Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Diary of a Mad Machine Knitter

Mad as in crazy!  Lost my mind... can't believe I'm still plugging along.  I started a really cool project.  It's not the project that's driving me crazy it's my machine knitting clutziness.

I'm doing Diana Sullivan's EZ Entrelac.  It is pretty easy now that I've learned the process, but it was hard going to begin with.  For me anyhow.  I had a neck injury about 14 years ago and my short term memory isn't what it should be.  With repetition though it gets locked into long term memory and then I have no problems.
Until it was locked into long term memory I was ready to turn green and hulk the knitting machine, entrelac and all out the window.  My main problem was and is my choice of yarn.  She suggested a worsted weight acrylic, but I wanted to use some really beautiful cotton yarn from Knit One Crochet Too called Ty-Dy.  The problem with the yarn is that ....well... it's cotton.  It has no stretch and it splits easily.  This pattern calls for a lot of hanging and taking off a needles.  When you have persnickety yarn it just adds another dimension of aggravation. 

This technique calls for the use of a circular knitting needle with a small gauge needle.  This is used instead of waste yarn.  It actually works quite well.  It has taken getting use to.  First off my needle could be a smaller gauge.  Mine is a 7.  With the cotton yarn if the needle was a smidge bigger it would probably get stuck.  Mine slides out barely.  Also the postioning of said needle while machine knitting is important.  I've run the actual wooden needle through the carriage more times than I'd like to count.  Nothing has jammed or gotten stuck.  I've been very lucky in that respect.  Also the cotton yarn gets very tight on the nylon part of the circular needle.  Loosening up the yarn to be able to hang a stitch is challenging.

I've missed a stitch here and there.  I've knitted extra rows.  I've ripped out the same triangle 4 times and redone several rectangles.  BUT with repetition and practice things have gotten a lot easier. I am doing Entrelac without having to pause and replay the DVD any more.  I've even gone a few rows without sending my wooden needle through my carriage.  As you can see below it's well worth the effort.  I can't even imagine how long this would take if I hand knitted it.  Despite my belly aching I'm really having a good time.  As my piece gets bigger and bigger I'm getting more excited to see the finished project.


  1. OOOhhhhh. So interested to see someone doing Diana's entrelac. Your colors are beautiful together. Well done. I can't wait to see more of it. Thanks for posting.

  2. It looks fantastic!
    I was hoping to see some projects popping up so I could hear how others coped with it.
    Knitting entrelac by hand turned me completely off everything about it. I think I'm smitten again from yours :D