Friday, July 27, 2012

Knitting Machine

That's right, ChemKnits Readers. I purchased a knitting machine. And not just any knitting machine, but a cheap one. These plastic crank instruments have very poor reviews on websites, and since I am a hand knitter, what possessed me to select the NKOK Singer Knitting Machine
(which currently has 2 stars)?

I have been experimenting with different methods to dye skeins of yarn asymmetrically, and I knew that one method is to use sock blanks. But what do you do when you don't want to use fingering weight yarn, or you want to dye for a project that isn't socks? With this machine I can crank out blanks in whatever yarn I want, and since I plan to unravel it eventually it doesn't matter if there are some dropped stitches.

Cranking out tubes of stockinette takes a little getting used to. I will make some videos with the machine at some point to demonstrate the nuances, but for now I can say that it is useful to have a crochet hook handy if you care about the evenness of stitches. After a little practice with the tension, you can easily create even stockinette (see above right.) I was easily able to wind up 100g of worsted weight and fingering weight wool in an afternoon. (At some point in the future I will actually time myself.)

If you just start cranking, you'll produce yarn with live stitches at the end. A tip that I read somewhere is to feed the yarn through every other hook before you start, and this will prevent unraveling. When you work gets long enough, the twisting can take a tole on the fabric so you may need to block your project at the end.

I wish the knitting machine had more than 20 sts around so I could produce wider blanks... but I am not willing to invest in a more expensive machine just for some dyeing experiments. Stay tuned for when I start dyeing my blanks!


  1. Good idea, looking forward to more posts on your experiment!!

    1. Thanks! I haven't dyed them yet, because I've got a backlog of videos I need to finish editing. I'm so behind!

  2. That is a great idea, I can't believe no one really ever thought of it. Can't wait to hear more :)

  3. I just randomed across your blog... I have the Addi Express knitting machine, which looks quite similar to yours, and have been cranking out lots of tubes for dyeing too. I'm actually kind of addicted to it now, I find it very soothing. :-)

    1. It is pretty soothing. The addi express knitting machine is a MUCH nicer version of this one. If this goes well... I hope to upgrade at some point.

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