Thursday, June 24, 2010

Hook, Line and Sinker!

Remember my evil machine knitting plan I discussed in a previous post.  I didn't know how well my plan to interest teenagers in machine knitting was going to work until 3 days later.  My daughter's friend came over and asked if she could make another hat.  After I said, "Bwah ha ha ha ha" under my breath we got her set up and off she went knitting her 2nd hat.  While running the carriage back and forth she said, "I love machine knitting.  Some day I want a machine of my own."  I nearly fainted with joy.
My daughter modeling her friend's "Happy Hat."  Since the hats were going to siblings we made this one slightly different with a rolled brim.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Machine Knitting Disaster

(Amy gave a lesson with her garter carriage)
Last Thursday was our regular June meeting of the Sacramento Area Machine Knitter's Guild.  Last months meeting our leader Marilynn said she wasn't going to bring her machine any more.  That it's too heavy for her and she's having issues with her leg.  Well, one of the reasons I'm a reliable member is because I felt like if a 70 plus year old woman took the trouble of bringing her heavy knitting machine to the meeting each time I should show up.  I have a bad neck and don't want to lift it and I'm at least 20 years younger. 
(counter clockwise Hugh, Marilynn, Celeste and Amy)
Upon arriving to the meeting I find we are in a different room.  Marilynn only said she wasn't bringing a machine I really had no idea what we would do at the meetings now.  No plan is set.  So, I decided that  bring a machine.  I hadn't thought it through though.  I decided to bring my machine I had just bought.  I could give it a good look over and decide what needed to be done to get it up and running.  Since we were in a different room there were no tables set up.  I'm minorly annoyed.  Our other room is all tables and perfect for us.  Anyhow thank goodness for our only male member Hugh.  He set up some folded tables that were in the corner.

As I'm setting up my machine I hear Kathleen talking from the other side to the table.  She's always so fun and up beat.  What I'm hearing though is a story that is not happy, but she's still sounding as up beat as ever.  I tune into her conversation and hear that she had dropped her electronic machine and broke it.

What I didn't quite get til much later was she dropped it in the parking lot right before the meeting!  She did finally have a bit of disappointment in her voice when she said she had just got the thing and had never used it.  She said she probably paid too much for it to begin with and now she had to get it fixed if it could be fixed.  Then the upbeat Kathleen was back.  She had the attitude that what was done was done now let's move on.  Great way to think.  Hugh from our group is quite the handy man and saying that is not giving him his due.  He said he'd tinker with it and see what he could do to fix it.

It got Kathleen and I talking about how heavy these machines are.  I said, "What we should do is when we get here is come into the room and ask someone to help us lift the machine out of the car."  She thought that was a great idea.  That is my main problem.  Getting it in and out of the car.  Once out and on my golf cart I'm good to go.  Even lifting it to a table doesn't seem as much trouble as the car.  I have my son or husband or even my daughter for that matter put it in my car.  I just need help getting it out.

UPDATE 06/24/10:  Hugh was able to glue this machine back together and get it up and running again in 2 short weeks.  We were all shocked at how quickly he fixed this machine.  Kathleen was flabbergasted when she saw machine fixed and at today's meeting.

My Evil Machine Knitting Plan is Underway

*looking over left shoulder... looking over right shoulder... now talking in a whisper*

Yes, I was planning and preparing an evil machine knitting enterprise for this summer.  What it is exactly is to get some teenagers acquainted with machine knitting.  I enjoy machine knitting so much I don't want this art form to die out.  Why I am concerned about this?  Well, I belong to 3 machine knitting groups and I am at the ripe old age of 49 considered one of the young ones.  I actually wish I knew about machine knitting when it was in it's hey day.  I could have been knitting for the last 30 years.  I could have been going to all the cool classes in my area.  Now the teachers have all retired.  I don't blame them.  They are in the 70's and then some.  I'd want to relax too.  That is why I feel younger people need to find out about machine knitting. 

My daughter and her friend have a club at school called "Caring for Cancer Patients."  I machine knit a lot of hats to donate to cancer patients through the year.  I thought wouldn't it be a fast way of making donation hats if they learned to machine knit.  I got to thinking wouldn't it be interesting to have a day invite the club over and teach them how to make a simple hat.  It really is the simplest of projects on a knitting machine.  Knit a rectangle then sew it into a hat.  I have 2 bulky machines.  We'll set a goal depending on the amount of hours they want to spend.  I can have 2 knitting and the rest sewing up the hats since that takes longer.  Then have everyone switch off jobs.  They'll learn to machine knit, they'll learn the mattress stitch and they'll learn how to gather.  They'll learn setting a goal and achieving it.

If only one of them shows interest and some time in their 20's thinks I'd like to machine knit that will be a bonus.

In addition to learning how to machine knit they'll have hats they've made themselves for donation for their club.  I'm hoping they'll love that feeling of accomplishment too.

I haven't gotten the club over yet, but the other night I was cleaning and refurbishing my latest machine.  To test it out I knitted a quick little hat.  My daughter and her friend were watching a movie.  As I walked past the living room on my way to the craft room I tossed the hat at them to look at. 

I was on my computer when my craft room door opened.  It was 11 pm and I thought my husband had woken up.  He had laid down for a nap earlier and you know how that goes.   Nope it was my daughter and her friend.  They both stood in front of me with a giggly expression and my daughter blurts out, "Diana wants to knit a hat."  My daughter has knitted a couple things and is learning to cast on and cast off.  She probably told Diana no problem we can knit up a hat really quick.  It was 11pm, but they are out of school now, so I thought why not.  They are here.  They are willing.  My evil plan can begin tonight.

After she picked out some yarn; I went ahead and cast on and then let Diana do the knitting.  As she knitted I told her what to look for, how to hold the carriage, how to make sure everything is knitting properly each row.  Told her to keep an eye on the row counter.  It really was a crash course.  She hung live stitches to make the brim.  She threaded a needle with a long tail through the last row.  She then learned the mattress stitch and stitched the hat up herself.  As she was stitching the seam she asks, "Can we write something on the hat?"  It's approaching midnight now.  I'm thinking any other mother on the planet would have said no, but I just happen to know how to embroider.  I did it a lot as a teenager.  I knew I could do a quick little back stitch and it would look fine.  So, I said yes and she wanted me to write "SMILE" on the hat.  It was for a 5 year old cousin of a friend of hers.  By midnight the hat was complete.

June MKGSFBA Meeting and Sale

June's Machine Knitter's Guild of the San Francisco Bay Area meeting was mostly a sale.  Anyone in the guild was free to bring in anything they wanted to get rid of.  Most brought in from their own stash.  Some brought in estate machine knitting supplies.  One gal owns a store and brought in items for sale.  She demonstrated a new and really handy garter bar on the market.
I didn't buy much as I had purchased a bulky machine and ribber a few weeks before I knew about this sale.  I needed to watch my budget.  I did buy some blank pattern cards and a punch.  I also picked up a few Machine Knitting magazines. 
As you can see from the pictures there was a lot of stuff to choose from.  Anything from yarn to machines to manuals and stands.  You could have easily spent a lot of money that day.

This being the last meeting of the fiscal year it was decided to have a catered lunch after the sale.  I wish I would have taken pictures of the food.  The gal that catered it did such a nice job.  She's done it before and knows the kitchen and the limitations.  So, she prepared mostly a cold lunch.  She made beautiful sandwiches, laid out a gorgeous salad and even made a vegetable stir fry.  For dessert she had a delicious cake that was decorated with kiwi slices and strawberries on whipped cream frosting.  A delicious end to a fun day.

The new year of meetings begin in September.  I'm having a great time with these talented ladies and look forward to more meetings.