Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Where to start...?


My name is Polly and perhaps I should tell you something about me...

I'm a part-time designer-maker and full-time customer service minion, alas. I completed a degree in Product Design a few years ago and then qualified as a Teacher of Design Technology. I soon found that there was very little time for any designing in between the teaching and so decided that that wasn't for me, and I'm currently in an impasse while deciding what to do next.

I've always been drawn to design in textiles since I was a child, but I've been resistant to accepting that this is my natural field. I always wished to break the gender mould and convinced myself that I should work with metal and wood and computers and technology. Foolish girl. The truth is that I love textiles, the way they combine beauty, and usefulness, and comfort. 

Lately I have been working on machine knitting, and also on patchwork and machine quilting. I'm hoping to begin a Master's course in textile design in 2014.

I'm relatively new to machine knitting; I've had a single bed machine (Brother KH890 to be precise) for just under a year and have produced some beautiful things, but I've been frustrated about the limitations of a single bed. 

When I bought my machine it was leap into the unknown. It's such a complicated machine and difficult to understand how it works and what it can do, without ever having used one before. I never realised the importance of the purl stitch until I could no longer use it. Completely plain knitting rolls up. This is a fact. Nothing can be done to prevent it completely.

I have never made a real knitted garment. The closest I have come, so far, have been Christmas stockings, where the sewing up and folded cuff have eliminated the rolling problem:

Otherwise, I have produced a great deal of plain scarves and snoods sewn into tubes to prevent them rolling.

This week, I finally acquired a ribber attachment (Brother KR850), but sadly missing the Setting Plates to attach it to my machine. As I impatiently await the arrival of the replacements I've ordered from Hong Kong, I've been trying to find useful resources and guidance online for those new to machine knitting. 

While there are some websites and blogs online about machine knitting I've found them sometimes difficult to navigate and often the patterns that are available are very dated. It seems there are few clear resources for contemporary machine knitters who are new to the craft.

I'm hoping that by documenting the process of my learning, I'll be able to help other people in the same boat... wish me luck.

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