I promised to do a review of the MKKI day last weekend, so here it is. Apologies if I ramble somewhat, as mentioned before, work's been really busy, and the office move has meant extra chaos and stress - printers beeping all day because they keep jamming (because we couldn't locate the A4 paper to refill them), drilling, etc. I'm sure it'll all come together, but it's going to take a few weeks yet I think. Couple that with lots of quotes going on (which is GOOD news, of course!) and it makes for one frazzled steelbreeze with airhead brain. It will take me a week or two to top my sleep back up I think.
The original idea was formed as a result of two things - a meet up last year with various Ravellers, and also the idea of the workshop days that Manor House mk group organise. Bearing in mind that most knitting machine manufacturers are no longer in production, it's rather hard to see a live knitting machine in use (especially the Passap as it is not very portable). My favourite room at Metropolitan is the "museum" room, with all the vintage machines, and lots of the Ravellers have these machines. So, a vague idea formed that we would all meet up with our various machines and have a bit of a play on them. Of course, I would take all of my machines (which is almost in double figures - how did that happen?).
Getting a bit nearer to the event, I checked out the insurance aspects, and discovered that contents insurance only covers personal possessions outside the home if you damage them yourself. If someone else damages them, forget about it - you are not insured. Then of course there was the electrical aspect of some of the machines - PAT testing would be required. With all the red tape to wade through, I can see why people don't organise more events. If the Guild hadn't kindly offered to let us use their public liability insurance, the event would not have gone ahead at all, as it would have made a loss - I would have been happy to break even, of course. I had to draft up a disclaimer to cover the machine aspects, and I visually PAT tested the electrical items before they were plugged in (which is all you can do for 1980s electronics apparently).
It doesn't take much to disrupt my sleep at the best of times, but worrying about the legal aspects, combined with work pressures and other events meant I pretty much gave up on sleep for the fortnight proceeding the event, only sleeping every other night or only getting a few hours. Still, it meant I lost 8 pounds in weight, and I got plenty of typing done. I rang Covknit in a blind panic, and she kindly offered to help out with the programme and the typing up. Couldn't have done it without her - lack of sleep meant my mind was driven to distraction, so clear thinking went out of the window. Turns out she used to organise events for a rotary club, so she was perfect, and logically thought of lots of things we should pack that I'd not even thought of. The venue wasn't as large as I remembered (thank goodness for measuring it up, and taking photos), and there was a large stack of easels in one corner that we needed to work around. This actually helped me decide which machines I must bring, and which would have to stay behind - and meant I could cancel the transit van I'd booked, because that would have come out of my own pocket, and being a bank holiday weekend would cost me more for the extra day.
So I took Friday off to load the cars and print up programmes and posters. As it turned out, had I gone into work I'd've only got an hour's work done anyway, as I had a dental appointment first thing (two fillings needed! Boo!) and the servers were going down at noon. I spent the day packing the cars and rationalising what I was taking, then making a trip to Sainsers for nibbles and supplies.
By 6am the next morning I was raring to go, and I unearthed the Cog with breakfast (works every time!). We were outside the venue and unlocking just after 8am - and HilaryGermany surprised us both by being there before us (she and hubby drove from Suffolk). I spent two hours unpacking and arranging things as everyone arrived. We had a sales table in the kitchen area with lots of magazines and other goodies.
rmbroo started off with a description of her vintage record machine, which is a glorified knitting loom that does garter stitch. Alas it doesn't work at the moment because one of the feet is damaged - they look like wedge-shaped door stops and control the tension of the machine. HilaryGermany demonstrated her Passap Duomatic, which I think could probably take a whole day in itself, they are such interesting machines. I demoed the circular sock machine, the Hague linker, and the Weavemaster. The latter didn't go to plan as I pulled the wrong lever and the warp came out. Yes, I had forgotten how ruddy fiddly it is - and it's not possible to set it up beforehand, because the machine isn't clamped down and would get damaged in transit, so it's not very portable. Kathy demonstrated her KISS knitting frames, which are very cleverly made modular knitting frames. Martync demonstrated seaming on the knitting machine and navajo plying using an electric spinning wheel. I got my garter carriage working and then tested three others - we couldn't get them working properly because we didn't have the right rails, but they appeared to function correctly so I see no reason why they shouldn't work on the correct machine. Cynthia gave us a short talk on tips and tricks she's picked up during her many years as a machine knitter. Bookishbee brought an MK70 which has a fascinating pulley device for tensioning yarn - no taking your eyeballs out with tension wires.
Of course, it was all over far too quickly. We were packed and ready to go by 5pm, and nipped around the corner for pizza. It was lots of fun, and I think most people enjoyed themselves. Not sure if I want to do it again just yet - I need to let the dust settle, and my brain/sleep to recover - but there's definitely some interest in another event like this. I think next time I would simplify it by having folks only bring one machine, and maybe bring a pot luck lunch.
Trying to set up a Weavemaster - this was before it went pear-shaped.
Demoing the Hague linker
Brother's toy machine - sooo pink, sooo cute!
Lots of knitting machines to play with.
HilaryGermany demonstrating the deco
The CSM in action
More photos here
Current mood: exhausted