Scratch that… no, unravel it

In the previous post I mentioned that I would dye machine knit blanks of my cotton yarn, assuming that I would knit all of these up in the handy knitting machine I bought for making hats and things.  I tried making a long blank with three 109 yard skeins of cotton and discovered that this knitting machine abhors working with cotton. After picking up slipped stitches with a crochet hook over 2 dozen times, I said enough!

So I unraveled the long ugly tubey thing I spent the entire afternoon making and unwound it around two wooden chairs set about 12 feet apart.  I did this with two more skeins until I got bored and moved on to something else. 13 more skeins to go… sigh.  It occured to me that I could play something cheery and tongue in cheek as I walked around the chairs to wind the yarn. Maybe… some Lord Kitchener.


Knitting has taught me the value of endless patience. Dyeing seems to be gifting me with the lesson of careful preparation and planning.  Several months ago, if you asked me if I would go to this length to prepare fiber to knit a sweater, I’d flatly say… no.  I couldn’t see past my love of knitting.

A year later, and now I’m finding myself branching into other fiber related crafts. I actually want to spend more time investigating crochet in depth and improve my skill at shaping and building structures in crochet.  I spend a great deal of time making garments, maybe I need to investigate knitting and crocheting other objects including un-utilitarian ones.

It’s a little late, but here’s my short reflection/inventory of things learned and things I’d like to learn this year.

A few things I tried last year:

  • Knitting with metal and beads – fun but it hurts.
  • Spinning – I used a drop spindle to make my first single ply yarn. I think I’m going to continue investigating
  • Dyeing – I… am addicted. Sad when you get to the point where you’re looking through your stash for lightly colored or white yarns just to satisfy your need for a dyeing fix.

Things I still need to do or want to try:

  • Gansey knitting – I still need to finish my Lochniver sweater
  • Steeking
  • Crocheting a small blouse in a simple lace stitch
  • Color work/Fair Isle knitting
  • Design and knit a real Aran sweater (with cables)
  • Start a podcast- this is a difficult one for me. I often think that I haven’t started this yet becuase I get my “I need to talk about knitting/crafting” fix with the wonderful group over at my knit night at the Naked Sheep Knit Shop.


Filed under About Me, Challenge, Community, Craft, Creativity, Crochet, Dye, Dyeing, Dyeing_yarn, Fair Isle, Knit, Knitters, Knitting, Portland Knitters, Reflection, Yarn

3 responses to “Scratch that… no, unravel it

  1. I’m sorry to hear your knitting machine gave you fits. They knit cotton just fine as long as you loosen the stitch dial a bit (a high number on the carriage) since cotton has minimal elasticity.

    I’m going to assume that the machine is relatively new to you and may be second hand. If that is not the case, please ignore the following.

    Usually when stitches are dropping all over, it is not the yarn nor the machine that is broken – it’s a bad sponge bar. If yours is flat as a pancake, that is the problem. The sponge bar holds the needles in the correct position so they knit the stitches smoothly. The foam in the bars deteriorates with age, whether it is used or not. Sponge bar replacement is an on going maintenance part of owning a knitting machine.

    If you don’t know what a sponge bar is (some call it a needle retaining bar), I have several posts on my site showing where it is and how to make one.

    I hope the next time you knit blanks to dye, it goes better. It is one of the easiest things the machine can do when it is working smoothly.

  2. I’ve used the machine for about a month. I have no problems making things with worsted and aran weight wool and wool blends. I can get the tension right with those. I think the biggest problem is that i didn’t figure out the proper tension. For now, I think I’ll stick to winding the yarn in skeins. Thanks for the advice though

  3. I’ve never worked with a knitting machine, so I can’t offer any advice.

    Well, good luck with the frogging. I always like to have a nice glass of port nearby for such times. grin.

    I hope you will have better luck next time.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s