Brushing After every garment piece brush the tension discs and behind the tension plate. Brush the needle beds, channels and colour changer. We hear many complaints about back bed pushers but none about front pushers, so we suspect this main trouble lies in the back pusher channels. Bring the pushers out and brush the channel while you hold it open and again when it’s closed. Return the pushers and brush again. Remove front lock and brushes. Remove any fluff. Make sure you push the brushes back home then replace the lock.
Oiling Oil the back pushers, back needle butts, back lock channel, front lock channel, front pushers, racking handle, screw and sliding part of the colour changer. Don’t oil the front bed needles, as oil from them can seep into the reading channel and get onto the brushes. If the colour changer is not oiled, you could have trouble with it sticking and, consequently, not have a clean changeover. Put a little oil on the tension wires to avoid rusting. There’s no need to oil the locks, because sufficient oil will work through from the lock channels.
Surgical spirit With a cotton bud dipped in surgical spirit, wipe along the front reading channel till it’s clean and then do the back channel. As long as the tension is right and the cones are placed properly you should have no more trouble with yarn pulling tight, sticking pushers, Error 200 or Error 207, rough racking, or back colour change-over.
After every garment In addition to the above, remove the back lock and give it a good brush. Vacuum both the needle beds. Tighten screws on the front lock. If you’re one of the people afraid to use the motor drive, do use it a little without the locks to make sure you keep it in a good state for when you have the courage to use it.
Once a year Give your machine a real spring clean annually or more often if you knit as a business. Remove all pushers and needles, soaking them in surgical spirit and oil. The mix is 1 ml of Bellodor oil to 20 ml of surgical spirit. Now is also the time to wipe the locks with the oil and spirit mixture and then with oil except for the electronic sensor, which is in front of the brushes. Give the empty needle channels a good clean with a vacuum cleaner and then scrub with an old toothbrush dipped in the spirit and oil mixture. Finally replace the dry and clean needles and pushers. Remember to put old newspaper on the floor under the beds and then do a little knitting in waste yarn : just in case!
We meet in members’ homes once a month in the evening for ten months of the year, from March to December. The weather is just too unpredictable in January and February for us to try to meet! We also have an optional get-together the first Sunday of each month. This time is available for individual tuition, problem solving or brainstorming and it’s also the time to try a different machine or technique.
We set up the schedule a year in advance and decide on the topic, demonstrator, location and of course who’s bring the treats. Sometimes we have day-long workshops when the subject matter is too involved for an evening meeting. For example, last year we took a Saturday to investigate how to dye wool. The meetings are a great time to share and learn with friends who’ve a common interest!
As a club we take on a charity each year and we knit for them. This has included preemie blankets for the local hospitals, prayer shawls, Project Linus and animal shelters just to name a few. Our December topic was Kumihimo – the art of Japanese braiding and how does this relate to machine knitting you might ask? Well it doesn’t, or rather not just yet! It simply uses some of those exotic yarns in our stash. Thank you for the opportunity to share a bit of ourselves with other knitters. Best wishes from us all, Corinne Borlase
I studied textiles at art school many years ago and learned the very basics of domestic machine knitting. I have recently purchased a Brother KH-950i with the KR-850 ribber. I have never used the domestic ribber before so am running into some trouble. I wonder if you can help. I have managed to set up my machine fine and have been following the instructions in the manual exactly. I have completed samples for 1×1 rib and 2×2 rib but cannot seem to knit a full needle rib.
I have been using 2/17NM Hinchliffe lamb’s wool. I cast on my first row tension 0, then knit my 3 rows tension 1 for a perfect selvage which knits easily. I then knitted my first row of full needle rib at tension 2, as the book recommends, which knits some stitches but drops around 5 stitches top and bottom in the middle of the sample.
I tried again the same way but changed to tension 4 to knit full needle rib – this was extremely difficult to knit and again dropped stitches and I also noticed that the racking handle moved. I was also tried the fisherman’s rib which I really liked, knitting at tension 3 but again the racking handle kept moving while knitting ruining the sample. Is there any way to stop the racking handle / ribber from moving? I am sure the problem with the full needle rib must be a tension problem, I know tensions will be different depending on yarn. Could you recommend a tension I should try with my lambswool? Please help me as I’m getting so frustrated! Thankyou!
Kind regards, Julie
This will be my fourth year and we now get holidaymakers coming over specially to see us. I’ve sold over 25 chunky ponchos and still have a stock of ten left, which I’m hoping will sell next year. I’ve also designed a jumper, which is easy to knit and has many variations of patterns. So far, I’ve sold at least 30 of them with about six now left in stock. They’re very quick and easy to knit, so I’ll send you the pattern when I’ve a spare minute. I’m sure readers will be interested in the pattern. I got a lot of pleasure out of knitting it because it gave me the opportunity to try out different punchcards.
I tell all the visitors to the stall about Machine Knitting Monthly, when they ask how I manage to knit so many things in such a short space of time. It’s hard to believe but, in 12 months, I’ve knitted 216 items including jumpers, cardigans, ponchos, scarves, mobile phone and kindle pouches. My friend Ann and I have also knitted lovely evening shrugs by hand whilst sitting in the Gazebo, so we never stop.
At present I’m writing the pattern for a scarf, which I’ve aptly named ‘Keyhole’ because of its shape. A friend of mine was knitting a much smaller version on fine needles from a pattern, which, I believe, came from America. I decided to incorporate my own version and do a chunky one, which has enabled me to use up lots of my little spare bits of yarn too. So far, I’ve knitted 12 for my Crafter Market in the Spring. I’ll send the pattern as well and, in the meantime, here are a couple of photos of the chunky version. The scarf can also be adapted for the standard gauge machine as a smaller version, but obviously more rows will need to be knitted. However, it’s easy enough to work out the desired size.
Over the years I’ve acquired lots of unwanted knitting machines and just recently I’ve been selling some of them which, in turn, gives me some spending money for more wool! Best wishes to you all and I’ll write the patterns as soon as I can. Kindest regards, Linda Collins
Could I pass on that I’ve found this really useful tool for designing knitwear and thought you might like to include it in the next issue. It’s an online tool for picking colours and seeing what they will look like in a stripe pattern. It really is great! www.biscuitsandjam.com/stripe_maker.php Kind regards, Jayne Edwards
Joan taught me machine knitting at evening classes over 25 years ago and was involved with the local machine-knitting club until she moved to the southwest. She was always full of tales at club meetings and when I used to buy MKM, her article was usually the first one I read. She has such an easy writing style and the content is always interesting or amusing, or both. I still meet up regularly each month with two friends I made at Joan’s evening classes, although both of them have given up knitting over the years.
I’m busy clearing my workshop so I can get to my trusty old Brother 836 machine and discovering patterns and books, I’d long forgotten. I’ve a stack of your magazines starting from the 80s, so I’ve plenty of reading to do and I look forward to starting on the machine very soon, especially on cold wet days! After all these years it’s good to see that MKM still has plenty of variety and is a good ‘read’. I look forward to the next issues that I will be purchasing. With kind regards, Jean Cox
It is on Page 27 and the recommended yarns are Yeoman Supersheen and Yeoman Cannele Fine Crêpe. I cannot find Yeoman Cannele Fine Crêpe anywhere. Is this the correct name of the yarn or do you know which yarn I could substitute? Best regards, Maryse Ellensburg from Amsterdam
We definitely hit the spot with our Angel Falls design on Page 27 of the April issue, Maryse. How did we know? Both the office and Yeoman’s phone lines rang non stop with knitters wondering which yarn to use. We spoke to the designer and are confident that you need two ends of Yeoman Fine Crêpe and one end of Yeoman Supersheen to knit this popular design.
I’ve managed to get started and thought I was going great guns, but when I get to row 18 or 19 and whilst taking the carriage back from left to right, it’s taking the stitches off! Why? Please help me as I’m getting so frustrated! Thanks so much in anticipation. Kind regards, Angie Cliffe
Your enthusiasm is probably running away with you, Angie. The first two things that spring to mind are that you don’t have the correct tension on the yarn, so it’s forming loops at the edge of the knitting. This is probably the most common cause of dropped stitches. The second thought is that the carriage needs to clear the knitting completely before you push it across for the next row. Make sure it clears the last working needle by about 2 to 3 cm. You know when this has happened, because you’ll hear a faint ‘click’. If you go to the other extreme and take the carriage too far over, more yarn than required will come through the yarn brake. Again, this destroys the yarn tension and can cause loops and dropped stitches at the edge of the work. You may well find that the solution to your problem is simply to slow down!
When you’re writing up doing this sort of neck in the magazine, you almost always tell us to sew two rows of stitching around the neck before we cut out the shape. I know there’s nothing new under the sun and this won’t be original, but I always do just one row on my sewing machine, but with a double needle. It works a treat! Best regards, Ann Levington
It’s such an encouraging, informative and helpful publication and I’ve no idea how you manage to come up with something new each month and for many years at that. The January issue was full of projects to keep us going well into 2014. I just loved the doggie draught excluder and the hottie water bottle cover with the panda on it. With a young granddaughter, the hats for little ones will keep me knitting until her birthday in mid-January. Very good to hear that the Malawi appeal has been so well supported – I’m assuming that we can continue to make the hats? Looking forward to hearing more news on that. Thanks too for the info on Action Aid, what a wonderful idea; there are so many good people out there! And how we all agree with Margaret Robbie re postal prices, it almost seems like they don’t want us to send parcels. We also have to send everything tracked as one thing which wasn’t went astray and it all adds to the cost. No more of the moaning, have an exciting and healthy 2014. With love and thanks from the far, far North, Barbara Curd