Worst. Idea. Ever.


I am going to try to keep this as quick as I can, if only to shorten my humiliation at retelling this story. I want to say first and foremost that yes, I’ve learned my lesson. So….here it goes.

Stitches_Pic1LOGO_KasMelloI have been making baby blankets for Stitches From The Heart ever since I learned how to knit the garter stitch. I have a very special place in my heart for this organization which supplies an assortment of baby items for preemies. Closer still is the bereavement sized items that are always needed and this is the size I spend most of my time knitting. I suppose they need more of these made because it is just a bit too depressing to knit something for a baby that will never take a breath, but I know first hand just how important it is to the grieving process and how much it means to the families.

The bereavement blankets are usually far more interesting pattern wise, I spend more time on them and try to make patterns that I feel are peaceful. Anyway – I try to send in two blankets a month (preemie and bereavement sized). Since my Etsy Store actually started bring in orders though I have been having some trouble keeping up with the preemie blankets. Oh hell, I haven’t made one preemie blanket in almost four months.

Then I thought I had a great idea…knitting machine! (SPOILER ALERT: Not a great idea)

NOT So Ultimate After All.

NOT So Ultimate After All.

My idea was that I would use the machine to run off flat, stockinette panels. Then I could embroider and edge the blankets by hand. I had all these wonderful notions of sending this charity tons of blankets. I would be busting my stash, be able to spend more time on the special touches and quit feeling to guilty about not sending in both blankets.

I went to Jo Anne’s with my 50% off coupon and bought the Ultimate Sweater Machine. Yes, I felt guilty about sending in only half handmade items, but I reasoned it was better than nothing at all. Oh the things we tell ourselves.

Gloria and I picked it up, brought it home, set it up and ….huzzah!…it didn’t work. Not even a little. This loud, piece of crap could never even knit a row. It jammed, it got stuck, it screeched, it howled, it begged for mercy. Between the three of us (Trevor, Gloria and myself) we tried everything we could think of for two days before I put it back in the box to return it. I HATE this stupid machine – if it wasn’t for the money I would set it on fire in my back yard.

I’ve learned my lesson – there are no shortcuts in life. I actually feel pretty guilty about trying it now, as if the protesting machine was trying to tell me that I was in fact cheating. So now I am going to try to schedule a time of day when I work on my blankets. If something is important you take the time to do it, and you take the time to do it right. There, now you know my incredibly embarrassing story. I would rather have been caught having sex in front of my neighbors that admit to trying to cut corners.

What about you friends and neighbors, have you ever tried to cut corner’s with good intentions? Or even better, how do you whip up a cute baby blanket and still keep up with all your other obligations?

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43 thoughts on “Worst. Idea. Ever.

  1. stitches'n'scraps

    I read some posts from someone (i’m sorry, I don’t remember who) who was knitting fabulous baby blankets with super chunky chenille yarn. Bernat Baby Blanket yarn would be an example, though I’m not sure if that’s what she was using. They looked so unique, soft and luscious, and because of the super bulky yarn they probably worked up really quickly. I’m sure the same would be true of some of the other chunky textures out there (like pom poms!)

    Reply
    1. allnightknits Post author

      That’s a great idea! It’s odd, I never thought of using a chunky yarn. I like Bernat Baby a lot so I will have to look at their chunky stuff.
      Thank you! 🙂

      Reply
  2. Nadine Roberts

    First off count your blessings. I bought a knitting machine years ago and it was a professional one. Even can with a live person I could ask questions of. I didn’t last long using it. Went back to my faithful crochet hooks and never looked back

    As far as the yarn others are talking about using remember you want make sure the yarn is something that wont fuzz up when washed. You are like me and love making preemie items. Preemies are much more sensitive to breathing in fuzz than older babies with more developed lungs.I know homespun by lion brand doesn’t and it recommends a L size hook.

    Reply
  3. angela jean

    What a great story- and totally sounds like something I would do! I saw a blog where they used a knitting machine to make up a bit of “fabric” and then ombre dyed the piece. After the dyeing process, they pulled out the knit and used the yarn for a “real” project. I thought it was a pretty cool idea, but I don’t know if I trust those knitting machines! It would be a long process to do it by hand, but maybe worth it.

    As for the baby blankets, I agree with you- if it is important, you set aside the time to get it done right. Right is better than fast. Always. Kudos to you for a supporting a wonderful charity.

    Reply
    1. allnightknits Post author

      I should’ve trusted my gut and ignored the idea of cutting corners – I’m going with a moment of weakness;)

      I heard on the Knitmore Girls podcast about the mother using a knitting machine, before then I wasn’t even really aware of them. Oh well, lesson learned!

      Reply
    1. allnightknits Post author

      I know! I am trying to find time to sit and learn but my stupid hand will not roll with it! Plus, for whatever reason, when I chain 21 stitches I end up with 17 or 18….weird?!

      Reply
      1. lollyknits

        Sometimes that happens if you do it really tightly, and the chains are too small to even use. I found when I learned to crochet, it was much easier on my hands if I tried to do it loosely 🙂 Besides, you can already kinda crochet, if you did the neck of the cowl ^.^

        Reply
        1. allnightknits Post author

          Oh my cowl! So here is the deal with the cowl…actually I think I will email you the story. I’m at work and about to go back on the floor- I want to give you full attention!

          Reply
  4. Midnite Crafting

    😦 sometimes we gotta try it to know for sure that, THAT ideas wont. If not we have that constant wonder….I wonder it it really works? now u know and u can rest easy knowing what your doing is for sure the right way.

    Reply
  5. salpal1

    Maybe you picked it up on some of these comments, but if not – crochet is faster than knitting. It does seem to take more yarn, but if you are pressed for time, things get done faster with it. I can’t live without my knitting, but I when I make a baby blanket, I crochet.

    Reply
    1. allnightknits Post author

      Any tips for crochet? I took the Craftsy class but every time I chain 21 stitches, I end up with 17 or 18:( I’m missing something and I don’t know what!

      Reply
      1. salpal1

        Hmm. I don’t know what, either, unless it is remembering to allow for a couple when you turn? Wish you lived closer, I could come see what you are doing!

        Reply
        1. allnightknits Post author

          I think it would be worth the price of Skype (later on) just to video chat with bloggers. I’ve had offers but it’ll just have to wait.

          For now I am just going to try chaining looser.

          Reply
          1. salpal1

            Skype – great idea! I never use it at home, don’t even know if I can, but it would be a good way to teach someone a craft! I am sure you have checked out you tube instructional videos, right? I have learned a lot from them.

            Reply
  6. nareyayarnmosaics

    Don’t feel bad!! This experiment was for a good cause. Dalai Llama says that a key to happiness is comparing your situation to worse situations, rather than to better situations. Therefore; I would like you to know that this experiment was completely noble! Just compare it to my patient who keeps experimenting with blatantly lying (telling *provable* lies) to receptionists, nurses, & doctors, for the purpose of trying to get special treatment (i.e. “the CT Scan showed that I have gallstones, so you need to take my gallbladder out tomorrow, not in 2 weeks” when the CT Scan didn’t show anything wrong with her gallbladder). You experimented with a machine which could have (if it worked) produced more peace for grieving or worried parents, in a faster way. That being said, I think hand-made is more meaningful, but I also have problems getting enough done given our 24-hr days. I’ve put in many requests to God to extend the days to 30-hrs, but alas, I guess that’d probably mess Nature up a bit 😉

    Reply
  7. vuchickens

    What a brilliant story! I’m so glad you were brave enough to share it, it’s a great lesson for all of us to hear. I agree that chunky yarns sound like a good idea for the blankets, and as a fellow knitter who’s been trying her hand at crochet, I completely sympathize… it’s pretty different, and I can see why people usually do one or the other. I say go with what give you the most joy… and that will be imparted to the babies and their families, even if it means you won’t be able to make as many.

    Reply
    1. allnightknits Post author

      Thank you. I am going to go through my stash when I get home to look for yarn that’ll knit up quicker.

      It’s important and time shouldn’t be such an issue when you care about something. Lesson learned:)

      Reply
  8. JoJo

    Hey! That kind of looks like a toy compared to my knitting machine. Actually, I have two Brother knitting machines. I love using them for things that involve complicated patterns, but I still prefer to knit by hand. All depends on what you’re using it for. If you want to see how a pro using a knitting machine, watch Karen Allen (yes, the actress) knit a sweater for her store… http://www.marthastewart.com/296830/karen-allen-handmade-sweaters

    – JoJo at Bluegrass Fiber Arts

    Reply
      1. JoJo

        Very true. They haven’t made Brother knitting machines in decades, but the cost is like they’re practically brand new. They do last for decades, though!

        Reply
        1. allnightknits Post author

          I think if rather save my money for a spinning wheel. I am currently spinning enough yarn for a sweater on a drop spindle…yup, I really am that nuts. 😉

          Reply
  9. niizdesigns

    I remember my mother having one years ago. I hated when she used it because it was so loud and yeah it did different patterns but she would use the takiest yarns ever!

    though now when I ‘cheat’ on knit projects it’s with a loom. I can whip up scarves gloves (fingerless) and hats in like two hours. Though I still love crochet for driving gloves, with a nice lace weight yarn. Only seem to use chunky yarns for Amigurumi.

    Reply
  10. The Knitting Neurotic

    I was just wondering what happened to knitting machines! What you found at Joann’s sounds like a cruel joke! Or an As Seen On TV nightmare. The old school ones were at the very least functional…

    I’d go with stitchesnscraps and try some chunky yarns. I also knit EVERYWHERE. At work, lunch, 15 min coffee break, while my husband tells me about his day…whatever! A row here or there makes a difference. I’m trying to finish my first baby sweater ever and it’s the only way I’ll ever make it through!

    Reply
    1. allnightknits Post author

      I am also a never-without-knitting gal, it gets some odd looks but who cares! I am working with bulkier yarn now and it is going really well, she’s always got totally amazing advice 🙂

      Reply

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