Friday, December 11, 2009

A few words about the knitting

I am getting a cold now. I suppose it was unavoidable since my husband has a cold and I spent the last few days with him and ate with him and spent all that time in the car with him, etc... So now I am getting a cold, and I have all this stuff to do and would rather not do some of it. I would rather stay in bed watching DVDs and eating soup. But it isn't that bad yet, so I should keep doing stuff until I really feel so bad that I can't.

So the plan is to go shopping today, and pick up my sister's gift and my brother's gift card and some stuff from the craft store, etc.... Hopefully I will be done with that and can stay home the rest of the time until I have a party to go to.

Okay, so I have said a few things about the knitting and about knitting machines that confused someone, so I am going to try to explain.

One thing that is a problem is the word "new." I use the word sometimes in ways that it isn't meant to be used. Like there is new as in "new to me." I would refer to something that I just got as new, even if it is not new, maybe someone gave it to me or I bought it used. But then I sometimes say "new" when I mean the newer model, and again this could be something used. And then there is "new in the box" which might be an older model.

So that could confuse someone.

The first knitting machine that I bought was the Innovations knitting machine. I have recently said that this is a piece of crap. It is one of those round machines that you turn with a handle. Smaller things like this are sold as toys, and while they look easy enough on the commercials, I have never gotten them to work very well. Still I keep trying to get them to work. I had recently found a video on YouTube showing how to fix a slipped stitch. This is a wonderful video, as it explains the procedure correctly, and the instructions that come with the machine are incorrect and result in making a "rib."

Unfortunately, the machine just has too many slipped stitches and other such things, and even with the correct instructions on how to fix them, it just isn't worth it. But, I had it in my head that after watching the video I would be able to get the thing to work properly, and that it would only take me five hours or so to make a scarf. The machine makes a tube (which if I could get it to work would eliminate the extra step of having to sew the ends of the panel together) and is small and easy to transport, even if you are already working on something. So I had this idea that I would buy a bunch of yarn and take the Innovations knitting machine with me on the trip and make a couple of scarves for gift exchanges while I was in the motel room.

I practiced fixing slipped stitches while we were in the car driving to San Antonio. So I knew how to do it, and I imagined that once I was at the motel and able to work properly at a table, the scarf making would just zip right along. But, it takes time to fix the stitches, and as soon as you fix one another problem happens, and you just spend all day trying to fix things. I spent all day on a scarf that should have taken five hours to finish, and I only got done 120 rows of the planned 450. At that point, I gave up and decided to just make fringe and other finishing touches to some scarves I had worked on earlier.

Okay, so after wasting my money on the Innovations knitting machine (which runs about forty to fifty dollars, and I bought it new, new in the box from a regular retail store, but I had a coupon and probably spent about twenty-five or thirty), I went out and spent more money on The Ultimate Sweater Machine. This machine runs about a hundred and fifty dollars or more, but again I had a coupon, and I think I got mine for about eighty. This is a flat machine that needs a four foot long rectangular table to set up on. Since you don't always have that, I have bought a four foot long board to clamp to tables that either aren't quite four foot long or aren't rectangular, and then I can clamp the machine to the board and then clamp the board to the table. So this machine is not as easily transported, though I do often take it with me, but I can't take it with me when it already has a project on the machine, unless I want to go to the trouble of taking it off and then putting it back on, which is difficult and takes a long time, especially when you do not have a garter bar, and I don't have one.

So, I was already working on a project on that machine, and so I did not attempt to take it with me. Besides, I thought that after watching the YouTube video that the Innovations knitting machine would work just fine, and be much easier to pack.

Okay, then I have this other machine. This is where the word "new" becomes a problem. Last year we were at a place called Thrift Town, which mostly sells used clothing and other used things, but occasionally you find a few things "new in the box" or "new with tags" cause whoever donated the things just never got around to using them. We found a box marked "knitting machine" and decided that it was worth forty bucks. It was another 8mm flat knitting machine, also about four foot long, though it just said sweater machine instead of Ultimate Sweater Machine. Still, I would think that it was made by the same company (Bond). I didn't really need another machine, but for forty dollars I decided to take it, so that I would have extra parts. There are a couple of tools that I am always losing, and it is a hassle to get new ones. So now I had a whole second set of everything, though this machine was an older model.

So the forty dollar machine was "new to me" and "new in the box" but it was not the "new model." See?

The main difference in the older model is that the newer model carriage is plastic, and there is a piece of plastic that covers over the needles as they work, and the older model carriage is mostly plastic but does not have that piece of plastic that covers over the needles, and instead has this metal bar going across, but you can see the needles moving underneath. And the older model has one-sided key plates while the new model plates have two sided plates, so that the new model has sizes two and a half and three and a half in addition to the old one two three and four.

Some of the really older models have the machine all in one piece, which this was not. This was two pieces that snap together, same as the other one, though I have not yet tried to unsnap one once I've put it together. I suppose that having the machine broken down into two pieces would make it easier to transport, but I'm afraid to try it, as I might actually break the thing. And other older models used to come with two and three prong tools, but unfortunately this one did not, but I was still glad to get a second set of one prong tools, as I keep misplacing them.

So, I could have taken the sweater machine with me and I would have taken me about seven hours to complete the scarf that I was trying to make, but I didn't think of that, and I took the stupid Innovations machine instead.

Okay, so now I am home, and there is a not even a third of a complicated scarf on the Ultimate Sweater Machine. So I very carefully take the whole machine and move it a few feet away (with the scarf in progress still on it), so that I could use the space (which is the only space I currently have to work on such things), and then I set up the other sweater machine, and I started knitting the new scarf. It took an hour or a bit more to knit 120 rows, which had taken me all day fussing with the Innovations thing. I knitted a bit more, and then I tried something new with the weights (which I was afraid to try on the other more complicated project, but was now willing to risk on something that had only taken me about an hour or two to make), and then I knitted some more and ran out of yarn. So I have about three hundred rows on it, after working less than three hours. If I hadn't have run out of yarn I would have finished the part of the knitting that is done on the machine, and I would now either be joining the panel ends together or maybe even be working on the fringe.

Anyway, as rushed as I am for time, I still think that using this machine I will have a finished scarf in plenty of time for Sunday's gift exchange. And I have another scarf that I did another time, just a different color, so as soon as I finish the fringe on that I will have a second scarf, and again I don't see any problem getting them both done by Sunday, even with this cold, and even with having to spend a lot of time out shopping today.

It's just that if I had taken this machine to San Antonio instead of the Innovations thing, I would have finished both of them by now. And then I could go to bed and watch DVDs, right after I do this bit of shopping.


dmarks said...

Can you get rid of the "Innovations" machine on eBay or something? At least you could get something back out from it.

You'd probably have to find some way to describe the problems. Billing it as a "Great Stress Inducer" might be rather honest, but probably not good for an eBay listing.

Makes me glad I don't knit.

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