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Monday, December 12, 2011

Adventures in Machine Knitting, Part 1

I have recently acquired an old knitting machine with a LOT of accessories for a bargain price. Do I know anything about machine knitting? Not really. I used machine knitting in my graduate collection last year but I was lucky enough to be sponsored by a knitwear company that did it all for me on huge computerised machines. The process is a little bit different.
Luckily, the machine came with its original instruction book. So, last week, I laid out all the parts on my work table and started reading. I stuck post it notes on any parts that were identified in the book. I managed to thread the machine with yarn. I worked out how to cast on. I knitted three rows! Success!
Then the carriage got jammed. Now, the book says 'do not force the carriage'. So naturally, I forced the carriage. It moved! Then a tiny little unidentifiable bit of metal fell out of the machine. Oops.
I turned to The Google. Some lurking on the Ravelry forums told me that my machine is missing a rather essential part (a sponge bar, for those playing along at home). Turns out that this is the absolute first thing you should check the condition of when buying an older machine as they can deteriorate. Knitting without one causes death and destruction or something like that. Of course my trusty instruction book didn't tell me that because it was written thirty years ago for the proud owner of a brand new Empisal Knitmaster 260K. Thanks, book.
I found the part on eBay for just slightly less than the cost of the entire machine itself, and it is on its way to me from Hong Kong right now. As for that tiny little unidentifiable bit of metal, I eventually found where it belongs and put it back in. So while my knitting adventures have been stalled for now, I'm still feeling pretty good about it all. I'm hoping to have stripey scarves in the Etsy store by next winter (Australian winter, that is).
Stay tuned!

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