In In my studio, Knitting

meet matilda - betz white

 

Do you have a hobby or passion that you’ve returned to?

A million years ago (ok, about 25) I went to college for Fashion Design. One of my favorite things that I learned back then was how to use a knitting machine. I loved it so much so that I spent the equivalent of a month’s rent on a second hand one after graduation. A hand operated knitting machine is basically a loom with a bed of latch-hook needles. The yarn is threaded through a set of tension wires then down into a mechanism called a carriage. One push of the carriage across the bed knits one row. Simple, right? It’s actually incredibly complex and requires patience, perseverance and constant learning. But yeah, super amazingly cool!

I made plenty of things over the years before retiring the machine to the attic after becoming a mom. Fast forward 15 years. With the kids in middle and high school (and the use of the internet) I’ve been able to re-teach myself how to use this amazing contraption!

 

knit swatches - betz white

 

Matilda (that’s my name for her) is a temperamental thing but I love her just the same. She was manufactured in 1978, and since most machine knitting companies have stopped production, finding parts and service is another DIY pastime. But oh the possibilities are endless! There’s a punchcard reader that allows me to design my own fair isle patterns and textures. I’ve been playing with different yarns and color combinations, taking notes, making mistakes, trying new things, etc. It really has been mind expanding.

 

yarn cones - betz white

 

Sewing (designing patterns, writing books, teaching classes) is of course my main thing, my primary business and what drives me day to day. But on the weekends, I set that all aside to play. My new personal motto is, “Sewing is my bread and butter. Knitting is my jam.” I’m lucky to be passionate about more than one thing!

So where is all of this leading to? Who knows! But I will let you in on a little something. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve probably seen peeks and bits of projects I’ve knit. A cowl, a hat, some cute swatchie pincushions. This November I’m planning a little online pop-up shop, just for the holidays! I’m busy now creating items for the shop and wanted to let you in on it. If you are interested, you can sign up for the Betz White Studio Knits email newsletter for first-hand information on the shop launch! (FYI, this is a different newsletter than my current list for sewing) Stay tuned for more info and let me know if you have any questions!

 

 

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Showing 5 comments
  • Kathleen Noltensmeyer

    I have a knitting machine stored under my bed. I need to get it out and have fun. I would love to see what you are making. The knitting machine started my creative journey back in 1983 at the age of thirteen. Enjoy!

  • Angie

    Love your work! I too ha d a knitting machine in the 80’s but gave it away. Shame on me! I want to buy one and I’m wondering what you have.

    Thanks….Angie

  • Lynda

    Betz, Love reading about your journey to return to an old crafty love. Beautiful results. I doubt I’d bring any of mine back: candle making (don’t burn candles anymore) and macrame!

  • Anya

    A few months ago, a friend of my in-laws gave me THREE knitting machines, given to her by a friend. She had never learned to use them and had realized that this was not a learning curve she wanted to tackle in her 70s. Two were standard-gauge, so I gave one away on Ravelry, but I kept a standard and a bulky. Still working on figuring them out– but there’s a machine and knitting podcast I listen to, and she mentioned that there’s going to be a machine-knitting class on Craftsy with Susan Guagliumi. So maybe machine knitting is coming back. :)

    • Betz White

      That’s exciting! Free machines! New Craftsy class! What is the name of the machine knitting podcast?

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