What’s the size of a keyboard and runs on yarn?

While I knit for enjoyment, a knitting machine has always held a strange and mysterious appeal. I love figuring out how things work.

Finally this fall I was given the opportunity to try a knitting machine of my own. I’ve been at it for 6 weeks and don’t have much to show for myself. I feel like I’ve started all over with a completely new hobby and it’s not very relaxing. I can see why everyone I know said they tried machine knitting once, but got rid of the bloody thing.

It’s a bit like the worst parts of sewing and knitting combined. Like knitting, you have to go back to fix your mistakes and you end up going cross-eyed staring at tiny loops of yarn, the yarn gets tangled, you poke yourself. And then before you make anything, you have to do a bloody gauge swatch.

Like sewing, you have to make all the individual pieces and then sew them all together properly. There’s a lot of measuring and math involved to tweak the fit and then depending on the materials used, to adapt the pattern. Well, except there aren’t many modern patterns for knitting machines.

To be fair, in handknitting you make the pieces as well but there are generally good patterns to work from and you can often try it on as you go. More over, the time commitment involved means I do lots of research, chose the pattern carefully and get the right yarn so that I know I will spend the next 6 weeks well. And it’s not even about the finished object.

That’s the sneaky part of the knitting machine. Making a sweater in an afternoon doesn’t really appeal to me, except that it does. And I can’t figure out how to make a sweater worth making yet. But I will.

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