Thursday, May 20, 2010

Peruvian Summer Knit Dress

Hanging clothes at the store today I came across this beautiful handwoven and embroidered Peruvian (?) knit dress. It's absolutely gorgeous!

My dream is to visit Peru one day and learn their style of spinning and weaving from the Andean people.

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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Sock blanks the easy way

What could be easier than knitting up some sock blanks on an antique sock knitting machine (CSM)? After skeining 230 yards of undyed sock yarn off a cone (two yarns held together) I wound the yarn onto a wooden bobbin and knit a blank tube ready for dyeing. I made two blanks today, a colorful one on my 72 cylinder Master Machine and the other on my 60 cylinder Canadian Auto Knitter. The 60 cylinder blank is narrowing but a little too long for my dyeing pan. The 72 is the perfect length, but a little too wide for the plastic wrap to fully cover it when "sushi-rolling" it for steaming. Steaming the painted blanks sets the dye.

I decided to go back to my tried and true rainbow method for one blank and attempt something new with the second.

I love how the circle designs turned out and I can't wait until they dry so I can knit them up!

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Location:My kitchen

Has it really been that long?

Wow. I'm ashamed of the way I've been treating my readers these past few months. I've totally abandoned you for Facebook (where I've been spending all my time and sharing all my posts). Hopefully you've seen my Facebook updates through the Facebook page widget to the right. I know it's not enough and a poor excuse... Buy hey, we've got lots to catch up on so let's get started ok? Friends?

I've gotten back into CSMs after selling my first machine, the beautiful LeGare 400. I learned so much from that machine that I took a chance on eBay and purchased an AutoKnitter 60/30, 80/40 machine.

It has lots of missing paint but otherwise it's beautiful and works very well. So far my 1st eBay risk worked in my favor.

My next eBay risk was my dream machine, A Home Profit Master Machine! It's just so handsome with its iron stand and brass cylinder and ribber. Oh, and it cranks so smoothly you could fall asleep while making a sock!

It needed a thorough cleaning and polishing but it was in otherwise very good condition. It was however, missing it's yarn stand, long rod and topper. I searched online for a replacement but could not find one.

I posted my request for the missing parts on one of the CSM groups and a well known restorer and CSM enthusiast replied to me privately stating that I could simply buy a metal rod from the hardware store and purchase a topper. She had a nice 6 topper available. In fact, she had a LeGare 47 with an 84/42 setup with the 6 yarn topper, slotted yarn carrier and other goodies at a reasonable price. The rest is history. The LeGare came to live with me. And a good thing too as the seller had a horrible fire at her studio after shipping out my machine. I'm wishing her all the best in getting back to normal.

Well, the 6 yarn topper was just too heavy for the HPMM in my opinion and I just didn't think it fair this gorgeous machine not be fully complete with original parts. So, when a listing came up on eBay for a complete HPMM with the original wood shipping crate, invoice still in it's original state attached to the crate, all the tools and accessories, vintage yarn on wooden bobbins and of course, the yarn mast, rod and topper - I had to have it. And then there were 4 CSMs.

I was finally happy with my CSMs until I discovered Gearharts. There is so much information on this Family Knitter that I began to research it and fell in love with family history as well as the little tiny crankwheels and wonderful clicking of the springloaded cams. This video really did me in though. Listen for the clicks when working the heels and toes!

Well, that video lead to the purchase of this 1914 Gearhart 60/30 setup. I even got a beautiful custom stool for the machine. I LOVE doing heels and toes now. CSM #5

Lastly, while searching eBay on my iphone, I came across a listing for "vintage machine pieces". Sounds interesting enough so I checked it out. Heck, the auction was ending soon and it was still only at $50. What I saw first was the picture of an old Gearhart manual.

I'd no intention of paying $50 for it and started to move on but I decided to take a peek at the other items in the auction. That's when I saw this...

It's a 1908 Gearhart! I sent the seller a message asking about the cylinder sizes (there were two included along with weights and a ribber and some parts to something else). The machine has 54, 72 cylinders and a 24 ribber. I won the auction on Friday and my package arrived on Monday. Nice! Sadly, the 54 cylinder was in bad condition, rusted and out of round.

The 72 cylinder and the ribber were fine. The machine had years of dirt and debris and rust requiring a long bath in Marvel Mystery oil and Ballistoil along with some light sanding and filing but she turned out beautifully!

And then there were 6! Although I've listed one of my Master Machines for sale - the one missing the yarn stand and rod. So soon there will be 5. I think I can live with that :)

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Location:North St,Bayonne,United States