Had a welcome visitor this month from Carol who travelled all the way from the south west of France to gain some more information on knitting machines. She stayed four days and was interested in all machine types and especially electronic machines I had set up a basic punchcard machine with an inbuilt pattern centre ie the Knitmaster 360. I really wanted to show that punchcard machines have so many good points and can do virtually everything that an electronic can do but with restricted pattern width. Ok so the Brothers have their garter carriage option, but the Knitmasters have some unusual pattern features such as pile knitting - funny thing is the colour is not so smart but as I keep saying - they have lots going for them, easy to attain spares, cheap to buy at present and no worries about the electronics. In short, they are great workhorses - and this model has a wonderful lace carriage that in those days was sold along with the machine.
In addition I had set up a Duomatic 80 with motor and deco and added to that my Passap E6000 and Brother 940 were as always in operational mode.
Wish we had more time
Time was short and Carol wanted to knit a garment to see how to shape and read a pattern. Unfortunately my machines were not playing that day, we tried and failed to download a DesignaKnit 8 pattern into my Brother 940 (usually works without a second thought) and as that failed and I wondered if my cable was damaged I tried again with my French Brother 930 and again no joy. The software and USB serial adapter decided that day not to work, with windows 10 it’s a constant battle with their unwanted software uploads. Sometimes you are lucky and sometimes not. As soon as my friend went, the damn thing worked ie after yet another windows update. I had used the technique for a garter carriage jumper only a couple of weeks before without any problem.
Electra Motor problems
Luckily Carol and I have an interest in Computers so trying to fix it took too long.
So I decided that we should start to knit something on the Duomatic 80 and a sock was what I had in mind as it’s a good starting point and does not take too long. One thing I could not get going successfully though was my old Electra motor – the stops would not work – oh the life of the knitting machine collector. I will have to
With respect to the 360 punchcard machine, I had just taken it out after several years and expected it to work without a problem but no joy there either, again I should have loosened it up but if you know anything about what expats in France are going through right now, my mind I must admit was on other things – now after she left I have serviced it and it works so smoothly. The pattern drums had seized up with old oil despite the fact the machine was in almost new condition. Another problem was it would not knit the 2nd colour so as luck would have it, I have a second machine so was able to compare the carriages and it was simply a very sticky cam, again out came the surgical spirits and after a bit of manipulation – it was working again. I am no expert mechanic but it’s very useful to have two of a model so you can compare.
Next we decided to knit a plain jumper in Shetland on the Passap and proceeded with one of my favourite patterns and this time we used the E6000 with the motor and what a difference a motor makes. We just managed to finish this in time and she tells me she has now knitted one on her machine plus socks so good news there.
The knitting shed or should I say Bourach - a guid auld Scottish word - look it up!
The knitting shed has so many machines and it’s a full time occupation keeping them in working condition, they need taking out and used but time is of the essence. She said she enjoyed her time here so hopefully the long drive was worth it and I certainly value the company of someone like-minded.
Single bed Fairisle knitted in the round
Last month thanks to Kirsten Schreiweis of Hard Kore Machine Knitters on Facebook, I noted a technique for knitting single bed fairisle on the Passap E6000 and began to use this technique to produce my favourite Passap Pattern - a sock – it’s a fantastic looking pattern and I attach a pic for your perusal – now to knit the second one when I have the time…