Thrifty Knitting Machine – Singer Silver Reed LK-140

A couple of years ago, I really wanted a knitting machine. I like yarn and the thought of making pretty things with yarn has always appealed to me. I started teaching myself to knit and crochet while I was pregnant with Finn. He is eleven now, and it takes me two days of work to make a single dishcloth. So, a knitting machine seemed like a good compromise to speed things up a bit. They are kind of hard to come by, though, especially a well made machine. Besides, I knew nothing about how a knitting machine works, so I got my embroidery machine instead.

Fast forward to two Sundays ago. The family and I were having fun thrift shopping for some office furniture. (That could also read as, “Chris and I were dragging the kids around to thrift stores, with much protesting on their part.”) The first Goodwill store we went to didn’t have much in the way of office furniture. They did have lots of bins out full of miscellaneous stuff that I really wasn’t interested in digging through, until I happened to notice this long rectangular box poking up out of one bin.

That’s the one. It for is a Singer LK-140, made by Silver Reed. It is a plastic bed hobby machine, but a durable hobby machine. I’ve since learned that, except for having ten fewer needles, it is identical to the newer LK-150 knitting machine. That means parts are easy to come by.

The box was so well taped, and it had a good weight to it, so I decided not to even open it before buying it. I figured I probably wouldn’t even know what may have been missing. Also, let’s zoom in on the price tag:

Back when I was actively looking for a knitting machine, I would have thought getting one for $80 on eBay was a fairly good deal. At $5.49, it was worth it even if it was only good for parts.

When I finally opened it at home, I did notice a few parts were missing, but only the table clamps, manual and transfer tools. I found a free manual online, and the other two items are easily and inexpensively replaced. They also aren’t essential, so I have played with it a bit.

I did need to replace the sponge strip. That’s pretty standard for an older machine. Luckily on this machine, foam weatherstripping works great as an inexpensive replacement. I also needed to clean the needles, because they were covered with gunk from the old sponge strip. With that, I was able to set it up and play.

There is definitely a learning curve, but it is fun. I have noticed, though, that you can still tell it is my own handiwork.

See the dropped stitch. It’s like my signature. The best part, though, is it only took me a minute or two to make that swatch, as opposed to a day or two. A little more practice, and I might be able to make two or three dishcloths a day without dropped stitches, or a scarf with a few holes. Seriously, though, it is fun, and I look forward to coming up with new projects and products to make.

As for office furniture, I felt bad that I got a new toy but we hadn’t found the thing we really needed, so I did a quick craigslist search. There just happened to be a desk posted locally in the free section.

Excuse the mess. That photo was taken while everything was getting tossed around with moving in the desk. There is a trim piece that needs to be put in place on the top. Overall, it is in good shape. More importantly, it provides us with the two main things we needed for the office: more desk space and shelving. Best of all, it was free!

Weekend stuff

I spent today making five turkey pies for the freezer. I am in trouble. FIVE pies didn’t make a dent in the turkey leftovers. I tried making stock from the turkey bones for soup, but got busy trying to get B to nap. The whole thing boiled dry and smoked out the house. ­čśŤ At this point, making soup isn’t optional, so it looks like I’ll have to go to the grocery for the fourth time in four days.

It also seems like everyone is suffering in various degrees from sinus stuff. Finn has it the worst. I’m betting his Thanksgiving vacation will last at least one extra day because of it.

In an attempt to save this completely mundane post, here are some cute pictures of my darlings eating chicken fingers two days pre-turkey. I’m sure they will interest at least two of you. For the rest, I promise to post something more interesting tomorrow. Or Monday, for sure.

Weekend review: Open (Fire)House

Saturday was Haltom City’s annual open house at the main fire station. They had games, tours, face painting, safety information and food and it was all free. ­čÖé Finnian was determined to be bored, but after he got to use a real fire (water?) hose to put out a plywood house fire, he started to come around.

Putting out the fire.

Token Beckett

Standing next to a giant tire on a fire truck is sooooo boring.

Spiderman, Spiderman, does whatever a spider can.

My Little Fireman.

Weekend highlights and Monday Mornings

I’ve only got a few minutes until Beckett is done playing, so I’m just diving in here.

Friday night Finn announced his tooth is really, really loose. Ever since he has announced that his loose tooth “hurts like the dickens!” I don’t know either.

Saturday Beckett started crawling forwards. He really doesn’t seem to like crawling, though, and has been trying to stand up constantly ever since.

On Saturday, we crazily decided to pack a weeks worth of fun into about four hours. We started with the Cattle Barn flea market (usually cool but most vendors were gone), the Fort Worth Science and History Museum (too much interactive preschool  deand not enough Egypt, space exploration or dinosaurs), and Ecofest/Music at Levitt Pavillion in Arlington (mini Spoonfed was cool/sad). We all made it home hot, tired and a little cranky.

We were less ambitious on Sunday, with lunch at one of our local Mexican restaurants and a run through Barney’s Bargain Barn. Finn bought a paddle ball. He thinks it’s fun, but Beckett thinks it’s the Funniest. Thing. In. The.World.

Chris, party animal B and I made it to bed shortly after midnight last night. At 2 am I woke up from a creepy dream to a burning rubber smell. Chris made the mistake of moving and letting me know that he might be a tiny bit awake, so I nudged him and asked if he smelled something. He confirmed that I was not going crazy and so we spent the next 20 minutes┬átrying to determine if our house was on fire and┬áfiguring out that the smell was coming from our no longer running main window AC unit. Just as I was about to go back to sleep, I heard a noise from our back porch. Before I could even turn to Chris, He said in an I’m-not-getting-any-sleep-tonight-am-I tone “I don’t know.” I must have decided I’d rather sleep than worry about a crazy prowler that somehow managed to get past my dog, because that was the last thing I remember.

This morning we woke up at 7:08, too crazy late for me to use the car today, so B and I walked Finn to school. Even running late I managed to make coffee and put a load of clothes in the wash while Finn ate his breakfast and still get him to school on time.

Since being home, Beckett has given me the opportunity to try out the wet pail method for dealing with poopy diapers. (Yay!?) FYI: Dry pail works great for breastmilk poops because you can literally just toss them in the wash. Solid food poops are a bit more challenging. I’ll save the details for my next cloth diapering update.

It’s a bit early for ketchup, so I think I’ll settle for fancy coffee to improve my day. I usually drink my coffee black, but I’ve been craving flavored coffees lately so I picked up some flavored creamer last night. I found one that looked moderately not terrible for me because of it’s lack of partially hydrogenated oils in a yummy Caramel Macchiato. If I like this one well enough, I may get a┬álittle┬ámore adventurous with the Almond Joy flavor next time.