Creative Education: Machine Knitting

Mastering a new craft takes time and commitment.
And money!
Tools and materials and patience all come at a premium. For me, they don’t usually arrive all at the same time.

In my case, the money and opportunity to buy a knitting machine came nearly a year ago. The patience, time, and what I like to think of as my capacity to learn, are all coming together, now. I jumped in with both feet when I first brought the machine home, but I often experience blocks when I first try something new and when I return to it I can’t imagine why it ever seemed so difficult.

Does that happen to anyone else?

This foray into machine knitting has been easier and more importantly, it makes sense. I understand what I’m trying doing as opposed to blinding flipping switches and levers. This makes all the difference, for me. This knowledge was hard earned through closely reading the (many, many) manuals that came with machines (I truly got a ton of stuff for what I’m only  just beginning to understand was an outstanding price) viewing many excellent YouTube videos (Roberta Rose Kelley is a genius) and researching and reading machine knitter’s blogs. I immersed myself in learning different methods, in different mediums and from different points of view. And in an unhurried manner. Which is pretty important for learning a new skill, too.

As you can see, things were swimming along. So much so, I hadn’t stopped to think of what I was going to do with the narrow-ish strip of knitting. Impatience was telling me to keep going and figure it out later. Patience reminded me that I don’t need a garment (self-made or otherwise) that I don’t really like. So, off it came.

High on my success, I moved on to the ribber attachment.
Where this happened.

STUCK!!
This was as far as I got, all day. I, literally, spent all day Sunday trying to work this ribbing past the third row. Nothing doing. Some cheer leading and advice via Instagram has me anxious to try again.

But first, I must make dinner. If I eat anymore take out I’ll turn into a big pot of grease and fat. That’s what I feel like when I have tons of outside food.
Gross.

After the ribber, I have intarsia and lace carriages to master and two additional tools, a yarn changer and automatic linker to get stuck into. It must be said, again, the materials and tools are all in amazing condition. I knew they were old, knitting machines of this type are not really manufactured anymore, but check out the date on the receipt.

1984!! And it’s like new. I’m so grateful to the woman who listed this for sale. With no experience with knitting machines I would have no way of knowing if it even worked. The more I investigate (the tools and the price) and the more I play around with it (and note the condition and many extras), the more gratitude I feel.

And, as always, I am grateful for the chance to explore new crafts and expressive my creativity.

I’m a lucky gal :)

Knitted & Read

My Green Thumb mitts are done!
I feel like I haven’t finished a knit (with the exception of Frida’s Heart) in forever!!

Feels fantastic!

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The yarn is Shelridge Yarns Soft Touch DK. I have a whole skein in brown that I will never, ever, knit. If you want it, holla!

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I’m working on Hetty in these photos. It’s coming along so well. Maybe there is something to swatching after all.

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This is the upper back, nearly complete. After a couple false starts, last night and some ballet class knitting, today. It’s a miracle I got any done at all, as I am absolutely engrossed in a new book series:

The Monstrumologist.

I’m reading book #2 (The Curse of the Wendigo) which I walked clear across Brooklyn to borrow from the library. I couldn’t possibly wait for it to come in on hold, I was nearly done with the first one. There was a tense moment when I couldn’t find it on the shelf….luckily, I didn’t panic and asked the librarian to confirm its location. It was with the SciFi books (not YA, even though it’s a “kids” book).

Close call.

My feet still haven’t forgiven me for that walk, though.

Basquiat, Shibori & Indigo

Quickie sewing.

Basquiat, Shibori & Indigo

A little knitting project bag made with some special indigo shibori dyed fabric.

Basquiat, Shibori & Indigo

With a little Basquiat flavor courtesy of Sharpie ;)

Basquiat, Shibori & Indigo

Thanks to some dance class knitting time, I’m well into mitt number two.

Basquiat, Shibori & Indigo

I’m about to get stuck into another (hopefully) quickie project. The Plaintain tee from Deer & Doe!!

Movies & Style: Volver

I posted my to watch or not to watch, Volver, dilemma on Instagram, too. Opinions, universally, skewed towards WATCH IT, NOW!! So, I watched it.

And I’m in love….
with the colors, with Penelope Cruz (again, I LOVE her in Woman On Top), and with the knitwear.
So lush. All three.

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MV5BMTUyMjYyNzQ1MF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwNTgwODk2._V1_SX640_SY720_It seems that I’ve channeled parts of the color scheme, recently (foreshadowing?). I’m done, all but thumb, on this first mitt. Maybe a Raimnuda inspired cardi in the future? (1,2,3)9af72426718611e3a5e7128a49ca55a1_8My Basquait themed nails continue (there’s an different iteration on them, now!)

And a couple new lip colors joined the crew.

I definitely want more color, this winter. With layers to stay warm.

(1,2,3,4,5,6,7)

And to watch more of the films on my list. Volver’s parental theme is a sensitive one for me. I can get extremely emotional watching anything, but mother-daughter-multi-generational story lines always get to me.

If you’ve seen Volver, what did you think?

In Bloom

Hubby got me this Amaryllis plant for my birthday.
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That teeny stalk you see there has grown about a foot and a half, with this beautiful bloom sprouting at the top.
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There’s something so miraculous about watching a plant change and grow and bloom, up close.
My short-y goals also continue to bloom, too. The girls’ room got the fall cleaning treatment. Hubby and I DID get to go on our date! And, I nested, away from the computer (!!) with some knitting.
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CABLES!!!
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This is Ysolda’s, Gretel. Worked up in Moda Dea Washable wool that I got in a swap. This hat is difficult enough for me as it is loaded with cables. I was plugging along when I, somehow, had the right number of stitches but the pattern just wasn’t ending the right way.

GRRRRRRR!!

I counted and recounted and then counted again. Nothing. I even went and bought the pdf pattern on Ravelry, which I placed a hold on and borrowed this Stitch and Bitch book to avoid doing, to see if the book pattern was wrong. It ain’t. On my way back to my bedroom, my mistake was suddenly clear. I read P1, K4, P1, but I was knitting P1, K4 over and over. Completely missing that second purl.

DUH!! It’s worse because I’ve made this mistake before. Several times. Whatever. That’s what happens when you knit at 3am while laughing your ass off at RuPaul’s Drag Race, the Ru-vealed special episodes. HILARIOUS! So, Ysolda gets another $6 bucks in her pocket and I can print out the pattern all nice and neat.

I also bought, rather impulsively, this color work pattern a couple weeks ago. I can’t wait to try it out.

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And I was working on a Miette I started a while back. But it has been ripped back, almost to the beginning. It was coming out way too big. I’m sort of out of love with it and want to move onto something else. I really, really like this pattern.

sallycardigan2It’s called Sally. Isn’t it cute? It’s color work AND steeking, which I really want to try. It’s also free and will work with yarn that I already have, so those are definite pluses.

Are you knitting anything?

Yarn It Up

I am REALLY looking forward to fall this year. I was totally a summer person until…I’m not sure. But, this year, I’m jonesin’ for fall. Maybe it’s a combination of back to school shopping, plans for fall cleaning (the kids’ room’s are disaster areas) and the purging of outgrown and worn through clothing. All of that brings on a can’t-wait-for-fall feeling.

So much so, I was digging around in yarn and pursuing my Ravelry queue. The desire to sew always starts to wane at this time of year. I hope to fight it in 2013. Maybe this is a good time to teach myself to work slowly through more complex projects. Things like perfecting fit and making pants(!!!).

But, for now, I’m dreaming of working with yarn. I wanted to start by getting back to Dimbala, which needs a new yarn choice.

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These two are calling out to me. The colors scream warmth and coziness and fall.   IMG_6016_medium2 IMG_6014_medium2 As pretty as the yarn I started with is, the texture and drape are all wrong for that pullover. Which sucks because I knit all of that twisted rib only to find that I hated the way the guage looked in stockinette stitch.

And then, this trifecta of Andi Satterland patterns are DEMANDING my attention.

Chuck

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Miette

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And a CROCHET MASTERPIECE, Elsa!!

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I’ve loved this pattern when I saw the sample on Andi’s blog. I have never crocheted anything larger than a hat, but I pulled the trigger on this purchase immediately. I mean, lookatit! Awesome!

I can’t sew away from home, and even though my commute to work is fairly short (at least my time on the train is) I might be able to squeeze something in during work breaks. And while reading the massive 819TzSEbmkL._SL1500_

A Lil’ Bit 60s

A Lil' Bit 60s

Sweater :: Handknit Coraline
Blouse :: Freecycled
Skirt :: Handmade Advance 9916
Tights :: F21
Boots :: Anne Klein

This is another of my cardigans from my former knitting life. That yoke nearly killed me! After battling with it, the end result was smaller than I wanted. It’s knit up in one of my favorite yarns, Silky Wool. The top was in a Freecycle haul. It’s from Express and it’s a size XS. I would never buy that size in the store, but I found the close (kind of shrunken) fit to be just the thing with certain outfits.

A Lil' Bit 60s

This is actually version two of Advance 9916. Version one, which is shorter and made from stretch denim, was finished before the new year and I still haven’t worn it. This longer version is also shorter than the full length of the pattern. I don’t know how tall this cover model is supposed to be, but it’s safe to say she is massively disproportionate if the skirt is this short on her, lol!

Advance 9916, 1960s

I got the pattern in the great Sew Weekly NY Meet-up and pattern swap. I’m almost positive it was Marina’s as most of the giveaway patterns were donated by her.

A Lil' Bit 60s

The only change I made to the pattern, besides the length, was to cut the waistband longer. I also lined it and finished that hem with pretty lace. I loved wearing this today! The lining prevented the dreaded static cling and it felt so slinky as I walked around. This fabric is the same one I used for my Meringue skirt. This was the last of it, some kind of poly/wool blend, I think. It’s perfect for skirts as I think it would be terribly hot worn on top. It doesn’t have much give either.

A Lil' Bit 60s

I tried to get some outdoor photos before work. I nearly froze my cheeks off! They’re not that red from just blush! I don’t know how some people take coat-less pics in the snow! Must be made of tougher stuff than me.

A Lil' Bit 60s

A Lil' Bit 60s

It was definitely hat weather, today. GEEZ was it cold! I re-twisted my hair last night so it could stay small enough to be hat wearing compatible ;0) It gets so frizzy, so fast but it was worth it as it was complimented by two very nice library patrons, lol. It has been over two years since I asked my sister to chop it (nearly) all off. This lady’s site was instrumental in helping me decide to embrace having hair that short for the first time. She has written a book about this massive shift in the way we (those of us who are naturally curly/kinky/coily/nappy) think about our hair. I think this is the most comfortable I’ve ever been with the way mine grows out of my head. I KNOW this is the most well equipped to handle it I’ve ever been.

Thanks, Nikki!

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