So, it's been almost a year since my last post. I really suck at this regularity stuff. I have a million excuses. None of which matters. I've thought now and then about posting. Then I just decided sleeping would be better.
I'm awake now. So, I thought I'd put up a post about my latest obsession. Like most things, I don't remember how I got started on it. But, I took an interest in knitting machines sometime around the beginning of the year. Oh wait! I do remember now how I got started on it. I wanted to make large diameter icord to use as "yarn" for a blanket for my daughter. And I DID NOT want to make the icord by hand.
As usual, I researched several methods of how I could accomplish this. I decided the best way to go about it would be to use a knitting machine. I saw the small circular ones and thought that would be a good place to start. I didn't want to invest in an Addi just to make icord, so I opted for a cheap-o off-brand-mostly-toy machine. I tried and tried and tried to make icord with the silly thing and just ended up making myself crazy.
After more research, I found out that flatbed knitting machines are capable of making icord. Again, I didn't want to invest a lot of money so I opted for a used machine from the 80's called the Incredible Sweater Machine. Unlike the toy Addi, I couldn't even get this machine to knit a flat piece of stockinette, let alone icord. I sold it on Ebay for what I bought it for with a little bit extra.
Not to be deterred, I researched more. I found another machine. This one is, as far as I can tell, from the late 50's to early 60's. It's a Brother Profile KH-550. Once I got it, I realized I had made a mistake. This machine is what is called a standard gauge machine. That means it mainly will knit nothing thicker than lace weight yarn. And, man,was there a learning curve! I really was frustrated at first and almost gave up. But, I squeezed in a few hours here and there, and I finally managed to knit some stuff on it. And... the result was I caught the bug.
I purchased another machine, a Studio SK-100. This one is what is called a bulky gauge. It will knit the worsted weight yarn that I want to use for my icord yarn. It wasn't as simple as it could have been on the Brother machine because I have to manually hold down a button to get it to knit the icord. But it does work. Yea!!!!!
And.... that wasn't all. I was perusing a site called shopgoodwill.com and found a standard gauge punch card machine. A Studio SK-328. That means.... lace! I can make lace with it....... using punch cards. If you're old enough to remember what computer punch cards were, then you have an idea of what these punch cards look like. I got the machine for less than I paid for the other two put together. Including shipping! I couldn't pass it up.
After that I found a lace carriage on Ebay. (It never ends.) It isn't supposed to work with my punch card machine because of the needles my machine uses. I found out that I can replace the needles on my punch card machine with ones that will work with the lace carriage and then it will work. So.... yeah, I bought the lace carriage, new needles and some punch cards. I have been too exhausted lately to put in the new needles so that I can try it. But I plan to soon.
I would like to get a mid-gauge machine at some point. But that's on hold for now. I have enough machines to keep me busy for a while.
I remember before I got my machines thinking how silly they must be. They seemed to be so impractical and sort of..... cheating. I'm ashamed to admit to having those thoughts now because the truth of kitting machines couldn't be more different than my silly assumptions. They are very useful and so very different from knitting by hand. They do make some things easier, but they are by no means automatic. You definitely have to understand how they work and know what you want to accomplish with them. And... they are fun. Really fun.
Anyway, that's what's been taking up most of my year to date. Hope yours has been going well.
I have knit several pair of fingerless, or more accurately, fingertip-less gloves from a pattern I found on Ravelry called “Knucks”. When I say several, I mean roughly….. 10-ish pairs, I think, give or take. It’s my go-to pattern when I want a fun, super satisfyingly quick knit.
I found it when I was searching for a “knit from the fingers down” glove pattern. Most glove patterns I came across are knit from the wrist up. That’s ok if you don’t mind creating the fingers once you have the glove and thumb part finished. But I wasn’t confident in my ability to do that. So, I decided to give Knucks a try. I’m so glad I did!
I think it’s a love it or hate it sort of pattern. Some call it fiddly because you knit the fingers individually and then knit them together to begin the glove part. I can understand that point of view. It’s a lot of yarn going every which way. Not only that, there are many, many, many strands to finish off at the end. I’m not a huge fan of weaving in strands, but it’s just part of yarn crafting, so I deal with it and move on.
The one thing I have difficulty with in this pattern is where the fingers join together. Specifically in between each finger and where the thumb joins the body of the glove. Many times there are small holes in between. The thickness of the yarn will determine the size of the holes, but they are almost always there. I have tried several tricks to get rid of the holes with varying success. Given that I rarely spread out my fingers all the way these holes don’t make much difference in the warmth of the gloves. So, overall, I consider this pattern to be the best of it’s kind. I'm not alone in this opinion. Since the pattern was added to Ravelry, nearly 3500 pairs of completed Knucks have been added to the projects page!
You may wonder what is the point of gloves that don’t have full fingers. They are not loved by everyone. They are, in fact, scoffed at by a great many people. I enjoy them because they really do keep my hands toasty warm in spite of the fact that the fingers are only half there. And since the tips of my fingers aren’t encased in yarn, I can manage to do things that would be very difficult to do with covered fingers. Besides, I don't spend hours upon hours outside in the snow and I do usually have pockets if my fingers get cold.
It’s been a while, I need to start a new pair of Knucks!
Ever since I began knitting socks in 2013 I have heard knitters lament about the dreaded second sock syndrome. What a horror it is to complete that second sock. What a pain! It never turns out the same as the first one!
Hmm. Most of my first sock pairs were knit one at a time. I wondered... would knitting both at once really be that much faster? Would it really make the socks turn out identical? I hadn't really had a problem with either of these issues, but I was a novice sock knitter. I didn't feel as though I could really poo poo the idea of two at a time sock knitting as being superior unless I gave it a shot myself.
Soooooooo.... I did what I always do. I researched the subject. I read lots of other blog posts about two at a time sock knitting. I watched YT videos. I bought a book about knitting socks two at a time. Finally I was ready to take the plunge. I found some yarn I liked, size two circular needles and cast on.
Well, let's say I'm not all that impressed by two at a time knitting. I think it's a bit of a pain. First of all, in my brain, I had a vision of the process being like this: you knit a round on one sock, then knit a round on the other. But it doesn't work that way. In reality, you knit half of one row on one sock, all of the round on the next sock, then finish the round on the first sock. I don't really like that process, but that's how it is.
Then there's the yarn. It's frigging everywhere. I don't like to knit intarsia or other such color work because I don't like having to keep track of more than one strand of working yarn. It's just not my thing.
So yeah, I'm officially poo pooing the idea of TAAT sock knitting being superior. It's..... ok. That's all. Just ok. I do knit most of my pairs this way now. So I guess I do prefer it on some level. But, I can't really say I like it. Sort of like knitting a pair of fingerless gloves from the wrist up isn't superior. But.... that's a whole other blog post.
What about you? Do you prefer TAAT or are singletons your thing?
I parted ways with Stephen King sometime in the, oh, I'd say mid 90's. I believe the book that tipped it for me was The Tommyknockers. I barely made it through to the end of that one. In fact, I'm fairly certain that I didn't really "read" the last few chapters so much as skimmed them. I couldn't get past the horrible fate of the dog Peter. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a dog lover, vegan or PETA activist. It's just that the world is such a shitty place with too many real world horrors that I was no longer entertained by reading make believe ones. If I ever was entertained by them. Though I must have been on some level because I read damn near everything Mr. King had written up to this point and a couple of things after.
But, the more stories of his I read with situations like this, the more they bothered me. It could have had something to do with having children of my own. I could visualize the things that happened to the characters happening to my babies. It's silly I suppose, but how I felt. This discomfort may have been magnified by the Tommyknockers, but began in earnest with The Stand. Not to drag out my point more than necessary, but when one of my favorite characters in that novel bit the dust, I was pissed.
The actual end of the road for me and Stephen King came with The Regulators. I read the first chapter, put it down and never picked it back up again. I never picked up another Stephen King book again for another twenty one years. I was determined to never let what I viewed as negativity back into my life again. Then the JFK assassination changed my mind.
I don't remember how I stumbled upon it, but I discovered 11.22.63. Not the event obviously, but the novel. I have always loved the concept of time travel and love stories written around said concept. I believe most Americans are intrigued by the Kennedy assassination and the thoughts of..... what if?. I'm no exception to this so I begrudgingly decided to go against my prior vow to never again read a SK novel and read this one. It was of course a great read. I'm happy I read it. When it was over I felt the same disappointment that I used to feel when I would finish one of his books. I didn't want the story to end. He's just that amazing of a writer.
I was still mad at him though. How could he kill off so many great characters? How can he write about such terrible things? I watch a lot of YouTube and began to watch some videos of interviews with him. A picture started to form for me of who he is as a person. Next I read his novel On Writing. It completed the picture for me. Well, it's mostly complete. I don't think we can ever completely understand what goes on in the mind of others. He states in this book that his characters tell their own stories. I think that's a load of crap. But my opinion on that subject doesn't matter. It's his creative process after all, not mine. So who am I to say it doesn't happen that way for him?
What I first discovered in reading On Writing is that SK is a nice guy. Really. I found myself liking him despite my anger at what he's written. He's genuine and would probably be really fun to hang around. The second thing I discovered was about me and not him. I discovered that any problems I have with what he writes are mine and not his. Being angry at him is just silly and meaningless. He's a great author and has a right to write whatever he wants. I don't have to read it. I don't have to like it. I've not forgiven him, because he doesn't have anything to be forgiven for.
I've gotten a couple of his newer books to read. I haven't started them yet. I haven't decided whether I will actually read them. But I have decided that SK didn't deserve my anger for twenty one years. Deep down I think he's really like that goofy guy you knew in high school. And honestly, who could be mad at that guy for longer than ten seconds?!
I just completed this deceptively adorable earflap hat. The pattern called to me on Ravelry. It said.... knit me. I'm so damn cute! You have that nephew on his way and he will need a hat to go with the sweater that you have finished. I'm super easy and waaaaayyyy precious. So, I listened to the lying pattern. I cast on the requisite number of stitches for the smallest hat. I finished the first rows before beginning the earflaps and that's when the trouble started. I have done short rows in the past and while I'm not a fan, they don't scare me either. I started to work them as written in the pattern and got stuck after the first turning row. I returned to Ravelry and researched the completed earflap hat projects for better instructions on working the short rows and found a really great set written by juliecloseknit that helped me jump that particular hurdle.
Next, I wanted to add stripes to match the ones on the aforementioned sweater I had completed. Sheesh. Who would have thought that stripes in garter would be such a pain in the ass? And would look so shitty once they were completed?!!! Clearly not me because I had never done them before. I tried a few methods to complete the stripes including just giving up on garter altogether and doing them in stockinette. But in the end I went back to garter because it just looked better. Better is relative here. It looked better than complete and total ass, so that's what I ended up using.
After this it was on to the decrease rounds. Yes, this was almost as much fun as getting my teeth scraped at the dentist. I must have ripped those rounds out at least four times before I managed to get them right. Paying close attention while knitting is just not my strength. I prefer to not have to think about where I am in the row, and did I pass those stitches or knit them and why the hell do I have more stitches than I'm supposed to?!!????!!!! Arrgggg!!!!!!!
I wish the seam in the back didn’t look so sloppy. (Right hand pic) But it was either completing the rounds the way I did, which was to reverse direction each round so each is a knit round. Or complete the garter by knitting one round then purling the next. I chose the reversal method. If I do garter in the round ever again, I’ll try the other way and see if I’m any happier with that result. In the end, it is a cute hat and I think it will fit well when the little guy makes his debut in December. But, I doubt very highly that I will ever attempt to make this lying little hat ever again.
I often feel as if I belong on the Island of Misfit Toys because I'm not a creative with just one area of expertise. I enjoy making digital creations in Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign. I love knit and crochet. I love glass art. The creative process is very therapeutic for me and, mostly, keeps me somewhat sane in an insane world.