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I have finally gotten my knitting machine “working,” well a bit better than I did last time.

knittingmachine-1

This is some lovely silk/alpaca in lace weight from Princess Farms. I wanted to make a shawl in plain stockinette — you would think that this would not be so difficult for one familiar with the ways of the fibre, such was myself (or perhaps more to the point, I would think that), but the machine had different plans:

knittingmachine-2

Yes, that is a big hole in my beautiful shawl. I waxed the yarn and everything, and now I have a huge hole (and a couple little ones). I also ran out of yarn before I bound off, so I tried my trick from before of making the knitting jump right off the machine by running the carriage over the needles without any yarn in it.

That part definately worked — I am glad that hand knitting isn’t so enthusiastic about jumping off the needles like that.

I will crochet the ends and the holes closed. In my mind, this will make a lovely rustic type garment, which I will then sew or crochet into a tube to wear around my shoulders like Teva Durham’s fade-out ribbed stole in Loop-D-Loop: More Than 40 Novel Designs for Knitters, because I think I would like that and what else will I do with it?

I have given in, perhaps throwing good money after bad, and bought some cast on combs and weights for my knitting machine, because I have been told that then my machine will stop dropping stitches randomly.

machineweights

I am hopeful that this will solve my problems and make me a brilliant machine knitter who can make a splendid living of the work of her hands and keep all her friends and family warm clothing for pennies — okay maybe not. But I really want to make something that works: I am very disheartened with my machine knitting career so far.

I was trying to get the knitting machine working again. I had Glenda come over to teach me about it and while she was here it all seemed so very logical, but then she left and the logic went with her.

At this point what I want to make is a stockinette stitch rectangular shawl — that should be easy enough, or so I thought. I have this lace weight silk noil, which I want the shawl to be made of — of course that won’t be happening any more.

I got cast on and was going along as pleased as punch:

And here is a look up its shirt:

My yarn was wound; I had done my swatch; everything was going according to plan, when I noticed I was dropping a few stitches here and there, but I thought — it’s the first thing I have made with the machine and its for me and a rustic style anyway, so I will carry on. It doesn’t look that bad:

Here is the kind of thing that was giving me a hint something was wrong:

Then there was more:

Finally the whole thing had a bit of a fit, threw up its metaphorical hands in the air and in a final insult to me and my efforts, broke the yarn with a snap and the whole middle of the shawl jumped right off the machine and just sort of hung there.

There are no pictures of this stage as I had to peer through the space between the beds and up from beneath to figure out what had happened. I am used to hand knitting — you can always see the part where you made the mistake even if you don’t know what you did or how to fix it.

So I took the whole thing off the machine and don’t have enough yarn left to start again, and I have another weird bit of knitting to figure out what to do with. I think it may be calling out to be another cushion cover:

I have been having problems with my knitting machine see here and here). It hasn’t really given me any indication up till now that it wanted to do anything I directed.

I don’t know anyone who knows how to do this, so I have to learn with these:

km-1.jpg

Which is of course very hard. Finally last Sunday, I threaded the machine and tried to knit.

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It was so hard and I actually had to cut it loose (no pictures – painful memory I want to forget).

I then thought maybe I should try cleaning and oiling it – who could anticipate that old machinery that hasn’t been used in years might need to be cleaned and lubricated? – I never said I was good at this part.

After that the knitting machine and I had a time out for a few days.

Then today I got home from work and tried one more time and I was able to . . . wait for it . . . you guessed it . . . cast on!

I made a weird little bit of too tight ribbing with waste yarn, which I will one day throw in the garbage, but not today, because I made the knitting machine work.

Please pause a moment to consider my creation:

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See it can be done.

I am so excited. I have had my knitting machine in pieces as it came out of the shipping box since last May. And now, here it is together in all its glory:

My knitting machine

I understand that it took a vice and a specialized hammer to get the part into the plate where I couldn’t get it together before, but now it is ready and all I need to do is learn how to use it. I have several ideas for projects I want to get to.

I bought a second hand knitting machine a few months ago, so I could work more fine garments faster. I thought that because I felt confident hand knitting it would be easy.

It turns out it is broken. This part is supposed to be welded to the plate. It is possible I may be able to get a replacement part.

I am not sure what I was thinking. The whole reason I stopped weaving was because I don’t like sitting in an upright chair or sitting on a bench while making something.

I love hand knitting; it has to be one of my favourite things to do, but I confess the siren call of endless swaths of stocking stitch in no time was too strong. I have at least two projects sitting in my knitting basket because I have hit an endless section of right side knit and wrong side purl.

If I ever manage to get the knitting machine going, I will celebrate by making myself a wonderful and cozy kimono in stocking stitch to lounge around in. it should be a good first project as they can be entirely made from rectangles. Until then I may get a few rows done on this shawl: Leaves and Waves by Pat Coyle from Knitty, fall 2004. it’s beautiful. My version is blue on brown, but I despair of ever getting it done because I am in an interminable stocking stitch section.

June 2017
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