Knittax AM3 with Ribber
The Knittax AM3 also know as the Knitking AM3 with co-ordinated ribber
Another rare machine to add to my growing collection.
I have managed to buy one of these fascinating machines here in Brittany. It’s an unusual machine with pattern wheels to do the patterning,
It came in a rather battered long suitcase – I wonder if I can repair it, it has a split in the lid, but these cases usually keep these machines in great condition.
After giving it the usual clean and oil and despite lying in a case for many years, it knitted very easily. Of course there was the usual operator error, I did not notice the lever on the side of the carriage was engaged and it did not knit – however after testing to ensure all the cams and moving parts were working, I tried again and off I went. This is one unusual machine and I have been trying to get my hands on it for years and although I had to travel 270 kms (there and back) it was worth it.
It reminds me in shape of the old maroon Knitmasters but it is much more sophisticated. It does not need weights as it has the sinkers similar to the old 4500 etc Knitmasters and casting on is very easy especially the automatic cast on which is fine for mucking about. Otherwise it casts on using the ewrap and its similar to the modern machines but it has to go under the moveable sinkers.
I absolutely love the patterning system, a set of wheels that give you different holding positions so you can operate a variety of stitches very easily. The wheels click in place under the carriage and you simply press a button on the top of the carriage to set the holding position needles and follow the steps for the pattern you want. There are cams that click the needles back into working position and for as many tucks as I wanted it still knitted easily.
The pattern wheels are operated by a knob on top of the carriage and as I have just discovered you bring needles into holding position by pressing down on the knob and there is a sort of ratchet facility, you turn the same knob to move the holding needles – there are 12 different positions, then there are the right and left cams that bring the holding position needles back into play.
I have quite a few pattern wheels and some are silver coloured and these bring up needles next to one another ie no tuck facility with these, they are for slip stitches etc and the slip stitches can be moved with the aid of the button as described above. There is a way of knitting with 2 colours which I have not yet got into but I guess its just selecting needles and knitting with the second colour - there is no facility for multiple colours to be threaded up so it’s a one out and one in system, or laying across the needles though I have not attempted to do this but I do not think it would be easy with the moveable sinkers.
This is a fun vintage machine and this one is all there, the ribber is the next stage to tackle. I could spend hours just playing around with the pattern wheels – they raise the needles to holding position then its up to you what you want to do with them, could be tuck – could be slip stitch or fairisle – the world is your oyster, its one of the easiest to knit off multiple tuck stitches, totally fascinates me.
The ribber takes a bit of practice to cast on but I did it, it’s a sort of an ewrap cast on – once you do this you have to run the main carriage unthreaded across to the right and connect the ribber. The connection arm is easy to do but it must be clicked in correctly. The machine is a bit stiff from being stored away and has no clamps to fix it to the table.
To add to this there was an ball winder, the likes I have never seen but what a great bit of kit, it lies flat on the table and is secured by a bracket and is so easy to operate The machine came with a bundle of ancient magazines and pattern wheel illustrations and instructions to produce different variations.
All in all a fine machine and a great add to the Knitting Machine Museum stable.