May 2008


Following all the advice I got on Ravelry, I went at my Legare circular sock machine from eBay with some Marvel Mystery Oil and a toothbrush, and started cleaning it up.  There was a lot of black oily guck in it.  I wonder when the machine was last used – that stuff could be decades old!  After much effort and some visible improvement, the oil was still coming off kind of black, but I got impatient to see if the machine would work.  So I put it together and added the cylinder spring and needles, which I bought new.  The whole thing is heavy and needs a stable surface to be clamped to, so I got a Black & Decker mini-workbench which I assembled (thank goodness for my visuo-spatial skills – the instructions were not easy to follow).  Then I started cranking! Casting on requires a set-up basket or bonnet to get the knitting started. A simpler method is to use a mesh bath scrubbie, which is what I did.  On my first try I got a tangled mess.. 

First try, a tangled mess

The yarn carrier seems to be able to adjust only up and down, and was either too high for the needles to catch the yarn, or hitting the needles. I think I probably bent some of my needles fiddling around with it. Then I put a piece of paper towel between the yarn carrier post and the place where it attaches, so the carrier head is a little further from the needles, and it’s just right!  Now it’s close enough to feed the yarn into the needles, but not so close that it’s banging into them.

Hey, it works!

So I’ve got a tube!! Many dropped stitches, but a tube nonetheless.

Second try

There is a set of very informative DVD’s that I’m getting for my birthday from my sister Pat – once I get them I’ll go over everything more carefully, but at least I know the machine is not a dud. Yaaaaay!!

The craziness continues…

I have been a devoted Yankees fan for a long time, and when I lived in New York I went to many games, including the postseason.  Since moving away I haven’t been back, but with this being the last season before moving to a new stadium, I thought it would be good for Tim to experience the old, historic stadium at least once.  I got tickets to the game on May 3, against the Seattle Mariners.

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Despite the overcast, gloomy weather, the atmosphere was festive.

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There’s that beautiful field.

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Grandpa met us at Yankee Stadium.  (Daddy is not a sports fan and finds baseball incredibly boring.)  He bought Tim this Yankee bear hat.  So cute!

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Here you can see the new Yankee Stadium looming.

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It was Military Appreciation Day, but due to the overcast sky the scheduled flyover and parachute team demonstration was cancelled.  Here they are, anyway.

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Here’s Johnny Damon. I tried to tell Tim, “he’s half-Thai just like you!” But I think he’s too young to understand what that means. Johnny had a great game, with a big upper deck homer and two doubles.

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The ever graceful Derek Jeter:

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Mike Mussina, who pitched an excellent game.

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Tim enjoyed joining the crowd’s cheers of “Moooooose!”

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I think Ichiro is pretty cool, but that is the girliest batting stance in all of baseball.

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In the end, the Yankees won 6-1.  A very nice ballgame.

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I was impressed that Tim managed to stay relatively sane through the whole game. He had fun saying “hi” to all the people around us and high-fiving everyone, though he did see some people drinking beer and asked “can I have apple juice too?”  He wasn’t too happy when we told him there was no juice at Yankee Stadium.  Still, it was lots of fun, and he said he wants to go back!

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For extra pictures, see the Flickr set here.

So… even though I don’t have enough time for my knitting and spinning obsessions, I became fascinated by this after seeing it on the Lime and Violet Daily Chum Blog. Maybe it’s because I don’t have enough time for these things, and I think that it will save me time. I know that won’t be true, at least in the beginning, but I am a slow sock knitter, and I have a ridiculous stash of beautiful handpainted sock yarns that would look great in plain stockinette. And I’ll be spinning more yarn than I have time to knit. Plus, I have a birthday coming up!

So… I found the Circular Sock Machine group on Ravelry and learned as much as I could from the message boards. These machines can be up to a hundred years old or more, and can be bought in refurbished and working condition for tons of money, or “as is” for somewhat less. There are also new machines being manufactured in New Zealand, but those are the most expensive, close to $2000. Given that I came out of residency with a very large amount of debt, I figured that I shouldn’t be spending thousands of dollars to make socks at this point in my life. So I decided to look on eBay for a machine that would involve more work and some risk that it might not actually knit, but would cost a lot less. Here’s the machine I bought.

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Beautiful, no? It’s a Legare 400, a Canadian sock machine which according to many is very solidly made and reliable. This one comes with two different cylinders (54 and 72 slots), a ribber (36), and a bunch of accessories. The photo is from the eBay listing. Unfortunately, after I placed the bid, I found out that Risa was selling her refurbished (and definitely working) Auto Knitter, and that she lives in New Jersey, only 20 minutes away from my Dad! And that this particular eBay seller is a mixed bag in terms of people actually being able to use their machines – the one Risa bought had parts from different manufacturers and was not usable, though others on the forums said they were happy with theirs. But at that point it was too late, no one else bid on the machine, and I was not able to get out of the deal. So this machine will be coming to me.

I am nervous but excited at the same time. I’ve already gotten lots of support and advice from the CSM group on Ravelry, and I’m looking forward to taking apart the machine, cleaning it, and figuring out how it works. My dad also likes gadgets, so I’m hoping he’ll become interested and be able to help me.  For inspiration I’ve been looking at the Soxophone Player’s blog, as well as a post by Dave Daniels at Cabin Cove Mercantile, who was able to restore a machine from the same seller to make beautiful socks (I did not see his “BEWARE THE BLUE BACKGROUND” warning until after I placed my bid).  I hope I manage to do the same.

So… crazy, right?  That’s me!!

Happy Mother’s Day!  This is the first year Tim actually understands what’s going on. He made me a little scribbled card in preschool, and when he said “Happy Mother’s Day” to me this morning I just turned to mush. 🙂