Monday, April 2, 2012

Can we bring machine knitting back?

I've been hearing for years that machine knitting has lost its mojo and it's a dying craft.  You know what?  I don't believe it.

The bigger picture is that, if we are viral and continue to use the internet so people are knitting, talking about it, doing social media about it, forming up clubs, writing patterns, etc., then we might get the manufacturers to do a bit more and we can popularize the craft.  There is some sort of tipping point, and we aren't anywhere near it.  Consider how current realities contradict the popular theories about why MK isn't more popular:

1.  People don't have time for crafts anymore.  Hooey.  Look at the resurgence of hand knitting among very young people.  Martha Stewart's amazing popularity with her incredible level of crafting detail and obsession (frankly, she intimidates me; I can't spend time making food look that fancy when we're going to eat it in 20 minutes flat) proves this wrong.  Crafting is both relaxing and satisfying. 

2.  People can't afford KMs.  Baloney.  Have you looked at the prices on embroidery machines?  And how many manufacturers have entered that arena?    

3.  Young people aren't all that interested in highly detailed crafts like this one.  More nonsense; if true, Hobby Lobby wouldn't be such a palace.   Go look at Ravelry or Knitting Paradise, and you can see lots of projects that are incredibly fancy and complicated and quite young knitters making them. 

4.  The learning curve is too difficult.  Really?  Compared to threading my 5-thread server?  Compared to making French sauces?  Compared to the sewing projects in Threads magazine?  Compared to what? 

Just about any learning curve can be flattened if taught step by step, clearly, and make it fun.  I'm doing what I can to squash that slope, and so are a lot of other teachers.

5.  Knitting is not hip.  Well, consider that being "cool" is often about caring about much more important things than trying to be "cool," and also, let's consider the fashion issues.  The Barbie doll is timelessly popular because of the appeal of fashion, and there is certainly no shortage of people who want to make something more creative, more unique, more personal, and simply unavailable elsewhere.   I get sucked right into shows like Design Star, What Not to Wear, and Project Runway.  


  1. I have a silver reed 150 and never really figured it out, sizing and all.
    You put a dishcloth on your blog with hand edging around it and I figured that out. Very helpful. I made so many of them for gifts.
    Thanks, on to larger things.

  2. Brother oh Brother bring me a new knitting machine and see how fast I pounce on it. Not that I don't love my lil KX350 and my 965i.
    Take a knitting machine to the mall, set it up and start knitting. I betcha they would sell. With the right advertising anything can come back to life. Just look at hip huggers and bell bottoms?? Paisly prints?? It all makes the loop!

  3. Some say that MK is making a comeback. I wonder if that's true. Or, are we all just more connected & aware of each other through the internet?? so that it seems like there are more of us. I went for many years before the blogs etc. & only met a dozen other MK over the years. & I met them through the LYS. We have some new machines being manufactured that seem to be good dependable machines, & they are selling, so I guess it must be true. Hooray

  4. You are so correct! It is Hooey to think its a fading fad. Especially with internet giving access to yarn and youtube and yarn and patterns and did I already say "yarn"? I love looking at all the yarns available but I'd rather touch before I buy.
    Anyhoo, the more I learn about MK, the better I like it. It is a challenge but at my age, I need all the brain work I can get to help keep me sharp!

  5. Yahoo! I got the code words correct the first time! That's unusual for me! :^)

  6. I think a large problem is that there are a limited amount of machines in circulation since most companies have stopped production, and a lot of mk'ers collect them, almost hoarding them. That makes it a little less available for a younger generation who doesn't know anyone with a machine to teach them. Just my opinion

  7. Navi, that's a very interesting comment. I can tell you that there have never been such wonderful deals on used machines. You can find a fantastic machine at a very low price today.

    One of the things we also have to do to keep machine knitting going is consider purchasing a new machine from a good dealer. It helps to support the remaining companies.

    I agree strongly, though, that people should not hoard machines. The different machines all have different capabilities and are fascinating; however, you can only really use a few machines and someone else could greatly benefit from acquiring a good used machine. Recently I have had to purchase some different machines so I can teach on them, but I'd really rather not have so many machines myself.