Knitting – machine or not?

Doesn't look like knitting

Doesn’t look like knitting

I made the mistake of signing up for a machine knitting group, thinking it was a regular knitting group.  I have just unregistered, but it got me thinking.  Again.  Am I knit purist or snob?  I don’t think using a knitting machine can be rightly considered knitting.  Is it even a craft?  I’m not dinging the people out there who love to do this.  I know it’s a lot faster to finish a project than hand knitting, but I also know it’s limiting.  I had purchased a machine about three years back because I thought for a minute that I wanted to crank out my own sweaters.  Then I went on YouTube and looked at some how-to videos.  It doesn’t appear to require a whole bunch of…technique.  Is that what a makes a craft?  Practice?  Discipline?  Does it take any of these things to use a knitting machine?  I have no idea, as my foray into the world of semi-automated knitting was short lived.  I didn’t even open the box; I returned it immediately.

Ah. There it is.

Ah. There it is.

I think it depends on why you’re using the machine.  My idea of making my own designs and then making the garment was valid enough; however, while waiting for the machine (I ordered it online), I realized that my passion was not for cranking out mass amounts of sweaters, but the act of knitting itself.  Feeling the needles in my hand, the yarn that seems to automatically wrap around my right hand fingers for tension, holding my mouth a certain way as I fight with a particularly difficult cable, the whole throwing vs. picking technique, continental vs. English, the mobility of it while you tote around your latest pair of socks, sitting around a table with other knitters while talking about knitting! – that’s knitting.

I would like to hear from both sides!  For those of you who use machines, do you use them exclusively or do you mix it up with hand knitting?  For those of you who hand knit, why did you start?  Was it a yarn thing, the finished product thing, a family thing…?  Let me know.

Halloween Purse Pattern – Free until midnight of September 29th!

My Halloween Purse poll got such a nice response, I decided to write a pattern for it.  Be warned – you will need a sewing machine.  Follow this link:

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/halloween-purse

and use the code “halloweenfreebie” to download the pattern for free until midnight on September 29th.  Don’t forget, if you like the pattern but would like to use it past Halloween, just change the colors.  It’s a versatile, sturdy tote that will get you compliments – this has been field tested!

Enjoy!

Front

Front

Back to Square One…Or Is It Stitch One?

So, just when I was really jamming on my Deadhead Baby Blanket – yea, someone wanted this! – I noticed a gaping hole in my fabric about 4 rows down.  Puzzled, I tried to figure out what caused it.  Normally, we’re talking an easy fix to pick up the stitch, because after counting my stitches, I discovered I was short one; but WHERE I lost it remained a mystery.  I was stumped.  As you can see on two of these pictures, I was pretty far along.  And I also included the point that had me guessing.  If you point out where I lost it, please let me know!

I was so frustrated, I just frogged the whole thing, and we’re starting again.  I’ve decided I’m going to do a different texture, a bit more complex.  Like I need that with this!  Either way, it’ll look good when I’m done and again, Wendy better like this…!

Wrong, wrong, wrong!

You ever spend way too much time on the wrong project with the wrong yarn at the wrong time of year?  Welcome to the last several weeks of my crafting!  I have been fighting this thing since the beginning.

Several weeks ago I put out an impassioned request for some ideas on how to use the linen stitch.  I rattled off a list of items I didn’t want to make, which included a cowl, but as a proper linen stitch needs to be worked in the round, I was limited.  So what did I do?  I started a cowl.  No big deal.  Except I had to cast on 16 different times because I kept twisting the foundation row.  That is such a rookie mistake, that I should have taken my cue from such an inauspicious start.

I didn’t.

The yarn is Malabrigo that I’ve had tucked away in a bag in my closet for over a year, and I wanted to use it.  I even rescued a snarled skein that had previously kept me from using the yarn at all – that’s how bad I wanted to get this thing started!  As for a pattern, I was loosely basing in on Kristen Kapur’s Chickadee Cowl, but not having too much success.  The yarn combination was just wrong for me.  So now it sits, rewound and back on its shelf in the closet, awaiting a more suitable project.

Doing the Eye of Partridge stitch for the heel and loving it.

In the meantime, I figure it’s never a wrong time to work on socks!

See you in the funny pages.

 

 

The Five Stages of…

making an error/finding an error in your current knit or crochet project.

5 stages... (1)What started as a joke posting on my Facebook page, actually made me do some rethinking about the 5 stages of grief.  It was 3:00 am and I’d just discovered that a pattern I’d downloaded, printed up and purchased yarn for had not been written correctly.  Maybe someone else who is a sharper tack than I would have caught the error and amended it before they were 3/4 of the way finished.

So, while I was frogging my project, I felt a funny should be made.  You know, the kind of idea you come up with in the wee hours of the morning.  Maybe it was because I was loopy with sleep that I made this connection, but I do believe it’s valid, at least to how I reacted to this particular incident.

When I first realized that it was the pattern and not a misunderstanding on my part, I thought NO WAY!  (denial); rapidly followed by irritation that I’d gone through all the hoops to make this happen (anger); then I started thinking of ways to fix it at this point (bargaining); but quickly determined, with a sinking heart, that it wasn’t possible (depression); and just started with the frogging (acceptance).

See?  It was all there in a microcosm!

What weird connections have you made recently?

 

A Compilation of Freebie Christmas Knits and Crochet

While cruising through all the wonderful offerings of seasonal patterns online, I thought I would put together a list of my faves!

Amigurimi Crochet Elf elf2

The Bumble

the bumble

Holiday Dog Sweater

holiday dog sweater

 Christmas Tree Pattern

tree-12-3

Rudy, The Reindeer

1ccb7590809a4db6d11522bcea989f39

Long Stripey Hat

NatalieStripeyHatcopy1

Elf of the Shelf

elf on shelf

Seasonal Stocking Cap

 390T390There’s still time to whip out these holiday gems!  Get moving!

Sleep Knitting?

I purchased some yarn for a project about two weeks ago, and I was excited to get started on it, but I’ve been working on Christmas gifts.  I tried to get a head start on those back in July, but didn’t get around to it until September.  Typical.  They’re almost done, but I just couldn’t wait.  Breaking my rule about having no more than one project going at a time (I’m usually good at keeping this rule – honest!), last night I cast on the stitches with a feeling of guilty pleasure normally reserved for chocolate.  I had been working and running all day and was more than a little tired,

Tentative beginnings...

Tentative beginnings…and yes, I’m writing this while lying in bed since I refuse to get up until hunger or sheer boredom impels me out of it!

but I wanted to play “ketchup”.  Surprisingly, I was able to get more than a few inches done, considering I’m working with 122 stitches and worsted weight yarn.

Then it hit.  A busy day of activity and it’s 9:30 pm; can’t keep eyes open.  Must.  Knit.  More.

Suddenly, my eyes open.  When did they close?  I look down at my hands that are still holding the needles, yarn still twined around my fingers on my right hand for proper tension.  Wha…?  I blink my eyes, notice that I’m further along than I remember and look around in sleepy confusion.  Did the knitting elves show up and continue for me?  I run a hand over my brow, now thoroughly baffled.  And since I am primed to carry on, I do.

It’s not until a turn the row do I notice that the knitting elves are a confused lot because:

#1) I’m picking up dropped stitches more than once;

#2) Tension was maintained properly so the stitches that weren’t dropped are uniform in appearance.

It would be a wonderful innovation if I could fall asleep and wake up with the project half done, but I still have a few kinks to work out!