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Hand-Manipulated Stitches for Machine Knitters

Latchtool B/O Around the Needles

I almost titled this blog “LK150 Bind Off” because that is the machine I usually work it on. A few blogs back I showed you a latch tool B/O around the sinker posts (gate pegs), but hobby machines like the LK150 and the European machines (Passap and Superba) do not have sinker posts. They have what are called “flow combs” to divide the needles and help shape the stitches.

(You’re probably asking why I used a machine that does have sinker posts to demonstrate a technique I am recommending for a machine that does not.  Very observant of you! The truth is that right now my studio is a wreck and I just didn’t have room to set up another machine. See details that follow!)

So, instead of catching the yarn around the posts as you bind off, you need to return empty needles to working position and catch the yarn around them. Begin with all the needles in holding position and use the thumb of your left hand (assuming you are a righty – otherwise reverse everything) to manipulate the butts of the needles.

Hook the latch tool onto a needle, move it back so that the stitch slides over the closed latch and onto the tool and then immediately return the emptied needle to HP with the tool to the left of it and the free yarn to the right of it. Catch the free yarn in the hook of the tool and pull it through to knit the 2 stitches on the tool into a single stitch and then just repeat across the bed. The loops around the needles support the weight of the work and also help you create an even edge. When you’re done, simply lift the loops off the machine…..or leave them on and begin knitting again as my student, Sissel Berntsen, did in Norway. You’ll be surprised at some of the effects you can create!

Just a side note here, I found this method really clumsy to do on a machine with sinker posts and can guarantee it will be easier on an LK 150 or other machine with flow combs!

So, why did I use the SK860 for the video and why is my studio such a wreck?? I have just finished all of the knitting, charts and writing for the BTWNE (the book that will not end) and am officially renaming it the book that WOULD not end because it is done. WHEW! The layout is nearly complete and copies are going out to the proofers in the next couple of weeks. I expect to have it available for the rest of you in April and will send out a newsletter through the web site – and post something here when it is.

Although TBTWNE is my tongue in cheek title for this very large book  – there are over 300 charts and swatch photographs! – the real title is:

Hand-Manipulated Stitches: Exploring Open Spaces

For once, I did not do the photography (with the exception of a few process shots) and turned the job over to a professional. I think you will be pleased with the clarity. I have also increased the size of the pages from 8 x 10″ to 8.5 x 11″ because I found that the production costs were the same for both sizes and I could save about 30 pages by doing this. That translates into lower costs for all of us, which is always a good thing!

I need a couple of weeks to get my life back, to label and store the samples so they are in order for upcoming seminars and such, to spend some time with my husband and “the puppy” (85 pounds now!) and to finally get back into the garden! Then I plan to do two very specific videos for the blog (hopefully before my hands have that “garden” look….). First of all, my LK150 needs a new sponge, which I have ordered and have ready to go. Many people have asked for help in changing the sponges on their LKs so that will be next up.

After that I am going to do a D E E E E P cleaning of my SK860. The bed is just plain cruddy after all the samples and prep that went into this book. I plan to remove the machine from its case and take it down far enough to get all the dust and debris out of the way. Scary stuff, but we’ll do it together!

Tentatively, in the fall I will be working with the photographer who shot all of the stills for the new book to produce a series of video lessons that will go cover to cover. The lessons will be available for a fee through Vimeo or one of the other video services. I’ll continue producing short, generally instructive videos for this blog, but this new project will entail hours of instruction and the only way I can afford the production costs is to offer them for sale at a reasonable (I promise!) cost. If it proves to be popular, I may also produce a series for some of my other books or combination of techniques from those books. There have also been requests for some project classes……

Just reaching the end of this book project – nearly 4 years in the making! – I’m not really able to make any promises yet on availability or cost for the lessons, but I wanted you to know these video lessons are in the works/thought process/planning stages. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this!

Almost through the winter, which wasn’t too bad, but I am chafing at the bit to get back into the garden!!


  1. AnnW on February 21, 2018 at 6:19 pm

    I’m so pleased to hear all your plans. I love all your Craftsy classes and I’m looking forward to your new book and upcoming video lessons…I’m buying!

    • Susan Guagliumi on February 21, 2018 at 7:00 pm

      Thanks for the vote of confidence – I’ll try not to disappoint!

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