Tuesday, 29 October 2013


So I'm finally in possession of the elusive setting plates! And I've finally managed to set up the knitting machine and ribber by following the instructions in the manual. To be honest it wasn't the most user friendly document and I spent most of the set up, contemplating the possibility of a re-write...perhaps I'll find time for that later.

But wonderfully, fantastically and incredibly, I now have a functioning knitting machine and ribber:

So I've spent the past few days getting a feel for the machine and I've found a wonderful resource in the amazing Diana Sullivan's blog. It seems a little difficult to navigate through initially, but she has two invaluable courses of video lessons on basic machine knitting, and on using the ribber.

The only problem is that I found it pretty boring just to work through lessons on technique after technique, and producing a million boring samples. By the time I got to the point were I was trying to use a technique in a design, I'd forgotten it and had to re-learn it again anyway.

My thinking is that it would be more fun to have a small project with a few different techniques to learn at the same time as making something nice...

So I'm developing a pattern for some mittens as a starter project and hoping to post a step-by-step tutorial very soon. The mitten design isn't quite ready yet. The first attempt was a bit of a fail unfortunately:

Firstly, I made them in mercerised cotton which was foolish as it's too cold and un-mittenish; they need to be wooly and soft. Secondly, I found the gathered top inelegant, and I've decided to develop the pattern to improve this. I also decided that it would be wasteful to use any kind of nice yarn on the prototype so I'm making the rest of the samples from bog standard acrylic 4ply until I've got the pattern finalised.

The other enormous fail was my attempt at grafting the thumb: 

As you can see it's awful! A second attempt was slightly better:

 but I'll get the technique sorted before I post the tutorial, promise!

The next prototypes have also had some problems and the shaping for the tops on both have been enormous failures:

 I'm pretty confident the next attempt will nail it... Fingers crossed!

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