Thursday, April 8, 2010

I'm a knitting machine...

Ok, not really... but I can be, when the mood strikes... But today I experimented with two other types of knitting machines. You know, things that are supposed to make knitting easier? No needles? Yeah...
Today I got together with my best friend of many more years than you would believe. She works as the director of the recreation department at a facility for the elderly. She always has amazing ideas for activities and games, and has been such a great friend and resource! It always makes me happy when I can do something that helps her. Because I am a more frequent crafter than she is, she recruited me to help her "test" these two knitting devices for her and her residents. I have used the Nifty Knitter before and know how fun it can be to produce knitted hats and such more quickly. But I had never used the Knitting Machine before. What were my thoughts? You'll have to read on to see...!

Because I like a challenge, I started with the one I had never used, the Knitting Machine. The concept made sense to me - a hand crank turns the wheel with hooks that go up and down grabbing the yarn and looping it. Looked nice and straight-forward. But sometimes looks can be deceiving... We spent close to an hour trying to get this thing to work! You wouldn't think that a machine with no electronic components, and one which was clear enough that even I understood the mechanics of it, would be so frustrating. But it was. I could get the first, base row, established. But when I tried to do a second row, the first would begin to unravel. And the one or two times when I got to a third row? It started bunching up and looked like a bird's nest. I must have un-knit the same few feet of yarn ten or twelve times, and never had anything to show for it. We even resorted to calling the 1-800 number on the package. The customer service agent could tell by the sound over the phone that the mechanism was working too hard, and that was when I was turning the crank without any yarn loaded into the machine! So the concept of this machine gets good marks, but the execution? Total failure...

In some ways I am glad that I started this endeavor with the unknown knitter. That way, when I got to the familiar, I knew that I wold at least end on a high note!

As I said, I have used the Nifty Knitter before. I actually own one, though it is currently on loan. This knitter works by winding yarn around pegs then lifting one row over the next to make the stitches. The trick is, as I re-realized as I demonstrated for my friend, not to wrap the yarn too tightly! I accidentally wound the yarn a smidge too tight resulting in some broken strands... But at least that was user error, and I could even tell what it was! The Nifty Knitter worked just as it was supposed to, producing a knit ring that could have been turned into many things - if I had not undone it to send it home with Miss R!! But she was happy to see how it worked, and confident that her residents would enjoy the freedom and pride of crafting and creating their own pieces!
All in all, I think I prefer to knit the old fashioned way, with needles and dropped stitches and knit and purl. I might be willing to give the Knitting Machine another chance, but I can't see that happening... As for the Nifty Knitter, I like it. I would use it again. That is, when I get back into my knitting ways...!


  1. I've never even seen a knitting machine, let alone used one -- though they sound kind of intriguing. Maybe someday you & Shell & I can have a little reunion and you can show me how to use your knitter (once it's back from being on loan, of course!)

  2. Conveniently, it is on loan to Shell...! SO I think that sounds like a GREAT idea!