Sunday, March 31, 2019

Positive Impacts Your Hobby has on Your Life

Elise Morgan was kind enough to contact me and volunteer to write a blog post about the positive impact of a great hobby on your life!  This is a topic I'm really passionate about, from the wonderful friends I've made machine knitting to the fascination of it that takes my mind off, well, anything else that might be bothering me.

Here's Elise's take on the subject:\

Positive Impacts Your Hobby has on Your Life
by Elise Morgan

It’s easy to get feel like you’re stuck in a rut and just going through the motions of daily life, with little-to-no changes in the sequence. However, having a hobby that we truly enjoy participating in brings us joy and enriches our lives, while giving us a reason to “take a break” from our day-to-day normalcies. Luckily, there are so many different hobbies out there, and with each one comes a unique set of skills.

There are so many reasons that we should all have at least one hobby. Below are some of the most important advantages: 

1.     Social Outlet 

Many hobbies allow for us to find a social outlet and can even provide a degree of social support that we are needing. While some hobbies may seem like solitary endeavors, many can get us involved in our communities and allow for us to meet with people that we would not normally meet. These social connections have been found to be a key component of our happiness and ties to the belief of having a “meaningful life”.  

2.     Reduce Stress 

Forget about the stressful situations by getting caught up in your hobby – this way you can refocus your mind on something that you truly enjoy.

If your hobby involves physical activity, it can help to create chemical changes in your body that reduce stress and leave you feeling energized.  

Nonphysical hobbies have benefits as well - taking a break from the anxiety and exertion of daily life by participating in your hobby intermittently can help to rejuvenate the mind and provide more creativity and problem-solving afterwards.  

3.     Better Sleep 

In today’s technical era, it’s hard to resist the urge to look at your phone, TV, or computer before going to bed. If you have ever done this before, you probably know that it’s a lot more difficult to fall asleep after doing so.  

Instead, finding a relaxing hobby such as knitting or reading can help you wind-down for bed by slowing your heart rate and halting that wandering mind at night. Pair a good soothing hobby with a lavender candle and an ultra-comfortable bed to help you get the sleep that you’ve been missing out on lately – we all know it’s much-needed. 

4.     Boost Your Career 

It may seem counterintuitive that something other than work will help to boost your performance in your career, but you better start believing it! Having a hobby helps you learn how to handle situations that require creativity and concentration, and even shows your employers that you have the drive to do something with your time outside of work. 

In addition to boosting your performance, having a career can also help to reduce feelings of burnout. This is because you are able to take your mind off of work and focus on something completely different for the rest of your night, letting you feel refreshed and ready to focus at the office the following day.

5.     Gain Confidence 

It’s a great feeling when you know that you have talents outside of your work-life. Sure, you can be good at your job, but trying out different hobbies and discovering what other talents you have can give you an extra confidence boost.

About Elise Morgan:  Elise is a mother of two wonderful children and a freelance writer located in the mountains of North Carolina. She has recently found her passion writing about all things parenthood, hobbying, and home life. In her free time, Elise enjoys practicing yoga, trying out new recipes, and of course – knitting!


Tuesday, March 5, 2019

A Little Project

My friend Barbara had a spare Brother 930 that she wanted to sell, and she didn't want a whole lot of money for it.  It had previously lived at her friend's house and wasn't used much at all.  The machine looks practically new!

This was a machine in great shape, but it needed some of the usual things.

Our club heard from a lady from the prominent local university's theater department who wanted to buy a knitting machine and make it available for the students to use, as well as herself, in costuming.  As a group, my knitting buddies and I were pretty excited about this, because we are not aware of any machine knitting going on at that school.

So, Barbara brought the machine over.  Of course, it needed a sponge bar!  Once that was replaced, we set it up and tested it.  It was miss-patterning on both ends of the needle bed, and the center carriage buttons were stuck.

My husband came to the rescue once again - he took the carriage apart enough to thoroughly lubricate everything, and instantly, no stuck buttons and no miss-patterning!

Barbara also had a KR850 ribbing attachment, and the university wanted that, as well.  It needed some parts, and I inventoried it against the ribber manual and ordered items.  I ordered a few things for myself, as well.
This arrived yesterday, all carefully and closely fitted into a rather small Priority Mail shipping box. On the right, wrapped in honeycomb-looking shelf liner, are four claw weights I ordered at the same time.  

Barbara and I feel really good about the students having all the parts they need to have a great machine.  

This little story has some good lessons if you have to rehab an older machine:
  • When a machine miss-patterns (selects the wrong needles in pattern), it seems to nearly always be the carriage.  John has fixed quite a few of these, and only one was something in the machine.  
  • When you test a machine to see if it selects needles correctly, put all the needles in work and check out the entire bed.  I really don't know why, but this carriage only miss-patterned on the ends, and if we'd just tried out needles in the middle, we'd have had no idea there was a problem.
  • Oil, oil, and oil!  Each moving part on the bottom of the carriage needs to move fast!  Flippers should "flip!" rather than move lazily back into position.  The carriage zips across the needles very quickly, and a slow flipper doesn't have enough time to put the needle where it should go.
  • Most used machines need a new sponge bar.  Always check the sponge bar!  It should hold the needles down against the bed.  It should have some height left in it, not be crushed down.  Look at the ends where it wasn't against needles, and compare that height to how tall it is where the needles are.
  • If you are buying a knitting machine, don't be embarrassed to pull out the manual and inventory all the small parts.  Those little things are expensive, and if you're picking up an unusual brand or an older machine, spare parts can be quite rare.  However, don't assume that it will not be possible to get parts.  I have found that most parts for the punch card and electronic era Japanese machines are available.
  • If you find yourself with an unusable knitting machine, maybe one that was dropped, has a badly warped bed, or some other major fault, please part it out rather than discard it.  We machine knitters love these old machines, and you can sell your good parts on eBay or give them to a dealer, knit club, or repair person.    

Monday, March 4, 2019

New Video - Loose Loops for Binding Off

A practical little tip for March.  It's cold here - great knitting weather!

I've discovered that each machine is different for this - some work okay with a knitting tool, some with a chopstick, and for some, I just eyeball it and adjust it to make it more even right before I do the bind-off.  It's a timesaver, for certain, to have loose loops and go right across binding off quickly.

Sneak Peek:  In a few days, I will have a circular sock machine knitting book and DVD ready to sell!  The video is in duplication right now.  I am an avid CSM user, and just hope my approach to sock making will be helpful to others.

And, I'm madly knitting up patterns for a shawl and wrap book.  It's not as close to ready, but hey, it's ready when it's ready...  I had retired, but my replacement at the Boy Scouts resigned, so I'm helping out part-time until the audit is finished. I'm totally enjoying it, but it'll slow down the shawl book a bit.