Heresy, They Say

I have stepped over to the dark side.
seafoam merino-bamboo 2

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!
cotton sweater 1

And the fields of stockinette are all smooth and neat.
cotton sweater 3
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?
cotton sweater 5
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.
cotton sweater 4

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.)
seafoam merino-bamboo

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.
slinker 1

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.
slinker 5

And it fits! And there are no seams!
slinker 2

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

23 comments:

Terhi said...

I love the alpaca tunic. It's... just.. perfect! And you almost made me converted as well with your machine knitting story (knitting two cardigans in cotton ATM and planning the third one). Did I say I love the tunic?

hiisa said...

The tunic is a beauty. Love.

MevrouwWalvis said...

Oi että! Tuosta alpakkapaidasta tuli täydellinen!

Helene said...

Wow, that one is SO lovely!!

Samma said...

Oih!
Mii laik. Erityisesti liuhusta. Ekassa sen kuvassa muuten näyttää, et sun toinen käsi on poikki ranteesta ;)
Varo vaan, kun mä tuun jeesaan aitan kanssa, mä saatan "vähän lainata" sun masiinaa, jos en oo ennen sitä saanu omaa.
Sie oot guru!

Tiina said...

Tuommoinen kone mullekin, olis nimittäin tarvetta ohuille puuvillapaidoille...

Upea pusero!

Pia said...

Oooooh that is gorgeous!!!! *drool*

Mari said...

Oli pakko painaa melkein jokasta nappia! Hih!

Ja mä sain pakkomielteen sun tunikasta. Pakkosaada pakkosaada pakkosaada.

Hestia said...

Ooooh, täydellinen tunika! Pakko saada. Painoin disagree ihan vaan huvin vuoksi.

Hepsi said...

Upea, upea , upea tunika!

Jemajo said...

I love your tunic - beautiful work and especially love the touche with the pearls :D
It's hard to believe that the sweater was your first piece of knitting on the machine - amazingly quick learner !!!
Love your blog and your great photos:D

TracyKM said...

I love your top!
And I think you did a great job on sewing in the sleeve cap. Maybe a bit of steaming would smooth things out?

Taija said...

Tunika on kaunis!

Mä neuloin sissinä Kotiväestä paitani käsin 2mm puikoilla, mutta kyllä mullakin heräsi ajatus, onko se järkevää touhua vai ei. Kone houkuttaisi perusperuspaitoihin ja Colourmartin lankaihanuuksiin, jotka on niin ohuita, ettei niin ohuita puikkoja edes löydy mun käsialalle.

Hyvä sie!

Maijamirjami said...

En paina disagreeta, koska se olis sulle mieliks. Ähäkutti! Mutta alpakkaihanuus on hieno ja Karviksen uusi paita on tosi beessi. Kone rulez!

Taija K said...

Oi tuo tunika on niin hieno! Meinasin jo ensi kuvan jälkeen rynnätä tänne vaatimaan ohjetta, mutta onneksi luin tekstin loppuun. =D

Vilma said...

Aivan järjettömän hieno tunika! Helmirivi on tosi kaunis.

Sasha said...

Gorgeous stunning and wonderful! Love the pattern and it looks so great on you - what sweet wee pearls! Mr Hairy Feet's jumper is lovely too - so neat and trim!

Lennu said...

Oi kun ihana tuo harmaa tunika! Joskus voisi kutoa jotain vaatetta kyllä, aina herää kutomisvimma kun täällä jotain ihanaa näkee :)

Margaret in San Diego said...

Love the tunic! But... welcome to the dark side! Nice job on the cotton sweater, too. You must be a really quick learner - I've been taking machine knitting classes for over a year, and have knit one sweater and a few other little things - mostly unfinished, except for the sweater! I'm starting another sweater soon.

I like the idea of knitting fine gauge cotton on the machine - hadn't really thought of it yet, and I only have my bulky machine up and running - need to service my new to me (but very used) standard machine before I can do anything on it. Keep up the beautiful work with both methods!

ColibriDreams said...

Ihana tunika! Ohjetta vaan kehiin!

Puuvillan neulominen on tosiaan ihan tuskaista. Tein just vähän aika sitten yhden rätin paksusta puuvillasta, ja sekin jo alkoi sattua käsiin.

Karin said...

I LOVE this tunic ! We miss you here in Washington !

brgt_k said...

Simply irresistible. Can not wait to get the pattern. It will be soon- right?!

annmarie said...

knitting on the machine, like baking bread in the bread machine, definitely has its place, as your lovely work clearly shows! and I think the machine is the only way to go with most cotton yarns - argghh, my hands are hurting just thinking about it. ;)