Socks . . . Against the Machine?

While hanging out with some lovely spinning and knitting friends this week, up came the subject of handknit vs machine knit socks. Debbie has been working with Beth to repair and bring life to the guild’s sock knitting machine and when I arrived, she was whirling away on a tube of perfect fabric. Meanwhile, Cathe and I settled in to knit some socks the old fashioned way: on some DPNs.

Now, I know there has been some talk in various corners of the internet about machine knitting. I’m not here to take sides. I think machine knitting has a place in the knitting world; and, boy oh boy, I will tell you I felt not a few pangs of jealousy as I watched the fabric wind of Debbie Sock maker. But, when the ribber attachment dropped a few stitches and Debbie spent the better part of a half-hour picking at the needles to load the yarn, I will also admit to a bit of smugness: here I was just knitting away still, without any kinks.

What I did appreciate was Debbie’s set-up: a table onto which the sock machine was clamped, a t-bar that kept the working yarn from snarling, a bobbin winder repurposed for a spool, and–would you look at that tube of fabric flowing out from under the table?!

 

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What say you all? Have you tried knitting machines of various kinds? Would you ever switch? Would you secretly enjoy giving them a whirl?

 

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This entry was posted in big questions, community, knitting machine, socks, techniques. Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Socks . . . Against the Machine?

  1. I’d like to try a sock knitting machine just to say I did but I love hand knitting socks to give it up entirely.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Tasha says:

    I’ve been knitting (by hand) the same sweater for what feels like ages, so when a new friend mentioned that she has a knitting machine, I was definitely intrigued. I’d like to try it out, make some plain-textured pieces and then maybe join them with a more interesting hand-knit border … we’ll see how it goes! One of my favorite things about knitting is the go-anywhere, do at any time (in the car, while playing games with friends etc.) aspect, so I doubt I’d ever give up hand knitting.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Mary Giger says:

    One of the ladies in our guild revived a vintage sock knitting machine and taught herself how to use it. It makes beautiful socks! For myself I will stick with dpns or magic loop because I’m just not in a hurry. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The Greyt Knitter says:

    Never tried or seen one. I think I will stick to the old-fashion way. Knitting is very therapeutic for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Liz says:

    I have a flat bed chunky machine and it’s great for some jobs. Yes it’s incredibly tedious to manually create a rib (by picking up dropped stitches). I also hand knit and enjoy intricate pattern work that I couldn’t make on a machine. Both have their good points, a hand knit will always look more beautiful to me as you can see its hand knitted, a machine knit is very uniform. I’ve never used a tube machine I know Addi makes one too. I like variation & pattern too much especially in smaller items like socks to use a machine but for larger, plain areas like on a plain knit cardigan or jumper it will fly off the machine, kind of … 👍

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Lovely picture. Yes, look at all that beautiful and (almost) effortless fabric. I’ve only ever hand-knit socks, but I heard that Nintendo was, in the 80s, working on a knitting-machine video game that never saw the light of day. I would have loved to try that. 🙂

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  7. Alina says:

    As you know, I am a BIG machine knitting fan! Though you are right that it is not the most relaxing type of knitting, especially if you are just starting. You have to make so many preparations before you knit the first row and you definitely can’t doing it relaxing on the couch and watching a movie, so it does feel more like work, than something that you’d enjoy after a very long time at work. I love machine knit in the early mornings on the weekend, when I am full of energy and don’t have to rush anywhere.

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    • Thanks, Alina! I was hoping you might weight in given your experience. I really want to try a knitting machine (or two) before I make up my mind about them. I think they certainly have a good place in the tool-arsenal of any knitter 🙂

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