HomeKnittingNo, using a machine is NOT ‘cheating’


No, using a machine is NOT ‘cheating’ — 1 Comment

  1. Bravo, Ray. I agree wholeheartedly. You left out one other aspest of the craft: people who use knitting machines to crank out yards of plain stocking or garter stitch for felting. In that case machine knitting is only the first step in a handmade process, and yes, if the felter uses a sewing machine to craft the felted item, it is still “hand made.” I’ve done this many times with felted items. Likewise, when a baby shower was rushing up on me, I have, on more than a few occasions, machine-kit a plain stocking stitch center panel and then picked up and knit a deep openwork edge for a blanket.

    I understand the need to distinguish between hand-knitting and machine knitting as crafts, because different skills are involved. But both are still handcrafts.

    I am a hand-knitter who simply does not enjoy machine knitting as a pastime, because I can’t pick it up and put it down, I can’t carry it with me, and it makes too much noise for me to enjoy a movie while I watch it. For my own uses, I see a knitting machine as a tool to save time on large, plain areas of knitting. But I would never dare to dictate how others should use or enjoy such a useful knitting tool.

    Critics often forget that a knitting machine is also a valuable tool for knitters with arthritis who once enjoyed hand-knitting but who now must be kinder to their hands. I know a couple of arthritic knitters who now use a machine for all or part of their projects. One friend, who lives in the upper midwest and enjoys making traditional yoked sweaters for her grandkids, makes the plain stockinette body parts and sleeves on a basic knitting macine, then joins the body parts, assembles them onto a circular needle, and hand-knits the patterned yoke.

    I have seen the same ignorance in the spinning community with regard to electric spinners. Silly, really. The spinner must still draft and control the fiber. One’s feet are simply divorced from the process. And, not unlike a drop spindle, it is highly portable. All the spinner needs is access to an electric socket. One friend who uses an electric spinner lives in a studio apartment, where every square foot of floorplan counts.