lessons in patience & (machine) knitting

I’ve been working on learning to work with a knitting machine since April. It requires a different mindset, and above all else, patience. Often I find myself knitting each project twice because I was not disciplined to be mindful of each step and tried to rush.

I’m not very good at the patience part.

Three tees

Sometimes it goes well and I zoom through projects, such as three sleeveless tops, aka shells, that I wore at TNNA in June.

(Each image above links to its associated Ravelry project.)

A Vest

I also knit a vest for a relative and that was a lesson in row gauge. I ignored my swatch so I knit it twice. I’d started this project over a year before as a hand knit. The colour is not one I enjoy working with and at a Men’s L chest size, it was much easier to machine knit the bulk of it!

The hems are all handknit and it was nice to be able to pick up stitches along an even fabric!

Purple Tee

After these projects I didn’t work much with the machine for several weeks. I couldn’t figure out what I wanted to knit. One day I wore one of the quick tees on a site visit to a client’s office and an employee fell in love with it and commissioned one. Her size is different from mine, so I saw it as a good lesson in grading (aka creating multiple sizes). That was the easy part.

However the machine had other ideas for me. First there were dropped stitches.

So I reknit it. On this second go, I failed to remember I used the machine for another small project in-between and had changed the tension setting, impacting row gauge (and my armhole shaping).

So I reknit it, again. This third time was the charm, at least for the sweater body and some creative seaming to work the neck detail. This all went well. However, it was when I got to the sleeves (and my deadline) that things went sideways. I know the math and formulas for the sleeves I wanted to add, I’ve handknit them. However, I couldn’t seem to make it work on the machine. After multiple sleeve caps that did not work, I went about it a different way and made something that works and the recipient is happy with.

The dress form is a different size than the sweater.

Next projects

I’m going to take myself back to sleeve cap school. I plan to knit a few child-size sweaters as I practice. I enjoy working with the machine and how it allows me to express creativity differently. There is so much that can be done with a machine! I’m still enjoying handknitting and trying new things. Yesterday I cast-on foxpaws. While silk isn’t my first choice for this project, I’m loving working on one of Xandy Peter‘s brilliant stacked stitches designs. I am already planning my color choices for the next version which will be wrap sized (and in wool).