I am a cheater.
Arguably my favorite Christmas present this year, the one I drooled over, is an Ultimate Sweater Machine by Bond America.
I am now among the league of machine knitters.
I know some hand knitters think of this as cheating, and in some ways they are right. In other ways, I think of this as just a tool. It's useful and incredibly fast at blazing out panels in standard stockinette stitch. But that's about all it does fast. And I'm okay with that. Right now, I'm just looking forward to learning how to use it in more detail. Everything else will follow later.
I read up on it a lot before buying it. It seems the people who owned one fell into three categories: perhaps a quarter to a third hated it, could never get it to work, and ended up bitterly disappointed (and out $200 as well). A larger proportion said it was ok, but complained of problems. And a very small group seemed to love it and have no issues. So far I have had no real problems with it - or, I can say, the problems I have had, I traced back to user error. I think this kind of thing is great for people who like machines and can understand how things work in general, but terrible for people who have no head for mechanics. We'll see, though, if that assumption lasts, or if I remain quite so happy with it in the long run.
I am sure I will be posting more info about it. So far, I have only set it up and done a practice panel that let me figure out how to use it, and then how to do things like increase and decrease. Next, I think, I will look into how to do fair-isle knitting on this thing - it looks pretty easy, from the instructions, and I have just the project in mind.