My new toy arrived this morning - a Prym Knitting Mill Maxi. They say it takes about 15 minutes to make a beanie and they're probably right once you get the hang of it all.
I was getting a little frustrated trying to cast on but I found a very good instructional video on YouTube and managed to get my first hat finished tonight. I started it at about 9pm and finished at about 10.45. The cast off method is clearly explained here. Had to do a bit of repair work at the beginning but nothing major and you can't see it anyway 'cause I hid it !! I also made this one way too long - you learn from your mistakes !! Anyway, here's my first hat ..... ta da ..
Apart from being able to knit 10,000 stitches a minute, a good thing about this machine is that you don't even have to know how to knit. It can also do flat pieces but I think I'll try to master the tubular pieces first - maybe make a scarf or two when I get sick of hats.