Hi Alene, here's an update on my Cactus Blossom sweater. The pattern is in the fall '07 knitscene magazine, but I made mine from the top down (an example of swatch avoidance). I used Cascade 220 Quatro for the main color and experimental variegated handspun (more green than my dig. camera is showing) for the contrast color. I did the yoke by hand and then made the plain stockinette parts at the some gauge on my Bond knitting machine. Then I grafted them onto the handknit parts with some knitting surgery I feel pretty smug about.
Knitting machines have a steep learning curve but once past it's easy to quickly turn out plain old st st. Other stitches, not so fast, and there's more finishing in most cases. When I first started machine knitting I wasn't sure how to answer people who asked "did you make that?" Of course I had but they assumed it was hand work. Sometimes I explained but that didn't feel right either. It still takes learning and thinking and creativity. It's not about speed for me: I enjoy machine knitting and like to give my body a change of activity. Now I only distinguish between machine and hand if it's a chance to show what knitting machines can do or to the genuinely curious. Should our little blog have readers who think it's cheating, I'll put on this surgery project and challenge them to a Chibi duel!
The next step for Cactus Blossom? graft on the sleeves (body in done) and then a bit more surgery because I've decided it needs to be a cardigan! Hope all is well in AZ. More soon, C