Adventures in... Machine Knitting!

So every once in a while I get a crazy mood going and I have to try something new.  I've been making some awesome new custom crochet hooks to sell and today I set myself down to try some machine knitting.  I've obtained "The Ultimate Sweater Machine" from some reviews that say it's the best hobbyist machine and if it works for my purposes I might upgrade to a fancy electric machine, but for now, this is where I'm starting.

The intent of this post (or series of posts, as it might turn out to be) is not to teach anyone how to use the machine... I'm hardly qualified for that after just one day of playing with it- but instead to document some of the coolness (or flaws) that I've found and either try to help you understand your new machine, or learn something new about your old machine or even just to encourage you to try to play around with something new.

For my experiments today, I've got the ball of Caron yarn that the machine came with, as well as several other balls of varying types of yarn that I want to test.  My goal today isn't to actually make something (though that would be nice) but to at least figure out how to set up and work the machine.  Hopefully it won't be hard and here goes nothing!!!

So I read the full instruction manual earlier while my kids were at swim lessons, and silly me, I also decided to skip watching  the informational dvd.... Even though there's several large warnings to not begin until you have.

After two hours, I managed to finally get a good panel going... when.... my whole piece dropped off the machine!!!

There's also no real paper instruction included on how to use the exchangeable plates for different yarns.  I read that I can use bulky yarns and would sometime like to try those, and also I noticed when I started using the lighterweight yarn I started dropping more stitches.

I had several problems where I was dropping the yarn or skipping stitches.  Then of course the coup de grace was when the whole piece fell off.  I had actually gotten to a point where I was feeling pretty good about the whole thing.  Oh well.  It was just a trial and I'm leaving that piece to rest until tomorrow so I can see how the gauge worked up anyway.

... and perhaps I'll watch the dvd.

Do you have experience with machine knitting?  I would love to hear your experiences!  Feel free to leave me a comment! :)