Friday, May 2, 2014

I Heart Machines, and I am Not Alone

Imagine the equipment you would have in your own dream textile studio. Now imagine more equipment: Think big, this is a fantasy. Next, dream up a large well lit space with jumbo tables, background music, and upbeat busy people, not too many, but enough to make your day. Throw in a well mannered dog.

A Gathering of Stitches in Portland, Maine is the place you just dreamed of. I went for the first time last weekend and was instantly smitten.

I took a Knitting Machine Restoration workshop at AGOS. We tore our machines down and became intimate with their innards, greasy fiber boogers and all.

We scrubbed out the crud with various tools, removed worn parts, wrote shopping lists for replacements, and oiled. And then we oiled some more.

Not only does the instructor have a wealth of experience with the machines (she was a product developer for Land's End and L.L.Bean), her love of the machines and calm and confident approach put us all at ease.

My Singer 360 was a gift from my parents when I was sixteen years old, and came with weekly lessons. It is all reassembled and working smoothly. I am pumped to know it well again. I want to know what every button can do. I am not certain what my parents' idea was, but I think it worked.

AGOS has is an industrial sewing machine for leather: I have intentions, a crush quite frankly.

And this secret little gem is on my short list for this year, all restored and ready for someone like me to master it. Socks are on my wardrobe list, and just between you and me, I have one hand knit sock finished ... and the other one will get done, but I will be distracted now that I have seen this.


Mary Lou said...

Oh, i am jealous. That class looks like a blast. Have you found a sock machine?

Ellen Mason said...

No sock machine for me, they are rare. Maybe someday though! I'm going back to AGOS for weekly KM lessons. :o)

Susan in Katonah said...

Have you seen the Erlbacher Gearhart sock knitting machines? They have none of the problems that the vintage machines have (e.g. decaying pot metal on critical parts -- ask me how I know). They are expensive but balm to the soul of anybody with engineering genes, and the youtube videos are very informative.

I love mechanical household stuff too. You are in the right part of the country for old cast iron apple paring machines, an eBay rabbit hole that I have fallen down. There's even an online museum.

Ellen Mason said...

Susan - I have been watching those Erlbacher videos. Balm to the soul, oh no, I hear the sweet siren calls. Going to start playing the lottery and make my own museum here. And roll around in it all like I found something dead in the yard.

~Rachel said...

Sock machine on your wish list? I have one in the cellar...
If you want to crank let me know. I think it's in working condition but needs some oiling. My rotator cuff tendonitis doesn't enjoy hand powered machines anymore.