If you've ever thought that machine knitting is easy, or somehow "cheating", think again! It is neither! It's very
difficult, quite a learning curve to it. It can be rip-your-hair-out frustrating. For some reason though I'm drawn to the challenge of it.
I've had this Singer 360K knitting machine (with ribber and lace carriage) for a number of years now but I've never before had the room to set it up. I finally have access to a small, spare bedroom and I set the machine up tonight and did a bit of maintenance.
I wiped it down and oiled it though it was pretty clean. I don't think the previous owner used it much. It clearly hadn't been touched in decades.
Look at these sponge bars! They are both shown from the side. The one on the left is new and the squished flat, yellowed and crumbling one on the right is the old one. Thanks to the ongoing discussions about this in the machine knitting forum on Ravelry, I knew to check and change the sponge bar. An old deteriorating sponge bar is the first thing to check when a machine has not been used for a while and is not knitting correctly.
With the maintenance taken care of I set to work attempting to knit.....following the instruction book line by line. The green and blue-grey swatch is the first thing off the machine. Lots of mistakes, stitches dropping off the ends, too tight tension, poor yarn choice and so on.
This second swatch was much nicer. It's done in a much finer yarn and the tension was set up better. I even managed to try out increasing and decreasing singly and with multiple stitches. I also tried a "tappet tool" cast off, though not very successfully. I kept dropping stitches and those tiny things are near impossible to grab when they decide to run!
I can forsee lots of frustration and gnashing of teeth in my future, but hopefully the end result will be well worth the time, effort and tears put into learning this new-to-me craft. Machine knitting is not handknitting, but it is neither easy nor "cheating". I consider a knitting machine to be just one more tool in my fibre crafts obsession, like a loom is a tool for weaving.