Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Innovations Yarn Machine

Nothing yesterday - it was a snow day, and dial-up from home doesn't react well with Blogger. (Or, rather, posting takes six hours, and I had better things to do. As you will see.)

Saturday morning, I was finally able to get to the P.O. Box, and my Innovations Knitting Machine had arrived:

I played with it for quite some time at Saturday's S&B, and couldn't quite get the "flat panel" option to work, and my tube kept dropping stitches. Sunday, I played some more, and decided several things:

1. It works better for me to hold the machine on my lap, so the little feet came back off, and the worsted-weight acrylic I was playing with didn't need the tension guide, so that came off, too. Also, the plastic needle that came with the machine is quite flexible - and thus not helpful for anything other than sewing-with-yarn. A crochet hook is NOT included, and I rather think one should be, since good results (in my case, anyway) depend on having one at hand.

2. Flat panel isn't an "automatic" feature. You need to pay attention at the end of each row to make sure the machine catches correctly. After about half an hour and one 4oz skein of Caron yarn, you get this:

3. Problem #1 - the cast-on edge is loose and ugly, even with good tension. If it's being incorporated into a seam, no big deal, but raw... yuck. It needs to be cast off itself, really, or pulled tight shut. (Which shouldn't be possible... and yet is.)

4. Stitches can very easily get skipped - and it's tough to see unless you're watching closely (and after turning a hand-crank for five minutes, trust me, your attention can wander). The upside is that the skipped stitches aren't super-visible on the right side of your fabric.

Wrong Side

Right Side

5. Dropped stitches, on the other hand, look awful on either side, and can be just as tricky to catch. Luckily, they can be repaired with a crochet hook, just like you would any dropped stitch. My stitches all seemed to drop on the same needle in the machine - but slowing down just a wee bit coming off that needle fixed the problem. (The "catch" would sometimes eat all the yarn long past the time it was supposed to do so, meaning new stitches just fell off the needle instead of becoming part of a row.)

Wrong Side

Right Side

Now, what does this mean? After unraveling the above, and trying in the "knit-in-the-round" mode during Monday's snow-day, it got pretty easy. Basically, if you pay attention to the machine and catch the errors as they're happening, then in roughly half-an-hour, you can turn a skein of yarn into this:

No, I'm not sure what that is, other than "closed at one end, and bound off too tightly to be a stocking cap". I'm thinking I'll add a handle, and I've got a yoga mat holder. It *was* fast to make, I'll give it that!

Here are some reviews from the Knittersreview.com forum, and the link to an actual COMMERCIAL (!!) for the machine. Thanks, Home Shopping Network!

Has anyone else got one of these, and if so, what do you think?

1 comment:

  1. Pretty cool! I had wondered if the knitting machine was worth purchasing. I'm sure you will master it in no time at all.


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