Among handknitters there is a secret cult....linked mainly by our computers and a few ads/articles/patterns in mainstream knitting publications....those of us who use knitting machines.
Whew. Scary to say it out loud. When you're with a group of handknitters and the idea of knitting machines comes up....it's hard to know which way they're going to turn. Are they interested in expanding their knitting experiences....or do they think you're 'cheating'?
I got a knitting machine by luck in May of 2005. I popped into my Sal. Army to see the new renovations and there was a knitting machine for sale. I thought....and headed home. I did a quick internet search, and there wasn't much about that machine. But I had talked with another dual sport knitter (Sandra) and the idea of doing things faster appealed to the pregnant me. I went back to the store and bought it and forced it into my truck, not knowing how it came apart, or anything. But it seemed to have everything I could need.
It was an extended bed KnitSmart....an 8mm machine from the late 80s/early 90s very similiar to the Bond Incredible Sweater Machine. Apparently they are sought after machines on ebay...fetching up to $250US. And I paid $24.99! And they had just marked it down the day before!
It was easy to learn and I started making things right away. I took the dimensions of the Shapely Tank from www.whiteliesdesigns.com that I had hk and put it into machine knitting language. And made my self several maternity tank tops. Little girl dresses (check out the pictures of Lucy from an earlier post), baby sweaters, hats, mittens, fall maternity jacket, brother sweater, baby blanket....most of what I did--no, all of it--could have been done by hand (and most were finished with hk edges)---if I had the time to knit boring stockinette! The knitting machine let me produce quickly the more boring things that I wanted to make, LOL. It also was so quick that I could take the time to make sure something fit really well, instead of 'okay'. I realized I'm not shaped like an 0 like most patterns (chest measurement divided by 2), but I'm shaped like a D. The backs of my things were always too big, and the fronts too small, but the overall dimension was right. Not anymore!!
Then I started to think about getting a more advanced machine. I took a look on ebay just to see what's out there. I ended up winning a LK150 on Christmas Eve!
I didn't get much time to play with it, between the new baby and then selling the house....but I did make this:
Now, Buster is a great little dog (you can't see it in the picture, but he has a short little black tail that is always wiggling), but I would NEVER have made him his killer bee sweater by hand. But on the machine? Sure, what's a couple day's work? Apparently he loves his little sweater!
So, am I a machine knitter, or a hand knitter? Let's just say, I'm a knitter. I take yarn, make a series of interlocking loops, and present it to willing recipients.