machine knit cotton afghan
I am still in my very basic mode with my knitting machine. It is an older machine, all manual selection for any patterning, no fancy multiple color work possible. I still enjoy working with it though, and when it was announced that our Sunday knitting group was going to give my daughter a 'cotton' wedding shower, I went through the stash of coned yarn I bought long ago at R&M yarns to find cottons of a complatable color scheme with the plan to make her a cotton afghan.
I only had the basic design concept of wide strips of color when I started. Every part of the afghan had something to teach me! Even though I did swatches of each color, measured before and after washing and drying, my biggest problem was the fact that the lengths of strips did not come out even lengths, in spite of calculating how many rows per inch I needed and then how many inches. So after the strips were done, and all attached lengthwise, I had lots of fiddly bits to do, to make one section longer (putting the stitches back on a knitting needle and knitting by had until I had the right length) or shortening (undoing the cast off and raveling back to the right length) Add to that the fact that the whole afghan was definately stretchy, it was work to try and get it nice and evenly crocheted together.
The dark green was a 100% multi-ply cotton. It knitted like a dream on my standard machine, with tension set on the loose side. The brown and white tweedy strips was a cotton/rayon twist yarn and gave me lots of problems, the loose twist and slubbiness of the yarn makes it not really a machine knitting yarn. I made it through the two strips, but will not use that cone of yarn on the machine, only for hand knitting. Funny, I did not really have any problems with it when I swatched, but there's lots more knitting to be done for the long strips than that 6 by 6 swatch. I held my breath as I knit each row, and fussed though several disasters (one time a slub made the yarn break and the knitting fell off the machine, and I had to reset each stitch back on the needles). I was glad to get the second strip done, and made the design so I would not have to make any more! The small gold strips are a cotton chenille, a lovely soft yarn, that knit surprisingly well at a loose tension on my machine. And felted up into a nice fabric after washing and drying. Oh and yes, chenille does 'worm'. I honestly had never worked with chenille before, and finally saw exactly what that means. In the lovely fabric, every now and then, there is a big loop sitting on top of the fabric. I suppose it could make a difference in some projects, but I honestly was so pleased with the fabric and color, that I barely saw the worming.
But once completed, I was very pleased with the afghan. I will not probably make another one soon, the finishing time was much longer than the actual knitting time. But finish work is sort of like child birth, easily forgotten once it is past, and I may get the bug again to try and knit another one.
And finally, since it was a cotton shower, the hostess made a 'cotton' wedding cake. Nothing useful about it, just very clever and well appreciated and well worth sharing.