Friday, July 08, 2005

Knitting machine adventures

I said that I was going to post about how I got on with the knitting machine.


The day before yesterday I spent working from home and part of this consisted of watching the commentary for the classic serial North and South, so I decided that this was the perfect time to multi-task. I dragged my knitting machine (which, by the way weighs considerably more than a feather) into the lounge and propped it up on a couple of chairs. Following the instructions I set it up, all the while listening to the director's commentary on the DVD.

You know how I said that I thought the machine looked vaguely scary? Well, it really IS looking scary. In fact, when the almost DH came home earlier he stopped in the door, stared, and eventually asked me if I was contacting Mars. I can't blame him because it really looks like you are trying to contact aliens - the tension device for the yarn looks like a huge antenna. ;-)

Can you see the antenna?

Here is a close-up:

Anyway, it turns out that the tentacles / antennae are very important, because if the tension isn't correct everything gets messed up. This happens very easily, leading me to the conclusion that a knitting machine has a considerably more fragile, delicate mechanism than a sewing machine. I constructed a few bits of test knitting that were really quite messy and had lots of loops where there weren't supposed to be loops before this dawned on me, and once or twice ADH had to help me take the carriage off because I had managed to jam it. This is the carriage:

Scary, huh?

OK, maybe not to you, but to me it is! ;-)

In the end, I figured it out, though AND I figured out how to do an armhole in the middle of a knitted piece of fabric. This had previously been a problem, because although the booklet that came with the machine told me how to cast-off and cast-on, it didn't show me how to cast-on in the middle of knitted piece. In the end I figured out that I could use a bit of scrap yarn. I cast-on with it and the carriage picked it up the next time I pushed it over. Yay! Here is the finished product:

This will be essential for the first garment I have in mind, which is a cardigan that would be just mind-numbingly boring to knit by hand because it consists of a long wrap, knitted in stockinette stitch with very fine yarn, into which sleeves are inserted. The whole thing is then held together at the front with a big safety pin. I saw a girl wearing it at a wedding a while ago and it looked very classy. Hers was bought, but with the machine it should be ever so easy to do something similar...


  1. Well done with the machine. I got one too a few weeks ago and had a go but it just scares me!

  2. Now that's an interesting technique I've not seen before - no side seam and a hole to put the sleeve into! I'll be watching to see how it turns out. Bravo for getting the upper hand with your machine.