December 10, 2013


I don't knit. Not really. I have knitted a cardigan and a short sleeved sweater a couple of years ago. Both from modern patterns, using the exact yarn they were designed for. Both took me a very long time to finish. And they made me decide knitting just wasn't for me. Several intricate movements just to shape one stitch… I don't have the patience for that. I know the work goes faster if you use chunky yarn but those are expensive and their thickness means you end up with a seriously warm finished product. Too warm for my normal use.

Then, over a year ago, I bought a second hand knitting machine. It's seriously vintage. This Brother 710 is (at least) more than 30 years old. 
With quite a bit of fussing around, and the aid of the manual, I managed to get it to work. Sort of. I made a thing. Then, I bought some second hand cones of yarn for it. I tried knitting with some of those, and it didn't work. The thread kept breaking.
After that, I gave up for a while. The only place I had for the knitting machine was on my sewing table. So, trying to knit meant I couldn't sew. So, it was no contest really.

Now, that has changed. I bought a laptop a few months ago which means I can (partially) clear my desk. Which means I could put the knitting machine there.

So, last week, I took the old thing to a store (one of only two in the Netherlands) where they sell and repair knitting machines. Considering how busy they were while I was there, the good people of ABS don't need my recommendations, but they definitely deserve them. They didn't have a problem with servicing such an old machine, were really knowledgable and very helpful. The machine got a new sponge bar and some new needles and I got some valuable snippets of instruction (it's a 1,5 hour drive from my home to that store, so taking one of their courses is not really an option. If I lived closer, I'd do that). 
I also got some tips of how to deal with that breaking yarn. Apperently, old yarn gets too dry which makes it break easily. You can make it useable again by spraying some water over it in a fine mist (just with the yarn on the cone. And then you let it dry of course).

Now, I'm really knitting. 

I am trying to make this lovely cardigan from 1955. It's a lovely design and according to the test square, my yarn has the right gauge for it. However, the pattern doesn't make things easy with the way it alternates between talking about centimeters and rows. 

I had some weird accident (user error, no doubt) when trying to knit the back neckline which means I'll have to re-do the entire back. But the fronts (here pinned together to check their sizes) are finished. I think I'm getting the hang it and I'm looking forward to the finished item.


  1. Fantastic! So how long does this process take? -Kimbersew

  2. Hi there, I just wanted to say that that is such a pretty cardigan (pattern)! I hope yours turns out beautiful once it's done.

  3. I'm dying to try a knitting machine -- and have browsed Karen Allen's products (Beautiful!). Congratulations on being so brave!!

  4. Thanks, now I want a knitting machine!! Haha!

  5. Wow really looking forward to seeing the completed cardie, love the colour. Can you sill buy the yarn.

  6. A knitting machine is one of those things I know I don't need, but want. I am excited to see how your experience goes!