Saturday, 26 March 2016

Knitting Machine Hijinks

Guess what? I am now the proud owner of a knitting machine! I know, you're so jealous. And you should be, because they are amazing. Haha!
These intriguing machines had their heyday in the 60s, 70s and 80s, but almost no-one uses them anymore! Due to their decline in popularity, many machines have gone to the rubbish dumps, as few people see their worth (which is so sad to me). Luckily, at least a few people recognise their value. I got mine given to me for free from someone who was getting rid of their old Dad's collection. One man's trash....

I haven't had the chance to learn all about it yet, so I'm slowly teaching myself. Here are some photos of knitting machines, as I haven't photographed my own:

This is the same model I own, the Singer Memomatic 321:

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And hopefully this gives you a good idea of what they look like, even though this is a different model! This one has two beds of needles (mine has this too). The vertical bed is a ribber bed, and helps you make more stitch combinations!

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I'm not going to go into detail about all things Knitting Machine, but suffice it to say I'm excited to learn all about it, and make some cool things!

Here is the first (and only) thing I've made so far: A baby cardigan for a friend.

Because knitting machines aren't so popular, I found it hard to find patterns, so I adapted a free pattern for hand knitting that I found on Ravelry.
I added the stripes by myself, and also chose to use picot hems instead of ribbing.

Overall really basic in shape, and no button holes either. But it was a huge challenge for me, and I made plenty of mistakes (or rather, learning opportunities) on the way.
Picking up stitches and knitting the neck band was one of the hardest things, and I figured it out on my own, which took a lot of research and some time-consuming mis-steps. The final result is okay, but still could be better. Next time.

I highly recommend this Craftsy class on Machine Knitting, from which I learned a lot! Another primary source of help was getting in touch with my local Machine Knitters Society. An immensely helpful member helped me get my machine totally up and running, fixed some broken parts, and really got me started! I'm so grateful there are other passionate people out there!
As an indication of just how popular machine knitting is these days, he told me that at 70 years old, he was the youngest member of the society. Yeah. Well, I'm bringing it back, I tells ya!
I've already started infecting other people with my machine knitting enthusiasm. I can't wait to do more.

As you can see, this was knit in pieces and seamed up.

Here is a bundle of swatches I made when playing around getting to grips with the myriad of switches and buttons that make the machine go. (from my Instagram account)

A photo posted by Jo (@makingitwell) on

Automatic fair isle with a punch card you guys. SO FAST!!! I can't wait to play more. Too bad I don't have much time, what with school right now, but still!

What do you think guys? Are you as intrigued by machine knitting as me?? Would you get one?
I'll leave you with this thought: Apparently, experienced machine knitters can turn out an entire garment in one night. C'mon, that's pretty damn exciting ;)