September 9, 2012

It's working!

So, today I finally got to try out the knitting machine. 
By the way, thank you for all the advice to my first post about it. I just didn't know what the 'sponge bar' was supposed to be because my manual is only in Dutch and French. I know have the theory it's the bar holding the needles in place. It's described in the manual as a felt bar but it's actually foam- or sponge-like stuff and that isn't in great shape although it doesn't appear to hinder the performance of the machine.

I started by cleaning it and oiling those parts which the manual told me should be oiled. It wasn't too bad. There was just a modest amount of lint in some of the gears of the sled. 
Then, I started setting it up, being afraid to damage something with every step.  And man, that thread tension gizmo, which was very easy to assemble, is really odd. Those long thin stalks at the top are supposed to bend way down when in use, causing the tension on the thread. 
For thread, I used the spool of knitting thread I own. It's a remnant my mother gave me, though she got it from someone else as well. It's good for this purpose because it's a pre-made spool but I guess the numbly texture of the yarn is less than ideal.
It was time to set up some stitches. I followed the manual and started with the easiest method, using the set-up comb. This method doesn't give you a finished edge and is normally used only for test squares and starter edges for some special stitches (which are to be removed when the garment is assembled). It took me quite a number of tries to get it right. First with the manipulation of the comb, then with the exact way of inserting the thread into the sled. And then I found one needle with a bent upper bit, so I had to change that. 
Once I got the hang of it though, it was easy. And simple, straight knitting was both fast and easy. 

With that done, I decided to try one of the simpler fancy stitches. This one doesn't use the separate ajour sled, and not too many of the various options, so I thought it would be a good place to start. This, too, didn't go right straight away and there were some scary moments with the sled almost getting stuck because too much yarn was collecting on the 'paused' needles. However, when I realised the great importance of making sure the sled was in 'plain' mode and switching its little lever at the correct stage of knitting the pattern, it worked.

My sample is rather underwhelming compaired to the picture in the manual, but I think that's because of the texture of the yarn.

Now, the big question is: What to do first? Tackle real ajour knitting and make a scarf? Or face the challenges of adding and/or substracting stitches and make a simple sweater?


  1. I want to get a knitting machine someday. Thanks for sharing your experience. I wouldn't know where to begin with that kind of machinery, it seems pretty intimidating.

  2. I'm Dutch but live in the Philippines and worked in the garment industry for a long time. I've always wanted a knitting machine myself and used to hand knit a lot but you don't have much of a need for sweaters here! I always enjoyed visiting knitting factories. One thing you may want to consider on your first pieces is to use a cut-and-sew method if you have a serger. On cheaper garments, factories will actually just knit rectangular blocks and then cut out the pattern pieces just like fabric. They then use a serger to sew up the pieces. There are special machine for the neck bands etc, but you could fiish these as if they were a T-shirt fabric initially. It's only on teh more expensive garments, that factories would do all the increasing and decreasing for the shaping of a garment. You have inspired me to llok for a knitting machine when I am in the Netherlands again next time! I know where to get over-runs of beautiful yarn from Italy here in Manila!

  3. oh i have wanted one of these for ages! so happy you got one! can't wait to see mor experiments on it!

  4. This is very interesting . Can you use a normal knitting pattern or do you have to use special ones made for a machine .My aunt had one of these but is now in a nursing home . I wonder whre that machine is ?Also can you use normal yarn as in balls of wool or is it only cones of yarn?