Thursday, 13 September 2012

It's been a long, long, long time.

Ok, so first off I have unintentionally initiated a bit of a Beatles bender just by naming this post. So here's the song that started it for you.

But yes, it has been a very long time. I would like to say something dramatic like life's gotten in the way or I've been very busy, but to be entirely honest, I just got out of the habit of writing on my blog. It happens. I've not been idling about though, I have done many things in these long five months. Many small enough not to warrant looking back months and months to comment upon.

One thing that is definitely worth a big mention however...

Yes! It's a knitting machine! Of course you all knew that.

A very kind couple were offering it on Freecycle. They were moving house and emptying out their garage and attic, and weren't sure if it had all the pieces, so were offering it for FREE. Whelp. It has all the pieces, plus a ribbing attachment, and all the various bits and bobs it needs to operate fully! Not only that but the couple also gave me a HUGE posh briefcase full of fantastic 80's pattern books, instruction manuals, blank punch cards and punchy thing to make my own patterns. Then, as if that wasn't enough, the next day I received an email asking me if I'd like the box of yarn cones they'd just found in their attic to go with the machine!! It was an EVEN HUGER box of cones, I could only just lift it and fit it into my poor little car!

On first getting it set up, I experienced a bit of new-toy-at-Christmas syndrome. I was certain I'd put it all together correctly, but whatever I tweaked it wouldn't work properly. So followed many a "humpf" and "argh", until I gave up and trawled through the internets to try and find a solution. I eventually discovered it was something called a needle retainer sponge bar that was causing my problems. It should be a nice plump bit of sponge holding the needles down so that they catch the yarn as it's drawn across. However on inspection, the one in my machine was as flat as a pancake! They can be fairly expensive to buy replacements, but thanks to this very useful tutorial, it barely cost a thing. (DIY ftw)

So now I've been working my way through the various techniques in the getting started manual.

Two colour skip-stitch knitting
Plain knitting, I was so proud!

Skip-stitch knitting

It's a proper old school punch card machine, which, although means there are certain restrictions on things like pattern width, is fascinating to watch and learn the inner workings of. It's piqued le Boof's interests too as punch cards are a very (very very) basic form of programming! (He's a computer scientist fyi)

Needless to say I was dead chuffed when I finally got it working!

This contraption, however, I'm still figuring out. It's the ribbing attachment that also came with it. The knitting machine itself can only knit one way, so no ribbing. This adds another bed, the other way around, which enables you to do it. Not a great deal of luck with it yet though! It also puts the dinner table out of action as that's the only surface large enough to fit it on :S

I've made plans for my first pullover, just have to get up the courage to start a garment on it!

Oh yes, by the way, the picture at the top of the post is an old steam roller we spotted in town the other week. It had been used in the 1960's to flatten the roads in York and had been brought back to it's old stomping grounds by the lovely people who had restored it. It was utterly fascinating to see! Here's an article about it in the local press.

Currently obsessed with: Arrested Development on Netflix (Netflix is so good!)

1 comment:

  1. I was about to say, is that a steam-roller-train in YORK?!!? Wish I'd caught a sight of it, so cool! (: I would love one to drive around golf courses and terrorizing the newbs. :D