I spent Saturday with my mother-in-law Bonney (who’s now on Twitter, you guys) at the New Hampshire Sheep & Wool Festival. It was so nice to go to a fiber event just for fun!

We saw cotton-candy roving wool…

nhsw_wool

And the world’s saddest photo contest…

nhsw_contest

(Actually the photos were really good—it was just the display that broke my heart.)

And we saw a sock knitting machine at work! Of course the most interesting thing was the thing that I forgot to take a picture of, but it looked like this:

nhsw_machine

It’s made by the Erlbacher Gearhart Knitting Machine Company, which is based in Missouri. Jim from Good Karma Farm showed us how it works, and we were mesmerized. I actually saw more than one of these at the festival, so it must be a popular choice among serious sock makers.

There was a brief moment when I fantasized about using such a machine to crank out hundreds of mochis for my next installation. But that dream died when I reminded myself about all the shaping that I do, and the tiny scale that I prefer, not to mention the price of the machine. But if I ever need to make a boatload of giant snakes, I know just what to get!

If you haven’t seen one before, here’s a demo video of a vintage machine at work.

Are you sock knitters tempted?

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