Is it cheating?

Is machine knitting cheating? I’m really hot on this subject. So read on if you want to hear a grouchy machine knitter vent on this topic!

You know how as a hand knitter, people ask you if you could knit them a sweater? You just smile on the outside but really you’re rolling your eyes in disbelief as you reply with, “yes I could but do you have any idea how long it takes to knit a sweater?”. Of course they don’t or they wouldn’t have the nerve to be asking you anyway! That is how I feel about hand knitters telling me that machine knitting is cheating. Obviously, you haven’t machine knit much or you wouldn’t have the nerve to tell me it’s cheating. (I warned you I was hot on this subject!)

Surprise, a knitting machine doesn’t knit itself, you knit on the knitting machine, just like you knit with knitting needles. The machine is the tool, you are the labor. Working on a knitting machine is way more labor intensive than hand knitting, you can get a serious workout while pushing that carriage back and forth a bazillion times! The repetitive, laborious pushing and pulling can do a number on your body too. Just ask my Dr about my shoulder problems. And that cabled sweater I just made, surprise number 2, those cables I worked by hand. Each stitch was taken off the machine, moved and put back on. That’s as much as a hand craft as any!

Sure, I can make a sweater using a knitting machine in a matter of hours instead of the days it takes on needles. I get that you are jealous and have the urge to be mad at me and call me a cheater because my closet is overstuffed with sweaters I made. But make no mistake, my hands, fingers, shoulders, elbows, legs (yes legs, I stand at my machines), eyes and brain all worked really hard on that sweater. I wasn’t lying around on the couch sipping wine and petting the cat while my knitting machine made me a sweater – in case that is what you were imagining. And, yes I’ve been told that is exactly what you were imagining.

I am a hand knitter too. I knit every single day. No joke, every. single. day. The repetitive soft moving motion of yarn slipping over your fingers as you craft fabric is a wonderful art. I crave that soothing craft in the evening when it’s time for me to wind down while I binge watch TV with the cat. I make several sweaters on needles every year so I am your hand knitting ally. But sometimes I want to crank out something FAST. That is where the knitting machine comes in handy. It is fast. But may I suggest, it’s not very soothing. It’s NOISY (like please protect your hearing by wearing earplugs), it’s a physical workout that is enough to break a sweat, it’s finicky and not portable. Please don’t call me a cheater anymore. And hey if you want to learn how to machine knit I will be your ally in this craft as well. Because, we all need more art in our lives, we all need more support, we all need to wrap ourselves up in knits.

xx Heidi

One comment

  1. I SO agree with your rant about machine knitting vs hand knitting.
    I bought a small, used knitting machine at a garage sale years ago. One of the pieces was missing and I had no idea of how to use it! This wonderful LYS owner taught me how to use it but advised “Beware, people will ask you to make them sweaters on this – since it is much faster. But when you buy a new stove people don’t ask you to cook for them on it.” I still laugh and remember what she told me, because it is SO true.
    Even though I make some sweaters on my machine, I still do the rib, cables and binding off by hand, and all the finish work by hand. Plus all the swatching, calculations and prep work needed to make something that will fit. I am tired of trying to justify a machine knit sweater vs a hand knit sweater. So thank you for ranting!

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