With a basic knitting machine, as I have found out to my chagrin, highly repetitive and complex patterns are very time consuming and not as fun as they would be to hand knit. Without a few tricks, a dense pattern (either colorwork or texture) might even be faster to knit by hand.
Of course, this changes if you have one of the fancy punch card machines, but that is not what I have. So I am always on the lookout for patterns that I can manage on my basic knitting machine. Alas, most of the books and magazines on machine knitting are pretty dated, and the fashions in them look dated. Most veteran machine knitters say that instead they adapt patterns for handknits into machine knits.
That is probably sage advice, except that I wasn’t having much luck finding patterns that looked like they would adapt well to my basic little machine beyond really boring stockinette-only designs.
Today I discovered designer Elsebeth Lavold, and although I don’t know how she constructs her patterns, I can tell at a glance that they would adapt well to machine knitting.
The first one that caught my eye was Jenna:
Looks like mostly stockinette with some cool edgings and trims. That should be relatively easy to do mostly on machine, and the trim by hand.
Also from the Lazy Days Collection: Loni with a very nice stockinette top and detail below the hip level; Glenda, a sweeping tunic with just a slight detail around the bottom, neck and armholes; and Mae, although I have no idea what’s going on with the neckline detail it is very cool and the rest is simple stockinette. Very cool designs for spring!
Her other books show a similar penchant for a simple stockinette body with intricate details in the trim that could probably be handknit onto a machine-worked base.
I am so inspired! I am really hopeful that Ms. Lavold’s designs could be a great starting point to learning to convert hand-knitting patterns to machine knitting. And frankly, some of her more complex designs look like they would be worth hand-knitting too!
I am always excited to find a new (to me) designer that combines classic elegance that I could wear to work with cool details and accents. Now I just have to restrain myself from melting my credit card by buying all of her books!
Until next time, keep those needles (and needle beds) clicking…