crap, crap, crap. can anyone point me to a source for spare parts for a fifty-year-old knitting machine?

this morning i was picking up some dropped stitches (whoops - i do that a lot) on my knitmaster 4500, and the latch on one of the hooks broke!

where on earth can i find a replacement? does anyone have an idea? i know some knitmaster (aka knit-king) users will buy additional machines just to use for spare parts, but i don't know where I would find one... i guess if i have to, i can take one of the end hooks and use it, and just never knit anything using the full width of the machine? that wouldn't be as bad as missing a hook in the middle...


meanwhile, here's something to amuse you: a knitting machine made of lego! link courtesy of kidoodles on the knittingmachines yahoo group.



finally, some photos of totoro! there was a laundry emergency yesterday morning, so i didn't get the photos off the camera until now. but here he is, in all his fuzzy glory:

totoro meets totoro

totoro finds a hat

i'm especially please with the whiskers - they stand out nicely, without being prickly.

download pattern here: knitted totoro pattern



filmcraft has a camera again! i took pictures this morning of totoro (the neighbours must think i'm insane, playing with toys on the front lawn in my pyjamas), and will post them as soon as my husband gets out of the shower (apparently there is some software that needs installing before i can actually get at the pictures - serves me right for not making sure there was a card in the camera in the first place).

so soon! any minute now, i will edit this post and add some photos!


knitted totoro pattern!

well, no new photos due to the ongoing tragedy of the camera, but after much futzing, i have finally typed out the first ever filmcraft knitting pattern for the felty totoro toy! it's in pdf format. let me know if i've messed it up somehow, as i'm feeling a bit out of it, to tell the truth (apparently light-headedness and dizziness are common symptoms among preggos - who knew?).


i just realised i left out the most important part - yarn! gauge!! i told you i was feeling out of it... i knitted this guy out of a double strand of white buffalo unspun (which comes in a weird sort of bale of six-stranded raw wool - i split it so i was only using two of the six strands), about the same weight as a heavy worsted yarn, on 9 mm needles (u.s. size 13). i just want to fall asleep right now, will fix the pdf in the morning...

(edit again)

okay, i think i have it fixed... now i'm really going to bed!


here he is!!

my neighbour totoro:

totoro - nice 'n' felty

as you can see i still have to tack his ears into place, add his whiskers, and embroider in his nose and pupils. but you can certainly tell what it's supposed to be!

coming soon: the pattern.


in the tradition of film noir, filmcraft is more suspenseful than the average craft blog - will she or won't she?

that is, will she or won't she finish any of the projects she starts.

well yesterday i finally got around to felting my totoro doll! he's quite cute. i decided to try hand-felting him, since it's my first attempt at felting, and i was a bit afeared to just throw him in the laundry. so, i tossed him in the sink with a squirt of dishsoap and started agitating.

for ages, nothing seemed to be happening except that the water got all absorbed into the wool, and i had way too much soap (i hardly used any, i swear!). i kept adding more and more warm water, and let some of the bubbles down the drain. and it seemed to take forever.

but finally, i started to notice progress! about twenty minutes in (and boy, were my arms tired), things started happening. and once they started, they really got going. it was neat to feel the change in texture.

mr. t is currently drying out in the living room. i sort of liined him with a plastic bag, and then stuffed that bag with bags, so he'd keep his shape as he dried, and since they bags are all together, it'll be easy to pull them out.

while he's drying, i've been busy with whiskers. a commenter suggested stiff fishing line to give body to the whiskers. but how would i get it nicely covered with yarn? and, i was worried about the ends being nicely finished. these concerns were excuse enough for me to procrastinate for a while, but then while tidying up i found a spool of fishing line! (why was this in the house? i have no idea.) it was labelled "extra limp" as opposed to stiff, but hey, it presented itself, and so far i've relied on scraps and whatnot and haven't spent a cent on this toy, why not keep it that way?

i decided to try braiding the fishing line with embroidery floss, and i haven't attached the whiskers yet, but they look (and feel) pretty good. i'm quite pleased.

anyway, in keeping with tradition i don't have any photos uploaded (but i did take pictures last night! really!), but maybe i'll get them up later today!


ha ha!

more dispaches from the toronto international film festival:

yesterday afternoon i was talking to someone else who was at the botched tiff borat screening, and he told us that the replacement screening was going to be at the elgin, and we'd probably have a not-bad chance of getting rush tickets, since it wasn't hugely publicised, and a lot of the industry people would have other plans.

since the film we were seeing at 6 o'clock was also going to be at the elgin, we were perfectly positioned to investigate the line-up possibilities.

the 6 o'clock film was brand upon the brain! by auteur of the bizarre, guy maddin. it's the story of the childhood of guy maddin, housepainter, who grew up in a lighthouse where his parents ran an orphanage. but something is strange about these orphans, so the lightbulb kids, harpists and stars of the series of mystery books, come to investigate. it's a silent film, mostly black & white, and the screening was accompanied by an 11-piece ensemble of orchestra members, a few singers from the toronto children's chorus, and three foley artists. there were a few technical glitches (they didn't even let us in the building until more than twenty minutes after the film was supposed to start), but the film was so compelling, so filled with strange and wonderful inventions, that the tech problems didn't really interfere at all. trying to describe it to tg after, erin and i couldn't stop adding more details - the aerophone! the hamster-and-metronome! the nectarite ring! and on and on.

when we left the theatre, there were only thirty people in the borat rush line-up, so we decided - why not? other than the fact that i would probably fall asleep before we got in to the midnight screening (we lined up at eight-thirty - i should have brought my knitting!), and if not before, then definitely during. i haven't been one to stay up past ten o'clock at the latest since i got knocked up.

our seats were of course in the very back of the elgin theatre, but it's a well-designed venue, so our view was totally unobstructed. borat: cultural learnings of america for make benefit glorious nation of kazakhstan was... well, borat was borat. as erin described it, "slightly more shocking and slightly less funny than i expected." very shocking (you don't see that much full-frontal male nudity, among other things, in most comedies). but still very funny. it tells the story of borat sagdiyev, kazakhstani television reporter, who goes to america on a mission from his government to find out what americans are like and how they got to be the greatest country in the world, so kazakhstan can follow in their footsteps. this allows him to work his schtick. if you're familiar with borat, you know what to expect - he does the fish-out-of-water thing, plays with stereotypes and through his apparent innocence and ignorance encourages people to show off their worst sides: their bigoted underbellies. you either like borat or you don't; i like borat, so i found the film hysterical. as did the rest of the audience - i missed more than a few lines because the audience was roaring with laughter. and i didn't nod off once.



man, am i depressed. i was up at dawn on wednesday, on the phone and computer, trying to get festival tickets to see borat and for your consideration. couldn't get through till both were sold out.

so, this morning i had brunch with a bunch of filmmakers and the tiff programmers and miscellaneous other industry types. so i got the low-down on last night's borat screening.

the projector broke down 10 minutes in, so they have rescheduled it for tonight. well, no biggie, right? at least we didn't miss anything.

but, for 30 minutes or so while they were trying to fix the projector, sacha baron cohen got up on stage to entertain the audience!

...and he was joined by a couple of audience members... michael moore and larry david!!

doing an impromptu comedy routine!!!

gah, we should have been there, the pain is almost too much. this would be a perfect time to get drunk if i wasn't knocked up. phooey!



well, after some frustration re my inability to cast off, i signed up for the knittingmachines yahoo group. everyone there is so advanced - i have no idea what they're talking about - and the list is incredibly busy/fast-moving. yikes! got a few tips though.

best was some diagrams sent by susan rans, the woman behind my knitting machines and me. finally things are beginning to make sense! thanks to all for the tips.

i stumbled across this while googling "knitting machines." it brings new meaning to the phrase "go big or go home."

in other news, i am all bummed that i wasn't able to get borat tickets this morning - i spent twenty minutes dialling the tiff box office and didn't get through. i was also pounding away on tg's computer (it's faster than mine), and by the time i got through to the online box office they were all gone. wah. i wonder if there are any strings i can pull.



finally, i have started messing around with the knitting machine! it's the beginning of a whole new era of frustration! so far, i have learned that you really need to keep your pyjama sleeves far away from the thing, and ditto long hair (ouch). i have also learned how to not mess up the tension, how to do a lovely picot edge (really irritating process), and how to decrease.

unfortunately, i can not figure out how to cast off. that should be the easy part, no? but it ain't. i keep screwing it up somehow. i've started knitting a wee baby nightie, largely because the pattern is extremely simple, and i've done the back except for casting off. i'm half tempted to just put it on a pair of needles and do it by hand.

now, off to google some diagrams, i hope... the instruction manual is woefully short on diagrams. since the machine is approximately 50 years old, i may be right out of luck!