Singer Double Bed or Suitcase Singer
I have just taken this machine out, and considering it must have sat on the shelf in my Knitting Shed for a good few years, it was a pleasant surprise, that after cleaning and oiling, it knitted like a pussycat. One thing to point out re Singers' or Superbas' is a little oil should be applied to the needlebed only, they do not recommend oiling the carriages.
Seriously though, there were loads of these machines manufactured and even now there is an abundance of them on websites for sale for next to nothing. After trying this one out, it’s a nice and easy to knit with, double bed that offers a ton of stitch patterns from a multitude of ribs to single bed work. OK, so it does not have the bells and whistles of more modern Singers but this machine could produce some seriously nice knits. The Singer pattern book that comes with it offers loads of stitch patterns plus a few basic patterns for knits plus a sock pattern to get you started.
The machine has a plastic bed with good heavy carriages, and it sits easily on any knitting machine table. It has racking and bed space capabilities and like all Singers it’s a lightweight machine- I was able to operate it even though I have a pretty sore shoulder and arm right now.
I used a 4 ply acrylic yarn, my favourite yarn for trying and testing any machine, there will be time later to knit with the more serious yarns. It has 12 tensions on the dial and the excellent instruction manual says it knits from fine yarn to double knit. (Think socks - with its circular capabilities - easy to knit on this machine).
Me, I prefer nothing more than 4 ply on my machines and preferably coned at that, but hang on there- you also get a cone winder with this machine plus some other accessories if you are lucky. I have a few of these machines, but to be honest never thought much about them, however, after a lady asked me about the needle bar – this would still be sitting on a shelf. The needle retainer bar in this machine is simply a thin steel bar and if you take care when changing a needle, it should present no problems. Just ensure that the latch is closed when taking the needle out and if it is damaged just chop the top of the needle off with a pair of wire cutters. When replacing the opposite applies ensure the latch is open.
This is a 5 mm machine so offers a wide range of possibilities re yarn – it has 180 needles ie similar to Passap – a seriously fun machine for little money. Note though when buying always check the needles are not rusted anywhere and that goes for the machine in general, the suitcase this machine is stored in usually keeps it in good nick. If possible buy two, thus ensuring plenty of spares….also do not forget to check the manual to ensure nothing is missing, oh, and don't forget to check the combs and weights are there too.
Setting up this machine is not the easiest thing in the world and the most perplexing part as with all Singers is the lack of instruction re the cone and tension stand holder, however I shoved it under the back bed and something clicked and from then on it was fairly easy.
The machines come in a couple of colours, I have a green one with gold bed in a green suitcase and also a brown one (the more modern of the two) and this comes in a sort of light brown case.