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Old 11-28-2012, 05:22 PM   #13
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The Bond is...
different from hand knitting, and different from machine knitting. There are no yarn masts and no dials. The look of the finished product can look hand-knit, or machine knit, depending on the weight of yarn, keyplate size used, and the amount of weight used. #1 with a standard 4 ply (like Jo Sharp, not double knitting, like Red Heart, that takes #4) will produce a gauge of 6 stitches per inch. It is stiff and boardy at first, but if you let it relax for a day or two, it softens up a bit. You can always 'kill' the yarn with steam, but that sets the stitches and makes it next to impossible to unknit and reuse what is in your tension sample. Once you have decided on a stitch size and weight, do a swatch you will treat like you will the garment.

At the other end of the spectrum, you can knit chunky yarn as long as it will fit in the needle hooks. I have knit on every other needle and obtained a gauge of 2.5 stitches per inch.

The machine must be on an absolutely level surface. The needles must be aligned, and the cast-on needs to be perfect. The motion from side to side must be even and not too slow or fast. It is best to use both hands. The lubricating spray is helpful, or you can rub a candle on the needle butts and the edges of the keyplate needle guides. Standard knitting machine weights and weight hangers are very helpful. (The plastic triangle weight hangers are worth their weight in gold.) A yarn that might be a tad bit fussy can be coaxed the knit with the addition of a little more weight.

Swatching is essential. So is tagging your swatch with yarn brand, name, keyplate used, weight used, and finishing method. Cotton is best after washing, machine drying and ironing with spray starch (really). Swatching saves a lot of experimenting in the future.

The learning curve is worth mastering. You can knockout a child's sweater in a matter of hours. No more crying over hours spent on a sweater lost by a careless child (or parent) I highly recommend learning how to do cut and sew necklines if you have not. No more V-necks that pull up in the center. I do cut and sew necklines on even my handknits.

I cannot stress enough to stick with it. Like riding a bicycle, some people take to it naturally, some need to stick at it until the kinesthetic sense kicks in, and then it seems as if you could always do it.

The minor jams can often be overcome with just a little jiggling. Patience, practice, and perseverance will pay off. An adult's sweater can be knitted and finished in 8 hours. The plain sweater can then be dressed up with purchased bling, or leather applique.

I still love to knit on my beloved Passap and Superba machines. I still hand knit and use the knitting rakes. The Bond is just way of knitting, but one I am very glad I learned.
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