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Jones Brother 800

Jones/Brother 800 Knitting Machine

I took this out as someone was asking about it on Facebook and I have not cleaned or tested the 2 machines I own for a couple of years at least. I am glad I did as the shed humidity had affected them quite badly. I have 2 of these machine, one that is new and looks unused and the second well loved – the new machine does not work at all except to knit plain etc but the patterning device were seized and I do not fancy taken this apart as its full of sliding plates, springs and other bits and pieces – my track record for anything this complex is not too good.

Getting Started

Instruction  panel

The second machine knitted after a bit of persuasion and with the aid of a hairdryer to loosen the congealed oil that collects on all old machines – and the sponge bar was completely flat. This all took at least 3 days but eventually it began to work but it was tedious stuff. This is truly a vintage machine and an extremely heavy one at that, it reminds me a bit of the Toyota 787 – a seriously heavy beast of a machine but unlike this model a far more sophisticated machine – however I believe it works on the same principle ie lots of metal sliding plates and springs.

The Pattern Panel

Jones 800 Pattern Panel

I have no idea how it selects but you have to set the punched pattern in the holder and then set it for either fairisle (MC) or Plain ie not 2 colours (N). The buttons were seized up and released with a hot hairdryer and oil – not too much oil and I have no doubt the minute I stop using this machine it will become the same way again, these machines loved to be used. The catch that the carriage passed to move the pattern on is suspect and sometimes it worked and sometimes not – so I opted to keep a close eye on it and moved my row counter one row in advance to check it had moved. The card one slipstitch was easy enough, but the fairisle lay in type was not, as you had to move the yarn from one side of the carriage to the other to knit. Once you start up with fairisle the needles must be in position D on the bed. You can by the way use the included punch tool to design your own cards.

Sequence of events

Brother 800 Toolbox

Pattern in and needles after casting on carriage at the left with the switch on the carriage set to MC move carriage to the right to bring needles into position D for colour.

Set the pattern centre switch to MC and then operate the spanner that brings the needles into working position. Manually move the row counter to number 1.

Introduce the 2nd yarn at the side of the carriage, and knit, please note it is difficult to see any separation of heights of needles in D and E position. However it did catch.

Slide the carriage to the left and it is supposed to catch the knot that moves the pointer to the next row, however on numerous occasions it did not.

Every row of pattern 4 must follow this sequence – you will note on my sample I missed a row – its easily done.

Full marks for the pattern reader card, which is one of the easiest, I have ever had to follow when you know how.


Example of Fairisle

To conclude this is a great vintage machine to own, and yet another I would not consider for serious machine knitting. Too many of them just do not work owing to the conditions they are stored in, my new machine would need to be taken to pieces to get it to work, but you know my mantra, buy two and keep one for spares. It must be borne in mind that this is an extremely heavy machine, it took me all my strength to live it on to the table and maneuver it about ie to put the clamps on etc. Outside the case this is nothing special but once you open it up it looks seriously interesting. Whenever I see a vintage machine that looks new, I have my suspicions that it was a beggar to operate and in this case I was right.

Jones/Brother 800 Knitting Machine


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