Vogue with Magic 5 Step Device Circa 1953
These are the most attractive machines ever; firstly they are encased in a sort of leather look fabric and are made of stainless steel. I have 2 of these machines and the first one is stainless steel bed and the 2nd seems to have a coating of some sort that dulls the look. They are well packed with extra stuff and certainly look the part.
Now to the most important part ie the knitting. These machines are seriously good quality and must have cost a bomb to manufacture. I had to do some serious cleaning to get them back to a reasonable state as this shed aint the best place for storage, however, once done I put the machine together and here are my observations. The books are basic and do not give nearly enough instruction on how to assemble but experience pays and I was able eventually to get the thing together, The worse part is the carriage which not only accommodates the handle but also the fabric press, and the yarn guide.
It’s a nice light machine and this goes for most machines of this age and it would be grand for
someone who has perhaps lost the ability to hand knit as its extremely easy to knit with.
Sadly lacking in the instruction department
However, the instructions are sadly lacking and therefore I feel unless you are familiar with knitting machines and their operation, it, as it seems with the ones I own, would be difficult to operate. I have several letters to the lady who bought this machine trying to iron out problems.
To knit stockinet is easy and smooth, and perhaps even basic slip stitches or hand stuff could be done with ease, after all it’s a standard gauge machine with 200 needles and thus accommodates up to 4 ply easily. Great for knitting baby stuff ect for instance or hand selected lace. One point that has to be made is that I seriously do not like the carriage tension attachment – it would have been so much better with an overhead tension bar.
Magic Step Device
Talking about needle selection is where the “magic step” device comes in. It’s basically a needle selector – as per the old spanner machines but without the spanner. These machines unfortunately if not used do tend to rust up a bit but both of mine are in good condition. Keeping them lightly oiled does help when storing them away and I am rapidly coming to the conclusion that one of the best ways of storing knitting machines is within a heavy duty polythene bag within a cardboard box if possible.
The magic step device on this machine operates very unusually ie by dropping the needles out of work, how clever. If you turn the selector dial to 2 by 2 it will when a rod is turned via a button on the side, drop the stitches out of work and thus you are able to knit the first lot – this is achieved by just using your main colour in the main feeder ie hand tension, then when you have knitted say 2 rows in this colour you then change by hand to the next colour and start again. You have the option of moving the selected groups of needles by a small sliding rod at the front of the machine. It’s a painstaking task but ok if you have that wonderful thing called patience.
In conclusion, the Vogues are well made wee machines and could be a lot of fun for perhaps someone who wants to hand select or do just the basic stuff, and don’t forget it still has the holding position and unusually even a slip setting. Do bear in mind though the fiddly carriage tension attachment, as it is not ideal.