I Want a Knitting Machine

Before getting to Craftland last week, Diana Eng gave Natalie, Brian, and me a real treat: a tour of the Rhode Island School of Design’s Apparel Department (from which she graduated in 2005). The students were all frantically wrapping up their final projects, which made it an exciting time to visit.

UPDATE: Check out Natalie’s report on our afternoon for the Craft Blog, as well as her pictures from our trip.

I of course left with a new high-ticket item added to my long-term wishlist:

Diana, Natalie, and Brian (by Brian Sawyer) Knitting Machine (by Brian Sawyer)

That’s a knitting machine our group is ogling. Here it is in action, alongside a close-up of its mechanisms and teeth:

Knitting Machine in Action (by Brian Sawyer) Close-Up of Knitting Machine (by Brian Sawyer)

They even have a machine to stitch your seams together! Here’s a picture of one being used for that purpose, alongside a finished piece that was made with a combination of these machines and some inevitable hand work:

Seam Machine (by Brian Sawyer) Knitted on a Knitting Machine (by Brian Sawyer)

Of course, I guess there are some things you’ll always have to do by hand, such as the tedious task of weaving in ends (now that’s something I really wish I could automate!):

Weaving in Ends (by Brian Sawyer)

How to Use Knitting Machine (by Brian Sawyer)I had to ask the obvious question: is this considered cheating? That is, if you give someone a knitted gift made on a machine, are you somehow being dishonest (the expectation being that you hand-knit the piece)? Natalie pointed out that machine knitting is actually a respected form of craft in its own right, allowing some stitches and techniques that are simply impossible to do by hand, and that there are whole groups of designers and crafters devoted to this niche art.

Anyone else have a different perspective to bring to the cheating question? Or do any of you have experience using one of these things, or any leads on where to pick one up on the cheap?