Project Balancing

Oops! Has it really been 8 weeks since my last confession- I mean, news update?
…where to start… OK, since working so hard on Jimi Cricket (see pic below), it knocked me for six, but I was bowled over by the result (excuse the cricketing terms)! I needed to take some time off from writing sweater patterns for a while. Much as I love doing them, they are HARD WORK!

Pattern link: Jimi Cricket

In order to not give up on everything, I revisited some of my old design sketches and doodles to see if I can make knitted sense out of them. Take Refraction Shawl for instance, can you believe that that design started off like this?:

…and then finally become this?: 

Pattern link: Refraction Shawl

Sometimes, I don’t even go as far as sketching anything down. Instead, I would just grab some yarn, needles, then cast on and end up with something like this: 

Literally, this is how it went… I was at my local yarn store when I spotted this gorgeous grey/black pompom. Next to that was a large ball of chunky yarn called Roma by Debbie Bliss. The conversation between myself and the sales assistant went like this:

SA: Ooh, lovely! What are you thinking of making with this?

Me: A hat, most likely.

SA: Sadly, we don’t have any patterns here for that yarn…

Me: Oh, don’t worry about me, I’ll think of something.

SA: What? You’re going to make something up? (now, she’s looking at me like I’ve grown 2 heads!)

Me: Er, yeah… I usually do.

SA: Blimey! (shaking her head in disbelief) I can’t imagine working without a pattern. You will show me what you make with it, won’t you?

Me: Yes, sure, no problem! 

So the next day, I showed her my hat. She was so amazed by it that she asked me to knit one for her too! I did. Then I wrote the pattern for it and named it after her!

Pattern link: Céri Beret

I’ve been exploring the possibilities of faster projects using the Addi Express circular knitting machines. I’m sure, the older I get, the more impatient I become and I want it NOW! Not to mention that I’ve had a recurring shoulder/lower arm issue from knitting so much. If you haven’t had a chance to play with an Addi Express (large or small), you really should! It will never replace good quality hand knitting, but it is a quick and less laborious method of hand crafting a wearable, unique article of clothing.

Below is the Addi Express Professional (22 pin):
They are amazing machines – however, they do have their quirks and each machine seems to have its own ‘personality’, so to speak. I have both the 46 pin and 22 pin machines and both of mine refuse to work with Linen or certain types of bulky yarn. The large machine can drop stitches sometimes, which can have me dropping F-bombs all over the place (quite hilarious, actually!). The more I work with it the better my technique, then the quirks become less and less.

There doesn’t appear to be a lot of pattern support out there for these machines at the moment, but in time, there will be. I’m not sure if Addi are trying to market these machines for the non-knitter, or for the hand knitter who can combine both skills. Any help that is currently out there is on YouTube.

Basically, if you CAN knit, all the better for it. Then you will have an enormous scope of project ideas by combining both hand knitting and machine knitting skills. If you cannot knit, then your project options will be limited. In the meantime, I’m having fun combining both skills to make various projects. This cuts down the time to make a sweater by over 75% in most cases. I made this sweater for my sister in just over a week: