Sunday, 9 September 2007

Why I don't machine knit much... (or one of the reasons)

So on Saturday afternoon, dh took ds to another town 30 miles away so ds could buy a model he had been saving up for. And as I was feeling virtuously ahead on the housework/chores front, I decided to go out and brave the spiders in my machine knitting shed. I hadn't actually done any knitting since before Christmas, although I have been out there to put stuff in / take it out. I have a cone of yarn perfect for knitting some Easter bunnies that were patterned in a knitting calendar I am using, and I sit down and get set up and am happy as a clam for about 90 minutes. I feel relaxed, I'm in the zone, I'm feeling good about being back at the machine.

Then ds and dh arrive back home. First at the shed door is dh, wanting to tell me about the trip (and get some praise for his big drive I think). Then ds shows up "Look what I've got!". Then about 5 minutes later "Mom, come and look at this!". And each time I am wrenched out of my blissful concentration it is harder to get back into it - I start making mistakes. Dh shows back up to chat a bit more about how he is going to help ds make the models - I remind him that he promised to rake the lawn. We have an argument about whether or not he is going to do that, then I have to rip back a few rows because I went wrong on the knitting. Then it is "Mom, come and look at this one!". Get back to the shed and notice that it is now time to make supper. I give up completely and go into the house. Sum achievement: three body pieces and a spare leg.

I got into machine knitting in 2001, just as it was dying its long slow death here in the UK. The positive side was that I picked up several good machines for a pittance, the down side is that the supplies and magazines and shows were drying up. I joined a club for a few years but it was mostly older women who used to knit but weren't any more, and the speakers got harder and harder to find, so the club closed. I was really into the knitting for about two or three years, and once it started threatening to take over the house, I bought a 12 foot garden shed and moved all the machines and supplies out there. Then we put our house on the market and the shed had to be disassembled and all the machines put into storage for a year. By the time they finally came back out, and got put back into the re-erected shed at our new house (in 2003) I had pretty much forgotten everything I'd learned. I have kept them all though - partly because you can't give them away in the UK at the moment, and partly because I remember how much I enjoyed it and hope to get back into it one day. I did make a summer cardigan last year, and a christmas waistcoat last autumn. The trouble with it all being out in the shed is that it is hard to find a good time to go out there (and dh and ds won't leave me alone - I don't know how many times I've nearly jumped through the roof when one of them suddenly bangs on the door and scares me). And I feel guilty about 'abandoning' my responsibilities to go out and do something frivolous like enjoying myself. I hate feeling like that - why can't we just stand our ground and say 'make your own dinner, please, I'm busy' without feeling like the worst mother / wife in the world?

Here are a couple of pics of my two finishes: the quilted autumn leaf tablerunner, and the Robert's Baltimore Album duvet cover (which I slept under for the first time last night - very nice). I had a little trouble wrestling with the large pieces of fabric for the duvet cover, 84 x 88 inches - it was a case of measure twice, cut once, find out when seaming them together that one was shorter or longer than the other for some reason, bodge it a bit etc. etc. Hard to measure something that long when none of my rulers or tape measures go that far and my house is too small to lay something that big down flat on the floor. Thankfully I do not believe that there are duvet-cover police so I think I am safe.

Just a postscript to say that I got my September issue of Quilter's Newsletter Magazine which has had an amazing makeover. I had gotten quite bored with it for the last few years, it had turned into just another pattern magazine apart from they still printed news from the quilting world which was the main reason I bought it (that, and nostalgia for when it used to be good). Magazines revamp themselves every few years, and it usually just seems to be cosmetic, but QNM (now QN) have really pulled out all the stops and it is a great read now. In fact, I still haven't finished reading it because there is just so much in it - whereas it used to take me about 20 minutes. Perhaps they have taken a leaf out of the Quilter's Home Magazine, and are trying to present a publication that you don't just read and toss in 20 or 30 minutes. There are several new columns, for example one by a long-arm quilter, one by John Flynn, the first of a three-part quilter's fiction by Jennifer Chiaverini (sp?), several workshops and technical tips, fabric previews, as well as the usual news and patterns. I am impressed.


dot said...

I have always thoughr owning a knitting machine would be fun. I know what you mean about being left alone. No consolation to you but it is nice to know others go through this aloso. Your duvet cover is beautiful.

swooze said...

I have the bond utlimate sweater machine. I need to play with it more!

Love the runner and duvet cover. Keep up the great work!

unclewilco said...

Would love to see more pictures of your shed.. and i'm sure our sheddies would as well

Jane Weston said...

I really enjoyed your post and could complete understand your frustration to get something done. I gave up trying to cut or sew anything when the family is home, because I know I'm on call to see or do something at the drop of a hat. Today is the first day that both children are at school and the DH is at work and I'm getting some ME time. It's bliss! Hope you get some ME time soon in what looks like a very nice shed!

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