Doris the Double Bed Singer

I think I might be admitting to a new obsession here. I don’t know, we’ll see how it goes.

The story starts back in the summer when a friend listed her childhood toy on a village selling site. A kid’s knitting machine. How cute! I snapped it up.
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It was lots of fun to play with and produced some nice knitting. A fun novelty but not really terribly useful to me.  But it turned out to be a little bit of a gateway drug. :-/ Before I knew it I was stalking e-bay for knitting machines and I got a bit lucky. In deepest darkest Thetford (not too far from me but approximately a million miles from most of civilisation) was a vintage singer knitting machine on for 99p collection only and for ages I was the only bidder. Someone else did discover my quarry but I managed to pip them to the post with a last minute bid and won the auction for just over £10. Bargain. I absolutely didn’t know anything about knitting machines so it was a real punt whether it would work or not but I figured for £10 it was worth a go. I packed the kids in the car on the promise of a day trip to Grimes Graves (moderately engaging) and picked the machine up en-route.

This was a few days before the grand tour we did in the summer so after an initial look and determining that it needed a little work but that it seemed pretty complete I put it by for later.

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I had a little look at the booklet and was pretty amazed by all the things it could do and especially entranced by the idea of making socks. Just think, all those pretty sock yarns could quickly and easily be turned into lovely vanilla socks! I’d be able to make socks as gifts for everyone! Luxury socks! Stash problems would be vanished, and I could buy all the lovelies guilt free! Pretty exciting stuff!

And there it sat through Autumn, always something else I needed to do instead so I decided on a plan. I’d invite some friends over to help me work it out (on the promise of future socks.) Alice, a very experienced knitter (she sometimes sample knits for me) and Nicola who can knit but strangely chooses not to very much but is a sucker for a cashmere sock.

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The instruction booklet that came with Doris (a beautiful machine like this needs a name) is perplexing at best. It assumes all sorts of knowledge we didn’t have and then goes into minute detail on the strangest things. There are lots of different bits that need setting depending on what you are doing and no overriding explanation of exactly what they all are. However, with a bit of googling and a lot of trial and error we managed to drink a bottle of wine, replace all the broken needles, give it a clean up, work out how it worked and learn to thread it and cast on. No actual knitting that night. I definitely wouldn’t have made it that far without Alice and Nicola there to brainstorm.

Determined to crack it, I got Doris out a couple of nights later and had another go. This time I managed to get some lovely rib that I then mangled and a rather respectable stocking stitch out of her

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Stay tuned for the next stage in the adventure when Doris and I try our first sock! (I bet you can barely stand the suspense!)


  1. says

    Thanks for the encouragement, Joanne! I inherited a knitting machine from my sister in law, but it’s been locked away in the attic for a verrrryyyy long time. However, your post has given me the kick up the posterior needed, for me to get it out and have a go – once all the Christmas crafting and shenanigans are over! Thanks again for sharing, and for your lovely blog. Hugs x