not crochet:: the dark arts

In the past, you may have visited while I talked about trying to perform the dark arts

a.k.a. knitting.

I pretty much have come to the conclusion that skill with 2 needles is completely out of my range of mastery.

Basically, I suck at it.

I’ve tried videos, books, small & large needles, in-person lessons…all to no avail.

When I was but a teenage hooker, knitting was in fashion and crochet was considered old lady stuff and dorky and I was even told it was a waste of time.  Not to be deterred from my love of hooker therapy, I quietly made afghans and amigurumi toys for myself and my family secretly wishing the whole time that I could learn to knit so that I could make stuff that was loved by the mainstream.  I thought to myself, if only I could spend the gobs of money it takes on a knitting machine I would make the most fabulous stuff.  

In the meantime, crochet has made a comeback.  And that makes me an incredibly happy hooker.  So much so, that when I turned 40 I decided I would hide my skill no longer and I started this blog that blossomed into an obsession for all things crochet.  Really, I had no idea that you noticed I’m obsessed.  You have also now noticed that the reason I named my blog yarnchick40 had to do with my mid-life crisis and no longer hiding who I really was. 

Now, on occasion I can be found doing some retail therapy both online and in the real world.  And, on occasion I happen to glance longingly at knitting machines.  Those puppies are expensive! I have never justified the cost of my hobby enough to cough up that much cash for what I consider a toy.  Because really, hobbies for adults are like toys for children. Amirite?? Would all the 5 year-olds in the room please raise their mud-pie smeared chubby little fists clutching a lego?

So my story goes like this::

My co-workers and I were innocently surfing the web doing our jobs first thing in the morning, because no one checks personal email or facebook first thing when they get to work.  Lo and behold, my co-worker’s friend bought an old auction house in a tiny town nearby and was posting all the random stuff that was left in the building by the previous owners.  She was posting hundreds of pictures, and somewhere in the midst my co-worker piped up across the office, ‘hey, you wanna knitting machine?’

 I held my composure and did not start jumping up and down flailing my arms like the 5 y/o I am.  I nonchalantly  replied ‘umm, sure if it’s cheap’ knowing full well she could be asking $500 or more.  I was wrong.  We chatted by phone, my co-worker’s friend and me, and neither on of us had any idea what the stuff was worth or what pieces were there or if any of it would ever work.  She looked it up online and shot out a price of $250, I said ‘nah, not worth the risk’.   She decided to suggest $150.  Then I perked up.  I had that much left in my yarn fund. 

I was still undecided so I told her let me think a bit about it, because let’s face it I am NOT a gambler.  

But then I realized I NEED TO TAKE SOME CALCULATED RISKS or I would be boring FOREVER.  And then I called her back up and offered $100 to save it from the scrap metal dealer and she said ‘DEAL’.

THAT, my friends was the moment I was able to lose my composure and  start jumping up and down flailing my arms like the 5 y/o I am.

All the while, I thought I was going to be lucky if::

a.) all the parts were there for a knitting machine

b.) would it cost me another $500 to get all the missing stuff replaced

c.) was it even manufactured anymore

d.) a multitude of other crap

FYI, if you should ever buy a knitting machine know that they weigh what feels like 100# each.

…and then 24 hours went by like I was sitting in the waiting room of the doctor’s office because I wanted my lollipop and dammit I wanted it NOW

passap pinkie

 In the end, I have acquired the following::

Passap Duomatic “Pinkie” (minus the yarn cup and 1 blue stripper)


Brother KH-120 & KR-120 manual machine & ribber

Brother KH-860 & 2, count ’em 2 KR-850 ribbers, a color changer,  floppy drive & punch card reader

a multitude (I like that word today) of punch cards, manuals, floppy disc patterns & spare parts

5 crochet hooks (damn dark arts STILL require the assistance of a hooker implement, booyah)

As of this week, I have spent over 30 hours of my sparse free time cleaning them, setting them up, searching for manuals, watching youtube videos and attempting to knit.

So far, I still suck at knitting.

brother cast on

I’ve cast on properly ONE time.  And then I promptly jammed the machine.

I’m just going to keep at it!

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madly, passionately in love with yarn

25 thoughts on “not crochet:: the dark arts”

  1. I’m 15 years older than you, but it sounds like we have the same type of coordination problems. Add that second needle, and you’re eating with chop sticks, which I can’t do either. I have finished a couple of baby items over the years, but crochet is still my love. Please keep us posted on how you’re doing with your hundreds of needles.


  2. Oh my poor dear friend. We are halves of the same pomegranate!!!
    I got it into my head about a year ago that my life wasn’t worth living without a knitting machine. I didn’t want a big fancy one that could stand up by itself, I wanted a little baby table-fitting number. I searched the net feverishly for days, made phone calls all over the country, and eventually ended up with an ancient Empisal K100, from an old chap up in Joburg (a friend’s fiance was relocating to Cape Town and he kindly collected it and brought it down for me in his car; sadly, he had a bad car accident on the way and part of the knitting machine flew out of the box on impact and cracked him on the head; this was not an auspicious beginning).
    Months later, I have wasted time trying to set this baby up, cleaning it, resetting the needles, removing and replacing the old foam strips, going over the instructions line by line, getting Rob to look at it, and still no joy. It is currently jammed in its box and stuffed under my bed, a sad reminder of my stupid impulsiveness every time I have to hunt for my slippers.
    Let me know how you get on.
    PS. I paid R400 for it, I think that’s less than 40 us dollars….


    1. Oh my! That machine must be cursed ~ poor guy would have never seen it coming. I think you need to either de-hex that machine, or make it go away 😉 Maybe some candles and a few offerings of the “good yarn” laid out in front of it with an incantation or two??? At least you aren’t out a big chunk of money for it, but your shattered dreams are priceless…
      If I have any luck with these I’d be happy to share, but I’m afraid the shipping cost would be outrageous!
      I’m hoping I can make at least one dishcloth before I give up…that’ll be one damn expensive dishcloth though.


  3. I managed to get a Bond knitting machine for £3 from a local charity shop. I did tell the lady selling it that it was worth more but she wouldn’t take my money! Admitted Bond machines (still made and sold as Ultimate Sweater Machines) are the most basic knitting machines out there (no fancy punch cards for this bad boy) and casting on is a nightmare and…. um…. I’m pretty sure I was planning on finishing this sentence with a positive point, but it eludes me right now.
    I think perseverance is the key. I’ve got as far as a few half decent swatches on my machine but that’s it so far!


    1. Lol, I’m having such a hard time being positive about this too 🙂 At least you got a much better deal. If you find the trick to casting on & going smoothly (the directions for everything seem to ASSUME one can already do that) please clue me in!


      1. Hmm, with the Bond machine I use the e cast on method, and press harder than you think on the carriage as you work, but whether that will translate to your machine I have no idea! Having a sturdy table helps too. Good luck!


      2. Actually, that does. I have only tried the e cast on method once, and failed. BUT, I have found a video and thought I might try again because the written directions were terrible. Thanks for the encouragement ❤


      3. Hi Lisa – I found your blog from a google search for Passap Pinkie. First, I’ve been laughing out loud – this is a very fun place. Anyway I have been machine knitting for 3 years. I now have a Passap DM80, but I also want a Pinkie because it has slightly different, larger, stitch sizes. Learning is time consuming and frustrating, but Passap is now my passion. If you ever want back what you paid plus shipping (I live in San Francisco), I would love to buy it.

        Your photos are beautiful.


    2. Hi Sandra ~ so nice to meet you! Welcome to my madness 🙂 I am so happy to find another Passap user! So far I’m not real keen on the Japanese ones. I appreciate the offer but since this post, I have managed to actually use the Pinkie successfully! Well, let me rephrase that, SEMI-successfully. I plan an whole weekend of yarny activities starting in about 8 hours. If I should come across one for sale though, I will happily send them your way. If you are a face-spacer, come find me on my fb page and I can link you up with some facebook groups that use knitting machines, and specifically Passaps. Thanks for the kind words and I look forward to talking to you more 🙂 Cheers!


      1. I dream of the estate or garage sale or Craigslist passap find that you have. Enjoy it! I dont do Facebook but yahoo group Passap Club and passap for sale are worth joining. I crochet and hand knit too. Machine knitters are so helpful as remember our early days. When you don’t want to throw the machine out the window, it’s a good day. My Pinkie is out there. Sandra


  4. I felt the same way about crocheting! I wanted to make all the lovelies that knitters did too! I am trying, how I am trying. In the mean time I am working on learning more advanced crochet patterns. There are many beautiful things that are crocheted.

    Wow, this machine looks very intimidating! 🙂


  5. Oh Lisa you make me laugh! I know you will master those knitting machines one of these days and will make beautiful knitted things so that you can use your wonderful crochet skills to edge them. Keep at it and loved the story and you! Tamara


  6. It looks like you’ve got plenty of miserable company! lol Is this one of those proverbial white elephants? I like whoever it was up there who said to dominate it. That’s right, show those machines who’s boss! And then you once you figure it out, sit and crochet in front of them so they feel jealous and ashamed of all the trouble they caused you.


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