We often get questions about our craft: Is it hard to learn? Isn’t it cheating when you use a knitting machine instead of needles? How much does everything cost? One specific question that comes up probably on weekly bases is: How much space does it take to set up a machine? Everyone is worried about clutter and having to devote precious space to yet another hobby. Knitting machines are about 45 inches long, and they sit on a stand or need to be attached to a counter in order to be used. There are other pieces of equipment that can (not always mandatory) go along with your machine: a motor for automated knitting, different carriages to make purl or intarsia stitches, linkers to stitch pieces together, and lots and lots and lots and lots of yarn. But even with all this extra “stuff” a new knitter does not need a huge space to devote to the craft. It just depends on what you want, what you have and what you actually need.
Nearly all of our members love the creative process. So in addition to machine knitting, many of our Guild members are expert hand-knitters, we spin and dye yarns, and we quilt, crochet and sew. There are a number of our members who like to embroider and do needlepoint, or make jewelry … you name it and one of our members will be an expert in that craft. Our creative spaces often reflect our multiple hobbies, and thus, a multiple use of space.
Some of us are fortunate to have beautifully appointed studios to use and can luckily close the door to a mid-project mess. But many of us just use the space we have – a knitting machine attached to the kitchen counter, or set up in the middle of the living room and taken down after each session. Probably most of us use Ikea furniture or Rubbermaid tubs to help us organize all the accoutrements of the craft, but we also just use bags and boxes stuck under the table or bed.
To help new members and potential members assess their space needs for machine knitting, some of our members have generously shared a few snapshots of their own creative spaces. Enjoy the photos, and ask as many questions as necessary. (To make the photo larger, just left click on it.) We want to encourage you to just get started and have some fun!
Rose has a dedicated “Sewing Room” where her Studio 155 lives along with her sewing machine. Her knitting machine is at the left of the photo and is set up with a motor and a ribber. Rose is able to contain all of her equipment in a single room, although she admits to having piles of hand-knitting projects all around her house.
Lily’s knitting machine lives in her TV Room. We often see members making use of existing storage. Lily stores her yarn inside a former CD/VHS cabinet. In the third picture, you can see that Lily stores the majority of the other equipment in a closet and “burrows” through the closet when something is needed. Lily’s machine is housed in a much sought-after Keyto Cabinet that was made exclusively for knitting machines. Although no longer made, these cabinets allow you to store things like the ribber, G-carriage, and the lid to the machine, as well as part of a yarn stash. When closed, the cabinet looks like a small piano, and all of Lily’s equipment is hidden from view. Yep, she has to guard this cabinet with her life because we all want it!
Lily says that the biggest problem she has with having the machine in a shared space is the noise. Knitting machines can be loud, particularly when they are attached to something electronic like a motor or pattern reader … but the machine is no louder than a television.
Tulip is a professional tailor and uses her knitting machine to create fabric for use in sewing projects. Her creative space is a very small dining room (the table has been moved out) that holds her four sewing machines and a knitting machine. There is an Ikea Kallax shelf unit that divides the sewing area from the living room and provides much needed storage. Tulip says that her knitting machine (and sewing machine) equipment is all over the house because she has to use storage wherever it can be found in her small home. The real downfall to this arrangement, she says, is the time spent having to search around the house for equipment for specialized projects. But she works with what she has.
In addition to being one of our best machine knitters, you can probably see that Dahlia is also a keen quilter. That’s her long arm in the background. Her knitting machine is set up with a motor (Hummmm, we think she likes cats!) and a ribber. Dahlia has an entire room dedicated to her crafting, and uses a beautiful antique armoire to store some of the equipment that goes with her knitting machine.
Finally, Iris has a full professional studio for her machine knitting “hobby.” Iris is a world-renown knitter, pattern designer and yarn dyer. Iris has converted her garage into a studio where she knits and teaches machine knitting classes. Not everyone has this much space to devote to machine knitting. Interestingly, Iris is, by training, an attorney who started knitting as a hobby to decompress from her high-powered job. That hobby has turned into a lucrative creative expression of knitting.