Adventures in Machine Knitting

Never, ever have I been as frustrated as trying to learn how to operate my new Bond Ultimate Knitting machine that I got at Christmas.

I learned to knit in college.  A guy I knew, a fiddler in a local bluegrass band, made his own socks.  He told me his mother taught him.  He introduced us,  and within weeks, she and I had made a trip to the yarn store to buy some Lopi, a pair of 10 1/2 circular needles, and a sweater pattern.

That was in 1982 - I still remember how difficult it was to learn to hold the yarn correctly, to be knitting smoothly along and then have a gap and suddenly forget the basics: does the needle go in the back or the front of the stitch?  Is that a knit or a purl?  24 years later I just pick up yarn and flail about for a pair of needles and just start.  No pattern, nuthin'.  Pretty cool.

And then comes the Bond knitting machine.  Finally, I thought, I'll be able to use up all this handspun yarn I have lying about the house (I'm an advid handspinner.  Give me a good movie on the tube, a fire in the fireplace, and I'll sit and spin a sweater's worth of wool, or silk, or dog hair, or ramie, or all combined).  I have NOT yet used ANY of my handspun wool.  What I have done, is gotten off my high knitting horse.  I have been humbled, I have been infuriated, I have been made to want to throw the damn machine out on the street in front of the next speeding truck that whizzes by.  Sigh.

And about the time I'm ready to give up, I realized that over the course of three days I've finished the back, front, and one sleeve of a sweater.  Hmmmmm. 

So what I've really learned to do, when the frustration level gets so high that I'm ready to trade in both the machine AND my partner who gave it to me, is get up and walk away.  Take a deep breath, pick up an afgan that I'm hand knitting, and R-E-L-A-X.

Down now to my studio now to throw 50 tea bowls for a restaurant in town.  I know I can do that.  Then maybe later this afternoon I'll go and finish another sleeve... 



potterdc's picture

Hi!  Thanks so much for your response.  At first, my troubles boiled down to just getting a feel for moving the carriage across the needles - how much pressure to use, when to force it, when to let up, etc.  Then came trying to follow the directioins in the pattern book provided by Bond - I think they need to hire an editor, or technical writer, or something - a couple of places they wrote "waste yarn" instead of "main color," which I figured out by calling them and asking!

The big thing now for me is when I'm attaching a piece on the machine - so for example, attaching the shoulder to the needles to knit the sleeve, or attaching the neck to add the ribbing - they suggest putting BOTH strands of a stitch on the needle, and then tell you to move the needle back to forword working position, with the yarn BEHIND the needle - but in that position, the needle will close because of the bulk of the two strands behind it - I'm not sure if that makes sense to you.

I had so much trouble that I finally gave in to my instincts and I will hand knit the neck ribbing, and I just put one strand of the stitch on at sleeve and will finish them up today. 

 I hope!!!!


Think less, enjoy it more.