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Pingouin TP3 update 3

May I take this opportunity to wish all my friends and followers a Merry Christmas and all the very best for 2024 - this is my last blog of the year 2023!


Pinguoin TP3 and $ Garter Stitch Knitting Machine with gadget that acts as a tenioner and edge cam release on the Pingouin Garter Stitch machine TP3
Pingouin TP3 and 4 cam mover

Have had this wonderful Pingouin TP3 Garter Stitch Machine a couple of weeks or so now and decided to take another look now I have been able to repair the tension clover on the carriage. This small gadget was not working and after removing it –easy job, I discovered that it had a ball bearing missing – simple solution. I now have enough ball bearings to last a lifetime. The job of the clover tail was to catch the end stitch cams so that the yarn is released and flows easily – this makes the knitting machine work smoothly.


Pingouin TP3 and 4 weights for the machine
Pingouin TP3 and 4 Garter Stitch Machine weights

The most important thing about this machine are the weights - they must be set properly as the needles do not have a retainer bar, so if it is not weighted with the comb and extra circular weight added then the needles flop about and are easily damaged by the cast iron carriage.


Given this information leads me to wonder exactly what stitch patterns could be easily achieved on this machine. Then I began to think – can it do circular, can you place stitches in hold and if so how, how does one increase successfully – I would imagine decreasing would be easier but difficult as you have to try to lift the needle out then place the stitch on the adjoining needle, sound easy does it not but believe me it isn’t. The machine according to the manual does cables but again trying to switch cables with no needle retainer would be very difficult especially if doing across the whole bed. I suppose that goes for any pattern that would require movement of stitches, such as lace. This model is not so sophisticated as the one following, but the principal is the same. The main carriage is much larger and the tensioning system has changed slightly in that the basket that carries the yarn is fixed below the rear of the machine, whereas on this one, it is elevated above the machine.


Pingouin TP3 Garter Stitch Machine carriage with Yarn Holder in position
Pngouin TP3 Carriage with Yarn Holder

I used to ask myself why was this machine not continued and I suppose given the time it was released, around late sixties to early 70's, so much more sophisticated, lighter and more portable versions of domestic knitting machines were on the cusp of the market. I will not go into depth re these machines as it would take a book. The Pingouins were made of cast iron in the main, very very heavy carriages, with a plastic or similar bed (think Passaps). They were well designed and excelled in garter stitch, ribs of any sort and the ability to knit on one bed or the other easily however, as they had no retaining bar, they are not easy to do things that are perhaps simple on the normal standard gauge.


Pingouin TP3 and TP4 carriage size comparison
Pingouin TP3 and 4 Carriages size comparison

They must have cost a small fortune to manufacture. The needles supplied with the machines and bought after came in large amounts such as 50 to 100 in a box and with the earlier ones (TP1 and 2) the carriages actually consumed great amounts of them. The double ended needles were of a better quality as time went on. I have 3 of the earliest Pingouin, but only a very limited supply of needles as these models devoured them. The later Pingouin needles were of a much better quality and the machines run so much smoother.


Pingouin TP3 and 4 Garter Stitch Knitting Machine very special double latch needles
Pingouin TP3 and 4 Knitting Machine double latch needles

I now have 3 of the later models and thankfully they all came with boxes of spare needles that will probably last a life time. The manuals leave a lot to be desired especially the instructions on tensioning the yarn - the pictures are no where near clear and informative enough.

Pingouin TP3 Garter Stitch Knitting Machine carriage with steel tension wire
Pingouin Garter Stitch Machine carriage with tension arm







The best thing about my latest Pingouin ie the TP3 is that it came with a very interesting manual with loads of different stitch patterns and instructions on how to cast on, knit pockets, cables and lace, and short rowing – none of which I would try as it would take a more patient person that me to carry out these manoeuvres but never say never.

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