I’ve fallen in love all over again with a knitting machine. A while back I introduced our grand-daughter to a toy model and each time she comes, she slings it under her arm to do some knitting. A short time ago she asked if this was the machine I knitted on. I’ve been really interested by your recent letters about tension dial settings and wondered what yarn thickness we could push through a Silver Reed LK-150. Here was an opportunity!
My machine was in pristine condition in its box, so my grand-daughter and I went on a voyage of discovery. I set it up, whilst she rummaged through my yarn stash. Out came a ‘cake’ of multi-coloured King Cole Carousel DK, with an instant request for a new scarf and hat. With barely time to do some basic maths, I’d cast on 92 stitches in 2×1 rib and we’d knitted the turn-back brim on Tension 3 with the top on 5. I made the hem, changed to stocking stitch on Tension 5 and 70 rows later we’d made a hat. The remaining yarn in the cake gave us 282 rows for a scarf. With ends pulled in on a bodkin and the hat seam sewn, the set was ready for school and she was eager to knit a scarf for daddy. One 200 gram cake of King Cole Carousel Chunky over 49 stitches on Tension 10, with the top still on 5, knitted 262 rows and made a scarf five feet long. The yarn is a lovely blend of 70% Premium Acrylic, 30% Wool and beautifully soft.
For anyone with doubts, my machine knits from a standard hand knitting tension of 5 stitches and 7 rows to an inch around Tension 3, to the classic chunky tension of 7 stitches and 10 rows to two inches at Tension 10. What more could any machine knitter ask for? In all truth I panicked at first with the chunky yarn and set off for some ribber weights, convinced that the slightly ‘hairy’ texture of the yarn would clog up the needles. Oh ye of little faith! The carriage took it all in its stride. Apart from me casting on with waste yarn, my grand-daughter stood between my legs with a hand at each side of the carriage and knitted all 262 rows. Yes, it’s basic beyond belief compared to punchcard, electronic or Passap machines – but it’s an absolute joy. Beautifully textured hand-knitting yarns slide through with ease. Complete with accessories, what more could any standard gauge knitter want than this absolute treasure?
When the Silver Reed LK-150 was first launched my first reaction, which remained ingrained for far too long, was that it ‘wasn’t proper machine knitting’. Since then I’ve eaten my words many times; it’s an absolute gem. Incredibly light to use and with nice big needles we can see easily, it sure packs a punch! If you’re asked what you’d like for Christmas this year, start an LK-150 slush fund and ask for contributions. I promise you’ll have hours of fun and rediscover the joy of machine knitting. Until next time, start saving and knit happy!
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