Friday, April 18, 2014

I am a Machine

I am a machine! Or at least, I own one. I bought a very basic knitting machine.

I have successfully knit several swatches and this lovely hat. You can see it being knit above, and modeled on the ever patient Chatham below.

I also knit the back of a vest. Unfortunately, I misread my swatch information and used the wrong size plate, so the vest is...rather too long. I'm pretty sure I could wear it as a dress. A dress with gigantic arm holes. Since I don't think I can pull off the sideboob showing dress vest look (can anyone?), I'm going to rip it all out and try again.

Before I do, though, I needed better weights. My machine came with a cast on comb, the black thing at the bottom of the hat hem and s hooks/rubber bands to hold the edge stitches on. I kinda hate that method, and didn't want to wait to order expensive claw weights for the machine. Instead, I broke out the scrap fabric bag and visited the gun section of Wal-Mart. I was carded to make sure I was over 16 too. Yeah. I turned 25 like a week ago.

Oh yeah. Gonna help me knit.

First, I weighed out about 4 oz of BBs. Be careful, they bounce!

BBs and Bumbles, obviously related.
I cut out a piece of fabric about 4 x 5 inches. I wasn't too careful about being straight, I didn't even iron the fabric. I did make sure to put right sides facing, at least. Then I sewed down one side and across the bottom. To reinforce it, I turned around and went back over it. If you use heavy duty thread, that might not be necessary.

Turn it right side out and put the BBs in. I recommend a funnel. Chatham said he always used a spoon, but that sounded like it would take forever.

I cut a second strip of fabric, about an inch wide and a little longer than the opening of the bag. I folded it in half and sewed them together. I wasn't very careful about staying near the edge and I didn't turn it so there weren't raw edges. Because I wasn't turning it, I used a decorative stitch, but it's not particularly important either way.

Finally, I folded down the edge of the bag and placed the handle inside it. Then I sewed it shut.

And voila!

A weight that can hang. I had some drapery hook things (I'm not sure why, I don't even know what they're actually called, why did I buy them??) and thought they'd work pretty well for now. This is hung on the completed vest, so there's no weight on the bottom. If there were, that little dimple under the hooks wouldn't exist.

The last step was to make a few more. I even made one in a more horizontal shape. That was...interesting, to say the least. I cut it too small, which resulted in BBs escaping the first couple tries at sewing the handle in and the bag shut. I eventually sewed half of it shut before I added the BBs, so I only had to wrestle with one side.

So there you have it! Homemade claw weights. I feel ready to take on short rows now, and hopefully I'll have a lovely pair of slippers to show for it in the near future.

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