I have a friend in Chicago who dyes some of the most amazing yarns, for her personal use, using food colors. For ages now she has been telling me that she could teach me how to do it, and that I could call her if I ran into problems and she would talk me through the process as I was doing it.
She mentioned on a Ravelry forum that she really wished she had an Addi Express Knitting Machine for knitting blanks, as one of the longer parts of her process was creating the blanks to dye, but the machine is a pretty penny and not in her budget for a while. It isn't in mine either, but I suggested that if we looked in Thrift Stores maybe we could find a child's version, something like this one, and even if it didn't work perfectly, maybe it would be good enough for now. She agreed it would be worth looking at, and if the price was right maybe even trying it. She also offered to pay me in either money or custom dye jobs (custom dyes jobs for the win!!!!) if I managed to find one, but that she had been looking on places like Craigs List and E-bay and not finding anything that was being sold for less than retail. We bemoaned the lot of people trying to find a bargain in this day of everyone looking to make a profit for a few minutes but she left that challenge on the table.
What is it my kids say...Challenge Accepted!*
TDQ likes to go to Thrift Stores, so the next time we were out and about I started looking through the toy section and would you believe that in the second thrift store we went to, there was this:
But it didn't have a price on it! Setting myself a limit on how much I was willing to pay, I went to the front of the store and asked how much it was. The clerk had to call the "pricing manager" over to take a look, who gave it a cursory examination and quoted me....ready for it?.......90 cents!
Now 90 cents might sound like a lot for a broken toy that probably should have been tossed in the trash rather than donated to the charity that supplies that thrift store, but it was only slightly broken. (There should be a tension loop attached just under the purple thread guide. But, for 90 cents I was willing to try seeing if it was still workable without the tension loop and home it came with me.)
Google is my best friend! From doing several different internet searches I pretty much discovered that the tension loop on that model was deemed "useless" and "not effective" by people who had tried using the machine, so I looked for alternatives, like tensioning the yarn over my thumb, a paper clip, the guide from my ball winder and finally two binder clips. The binder clips were the most effective, so having now destroyed a ball of yarn trying to figure out how to use the machine, I grabbed a new skein and wound it so that it would pull easily and started again.
One sticky needle that I had to pay attention to and once there was a decent amount of knitting done the twist it puts on the blank make the machine drop stitches if you don't unwind it...but....I got a blank!
Yes, it is ugly, yes I should have been more careful about catching when the machine was just carrying the last row of stitches with this rows stitches but....
Then I did this......
Which turned into this.......
And I picked up my knitting needles and plotted and planned. I weighed my yarn and cast on for a small infinity loop to test out a stitch pattern.
I weighed my yarn a lot during that knit, planning on using every inch I could.
And I muffed it!
Somewhere I must have had my finger still on the scale because I came so close to finishing, but didn't quite make it!
Of course, in the meantime I packaged up that knitting machine and sent it on it's way to it's new home, so if I want to knit another blank I will have to do it by hand. Tell me, if you came that close to finishing a project with a yarn you (most likely) couldn't duplicate, what would you do?
*I have been in a "genie mood" this past week, wanting to grant wishes. (Only good wishes though and only good granting, even if according to myths a genie will always "lawyer" your wish into being something you didn't really want!) None of them have been big wishes, for instance, another Raveler wished that someone would knit her "squishy handmade socks" as working on small diameter knits hurts her hands and they should have shown up in her mailbox today! But wishes granted, none the less.
So here is my challenge to you....In a world that has gone crazy, is filled with violence and anger, hatred and totally lacking in love, can you find someone who has a small wish you can grant?