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Norwegian Ski Hat

Nordic Ski Hat for Knitmaster 580 using the pattern at the back of the Studio 580 Electronic machine supplementary manual.

Feeling a bit bored at the moment so I decided to take another look at my Knitmaster Electronic 580 machine - and now having used it again, I realise it is one of the most innovative of the electronics and still sells for very little money online and in fact it never ceases to amaze me that folk pay silly money for plastic beds that look pretty but do very little. This machine operates with mylar sheets and with the the PE1 accessory can use the full 200 needles to knit. It has wonderful capabilites via it stitch cams and once you get the hang of it, offers great patterning potential and remember with the appropriate cable you can download from Designaknit into the PE1. Along with the ribber beds SR 50 and 60 its a great piece of kit. Accessories range from PE1, Knit Radar, Weaving carriages, RT1 rib transfer carriages, Linkers, and to my mind the best colour changer offered by any standard gauge barring Passap. This enables you to do jacquard ie not something I have tried as I always use Passap for this technique. The icing on the cake is the wonderful electronic lace carriage that does lace in one pass however to do fashion lace you have to remove the yarn to accommodate multiple transfers.

Anyway to begin this thought provoking pattern

The mylar sheet was a pain in the you know what to fill in, I hate mylars, unfortunately in this case Designaknit via a download was a non starter as the pattern uses the KM 580 bleep system to let you know when to hang the hem and to let you know when to shape etc etc. Do not get me started on the silver pens, they recommend - nowt but hassle!

I scanned the mylar into DK and then imported into the stitch pattern file. I had a good bit of tidying up to do and eventually the pattern was ready to download as a template for the mylar without which I would never have attempted to do it, as it was the drafting took the patience of a saint. I then tested it initially to check it was correct as as luck would have it the machine was not too happy with the draft so again I had to redo it leaning more heavily on the pencil and going over it a few time, I wonder why I hate mylars and thank god for Designaknit.

Getting Started

Turn on machine and memorize the cams etc, and reset RC to 00 - SS 8 - cam set to Fairisle - place the mylar in and ensure that the inspection light is switched on when you do this, once the card is set, then switch off the Inspection light and it should feed the mylar down 10 rows to begin to knit. Of all the instructions I have read in my life the KM 580 must count for one of the worst - I spent forever trying to set the mylar - ie I assumed you just fed it in and set it with Inspection light off then you turn on the inspection light and consequently it just did not work properly so remember, to have the inspection light on when you set the mylar to its start position THEN turn the inspection light off and you are ready to go.

Why you may ask would I need to use the mylar method instead of the PE1 download from Designaknit, well simple explanation is that the pattern is set up to knit the ski hat shaped in six sections using the Knitmaster point cams and N1 cam - and accordingly the buzzer tells you when to do various things, such as when to knit off onto waste yarn and when to decrease, and when to drop the second yarn etc etc. This is a fairly complicated pattern and I love a challenge. What I would say is that the author omitted to take into account 2 plain rows at the beginning of the mylar pattern when dictating row number for the the settings, but I am sure she assumed it would be knitted by someone who knows what they are doing and not an idiot like me. All the buzzer markings I did were therefore for 2 rows out. Anyway these things are sent to try us!

Success of a sort!

Well success of a sort and bearing in mind I did not use the correct yarn nor did I do a test square, however that said it fits really well. I used a sort of 4 ply acrylic and its easy to knit with and unlike most knitting machines that are actually used a lot, mine are not unfortunately so are a bit of a pain to get started. That said, once you draft the mylar and set it all up and knit it for the first time then I know it will be easy to do again. My mylar drawing was still not too hot but I always said I hated these things hence my purchase of Designaknit. Still once you have produced the mylar its there for ever I suppose - I have racked my brains to think of an easier way to do this electronically ie without drafting a mylar but no joy, if anyone else has any suggestions I would love to hear them.

Notes to myself for next time

Choose a decent contrast colour for the cast on, as its difficult to see when picking up each set of stitches for the 6 pieces, Use a cast on cord between the waste and the knitting. It would have been easier to pull out. Do not use a weaving brush cast on for the waste and it was hell to undo.

If this Norwegian Ski Hat design had been knitted in wool in very contrasting colours I am sure it would look fantastic for both men and women.

I had been looking at this pattern for years - it is right at the back of the Studio 580 electronic machine supplementary manual.


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