Christmas isn’t over until the last Christmas project has been completed. Some years ago, I asked my boss and friend BP to teach me to knit so I could make a sweater for my bf as a Christmas gift. After 2 wash clothes and 1 simple lace shawl, I printed out several sweater patterns and allowed bf to choose the one that he liked. He, of course, chose the only “intermediate” pattern from a clutch of “easy” ones. It was a lovely cabled fisherman’s sweater. I figured that I had great help if I needed it and I dived right in. All went wonderfully until I wanted to put it together and friend BP explained that I had done the armpit decreases where the neck edge was. (I was thinking that the “V” neck was kinda low). He got the sweater in time for Valentines day instead of Christmas.
Fast forward to this year. My North Carolina nephews, M&M, got their hats a wee bit late but as soon as I could get them finished. Their scarves have taken a little bit longer to get to them. Valentines day has come and gone. I recently acquired a simple knitting machine in hopes to speed up my knitting processes and decrease my mental list of projects that I want to accomplish.
A little back story on purchasing this knitting machine. Years ago, bf had told me the story of how his momma had gotten a knitting machine and it had never been used. It had been stored under one of the beds and finally gotten rid of. I am pretty sure that he was worried that I would do the same thing. I have to admit that it is a distinct possibility. Learning new to me technology is daunting. We also discussed what knitting means to me. Most of my knitting is done in “spare time”. Time as a passenger in a car or on the sofa in the evenings while watching TV. This has been a conscience effort on my part to only do it at certain designated times, because it CAN be done at those times and other things, like using the sewing machine, cannot. He asked if having the knitting machine would “take away” from my knitting experience. I thought about this for a couple of years before deciding that it wouldn’t. On the contrary, I could do the main body of the work on my knitting machine and do the fiddly finishing work while sitting next to my sweetie. Going on craigslist, I found a simple knitting machine that was in a price range that I could justify spending. After getting it home, I found it was missing one little part that I would need to order. A few minutes with Google and $2.50 later, the part was on it’s way. Because it was back ordered, it took a couple of weeks to get to me. While I was waiting, I started knitting hats and mittens for the grandsons for their Valentines day gifts.
If you remember my first hiking trip, the boys didn’t have any mittens and they used some of my sport socks as mittens. I told them that I would be making them hats and mittens for their Valentines day gifts. I told them that I had four “pictures” for hats and giving them the list, asked them what pictures they wanted. G1 chose a fox, “a red fox” and G2 wanted, “a blue car”. I used the same yarn as their Christmas sweaters and got started on the fox hat first. The pattern calls for intarsia knitting where you seamlessly change from one color of yarn to the next knitting the picture ask you go. Yeah… my tension is still tight and the fox looked as if it was seriously injured. By the time that I remembered to take the picture this is what the hat looked like:
I decided, in the interest of time and my mental health, I would knit the hat plain and then add the pictures with the duplicate stitch after the fact. This was much better for me and everyone around me. Completed hats:
Now… you may be wondering where the mittens are in these hat and mitten sets… they were late. But they have been finished and delivered.
When I delivered them, I made a cord that connected them together and showed the boys how that whole thing worked. It lasted about 10 minutes and then they asked me to get rid of the strings. Well…if they lose their mittens I know what those little kittens will be getting for future holidays.
Finally the part came in and I was able to set up the tensioning post and get started with the knitting machine. The first thing that the instructions said to do was make the skeins of yarn into center pull balls of yarn. OK. Check.
Then I jumped right in. Made lots of mistakes and finally made some progress.
The thing about the knitting machine is that it knits and that is about it. (the purl side is facing outward) The stitches can be manipulated to do or be other than what it does, but that is higher on the learning curve than I am at and I am behind on these projects so time is a little bit of an issue. The original pattern called for this to be 1×1 rib. This is completely do-able on this little machine and can be done one of two ways. I could use the little tool to change every other stitch with each pass of the carriage or I could change every other row after the scarf is fully knit. I chose the second of the two choices. It was mostly going well. It was fiddly and a little time consuming, but essentially faster than knitting it by hand. The only thing that I really found fault with was that the beginning edge was looking a little messy and finally I couldn’t stand it any more. Yup, frogged it. I decided to leave these scarves as all knit. I folded the edges towards each other and using the mattress stitch seemed them together. It works to get the scarf the intended thickness, it is nice looking and most importantly it works to get the scarf closer to completion before everyone dies of old age.
They will be in the mail tomorrow!