Thursday, June 23, 2011

my two cents...

I was asked recently what advice did I have for new machine knitters - here it is (you can judge whether it applies to you)
1. Work with what you have - don’t run out and buy everything there is right away - don’t become a collector. I’ve seen them come and go - they start off with one machine and next thing you know, they have another and another and they never seem to get familiar with any of them - Too much too soon is not a good thing - you’ll get overwhelmed and confused and that generally leads to loss of interest.
2. Same thing with accessories - most famous is the yarn changer scenario - and I’ll admit, I fell into this trap, way back when. Without really understanding the purpose of a yarn changer, I bought the one for my machine, thinking that it would make changing colours for fairisle quick and easy - NOT!! I had a punchcard machine at the time and I was making multicoloured fairisle sweaters - no one said that the single bed fairisle card had to be redesigned for the yarn changer (punched in reverse, in fact) and of course, no one pointed out the reality that colour changes would only be on even numbered rows...duh!! So my yarn changer sat in the back of the closet for a long time - I did take it out briefly to do some double bed jacquard and quickly realized that was a fabric I could mostly live without - back in the closet went the yarn changer... Buy an accessory when you’ve learned about it and can’t live without it - and remember, all accessories are not for everyone - just because your friend has one does not mean it’s for you.
3. Do not overstock on yarn - I can hear you laughing - now she tells me, you say! Only buy what you can use in the near, foreseeable future. There is no use stocking up on something you’ve never used before but buy because you think it’s on sale or was a pretty colour (or not, even worse!) - what if you don’t like it? What if it turns to junk when washed? What if you don’t have enough for a whole project? Don’t buy mystery yarn - it will only lead to frustration, so leave the mystery yarn to the more experienced - you’ll notice they aren’t buying it because they know better (or should if they are truly experienced).
4. The best advice I can give anyone who wants to become good - Make the same pattern over again a few times - I don’t mean make it, rip it out and re-knit it - I mean choose a good, suitable pattern, (find one for your machine and use the recommended yarn - don’t begin by making a whole bunch of changes to the style and size) work through it and hopefully learn something. Analyze your results. Make it again and you’ll be able to fix something that went wrong, either because you didn’t understand the instructions or because you didn’t read it correctly. And then, if you like it, make it again (give one to your sister if you have to) and you’ll be amazed at the confidence builder this is!
5. If you have a real question for me that you want a real answer to, send me the question in an email to me at knitwords@shaw.ca - don’t put it here as a comment...

3 comments:

Marg Coe said...

Great advice Mary Anne - I love the idea of controlling the purchase of "stuff" that you will probably never use be it yarn, machines or accessories. Playing with your machine until it feels comfy is the way to go for sure. I hope many of our machine knitters will heed your good advice.

Anonymous said...

I got a color changer with my new to me Studio 360 and I am so relieved to learn I can put it in the closet for much later. Same with the yarn. I couldn't see buying big cones of yarn for projects I don't even understand yet, but I thought I was being cheap. This is very helpful information.

Anonymous said...

I received a lot of 'extras' when I bought my first metal bed machine but most of those accessories are still in the boxes. My machine and I are becoming good friends and so far we aren't longing for the toys that are packed away. I used to feel guilty about it but after reading this I feel better. I wonder if the lady who bought all the extras used them much, some things look brand new.