Monday, May 13, 2013

Adventures in Machine Knitting

Once upon a time my Dad called me on the phone and told me he had met my future Step-Mother. I laughed, he laughed and a little while later they got engaged. At this point I thought maybe just maybe he was being serious.

A couple of weeks ago there was a big wedding and Emmy and Ava were adorable flower girls. I realised then that yes he was being serious.

I now have a new Step-Mother and two new gorgeous and incredibly nice sisters.

There is a point here...

Weddings mean unions and joining of assets and furniture. In Dad's and Cathy's case it meant packing up and moving to a new house together. There is always treasures to be found when vacating a house after many many years and one of these treasures has found it's way to me!

Cathy was so kind and has given me her old knitting machine. I have wanted one of these for a long time. Hand knitting takes far too much patience for me. I am now the proud owner of a beautiful Brother KH-892 which is a punch card machine. Even better it came with a stand, ribbing attachment, knit leader and a suitcase full of patterns and wool! I am fully equipped.

Image courtesy of

Now I don't knit. I try occasionally, I fail. It's not for me. But the knitting machine, it's the perfect blend of problem solving and speed.

Being from the 1980's it did need a little bit of work.

My first tangled attempt

First up the sponge bar needed replacing. Then everything needed cleaning and re-oiling. There was a lot of carriage jamming until everything finally started running smoothly. There are still some needles that need replacing but I'll need to order those from overseas. Spare anything for these machines do not run cheap.

My incredibly flat sponge bar

I think it took me about of month of tinkering and practice before I finally knitted my first thing, a dishcloth in tuck stitch. I then knitted a few more and gifted them to anyone that looked remotely interested (Cathy included).

Knitted cloth with a massage bar I also made

Dishcloths mastered I moved onto something more ambitious and knitted a fair isle scarf for Ava's doll.

Ava looking oh so stylish in her scarf

I have plans for a throw next. Just working out how.

The funny thing is this knitting machine caper takes a lot of patience. I've been using it for months and have very little to show. But it's a different kind of patience. The actual knitting is of course very fast but the learning and the fixing that takes time. While there are resources for machine knitters on the web it's not as prolific as hand knitting so you can't always find what you're looking for.

But I am greatly enjoying it despite the fact that it takes up a good portion of the already space starved living room :o)

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Pinterest Challenge - Kissing Pegs

It's time for another Pinterest Challenge. These are always perfect for slack bloggers like me to get off their backside and actually do something. In fact that is the entire point, stop pinning, start creating!

Recently Ava's teacher got married. This was cause for great excitement among her classmates, particularly about the fact that *gasp* they would kiss! It was all she could talk about for the longest time.

Understandably she wanted to make her a card to celebrate and when I saw the following pin on Pinterest I knew it would be the perfect craft for a seven year old.

Our supplies were fairly minimal (and cheap) for this project. In fact the only thing we bought was a new packet of wooden pegs as the ones on the line were a bit weathered.

We decided to pull our pegs apart completely before we started to we could get paint coverage everywhere. The original inspiration is a much bigger peg so I'm not sure how that would go. 

I drew an outline of where we needed to paint with pencil and then Ava and I got to painting one each.

I was pleasantly surprised with Ava's fine motor skills and she was able to paint in the small area quite well. The hardest part was waiting for the paint to dry. The white needed a couple of coats.

We used a sharpie to do the eyes and the bowtie. We did the necklace and blush with the end of the paint brush dotted on. Finally we finished them off with a tiny slip of tulle for the veil.

Ava was so excited when she took this into school. Apparently it was a great source of amusement to the class that you can make them kiss by opening the pegs. I had to cross my fingers and really hope her teacher took it in the light hearted spirit it was intended, but thankfully she let me know that she did like it!

This was such an easy yet rewarding project for us to do. I can't wait to try some more peg craft!

Don't forget to head on over to Emily, Katie, Sherry and Renee to see what everyone else has done too. I love finding new blogs to follow!