I've always found magical satisfaction in working with fiber and textiles since I learned to knit, crochet and sew as a child. As a hand knitter for years, I've designed and created sweaters, shawls, hats, gloves, mittens and socks with a preference for natural fibers and unique colorways. After retiring from teaching elementary school, I drove an ambulance for our local rescue squad for a few years and, more recently, I have worked at Ragtime Fabrics teaching sewing classes and helping customers.
In 1994, I found an antique circular sock knitting machine in pieces in an antique barn in Maine. After cleaning and re-assembling the knitter, I struggled through the original owner's manual to learn how to make a sock, inventing new swear words in the process! Since then, I've learned to make various styles of socks, hats, mittens, gloves, scarves, headbands and pouches as well.
Being a lover of history, I soon discovered that this simple but ingenious technology dating from the mid-1800's played its part in the Allied victory of WWI, a conflict fought largely in the trenches of Europe. Knitting socks for soldiers became the patriotic rallying cry! Supplied by the Red Cross, volunteers using these hand-cranked circular sock machines played their part in the timely production of the critically needed socks. Sadly, during WWII, many of these old knitters were scrapped for their metal content, and today are not easy to find.
In recent years, many are re-discovering and enjoying this old technology. World-wide, there are now several thousand of us! We call ourselves "crankers" and get together for fun and learning opportunities at "crank-ins." I'm a founding member of our international hobby organization, the Circular Sock Knitting Machine Society or CSKMS, which can be found at www.cskms.org.
Being a history lover, a knitter, and an old-machine-tinkerer, I've found my niche as a cranker!
I'm on Ravelry as KathyCSMer
I'm on Instagram as @crankysox