I have stepped over to the dark side.
I bought a knitting-machine and got it two weeks ago. Mostly I have just played with it, but I managed to knit a sweater for Mr HairyFeet. The machine comes in very handy at times like these, when one is faced with fields of stockinette in light fingering weight cotton. Now, some knitters say it's nearly heretical to knit with a machine, but I disagree. (Yes, I am the one pressing the buttons.)
I think machine-knitting is practical at times. I love the uneven stitches of handknit fabrics, I love the zen that comes with knitting round and round and round for weeks at a time. I love seeing the colors emerge, the fabric being created right there at my fingertips.
But then there is cotton. The unrelenting, unforgiving, unpredictable and cruel mistress, which behaves almost always inappropriately and shows every single mistake. It is stiff and unbending, harsh and dry - and yet it produces absolutely beautiful knitted fabric when finished. But there is no way I will ever handknit light fingering weight cotton again. Ever. The idea of 400+ stitches per round, hundreds of rounds without any change, in stockinette.. I would rather knit with acrylic. (Well, no I wouldn't, but acrylic comes close.)
This is where the machine comes in. In two days you have the pieces done, then a wee bit of blocking and seaming and ta-da, you have a sweater!
And the fields of stockinette are all smooth and neat.
Sounds easy, no? Well, it's not. I made the first mistake when I decided to handknit the ribbings. As a result, I haven't knit anything in days - my hands hate cotton and decided to go on strike as a result of the ribbings. Also, I didn't realize how long seaming would take. It takes forever. And it's tedious. And for the life of me I can't sew a neat sleeve cap seam. See?
I learned a lot with this one, so I won't make the same mistakes again. (Ribbing attachment is all I'm saying.) And I am generally happy with this one. My favorite bit? The sleeve increases. And they're not even identical! Usually this would make me reknit the sleeves but not today. First and foremost, they're already sewn in, and secondly.. well it's beige.
But all that (beige) is past now (and out of my stash!), and DH has a nice sweater. He said he'd like another one, but I'll work on my sweater now. (More pictures of DH's sweater in Ravelry.) I dyed some merino-bamboo for my sweater, I only have the front to knit and then the blocking and seaming process. (I sound optimistic, because the reality of seaming for hours hasn't still sunk quite in. Self-delusion is a beautiful thing.)
I haven't given up the joy of handknitting entirely despite the new toy. In fact, I finished a sweater which was called Slinker while I was working on it. It's KnitPicks baby alpaca (Andean Treasure), and the yarn feels so slippery that it truly earned the name. I love the yarn, though - it's superwarm, has a beautiful halo, knits up nicely, the fabric is drapey, but the garment ended up being quite heavy. I used 15 balls of yarn for this sweater, so it weighs well over 28 ounces.
I am very pleased with it. It turned out just the way I wanted: it has a touch of pearls for a feminine air, but it's not bells and whistles girly.
And it fits! And there are no seams!
I like it a lot! And thanks to KnitPicks for sponsoring the yarn! The pattern will now go to my testknitters so we'll hopefully have a pattern finalized soon.
Finally, thank you everyone for your comments in the last post! They all mean so much to me - I've read them many many times and it truly feels great to be back. Thank you, again!
Edited to add: We now have buttons. Go press the disagree button! We like it, it makes us all tickly. :D