Thursday 7 July 2016

Machine Knitting in the wild

Written last week and posted today:
I am currently at my cabin for a week or so. No internet, no email, no radio, no TV, no distractions at all. It's very, very quiet. Just the sound of the waves and the rustle of chipmunks in the bushes.

To my knitting/designing friends, I have often bemoaned the fact that sometimes my bright ideas for changing the Top Down construction don't work. Imagine my surprise! My machine knitting friend Monika tells me that I could be trying sweater construction ideas out on a machine to see if they work before I dedicate 40 or 60 hours to knitting a sweater by hand and then finding out my idea didn’t really work like I wanted it to. I've finally stopped to listen to this advice.

In the summer I like to experiment and try new things. This year is the summer of the Knitting Machine. I’ve had one for a long time and not mastered it. I am told you do have to get it out of the box and use it more often than one week every 4 years or so. 

So here I am Mknitting in the wild.
I have made every mistake all my handknitting beginner knitters make. I’ve not read to the end of instructions and wondered why it didn’t work. I thought I knew what to do the second day when I cast on because I’m a pro after one day, Not. I knew this would happen and so am laughing at myself for being so cocky. I thought I started my short rows incorrectly, took it all out and then re-read the instructions to find that I had done it right the whole time. OK, wasn’t laughing so much over that one. Then worked my short rows and forgot all the wraps. Laughing again. You may have caught the theme here. It's actually good to be a beginner again. I’m slowly getting the hang of it.

I have a wearable garment! I’m so excited. This is in Saucon Fingering, a cotton/acrylic usually knit at 28 sts = 4". I knit this sweater at 22 sts = 4". It's a fairly open weave. Should be really cool to wear.
I made a drop shoulder garment since I thought it would be the easiest construction to get started. Although I did do some inexplicable things. I can’t figure out where my head was at. I decided to work it with a seam up the front and back, and the sides too?! What was I thinking? I also decided somewhere along the line that I needed 10” of ease around my hips. I don’t know what happened there. So then it was too short for all that extra hip width. The next day I added an extra 3-4” inches to the bottom and now I’m very proud of my first Mknit garment of the summer.

I worked short rows into the sleeves. Even on a drop shoulder garment, the short rows make the sleeves hang much better.
I added A-line shaping (with lots and lots and lots of increases for the hip, for some strange reason). And yes, I did mattress stitch all those seams.

Next week the experimentation begins. I can't wait to get back to the cabin to get started. I have lots of ideas. I hope I haven't forgotten everything I learned last week.


  1. i spent almost a thousand bucks on a knitting machine and ribber, stand etc last year and I just couldn;t go with having a sweater with a seam down the front and a seam down the back! Plus size sweaters have too many stitches to fit on a full bed, so they have to be divided. So I sold the whole shebang a few months ago. I agree it is FAST.But for plus sizes, not practical. I admire small MK-ers like you and blogger Brenda ..who can knit their garments on a knitting machine. Oh well, it was certainly an adventure..and a wild ride through the machine knitting world...especially with the BO's,the full fashioned increased and the dropped stitches! LOL.I must say I am breathiing much easier now after getting back to familiar territory in the hand knitting top down world.

    1. I agree, the more pieces, the more sewing. I do tend to fight against the restrictions but am working around them as best I can to take advantage of what it can do.

  2. Yeah, I bought a knitting machine too. Just about went blind making it work. Decided I preferred to knit by hand & sold it!!! I'd keep the centre seam in the Larger sizes. Having a belly & boobs, the front seam breaks up that wide expanse of stitching which makes the body appear wider!! I've found a V neck & front seam work nicely to draw the eye down instead of across. Incidentally, one of the big US "Big Size" clothing retailers reports the "Centre Seam" Tee is their biggest seller.

    1. I also like the centre seam, once I had it sewn up. I thought it might make me look taller, ha.


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