Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Attack of the Pink

Okay... this thing is so pink that Safari keeps crashing when I try to write this post. I tried twice last night before giving up, I'll give it another shot this morning. Warning... *pink* ahead!

What is all this pink about? Well, H's niece received this:
The Real Knit And Gem Machine
"The Real Knit & Gem Machine" from her grandparents (I think) this weekend. However, it turns out she already had one, but wasn't able to get it to work. H bought it off her niece and brought it in, knowing I would figure it out. ;) We didn't open up any of the plastic bags so that it could still be given as a new toy to some other child later.

Our first several attempts failed. We thought we were following the instructions. Speaking of instructions, they were, um, not ideal:
Confusing Instructions
(Click through for biggy view.) The instructions for circular knitting started on page 4 with an initial setting, then had you go back to do the instructions on pages 2 (which said to practice turning the crank) and 3. Page 3 was microprinted to an extent where two of the three adults in the room had difficulty reading them, and the third (me) had to hold them quite a bit closer than normal.

Our first several attempts failed. We attached the yarn and cranked away until it was on all of the hooks. Then we kept cranking, but the previous row just fell off, rather than beeing hooked in to the knitting.

Hmmm. Oh, maybe I had been cranking counter-clockwise when should have been cranking clockwise! Same thing. We tried again more slowly. Same thing. We tried increasing tension. Same thing.

One of the adults left to get back to work. (The other two worked in the office where the machine was located, and simply went back to their seats.)

After a few minutes I had an idea... I used the tail to run through all the loops between hooks to prevent unravelling. It worked!
Knitting Machine
Machine Knit
(Note: the instructions also didn't seem to explain how to get the knitting off... but if you remove the yarn from the threader and crank around once, it all comes off.)

After lunch I had another look at the instruction booklet, to see if there was something I had missed.
Confusing Instructions
Gee... that diagram #2 looks a little funny... did they mean to draw it so that only every second hook had yarn? Yep, there it is at the end of instruction #3: "every other needle". However, by saying to put the yarn in the feeder and turn the crank, you think it means to hook on the yarn that way. Nope, that way hooks onto all hook, not every second one. After starting with every second hook, it turns out that the machine does work as described:
Knitting Machine
Machine Knit 2
Machine Knit 2

We then packed the pink thing away, good as new, to be given to some pink-loving kid. Plus H now knows how to work the thing, so she can explain it to her niece.

(Oh... and the orange yarn is some scary acrylic H's son picked out for an afghan he's making. We didn't want to disturb the pink or white furry yarns that came with the machine.)


Deneen said...

I have been eyeing that machine for Elena and did see it demonstrated in a store (with fun fur mind you)-do you think it's a cool gift for a kid around 8? What would you do with tubes you knit?

noricum said...

Well, once you figure out the tricks, it is pretty easy. Figuring them out was the challenge. ;)

You can also knit flat pieces by going back and forth. I didn't actually try that out, though. I'm not sure why. But you can sew several flat pieces together to make hats and purses and stuff. H is thinking her son might make his afghan that way instead of with the corker, since there will be a lot fewer strips to sew together for the final afghan.

I think fun-fur type yarns would be better. It occasionally split the acrylic worsted yarn, and the result was rather stretched-out looking. Fun fur is thinner, and the fluffiness would hide the large gauge.

noricum said...

Update: H tried flat panels last night, and didn't have success.

MrsFife said...

I like pink!!! And I like gadzmos to try (even if I then pass them on to smaller girls). Would H hold a contest with the knit & gem (why is it called that?) that I could possibly win? *insert winsome smile*
Oh, and {{{hugs}}}.

Daph said...

Marissa got one of those for Christmas a couple of years ago, and I could NOT figure the dang thing out to save my life, lol.

Anonymous said...

I just picked this up for my daughter lastnight as it was given to us Free. I'm sitting here today trying to figure the thing out and it hurts the brain as i've tried a few times and it's not working.I sure would like to figure out how it works as it looks neat and the fact they say you can make hats with it would be fun.

noricum said...

I seem to remember that part of the key to getting it to work is that for the cast on row, you only hook the yarn on every *second* hook.

Anonymous said...

I have been trying to figure out to keep the yarn from dropping of the hook after you get a few rows done. I finally came up with it needs some sort of weight to weigh the yarn down so I took 4 wooden cloths pins and attached them to the bottom of yarn. Yahoo it worked.

noricum said...

Good thinking!

Emma Craib said...

Thanks for your insights! I just found one in my transfer station's "Trade Shack" with no instructions and maybe not all of the parts. I was hoping it was something I could take to my school and let kids try. Maybe it is! The comment thread is great as well.
I have it pegged as a 3rd to 5th grade craft to avoid a lot of frustration. With adult help at constant hand, and depending on the child, younger. But I'd like to help get it going and then go to another group of kids.

noricum said...

If you want, I can send you photos of all the instruction pages. Just send me your e-mail address... then keep nagging me until I do. ;)

I had a quick look at your blog. Your needle-felted mouse is *adorable*! :)

Sherry in Idaho said...

If you could send me a copy of the instructions for this little Knit and Gem knitter, I would be so grateful. I just got one of these, with no directions, and would like to be able to figure it out. Thank you so much.

noricum said...

Sure thing. What's your e-mail address? Respond as a comment, and I'll not publish it, so that it's not posted t the web.

Hathaway said...

OMG this is made for kids. No wonder if has been taken off the market! I have been trying to get it to work for over 3 hours with no success. I have tried every thing that I read here but still nothing. GRRRRR
What a WASTE of MONEY The Real Knit & Gem Machine is!
Looks like this toy is hitting the garbage can in the next few minutes.

noricum said...

Not at all kid-friendly!