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!!

Frida’s Heart for a Friend

My colleagues and I exchanged Secret Santa gifts, yesterday. I was lucky enough to draw the one name of the bunch who I knew EXACTLY what to get! K and I are both HUGE Frida Kahlo fans. We share the same favorite painting, and the tattoo I wanted to get from it (a heart from The Two Fridas) she already has on her chest. What are the odds?!?!?

It’s safe to say that it was DEAD easy to gather up a little package of Frida delights.

Starting with Frida tats!


Rounded out with a set of postcards (of such beautiful quality they’d be perfect to display) and a book of art stickers.
Frida Loot

Art Stickers

Postcards

Finally, at the last minute, I decided that a plush representation of that heart we’re both so drawn to would be just the thing.
Hand Knit Heart

Knitting anything, on limited time no less, was a big gamble as everything I’ve tried lately has turned out wrong. It would appear that the curse is broken!! I’m pretty proud of this thing!! And even more in love with my coworkers after they included a Festivus pole in our party decorations. Just for me :D

Festivus!!!

I’m really fortunate to work with such awesome people! This last year has been so much fun and so rewarding. I’m already looking forward to our next party!

Happy Festivus and Chrismanakwanza to you all!!

Put a Turban on It

I just came across this cute little video over on the Britex blog.

I think the narrator has got the right idea. Spending money is DEAD easy! Lol

I’m trying to get into a groove with my last big spender purchase, my Singer 360 knitting machine, and I keep hitting a wall. It stalled my progress, and will to work with it, until one of the coolest ladies on the interwebs sent me a box of wool-y love.
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Which, of course, made me want to leap right back in the saddle!! And I did.

BUT the same damn thing happened again!! Whenever I swatch or just play around to get the feel of the machine, I’m fine. As soon as I approach the thing with calculations for a project DISASTER!!! It is so fucking frustrating!! As is realizing that more accessories are needed to really do the damn thing the right way. Namely a swift and ball winder. And a blocking board. And a table that is not my sewing table to mount the machine on.

That all will have to wait a while. As there are more class party and fall feast cakes to bake. I also promised my little son a turkey, his brother all the fried chicken he could eat and the girls dance classes. The life of a parent. I embrace it ;) I’ll find my knitting groove in time.

Until then, I vow to get right back at it…

First thing tomorrow.

Now, I’m going to sleep off too much interaction with too many 1st graders and massive amounts of chocolate cake.

What are you doing this weekend?

{Machine} Knit All The Things

Friends!! I (along with the help of my hubby who spoils me, I’m SO lucky) made a dream come true!!

I am the proud, infatuated, new owner of a

KNITTING MACHINE!!

(seller’s image)

Not only did I get the machine locally from a Craig’s List seller (so no $100 shipping charge) she accepted $75 less than she initially offered it for AND the machine came along with a crap load of extras! Lace, intarsia and ribber attachments along with a slew of hand tools, cones of yarn to practice on (more than enough to make an actual test garment!) and the seller’s notes and materials from a machine knitting class she took at FIT.

This deal was an absolute SCORE!! I feel even better about it because I missed out on another, not nearly as good (or even in the same universe), local CL offer just last week. Best thing that could have happened!! I was able to get what appears to be a lifetime of collected materials with only two (related: aunt and niece) previous owners who held onto everything and took great care of it all. I could have spent double (and nearly triple if you think of the shipping charges) collecting the same over time. I feel so lucky!!

Even more so because LOOK at what I made after only one week of intense machine knitting related pinning and research & one day of struggling and YouTube-ing and Google-ing (this post in particular was a God send) like a maniac!

A totally excellent swatch!!

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This is 70 rows wide x 100 high and measures 10×7 inches. Shall we ponder how long it would have taken me to hand knit the same at this gauge? lol

And I only have one not-s0-serious-injury to show for it! Though, my back might not be so happy with me in the morning. I need to make some space for my new toy, so my much loved, though little used, vanity table will make its way to Craig’s List and into the life of some one new.

Check out my Pinterest board if you’re in the market for a machine and want to read up!

Knitting Machine

And expect more, MUCH more, knitting content in the future!

Machine deets for the curious:

- Singer Knitting Machine & Carriage Model 360K
– Singer Ribbing Attachment SRP 60N
– YC6 Single & Double Bed Yarn Changer
– Model LC-2 Lace Carriage
– Model AG-20 Intarsia Carriage
– Model SC-3 Automatic Linker

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?