Nothing exciting, just getting a feel for the machine.
I won an Ebay auction for a Toyota 787 with ribber, lace carriage and stand. A few days later a box arrived containing just the ribber carriage, lace carriage and a few accessories – weights, transfer tools etc. I assumed that the seller must have sent the machine and ribber separately so I contacted him to make sure. Turns out he had packaged them separately but then taped the two boxes together and they have come apart during transit. He didn’t put an address label on the other box and it is now lost somewhere between his house and mine. He’s given me a partial refund but it’s not the money I’m bothered about it’s the knitting machine. I understand the Toyota 787 is the dog’s b*llocks, one of the best. Unfortunately that machine will now probably end up in a skip somewhere.
I found another nice looking machine on Ebay, a Singer Magic Memory KE1200. This machine intrigued me as it takes punchcards but also patterns manually by pressing buttons. The patterning requires batteries and the use of a lever to select the needles. I won the auction and the machine arrived. Unfortunately it had a dent in the case right where the patterning unit is. It was either dropped by the courier or had something dropped on it. I didn’t pay much for it so didn’t bother making a claim for the damage. I’ve had it working but it mis-patterns so I don’t know if that’s because of the damage or if it just needs a good clean. I’ve packed it away and will get it out later in the year, dismantle it and give it a good clean. Maybe I will get it to work properly.
On the same day that I won the auction for the Singer KE1200, another Singer was listed. This was a Singer Memo-matic KE2400 which was in an unused condition. The seller was in my home town. What could I do? I had to bid on it. I was the only bidder and won the auction at a very good price. Within an hour of the auction ending the knitting machine was in my front room! The seller said he had bought it for his Mother in (he thinks) the late 80s but she wasn’t really interested in a punchcard machine and bought an electronic one instead. This machine was put in a cupboard unused and forgotten about. The only thing I needed to do was refurbish the sponge bar.
The machine came with the lace carriage and extensions, a punchcard punch and a wool winder, all unused.
The manual and punchcards were missing so I contacted the seller and he didn’t have them, he couldn’t understand why they weren’t there but they definitely weren’t in the box so who knows. I managed to download a copy of the manual and Maggi from the Knitting Machine Museum
kindly sent me photographs of her set of punchcards so I can punch a set of my own.
I have just finished knitting a raglan jumper on the KE2400 and I am very pleased with the way it knits. Once I’ve sewn it up I am going to have a go at knitting a lace top.
I’m really pleased with my new machine and it makes up for disappointment of the other two.
The last jumper I knitted on the Bond was a black aran one with blocks of beige down the centre front. I hardly used any of the beige which was on a 400g ball so I had a lot of it left. I decided to knit a long strip to use for cut and sew but had already packed away the Bond and set up the Knitmaster 302 which is a standard gauge machine. I couldn’t be bothered to take the 302 down and get the Bond out again so I decided to have a go at knitting the aran on the 302.
I knew that it wouldn’t knit on every needle with much success so I cast on every other needle and set the carriage at tension 10. I was expecting it to struggle but it didn’t, the carriage moved effortlessly and in no time I had knitted all of that huge ball of aran.
When I first took it off the machine it looked like this:
After giving it a good tug it looked like this:
So now I know that it’s possible to knit aran on a standard gauge machine. The only thing is that because it’s knitted on every other needle, when you pull it to shape the fabric ends up a lot narrower so knitting an adult sized jumper might not be possible as there wouldn’t be enough needles on the machine.
Now that I had this long strip of aran, what was I going to do with it? I needed more fabric to make a jumper out of it and I only had a part 100g ball of blue aran so that was no good. So I decided to put together something using an old dressing gown (don’t laugh) that’s been in the bottom of the wardrobe for the past year because it was in too good a condition to get rid of. That’s what happens when your Mam buys you one for Christmas two years running! So this is what I had to work with:
I wasn’t sure how this was going to turn out or if it would even work but I had to try it anyway.
This is what I came up with:
I am so pleased with it, it came out exactly as I had pictured it in my head and it fits me perfectly. I love the collar but it might not have worked out so well if I hadn’t read the pattern instructions before I started sewing it in place as Ihadn’t marked it for the centre front. Good job I checked those instructions.
My second attempt has made up for the disappointment of my first attempt. Do you think anyone will guess that I made it out of an old dressing gown?
Yesterday I finished the cut and sew top and although it didn’t turn out exactly as planned it’s not a complete disaster and hopefully I will have learnt from my mistakes.
The seams aren’t brilliant, neither are the hems and the neckband is atrocious!
I made a complete hash of the neckband, there’s no getting away from it. The pattern instructions said to use bias binding which I didn’t have so I decided to just knit a length of stocking stitch and sew it on. As you can see I made a mess of it. It might not have looked so bad if I’d managed to get my stitching straight but I didn’t – it’s about as straight as a dog’s hind leg! It also gapes at the back:
This is how it looked before I added the neckband and hemmed the bottom and the sleeves:
Anyway, now that it’s finished, would I do it again? The answer is yes. With practice I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to do a lot better than this and there are things I would do differently.
I wish I hadn’t knitted a patterned fabric for my first attempt, I wish I’d just done plain stocking stitch. To make things more complicated for myself my patterned piece wasn’t long enough (due to it coming off the needles when it shouldn’t have) so I knitted a plain piece and joined the two together. This might not have been a problem if the join had been smooth but of course it puckered and the only way I could flatten it was to steam and press it which ‘killed’ the acrylic so I ended up with a lot thinner fabric than I had originally. It ended up more like a thick T-shirt fabric than a woolly jumper fabric.
I didn’t knit enough fabric to make long sleeves so I had to make short sleeves instead.
I have a Brother sewing machine which I bought about twenty years ago. A couple of years ago I won a Silver Bug sewing machine in a giveaway and decided to use that one to sew up the top. I figured it’s a newer machine so it will be better but I was wrong. I couldn’t find the right zig zag stitch to use on the edges to stop it fraying, every one I tried made the edges stretch out and go wavy. It wasn’t until I put the neckband on at the end that I decided to try the Brother instead and after a quick read of the manual I found the recommended settings for an overlock stitch. I tried it and it worked perfectly. I wish I’d used the Brother from the start, I will definitely use it for my next attempt.
I do have an idea for my next cut and sew project and hopefully it will turn out better than this one, I think I just need a little more practice.