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.