While speaking with a fellow knitter recently, Sally said:
"Machine knitting is hard ... Nothing I knit fits".
What was wrong with the last thing you knit?
The back was too big
Did you use the measurements from something you wear?
No I just guessed at the size
WHAT was too big?
It is too long and it gets longer every time I wear it.
What yarn did you use?
I don't know, I just bought some cones from another knitter for $1 a pound.
Sometimes I think we make things harder than they need to be
Since Sally "just guessed" at the size, she was rolling the dice as to whether she would like the fit of her sweater.
Take time to measure something you wear and duplicate those measurements. Why guess at "ease"?
I'm guessing Sally didn't dress and hang her swatch. You can predict the amount a finished sweater will "grow" by hanging your swatch. Check out the tutorial Gauge and Drop
Yes, it's fun to use cheap "mystery" yarn, but don't expect accurate results. If you struggle with machine knitting being "too hard". Find a yarn and fiber you like that you can easily re-order and use it again and again. Learn how it washes and if it drops. It's not the machine's fault if the yarn isn't the correct weight for your machine, or it stretches, shrinks, pills or bleeds. Discover any issues BEFORE investing a lot of time and getting disappointed. Once Sally gains some confidence in her machine and her knitting skills, she can branch out and try other yarns (even the "mystery yarns")
No, machine knitting isn't hard, it is challenging. I like the challenge that it brings. I always find myself trying to figure out how I can do a piece on the machine without needing to handstitch anything. So far, I think it is do-able. When another machine knitter explained to me how to do a top down sleeve that begins with hanging your garment and adding it to it, it opened up a lot of ideas for future knitting! And I don't even know how to knit with needles!