30 Jan 2012

Intarsia/ Fair isle/ Jacquard

I received John Allen's Treasury of Machine Knitting Stitch's for Christmas and was reading through when I came to his section on Jacquard (fair isle). In the introduction to the section he states 'Jacquard and Fair Isle are two terms in machine knitting used to describe the same stitch structure,' this, however is not really true.
Fair isle, Jacquard and intersia are all different techniques for colour pattern knitting. Hand knitters may be familiar with fair isle and intersia but maybe not jacquard, I don't think this technique is used in hand knitting but I may be wrong.

Fair isle -colour pattern knitting with the floats in the back
Jacquard - Colour pattern knitting that is double sided. One side is the pattern and the other is a dotty pattern


Both these technique's can be automated in production by simply programming the pattern into the knitting machine, much in the same way you would scan an image into the computer.
The knitting machine then simply select's the needle's needed and the machine knits always with two colours. Depending on how this is done this results in the unused colour being carried across or knitted across the back of the fabric. This has limitations in the colours, only two per line, and the length of float across the back.

However intarsia resolves these problems but comes with it's own. If you have ever knitted an intarsia pattern by hand then knitting it on a machine is not much different. Instead of using the machine to select the needles and control the yarn the user has to do this. In simple terms it means a picture, sometimes very complicated and with many colours can be re-created on a knitted fabric.  I used this technique on the bf's wolf jumper, this was a simple pattern with three colours but a pain in the butt! Since then I have been noticing intarsia being used on many shop knits. I wondered how they translated this complicated and time consuming process into mass production, and below is the answer: 
Stella's intarsia Jumper

This is a video of knitwear production including intarsia and below is a video of my intarsia in process. Notice the difference? I'm so much slower I know! I find it a nightmare keeping all my strands straight- I become obsessed with untangling them.
The video is in double time and I have cut out some bits but it shows me doing just three rows of work! 

I shall post the picture of the finished product in the next post.

 Just another little interesting video of knitwear production -

17 Jan 2012

Made in Britain Knitwear

After my brother recommend it I have been regularly listening to the 'This American Life' podcast. A great way of hearing unusual and thought provoking ideas, and sometimes just something a little odd.
This week I was catching up and listened to last weeks as well, they were discussing China made electrical goods (must of our electrical goods then), especially Apple goods (a must listen if you have been brainwashed by Apple).

http://feeds.thisamericanlife.org/talpodcast (you can get podcast's from previous weeks on itunes and then such)

However the discussion of the terrible conditions the factories work in made me think of our high street clothing. Of course not all of it comes from these types of factories but as a consumer we never question where are good's do come from: apart from the occasions when horrible stories appear in the press.

As someone who has worked in a few fashion companies it is something I don't like to think about too much. All the companies I worked for placed strict regulations on their factories, sometimes enforced by an outside company. But then again so do Apple and listen to the horror stories in the podcast about them....
On occasion I would wonder just what was happening in those factories when we pushed an order through or cut the price down again and again, but thought's like that need to be suppressed, they're not helpful to keeping your job.

And so this is why I want to buy British- not because of the economical gains for the UK (questionable) or even to cut down on my carbon footprint but because I know that British manufacturing often use the better quality materials and treat their employee's fairly.

Some more interesting link's below about eco living and small British business's

Very interesting -Nettle underwear anyone?Green Living-Clothing-A Celebration of Nettle - The Ecologist:

Etsy is a great (if a little big now) way to find hand crafted British goods and support small craft's people - Hobbyists Use Etsy to Trade Day Job for Hard Work - NYTimes.com:

Inspiration (and a little bit of scared, jealous, and awe) from British knitwear brand Quinton and Chadwick, They say:
"Our aim is to keep the British tradition of knitting alive with our co-operatives of specialists who,s skill is their legacy. A truly British heritage product, to love and to keep with no air-miles what so ever "
 Interview with British knitwear brand ‘Quinton & Chadwick’ « IndependentBoutique.com Blog:

Great collection of British Breds for the hand knitter - British Breeds - Purl and Jane:
Beautiful hand knit by a British Designer- something special rather then the usual Rowan. Jane Ellison is a British freelance hand knit designer who specialises in creating simple straightforward patterns. - Jane Ellison:

12 Jan 2012

Check it out - bespoke knitwear

Finally, after much work and even more time putting off the work, the bespoke page is up!!!! WooHoo! Custom knitwear order's should come flowing in now..... well maybe a trickle at least.
I have been meaning to put the bespoke page up since before Christmas but it has just been put to the back burner again and again as these things do. But tonight it was this or to face writing some financial pages of the business plan, the Photoshop fun won out of course! And another great thing is that I managed to change the page layout on the separate pages, anyone wondering about this can find help here - http://www.bloggersentral.com/2010/02/apply-different-layoutstyling-to-static.html

Since things have calmed down after Christmas (was that only three weeks ago?) I have been getting back into work slowly but this week I have been pushing myself more. Writing the business plan up in a nice way that everyone can read instead of as scribbles in my note pad is high up on the list for the week. Also this week I got on my knitting machine and created samples - oh happy days! I love creating samples, just to sit down at the machine with a vague idea of what I want and mess around (although it is of course a lot more serious than that!). But I think my favorite task this week is starting to design, I'm working on some spring/summer stuff at the moment and taking some inspiration from below -

See the link between the two?

I have a lot to think about at the moment - yarns, manufacturing, where I want my garments to go? But if I get stressed at least I have my knitting machine to pick me up again (sometime's).

8 Jan 2012

New knitted goodies

Check me out- the new Etsy pic's on my side bar! I know it's not very technical but I feel very proud of myself!
I have only just got round to putting a few piece's on to Etsy, have a little look and let me know what you think of the photo's and descriptions. I really don't like being in the photo's myself but at the time this was the easiest option. I will be putting some more pieces up tomorrow and seeing as January and February are the coldest months of the year there still time for some knitwear.
I decided to put these up on Etsy instead of Folksy mainly because of the money - Etsy is only 3.5% and Folksy is 5%, but also I am finding Etsy easier to use and easier to get noticed on. However none of these matter if no one comes to my Etsy shop so this will be a trail - I'll let you know how it goes.

Think I will be trying to make one of these, wonder if I could knit it?........
New Burnt Orange.1920s CLOCHE HAT. Stylish, Warm, Winter Accessories. Inspired by Coco Chanel.

5 Jan 2012

Wolf Boyfriend Jumper (hoooowl)

Sooo the craft fair's finished and Christmas and New Year came and went and I stopped writing new blog post's but I'm back!!!!
Below is the wolf jumper I made for my boyfriend for a Christmas present - the basic block was just a plain drop shoulder jumper with a 2x2 rib. The yarn was navy 100% wool from Forsel. I decided to make the wolf an intersia pattern so I didn't have to worry about floats at the back but this turned out to be a complete pain! I first kept setting the machine wrong and so it must have fallen off the machine three times before I realised it was my fault and changed the settings. Then the pain of following the chart and trying knitting about 100 rows of the pattern. I am glad I added two greys in the moon as it looks good but it was so painful!
BF is in love with wolves and had asked for a wolf jumper - as he is a bit hard to please and I didn't want to get it wrong we worked on the design together. The wolf howling at the moon was off the internet and this I translated into a graph for knitting. However I should have realised that the image needed elongating as it would get a bit squashed when knitted. Lesson learnt anyway and he likes it.
Anyone else want a custom jumper?

I had a lovely break over Christmas and have come back ready to knit my ass off! 

1 2 8 9