A fiber-crafts fanatic who lives to create. Lately I've been knitting and sewing to clothe resin ball jointed dolls. I'm also "Wovenflame" on Ravelry, Flickr, ETSY, DoA and yahoogroups.

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Location: British Columbia, Canada

Capricorn, Married with grown children.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

In-House Handyman

Thanks goodness for the online community of Ravelry, the wonderful advice freely given by members there, and for a handy live-in repairman.

I didn't get far in trying out my new-to-me Singer 360K when it became evident that I had a problem. Neither carriage was gliding smoothly. Both were hard to get moving. The regular carriage would at least operate, but it resisted like crazy. The lace carriage was even more stubborn, getting completely stuck the minute it reached the needles.

The helpful folk in Ravlery's machine knitting group did all they could to help me diagnose the problem and it took a member from Australia to finally find the cause. She advised that these "drums".....

...were likely seized up from old lubricant and lack of use. She kindly wrote out a long post on exactly how to take apart the carriage, clean it, and get it back in use. It was a long post full of scary directions for someone as mechanically challenged as myself. Fortunately for me, my handy husband is not afraid of things like this:

He had it expertly taken apart, cleaned and back working again in short order. He even went on to repair the lace carriage as well.

Today I put all his hard work to good use making sure that those carriages were indeed working perfectly. I have this beaded lace swatch to prove it.

I think my first actual project might end up being a handspun, beaded lace scarf, perhaps with deep hand knit lace borders. I have some more experimenting to do first. Stay tuned.


Anonymous joanna said...

I'm really impressed with your super fast progress! I was toying with such a machine for a couple months last year, but never got a decent sized sample out of the machine. Now I wonder if such a cleaning job might be the solution to my frustration. Would you be willing to post a link to the instructions?

January 28, 2009 1:04 am  
Blogger Knit Witch said...

Oh my gosh! Good for you!

January 28, 2009 4:31 am  
Blogger Dorothy said...

I am beyond impressed. Beaded lace on a machine?? Kudos for your husband and his intrepid repair.

January 28, 2009 7:10 am  
Blogger Marlene said...

You know Joanna the very first thing to check is the sponge bar. The machine will not knit properly without the sponge bar being in good shape and installed correctly, foam side down. The sponge deteriorates very quickly whether you are using the machine or not.

As far as cleaning those revolving drums go, I can't republish the information the Australian machine knitter shared with me until I first get her permission. I'll ask. In the meantime you can do a quick check to see if that is even your problem. Check to see that both drums spin easily with just a touch of your finger. If they are hard to move then, yes, they need to be cleaned. In my machine's case they didn't even appear dirty but were seized up pretty bad from lack of use.

January 28, 2009 10:02 am  
Blogger Marlene said...

Doing the beading on the machine wasn't any harder than doing it while hand knitting Dorothy. It slows both hand knitting and machine knitting down, but it isn't difficult.

In both cases I use a tiny crochet hook that will fit through the hole of the bead. I load the bead onto the hook, use the hook to pull the next stitch off the needle, slide the bead down over the stitch and then place the stitch back on the needle.

When beading on the machine I found it easier, and less prone to dropping the stitch, if I transfered the beaded stitch from the crochet hook onto a "transfer" tool before using the transfer tool to return the stitch back to the machine needle. I made sure the bead was on the front side of the gate posts and knit the next row a little slower than usual. I'm not sure if that is the way you are "supposed" to do it, but it worked fine for me.

January 28, 2009 10:25 am  
Blogger lookinout said...

Excellent work! And a handy spouse is a real asset.

January 28, 2009 12:17 pm  
Blogger Michelle said...

Gotta love a good handy man! I don't know what I would do without mine. Lovely swatch. I didn't know you could do stuff like that on a knitting machine.

January 28, 2009 5:05 pm  
Anonymous joanna said...

Thanks, Marlene, for your excellent help! I looked and I don't even have revolving drums on my machine. I guess it's a different mark from yours. I did go looking for the sponge bars though and I think I found them, along with a lot of dust and lint and even a crochet hook! To actually get to the sponge bars I need to unscrew a whole row of little screws, so I think I'll save that for an afternoon when I won't have too many interruptions. But at least I now know which direction to move in. Once again, thanks for your excellent help!

January 29, 2009 4:42 am  
Blogger Ruinwen said...

I am awed by your hubby's amazing fixing skills and your beautiful lace. I'm speechless. :)

January 29, 2009 7:58 am  
Blogger Marlene said...

JOANNA I'm responding to you here in hopes that you will find your way back. Your comments are leaving me no email address to respond to. If you wish to contact me directly so that I can respond, my email address is available on my profile page.

Removing your sponge bar should be much easier than you are describing. Our machines may be different, but from what everyone describes on the machine knitter's forum on Ravelry, you should be able to push your sponge bar out from one side. Normally you push out the old bar by inserting the new one, but if you are just wanting to check it you can likely get it moving by pushing on the end of it with a pen or other object and then grab it from the other side.

What make and model is your machine?

January 29, 2009 1:23 pm  
Blogger Sharon in Surrey said...

Well!! I AM really impressed with your lace swatch! I had no idea you could do that kind of thing on a knitting machine . . .

January 30, 2009 8:13 pm  

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