Friday, June 17

Machine knitting - a new user's perspective

Reposted from Ravelry with permission. Classixuk is a new machine knitter who is loving his new toys!

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"Just a quick update for future readers who are interested in purchasing their first knitting machine (and any experienced, yet interested parties, reading right now) ;)

Forgive me if any parts of this post are misspelled, but I’ve had 2 glasses of wine! I was watching a Diana Sullivan video about the ribber (new to me) when I realised I hadn’t updated this for new (or thinking about it) KM’ers in a while!

According to my original post, it’s been 25 days since I unpacked my very first knitting machine and began exploring this wonderful craft. If you are, by now, at the stage of “TLDR”, let me say this one thing…“You should definitely buy a knitting machine!”

The rest of this post will update you on the various parts of my journey…any questions…please ask and I will answer with my very limited experience :)

Things I have made
If you’ve made it this far, you will be as surprised as me, when I reflect on the last 25 days. From a starting point of scarves on big chunky needles in my past, I can now place jumpers, hats, baby blankets, cardigans (and many tension gauges) to my repertoire. I’m sure I’ve made other stuff too, but you will need to check my projects page for that (I guess that’s something else new that I have done?)

Women I know have now began asking me if I am ‘taking orders’? High praise indeed I guess?

Ravelry
This site is great, and full of wonderful people who know so much more than you do, and they are always willing to help. I have had to learn that it’s an international community, and that as such, British sarcasm isn’t always fully understood.

Sometimes, some of the responses will be ‘We’ve been asked this before, check this thread’ - which directs you to a 53 page thread for you to search and read for your specific answer (and usually it’s a thread that showed up when you did the search before making the forum post), but usually, other members will come along and answer your specific question within 24 hours.

When that isn’t the case, or you need the answer urgently, you can google search and it will probably bring up an answer from ‘Knitting Paradise’ forums - unlike Ravelry, they allow their forums to be indexed by search engines. I really wish Ravelry would do the same…it would make life so much easier for the users!

The other thing with Ravelry is that they have these really weird post tags that allow people to ‘love’, ‘agree’, ‘disagree’ with your post or even find it ‘interesting’. There is no ‘thanks’ though? You will scratch your head wondering why anonymous people ‘disagreed’ with your post, without any explanation as to ‘why?’, or pointers in the right direction for you, as a newbie to their dying craft?, yet question yourself as to whether you ‘love’ people who help you, or merely find them ‘interesting’? My advice is that you simply ignore these tags (you receive) and get on with your knitting!

KX-350
Are you thinking about this mid-gauge machine as your first ever machine?

Buy it!!!!

I only just (last night) got it back out of it’s box and knitted a garment on it. It’s easy to learn, easy to use, easy to master and totally compatible with DAK (read on…).

950i
This is the second machine I purchased after the KX-350. It came with extras, such as a ribber, colour changer etc.
Moving on from the KX-350 (which knits the wools you find at the discount shops i.e. Poundstretcher etc.) this machine needed 4 ply on cones purchased via the internet - and a new sponge bar. Perfect condition though - I’ve been very lucky!

The best price I could find for acrylic 500g machine yarn (while you are learning a standard bed machine) is Marriner Yarns in the UK - £6.50 per cone and free delivery over £25. Be aware though, that my order came from ‘Shaws Direct’. I only say this because the Marriner website only lists their yarns and a limited selection of extras (buttons, threads, toy filling etc.) - yet the Shaws Direct website (who dispatched the order and billed me) lists tons more stuff! http://www.shawsdirect.com/ My advice would be to purchase from the Shaws website if you’re buying Marriner Yarns - same price and more choice of crafts items has to be good! :)

Regarding the standard bed gauge vs mid gauge - you are better, imo, beginning with mid gauge or chunky to learn on. Standard gauge is much smaller stitches…I am now longing for a chunky electronic machine to complete my line-up!

Ribber
I’ve only played with this ‘new to me’ add-on this evening for the first time. OMG. When you get to this stage, you will see exactly what I mean. I’d like to use an analogy….

Imagine that you are learning to make pizza (and that, for the purpose of this analogy, you aren’t vegetarian)…you spend 25 days being extremely pleased with your margarita pizza, continental mock pepperoni pizza and even your ‘picot trim’ mock pepperoni pizza with toppings of your choice?

And then…you get given a real, yet simple, 1x1 pepperoni pizza.

I reached this stage tonight, just before the doorbell went and I had to stop…hence me being here 5 hours later still thinking about it and looking up videos about ‘how to get more!’ - you deserve a ribber - everyone does - get one! :)

DAK
I’ll put this succinctly. There’s a software called DAK (Design-A-Knit) that brings 80’s vintage machines into the 21st century via a USB cable and a computer software. You should buy it. Full stop. It’s even better than your knitting machine!

Diana Sullivan
If you know who she is…keep watching her videos and feeling uber confident that you will knit your next great masterpiece, as you listen to her voice reassuring you that you are the next Machine Knitting God/Idol/Superstar!

If you don’t know who she is…go to Youtube and do a search for “Diana Sullivan Machine Knitting” and be happy to learn the phrase, “This is Diana Sullivan from Austin, Texas”. It will be running around in your head every time you cast on successfully and master a new part of your knitting machine! I promise you that you will feel like a winner with her tutorials :) Roberta Rose Kelly is also worth looking up - excellent trainer - but Diana has a more ‘soothing voice’ and calm, ‘you can do this’ voiceover in my opinion :)

Have fun with your new knitting machine - go on - you know you want to buy it - it is sooooo much fun! :)"

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