Dean and Bean Crank In

Spent another weekend learning some new fiber skills! This one was a lot closer to home: The Dean and Bean Crank In.

Long time readers know my mom is a sock knitter. Truly, that label is more accurate than just “knitter,” because 97% of the stuff she knits is socks. That’s what she’s always wanted to knit, and good for her doing what brings her joy. Every so often, though, we’d come across a metal sock knitting machine, and mom would be entranced, only to be put off by the price tag.

Imagine my joy when I found the 3-D printed Dean and Bean sock machines on Instagram, which I thought were way cooler for a third of the price. A couple of family members and I went in on one for Mom this past Christmas. She wasn’t as excited as I had hoped. Turns out, even after all the fascination I had seen, Mom was understandably overwhelmed at the prospect of a new skill. It wasn’t yet the zen knitting she had signed up for, but neither was handknitting socks when she started that. I knew she just needed an opportunity to learn with experts around to help. Enter the Crank In!

Cyndi at the crank in

I came along, also eager to learn how these machines worked. The D&B folks were so nice, they leant me a machine to learn along with Mom. Overzealous as I am, my goal was to leave for the weekend with a pair of socks.

Now, this machine is ridiculously cool. I got such a kick out of cranking for a few minutes, and boom, there was a cuff or leg or foot. It was especially cool to learn this in a group. I walked in the conference room for the first time greeted by rows and rows of brightly colored machines. When we were all cranking at once, the sound made me think of crickets in the summer, how they all just blend together to this relaxing hum of sound.

I also had a few hiccups… I, too, was a total beginner at this machine. Like, I know how fabric on a sock is supposed to look (and I do think that was an advantage), but the technique is completely different. The techniques for fixing mistakes (my most valuable knitting skill, in my opinion) are completely different. Eight stitches popped of my machine while I turned my first heel, which was undoubtedly the most stressful part of the whole weekend.

They also had some great demos on heel/toe adjustments, ribbing, and lace, but admittedly I didn’t quite absorb those since I was determined to figure out the basic sock (and leave with two).

Emma's machine knit socks

And leave with two I did!! I, a total machine knitting beginner, made a pair of socks in less than 36 hours. Isn’t that wild?! I’m trying to figure out time to sneak back into my mom’s studio to crank out (literally) another pair.

If you’re in the market for a sock knitting machine, the folks at Dean and Bean are so nice and supportive. They’re also innovating and updating their machines and tools all the time, so there’s always some cool new update! I can’t recommend them enough.

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