The Ravings of a Convert

I have been humming and hawing about machine knitting for so long but I wasn’t sure what it was that was holding me back. It has taken my latest (machine based) project to help me realise what the problem was.

I have always been a process knitter. I enjoy the process of making something and often was not bothered about what I ended up making. I would give away knits or leave them languishing at the back of the wardrobe until it was time to have a clear out for the charity shop, some I admit I could not even summon up the enthusiasm to sew up. Many of my projects were not loved. One was used to teach myself cables, another to experiment with socks and yet another might be an attempt at lace for the fifty millionth time (I am simply no good at lace knitting).

I think that the root of many of these problems, especially the sewing up issues, come from a limited attention span. I won’t say it’s short because to persist with a hand knit you have to have a pretty good attention span, but it just didn’t stretch much past a week.

My new project is one I was thinking about over Christmas. I was given a stool with a top that was looking a bit tired.I retopped it with some parachute cord (thank yarn for the internet I have no idea where I would have got that from otherwise) and then thought it would be nice to knit a cover for it.

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Now as an undertaking that would have taken me weeks and months in hand knitting, I can almost grantee you that it wouldn’t have been finished let alone sewn up. Instead over the course of one ‘Last Tango in Halifax’ (an hour long uk drama, bit twee but very enjoyable – just in case you were wondering) and only one more hour I produced the cloth, three different punch cards, three lovely patterns, and within a week, enthusiasm still bubbling, it was sewn up.

Here is the end result.

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It is not perfect, needs some work around the bottom, but my word I’m chuffed with it, and my even husband, (the type of person who wouldn’t notice when you’re wearing a leg brace and asks if the thing he hasn’t noticed is something to do with your hair- good guess, usually right, but massively wrong in this case) noticed the cover and said it looks good.

I am a convert I am now a produce knitter. I want my knitwear to be sewn up, to come to life and sparkle. I have spent years learning and now I want to design and see my creations appear before me in hours not days or weeks. I know I have still to learn the skills needed by a good machine knitter but I am prepared for that, In the meantime I love my machine I love the punchcards, and the fair isle function, and I love my, blissfully unaware of most things, husband.

The Ravings of a Convert

The Knitmaster 360 has landed.

I love it, I love it, I will change my life to be with it more.

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I have, in short bought a second hand Knitmaster 360. Rather than take a chance on an ebay bargain I went to the Heathercraft Knitting Machine Shop – www.heathercraft.co.uk where I met a very knowledgeable gentleman who did not try to give me the hard sell but instead he provided with great advice and a pleasant feeling that this was something I might be able to do (I am not being sponsored I promise, but when you come cross true expertise it should be applauded).

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I spent last night casting on decreasing, increasing, changing colours and casting off. I achieved much more than I had hoped to in the first day, and I really enjoyed it.

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I put my success down to watching a lot of YouTube videos before purchase, I put my failures, decreasing over multiple stitches in particular, down to getting overexcited and not reading the instructions carefully.

Today I worked through a punchcard three times and got a beautiful pattern from it.2015-01-11 20.08.59

I have a new obsession.  You must excuse me I have to go now as I am eating into my knitting time.

The Knitmaster 360 has landed.

The Right Tools for the Job

I have been researching knitting machines for some time now. There are more types than you might think.

There are circular ones which are like heavy weight cotton reel / French knitters. They will knit tubes for you. These tubes seem to be limited to size and depending on the size of the circular knitting machine you have. The largest one will produce tubes large enough to be made into hats. Technically these machine will knit a flat panel. Despite many attempts with mine I’ve not managed to make mine do this without dropping many stitches. I’m not sure if this is the fault of the machine or the knitter however I have decided that they’re of limited use for what I would like to do – colourwork looks complicated and slow. The advantage of these machines is that they are still being manufactured on a large scale, so you can buy a new one easily.

The next are the hobby machines. These are flat bed and a bit more the kind of shape which might occur to you when I say the words knitting machine to you. The bulk of these machines are made of plastic and where made in the eighties. The plastic does not always ag well so if you were thinking of buying a second hand one of these, make sure you get a good look at it first.

Next is the range I’m looking at for myself. Metal bed flat machines, these are most common and are also still being manufactured. Personally I’m going to get a second hand machine as I would like one which is good with changing colour and the price of one of these new makes me wince slightly, especially  when I consider that I am a faddist and I’m not sure how long I would use the machine for. I am going to buy a punch card machine. I haven’t seen one working yet bit I think you insert the card, select where you would like the pattern and insert the second colour. This is all a bit theoretical at the moment and I am going to be asking lots of advice on my shopping trip.

The final range is the sock knitting machines, these have such an interesting history and they look so fun to have a go on that if I had the money and the space to store it I would certainly love to get one, in the mean time I shall make do with watching videos on you tube.

Here is picture of my progress on the mittens. This is still the first one, New Year, new house, relatively new daughter (five months) have all slowed my pace slightly, I’m loving the pattern though, it’s Martin Storey Ice Cable Mitts.

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Next week end I’m off to http://www.heathercraft.co.uk/ knitting machine show room near Horsham, Surrey. I will let you know how I get on.

The Right Tools for the Job