Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Sticking to my knitting

...but not necessarily hand knitting

Knit purses. Imagine a drawstring through the top hems.
Want to see a hand knitter turn up their noses? Mention machine knitting. Typical responses include 'Oh! Dumbed-down knitting, eh?' Or 'How fast can you make a sweater?' Or their body language gives them away. They wrinkle their noses.

Yes, they do.

And I can't really figure out why. It can't be about handwork. I don't know one seamstress who would want to go without a sewing machine or a weaver who would turn down an electric bobbin winder or a woodworker who would wrinkle a nose at an electric saw. 

Yet it is exactly the same thing. 

Since my trip last week to the Met for their Manus x Machina exhibition, I must conclude that it is a subset of hand knitters who spurn advances in mechanization and/or technology. If the designs in the show are any indication, the most creative designers avidly embrace mechanics and technologies to achieve unique works.

Hands and machine

I hand knit, but I also have a knitting machine. (Hands still required). Originally I bought it to complement my 10-harness countermarch Glimakra loom. I have a jacket with a woven front and knit back, sleeves and finishes from the machine. Using the same yarns, the knit portions complement the woven part beautifully. 

But like Sleeping Beauty, my machine slumbered for a number of years. When it awakened this spring, we have become seriously reacquainted. I've knit a few things, one of which is the Pinelands Spring cowl knit from my homespun that I shared here

Group learning

One knitter demonstrates how to make a pleat
There is nothing so enjoyable as sharing with like-minded people. As I was relearning my machine, I found the Rapid Rows Machine Knitting Guild of Central Jersey and planned to visit. When I did, I was blown away. 

My machine is too big and too heavy to take anywhere so I planned to just sit in on what they were doing. That plan lasted about two minutes.

One woman 'just happened to have' a (second) portable machine in the trunk of her car. Another had a (second) sawhorse adapted to hold a machine. Note, I said 'second.' Each of them had a machine set up and ready to knit. Oh, yes. Then two balls of yarn were in my hand!

That day we made little purses with pleats in the center front and back and a hem at the top for a drawstring. I made one, too. Mine is the brown one on the upper left. Now I'll have to make one at home--maybe with a sparkly yarn.

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