What I didn't expect to find at Stitches was machine knitting stuff. But lo and behold, a booth I passed like 90 times without even looking (for some weird reason) suddenly manifested on my 91st pass, and there was Fran's Knitting Boutique, all full of knitting machines and machine related stuff. You could have knocked me over with a hank of Bugga!
Many years ago I bought a used knitting machine on ebay. I know, I know, but it really was a good deal, was an excellent model year and came with every accessory ever made for it, all for a low price when compared to buying new.
The first problem was that it was in Oregon, and I have never been anywhere near Oregon, so shipping was going to be the dealbreaker. But then I found out a friend was going to visit family in Oregon the very next month and would be within reasonable driving distance and didn't mind picking it up for me and bringing it back home with them.
If that isn't a clear message from God telling me sure, go ahead and buy a used knitting machine sight unseen on ebay, well, I don't know what is. Now, the Old Testament is really clear on what happens to people who don't obey, so I bought it. (That's my story and I'm sticking to it.)
And everything went without a hitch and in a little over a month, I had a Studio 360 machine with a ribber and all the extra stuff you could ever have for it, and I had no idea what to do with it. So it kinda sat.
Then I found a local KM dealer and got with her and had the machine cleaned and serviced and got some basic lessons on the main bed and went home and did almost nothing with it. So I put it in storage for a while, so it could age to perfection. Ahem. Meanwhile, the dealer seemed to magically go poof! and disappeared, so I lost what support I had for the machine. Things looked bleak for my future in machine knitting.
Then, when that Rowan issue came out with the Kaffe Fassett Kidsilk Haze extravaganza of stockinette, I thought, hey, what a great project for the machine! Mostly because I hate the thought of miles of stockinette. And it worked great. But I never even began to figure out all the features much less started trying to understand the ribber, which I didn't seem to be able to even hook up. I chalked it up to ignorance and when the project was over, back into storage the machine went.
But Kim was busy catching the machine knitting bug, and I offered to lend her the machine and all it's accessories so she could take a class in KM stuff, figuring when she came back I'd pick her brain. That was when I found out the second problem.
The ribber was bent.
That would explain a lot, though, and when I got the machine back I rather sadly packed it all up for storage, possibly this time for good. Until I saw Julia's blog (go check out the awesome spinning wheel her father made for her!). She knits socks on her machine. Excuse me, I could knit socks on the machine? Why hasn't anyone told me this? (Why didn't I think of it myself? Ssh, we're not going there).
So now it was important for me to have a functioning machine with a ribber. And there was nothing I could find on the internet or in the phone book or anything that could point me in the right direction. Till Stitches, and Fran. Who sold me a new sponge bar and gave me the courage to have my husband take a hammer to the ribber bed. Seriously.
Do you know how many people at a fiber convention will stop you and ask you what you have if you walk around the vendors room carrying a sponge bar for a knitting machine? I am seriously thinking about carrying one routinely at every fiber event I go to from now on. Vendors came out of their booths to stop me and ask me what I was carrying. It was freaky. At one point a really nice lady came directly up to me and said,"That's a sponge bar for a knitting machine! You have a knitting machine! So do I!". There was a desperate edge to her voice. I realized that I had just met another lost and frustrated knitting machine owner with no support system. I gave her my contact info, I hope she gets in touch with me.
But yeah, tons of people who previously had limited their conversation with me to "excuse me" all of a sudden were consumed with curiosity. It isn't even that special looking.
Anyway, where all this longwindedness is going is that I just spent an entire day with my machine and John and I actually fixed the damned thing! I can rib! I can knit in the round! In the round! I can do other stuff I don't even understand enough to name now! And all I keep hearing in my head is James Earl Jones's voice saying,
"Now witness the power...
...of this fully armed...
...and operational battle station."
It's like owning the death star of knitting machines. I may have to name it.