If all goes to plan I will use the lenth of fabric that it produces to make a cut and sew top. I haven’t got a pattern for it yet, I haven’t decided whether to buy a sewing pattern or take apart a top that I already have and use that as the pattern template. I do have Knit Radar sheets but to use them I would have to re-draw them and re-scale them, probably making a right mess of it and getting myself in a muddle.

I’ll just carry on knitting until I’ve used up the full cone then I’ll decide how I’m going to finish it. That’s if I manage to do all the knitting without making any mistakes!


Posted in Bond, machine knitting, orion | 23 Comments

Orion Hand Knitter

I’ve been after a vintage double bed knitting machine for a while now. I wasn’t bothered what make it was, Singer, Twinmatic, Girotex, Orion, I just wanted an old one that I could do up and get working again. I have been tempted by a few before but the snag has always been that they are collection only which rules them out for me as I rarely have access to the car. Last week I had a look on Ebay and found an Orion for £18 with no bids on it and the seller offered postage by courier. I looked at all the photos and from what I could see it seemed to be in good condition so I bid on it. I won, I was the only bidder.

The machine arrived a few days later and it was in very good condition apart from being a little grubby. It is an Orion Hand Knitter Model No. 2. It was packed in it’s original box but was missing the cast on combs and side weights. I wasn’t too concerned about that as I have ribber cast on combs for my Knitmaster and was sure they would work with this machine (they do) but I emailed the seller just in case she had them. As it turns out she didn’t have them.

Anyway, I stripped and cleaned the machine and spent much of yesterday putting it back together. I tested it out last night but for some reason the carriage on the front bed kept jamming.

This morning I stripped the front bed again then re-assembled it. Well I don’t know what I did differently but now it works! It does have the occasional jam but I can put up with that.

I did have to repair the plastic globe that holds the yarn but the seller had pointed out that it was broken and all the bits were there so it was just a case of glueing it back together.

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There is a manual so it made it easier to figure out how to set the machine up though it is a bit vague in places – I did swear at it once or twice!

The samples I knitted aren’t very good, I think I need a bit more practice!

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I’m really pleased with this machine but I don’t think I’ll have chance to play with again until after Christmas.

Also included in the box with the machine was an insight to the lady who originally owned it (not the person I bought it from) . There are two notebooks filled with hand written patterns and other notes. Having had a quick look at them it’s obvious that the lady was selling the things that she knitted. The names of the people she was knitting the garments for are written at the top of each pattern. There are lists of the different yarns she used, tension measurements, how much she charged (pounds, shillings and pence) – it makes fascinating reading! One of the books  is dated March ’66.

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Between many of the pages of the books were notes written on scraps of paper, letters and ball bands.


There were also some hand knitting patterns, a couple of machine knitting patterns and lots of patterns torn from magazines. There was part of a Stitchcraft magazine dated October 1945!



This lot will keep me occupied for ages. I’ll have to have a good look through it all and see if I can find out more about the lady who used to own the machine.

Posted in machine knitting, orion | 26 Comments