Erka Double Bed
Erka Double Bed - mainly sold in France
A kind couple donated this unusual machine to me yesterday and I could not wait to try it out – it is unusual in that it has a parallel bed unlike today’s modern knitting machines with ribbers.I brings to mind the garter stitch machines that I own – the Pingouins – however this is a straightforward knitting machine that has similar capabilities to the modern ribber. It still has that sort of sixties look – it’s a sleek design and lightweight with it – it also incorporates a set of legs.It took me around 5 minutes to set it up. I then gave it a gently clean and oil although the book recommends paraffin wax however it has a bed that is similar to the Passaps and Superbas.
This one was short of needles (200 each side) however plenty to play around with. It incorporates a built on winder and the yarn is supplied via spring loaded Cops that you fill before using. The picture to the right shows you the inbuilt winder and it has to be wound a certain way to ensure the yarn is tensioned.
The other unusual thing about it is that the needles are not fixed via springs or internal sponge bars but by a fixed bar that you lift up on either bed. The tensioner to which you attach the cops has different settings depending upon the yarn type, that apart it operates as per a normal double bed machine with the settings being plain, circular, fishermans rib and stocking stitch. On the adjoining pic you can see the needle retaining bar lifted.
Another unusual feature is that to swop needles from one bed to the other it recommends just lifting the retaining bar and lifting the needles say from one bed to the other by simply twisting the a little and placing needle and stitch in a space left for the purpose – so if you were knitting one by one rib, you set up the needles with the spaces then you cast on and knit your first row as usual (setting the comb as this is a weight driven machine) on the second and third rows I knitted circular then continued.
I will say one thing that the stitch sizes bear no resemblance to the Passap and 4 for 4 ply rib was way too loose – this machine by the way is a 5 mm gauge. Anyway after knitting the rib, I could not wait to try the needles swapping bit – one point about this is that you have to take the carriages off the bed to be able to lift the fixed bars, however its a fairly fast procedure one this has been done. It knitted one by one, stocking stitch and 4 by 4 rib easily – you must use side weights though. I am always forgiving of errors on these old machines as they have probably not been used in a while and would definitely loosen up with a few days of work.
Like most of the old double beds there are many stitches possible however they are hard work but this machine has obviously been well loved and used.
There are many of this type of machine for sale here in France so I believe it was popular in its day – similar to the other machine sold here in abundance the Superba.
Nice machine and another great addition to the collection -