I’m not sure what inspired me to suddenly ‘need’ a knitting machine. It is not because I needed another hobby – I already have too many and not enough hours in the day! Was it the desire to learn something new? A way of using up all the yarn I have acquired? One thing I do know, is that it would help me better understand what the knitting technicians at work are talking about when they talk racking, transfers and sinkers. I’m familiar with hand knitting and its terminology, but machine knitting is another language!
After trawling TradeMe for a month or so, I purchased a Toyota K747. Initially I planned to buy a Brother as they seemed the most popular, but I guess I liked the fact that this auction was nearby and Buy Now – one click and it was mine! The fact it was turquoise may also have helped 😉
As expected with an old machine, the sponge bar or needle retainer bar needed replacing. Luckily the seller was into repairing machines herself, and she told me what to do and gave me a couple of sponges. She also gave me an old table which is very unattractive, but at least I can leave the machine set up permanently. I reckon if I had to unpack and set the machine up every time I wanted to use it, I probably never would!
The machine came with everything else necessary – a ribber, lace carriage, punchcards and all the manuals and accessories.
So… I was a little bit nervous because all the needles were out, and I had to get this thing assembled and working somehow. The seller recommended a couple of products to clean everything and polish the needles, and that doesn’t sound like a big job until you realise there are 200 needles on the main bed, and 200 more on the ribber!
The next job was to install the needles, slide in the plush new sponge bar, oil the machine, and we were ready to roll!
The instruction manual for this machine is straight forward, and I managed to set up the machine and thread it easily. Google is not that helpful when it comes to this particular machine, but there are a few sites that are helpful in more general ways – but be warned they are often dated and tedious!
I am pleased to report that my first attempt at machine knitting was a bit of a failure:
After patiently casting on all those stitches, the first row just fell off! The second attempt was better, and I started to get excited with the speed of machine knitting and what I could achieve – and the fact that I might be able to use up some of my yarn stash within my lifetime!
There wasn’t much point in continuing unless I was actually making something, so I found a pattern for these Fully Fashioned Machine Knit Mittens which I thought would be a good first project. It has increases and decreases and clear instructions with photographs, great for newbie like me.
Do you have a knitting machine, or have you ever thought of getting one? Maybe your mother has one in the attic! My Mum used to have a Brother machine but when they moved off the farm she sold it at a local auction – $2 was the highest bid! That may have been a good price because that was back when you couldn’t give them away, but they are worth a bit more than that now. The build quality of the old machines is great and they are definitely worth restoring. Besides, machine knitting is a lot of fun!