An adventure in machine knitting

About 3 years ago, I procured a knitting machine which had belonged to Auntie Kay but my Dad had commandeered in order to knit football scarves. He was hugely disillusioned with the machine and could not get it going at all so I offered to knit his prototype Worcester City scarf for him.

I diligently read the instruction booklet, set up the machine and got it knitting. At this point my gadget-loving son (clearly not just those with a screen) got involved and I don’t think I got a look in. He knitted his Grandad’s stripey football scarf in no time at all. I was so impressed at the speed of the whole business, I was desperate to take advantage of this apparant huge advantage over hand knitting.

At the time the kids were into their first wave of Harry Potter obsession and decided they both needed a Gryffindor scarf. Do you know how hard it is to find burgundy and gold yarn that will knit on a knitting machine, a 70′s knitting machine that is pretty fussy about what it knits? All I could find was a 4ply wool and acrylic mix which I thought would be ok and preferable to the plasticky yarn my Dad had found for his scarf, which by the way we still have 2 almost-full cones of.

Roll ahead 3 years to the second Wave of Harry Potter obsession. It is almost my daughter’s birthday so I put aside 2 hours before she came home from school yesterday to secretly knit her a Harry Potter scarf on the machine. It only took about 20 minutes to set up and I thought I would easily have it knitted in about an hour. Well, good grief, I can only think it was the more premium yarn that the machine hated but I could not get into the swing of it at all. The first thing was that when I changed colour the new one didn’t catch and it all fell off the needles. That took me about 20 mins to recover from and didn’t happen again. Then the carriage got jammed, then my son came home and touched it and the carriage got stuck again, then a ton of other things happened that made me realise why hand knitting is SO much better.

Hand knitting relieves stress, you are in charge, you can knit with whatever yarn you like, you don’t have to try and finish before dinner time so you can clear the table and it doesn’t ruin your eyesight.


On the other hand we do have a very nice Harry Potter scarf which was worn to school today.

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