Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Machine Knitting Adventures

You may remember a few weeks back I posted about my little forray into the world of machine knitting, and that it didn't really start too well.  Today, I'm picking up the tale.  At the time when I bid on the bond knitting machine, because I kept getting pipped at the post for a number of knitting machines, I also bid on a knitmaster 4500. And won. This model is super vintage, and dates all the way back from the 1950s.  After winning the machine, there was a little confusion when it didnt arrive for ages, and instead I opened a package containing a retro red lamp, you can imagine my disappointment.  The ebay seller had gotten her two parcels mixed up and arranged for the lamp to be picked up and re-delivered to its new owner, and likewise with my knitting machine.  Well I waited and waited and waited and still it didn't arrive, after a few frantic emails back and forth the kind lady agreed to a full refund, she then happened to get in touch with the woman who my parcel had been wrongly sent to and got a tracking number and the parcel had been accidently posted to my lovely next door neighbours, who thank-fully had kept the parcel thinking it belonged to the previous owner of their house and that she would call and collect it! Imagine my delight!!! My vintage knitmaster came in its original packaging, and it was verrrrrry dirty/dusty/unloved.  I cleaned and polished and scrubbed all the dust and dirt away and gave the machine a good oiling, I've also had to re-arrange some of the needles which were broken and place these towards the outer edges.  Now my knitmaster works! And, more importantly I can knit on it!!

In the above picture, the hat (my first machine knitting project) was made using the machine, It made up soooo quick.  I can tell you it's quite a work out zipping the carriage back and forth across the needles, towards the end I was flying weeeeeee!!!!

I dont think machine knitting can ever replace hand knitting though, and I still use my sticks just as much the little booties in the set were hand knit ::

Cute huh?! The pattern was from my highly coveted Bergere pattern book.  I really love the patterns in these books, but sometimes I really struggle to read and make sense of the pattern, they're a bit more abbreviated than usual patterns!

Still, I think they turned out fine!

They are knitted with 4ply yarn which I held double for the booties so they are a bit thicker and snugglier :)

The set is available in my storms end etsy shop.

I'm already well ahead with my next project which is currently blocking on my ironing board.  I can't wait to take some pictures!!! eeek!!!
I'm hoping that I will be able to do some fair isle designs on the knitting machine too, although I'm not sure how difficult this would be, because its an old machine it doesn't have any fancy pants punch card attachments or anything, so it would all have to be done by hand in much the same way as normal knitting.  I would definately recommend a vintage knitmaster to anyone considering dipping into machine knitting, a) because you can pick them up fairly cheaply from the internet - mine cost me £10 from ebay b)there's nothing too technical, no having to replace pesky sponge bars like you do with newer machines, no having to hang claw weights because it has ingenious sinker plates to maintain tension (good for when your knitting something tidgy like socks) so you can use it without having to have too much know how and little outlay, then if you love it you can always 'upgrade' to something a bit more modern! Knitting machines are a real help if your making things like blankets or jumpers when you need to make lots of rows of stocking stitch and if you get you're guage swatches right you can transfer your knitting back on to normal needles to do fancy stitches or complicated shaping.

I am dissappointed with the lack of 'modern' patterns available, I mean I know there are alot of older ladies who knit on these things, but us 20 - somethings would like something to wear too! Also alot of 'machine' knitting blogs/posts on the internet all say how easy it is to convert hand knitted patterns to machine knit, but thats all they say, no elaboration on to how you might go about doing this, its all a bit assumed! The other thing that was quite annoying is that I really wanted some books from amazon about using a knitting machine but they were priced at like £50-60, crazy huh?! There's also knitting pattern drafting software you can get for your comeputer, but this is quite pricey again, costing hundreds of pounds, I think it would be a good investment if you could afford it though.

Well, I will keep you updated on all my crafty happenings soon! :)
Take care my lovelies xx

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