Luciferins Machine Knitting

Luciferins: Machine Knitting

Since my last post discussing the wonderful addition of a ribber attachment to the knitting machine, I set off to knit a large circular wool piece. I was excited to be at this point, working with materials identical to those used in the final piece. I’m knitting with a 1-ply felting wool from Yeoman Yarns. It machine knits nicely with a tight tension (cast on: km: 1-0; RB 0-1; knitting: km: 2 RB:1.75). It felts up lovely and thin. This would be something more durable than my nuno felted prototypes, smoother than my hand-knit prototypes, and smooth like the wool prototypes.

 

I set off. Watching the tension of the knitted material is key. In fact, it’s critical. If the tension is not right, you’ll have dropped stitches. Seen here as holes or gaps in the material.

Machine knitting a large circular piece
Machine knitting a large circular piece

 

Once I got the hang of the tension (ordering more weights and combs), I started to experiment with a varying width. I practiced decreasing and adding needles on either side of the piece. This was creating an interesting shape, yet I’m not convinced this will make it into the final version in this format.

Machine knitting + Changing Widths
Changing the width while circular knitting. Getting a hang of the tension required.

 

Knitting, knitting, knitting…….

 

Luciferins: Machine Knit Wool Prototype
It’s getting looooong.

At this point, I figured this was a good point to end on. The un-felted piece was over 100 inches in length. I finished off the piece and felted it in my foot-peddled washing machine, perfect for Brooklyn apartments. 

I ran into an issue of the fiber being too saturated with soap, and requiring lots of rinse cycles. An exorbitant amount of cycles. Too many. In fact, I over shrunk it as a result of sending it though more spin cycles to get the soap and water out. Note to self. Lesson learned.

Despite it being much too short now, I do love the texture and softness, while still having a sturdiness. I’m not a fan of the shape as a result of the changing widths.

Several different fiber prototypes for Luciferins: hand knit, machine knit and felted.

So, I’m off to knit another version. One that is universal in its widths, and has far fewer dropped stitches. And, is far longer and not taken through such a long and arduous felting process.

Onward and upward…..