Ultimate Sweater Machine

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At last I have managed to complete a swatch on the USM!  I will be honest - there was A LOT of frustration.  No matter what I did I kept having stitches just drop off from the middle of my work for no apparent reason.  And when half of the row drops off, it winds up being beyond repair. Then I would start all over. Ugh. 
 
So I talked with Cari the other day about it.  Turns out that my problem was I was allowing the front of the carriage to lift up a little as I was knitting across the row.  I tried once again with this in mind, and voila!  I managed to knit a good sized swatch. 
 
I dropped a couple of stitches at the beginning of a row when the work got pretty long.  This was my first attempt to pick up/fix dropped stitches.  I know I didn't get it perfect since If you look carefully at the left side of my work about half way up, you can see the flaw in my work, but I feel pretty good about it for  a first try.  Then I used the S hooks and rubber bands on the edges, and had no more problems. I have got to get some claw weights!
 
Now, time to bind off!  It actually wasn't as scary as I thought it would be.  I used the chain method.  One note-- make sure you leave enough yarn to bind off. I made the mistake of not leaving enough yarn, so I had to tie another piece to the end so I could finish. 
 
All  in all I feel pretty good that I FINALLY managed to finish a swatch. It has been frustrating for me trying to work out all the kinks in the process, but now I feel ready to attempt a real project! 

Comments

My machine is sitting in the back of my closet (I think since I haven't seen it in some time) because I had the same problems. Maybe I'll pull it out (if it's where I think it is) and try again. Thanks for the tips.

Awesome. I've really got to get mine set up again. You are right it isn't without frustration but once you figure it out it goes great. Have fun and I look forward to more, Susie

I use mine so much that I'm on my second one, having worn the first one out!! I'm glad you were able to be successful with it finally!

I LOVE my USM! I use it so much that I'm actually on my second machine, having worn my first one out! I'm glad that you were finally able to be successful with it! It's great fun!

Don't give up! I lost a lot of stitches at first but then I got the hang of it! Pressure on it has a lot to do with it.

I have been thinking of getting my machine out again, but have another project going on at the moment. When I did a swatch or whatever it might be called...the ends roll up and I don't know why or how to stop it. Any ideas?

Okispider - The curling is because of working in stockinette stitch. With straight stockinette stitch, the knitting tends to curl. Sometime the curling can be used as part of the design, such as a rolled hem. To eliminate the curling, add some other kind of stitch to the edges, such as ribbing.

Knitting curls, there's not much you can do about it. If you sew together pieces, or crochet an edge onto something, then it will flatten out. Otherwise, it will stay curled.

I, too, have dragged out my machine from its storage spot in the closet. I'm feeling like knitting after a long absence. The black hem is now sitting under some books in the hope that the creases it acquired will straighten out. I think there will be a bit of a re-learning curve. @Okispider: As the other posters noted, the knitted edges will curl unless you add some sort of border (can be crocheted or knitted) or seam the edges together. A Google search will provide some inspiration and instructions for various types of edges. You can try using blocking wires and steaming the edges straight but I haven't quite figured out how to do that without ending up with a limp section :-) @Carrie: Congratulations on your first outing with your machine! Keep at it because it does get easier. Take your time until you find a rhythm that works for you. Remember to use lots of weight(s) and keep an eye on your stitches so that you can catch slipped stitches before they become a problem.

You could try this video to replace your black hem http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NYNGTQw2Nqo

I love my Bond. It does take a little time to get comfortable with it, but once you do, it's great. I've been making cowls and fingerless mitts for presents and for the church bazaar next November. As others have said, there is a wealth of information on line and many advanced knitters who help and encourage!

Please help! Want to use my new USM but how do you get the foundation row started?? Have watched every video out there and so frustrated. I just need to make a simple square and small rectangle that will get stitched together... can anyone help? Thank you in advance.

Kimberly, I had the same problem when I was learning the machine. The two things I found to be the problem were 1) Making sure you have the hem set properly with yarn on every hook and 2) Be sure to hold some tension on the yarn at the beginning of the row until the carriage catches the first needle. Once I got these two things figured out I had no problems. I know it can be frustrating, but you will get it. Good luck!

Question: when "unraveling" did you mean the stitches don't form on the needles? If so, it sounds like it's a weight issue. Be sure you have the rod weights inserted into the hem. You'd be surprised how many people don't realize this. Or did you have luck over the weekend?

Can I use a hand knitting pattern on the USM? I read somewhere that I could, but am not sure of the process.

Judith, You CAN convert hand knit patterns. The booklet that comes with the USM contains information on how to do this. :):)

Came across this site. What booklet are you referring to on how to convert hand knit to machine knit? I did not see that with my Bond.

The pattern/instruction book that comes with the USM has some basic info on converting patterns.

You don't have enough weight on the fabric. You didn't move the little bit of weight that you did have, up, as you created more fabric.

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