Machine knitting looms large in my life, I am quite passionate about what these machines can accomplish - even the most basic ones. I saw a quote in a book once saying that tools are necessary for the creation of helpful or beautiful objects, underneath this quote was a quote from the author of the book "a knitting machine is a tool".
I hand knit for various reasons: to keep my hands and mind busy when I am waiting, to relax, to make a connection with other knitters and with those I am knitting for.
I machine knit to get my ideas out of my head quickly - as evidenced by the Noro scarf, I would never have hand-knitted that scarf, I hated hand knitting the yarn, but from start to finish that scarf took me a little over an hour, using a technique I learnt while hand knitting. I love this transfer of ideas, and the fusion of different techniques, as shown in the cable scarf I knitted for Flash's Dad.
I used some lovely chocolate merino/cashmere/nylon yarn from the Knittery, a thickish fingering weight. I cast on 40 sts,using waste yarn (leaving 5 metres tail) and arranged the needles over both beds as follows:
working from each end to middle(I will describe 1 side, work the other as mirror)
needle 20 on MB (main bed) needle 19 & 18 on ribber, next 12 needles on MB, 2 on ribber, 3 on MB
-the middle 6 sts are for a 3x3 cable which is worked every 10 rows.
There are many different variations on this theme, the important thing is to ensure you have a couple of ribber sts close to the selvedge to prevent rolling, and a couple either side of any cable to make it show up well. You can't go wrong with experimenting as long as you follow these guidelines.
When I had a few metres of yarn left I took the scarf off on waste yarn, and then slipped the sts onto a 3mm straight and knitted 8 rows of garter st for the hem, I repeated this at the other end of the scarf (hence the waste yarn cast on and long tail) this also helps to prevent rolling, and makes me feel that I have put some hand knitted goodness into the gift.
On the domestic front: things are moving quickly, we are both constantly juggling - movers coming to give quotes, negotiating with real estate agents who if they had their way would be bringing people through in the middle of the night
(best one this week - "can we bring people through before 10 am, so that the apartment isn't too hot?" - the back ground to why this is funny is that our apartment has 18 ft high windows, so by 9 am it is pretty warm in here, add to that the fact that we have been requesting the agent who uttered the above sentence to fix the air conditioner on a bi-weekly basis for the past 6 weeks, you can understand why we have suggested that maybe an open home at 12 noon would give prospective tenants a more realistic view of the apartment.)
I hate moving at Christmas, I have done it a couple of times because it makes sense with the school year (Feb - Dec in NZ and Oz) but thats the only sensible thing about it, it is hot, lawyers and bank staff are on holiday, hotels and airlines are booked out, and we are packing and stressing when we are supposed to be on holiday relaxing! Still, it will all be worth it when we are settled into our new house with everything unpacked and in place, there should be enough summer left for us to get some relaxation in.