Testing out the Singer Magic Memory Knitting Machine
Must be one of the prettiest knitting machines ever produced – the colour is pink and ivory – no discolouring on this baby. The machine is very well built but beware the plastic is brittle now and you have to be ultra careful when say, screwing on the handles ie do it gently.
Although a spanner type of machine it is unusual in that it has a 12 stitch punchcard system operated by pulling the handle but unusually it is needs batteries. There is an excellent selection of punchcards with weaving, tuck, slip, and fairisle plus it comes with an excellent lace carriage that works similar to the Brother – it transfers after setting the needles.
The other unusual feature of this machine is that it needs batteries – you need 4 batteries to operate the machine, I personally thought they were a gimmick, but no, it does not operate without these batteries – oh and another thought, take them out if you are storing the machine, easy to put back later, but not so funny to find corroded batteries. The machine has a buzzer function that rings to tell you to do something ie change colours or settings etc etc and believe me it’s a noisy beast.
Innovative or not
Surely, it must have been innovative in its day, all this coupled with buttons that select the needles after you press them in the way you want and then use the spanner, and to top it all off it has a switch that can move the needles along left or right. It also has a reverse needle button – ie plenty of stuff to play around with.
Plenty to play around with
You get a lot for your money with this machine, and unlike a lot of our golden oldies this one actually works. It would suit the knitter who likes to do her own thing as it has plenty of stuff to play with. As with all the spanner type machines – you must ensure that it is rust free and moves freely otherwise this machine would be a dead loss – it is not one of those you can take to pieces (and that goes for all spanner type machines – they are too complex).
Punchcards are 12 stitch
Mine is in reasonably good condition despite being stored in humid Brittany. Anyway, down to knitting. Its an extremely easy machine to cast on, it has the buttons that you can press alternately and once you knit the first row, you press the reversing button and it knits the next set of needles and you carry on like this for about four rows. One thing though – you must always pull the spanner mechanism to the right and let it go back to the left – this is the needle selection mechanism.
Lace Carriage Included
I thought I would try the lace facility next – I love lace, and in this case I used one of the punchcards and set it up, its simple when you know how. As per instruction manual - I placed the lace carriage on the supplied lace rails and guess what, the damn thing fell and cracked the handle – just my luck – I had to superglue them back but it was liquid stuff and my fingers got stuck to the table – such is life. Anyway it’s a super little lace carriage and works easily. The other thing I tried was the fairisle, and once you set it up and get used to pulling the spanner to set the needles every row – its again a simple thing to operate.
I believe there is a ribber for this machine and to be honest I only have one Singer standard gauge ribber and I know it fits the other Singers I have ie the 2400 range but I must perhaps try it on this some other time.
So all in all – a fascinating machine, well worth a look, I often see them going for a song but have to stress they must have all their bits and pieces including books and punchcards etc as they are not easy to find.
(The above is a link to the manual)
I have a load of patterns that are definitely
1960's/70's in origin – one of them is a wedding dress of sorts and includes the bridesmaid outfit. Nothing as sophisticated as the stuff we produce nowadays but I suppose innovative in the day.