As winter nears (will it ever get here??), my thoughts turn to knitting. I have a number of knitting machines and I do knit jumpers for the men in my life, but I love to knit socks. I used to do them by hand and it took around 10 days to knit a pair. I’m an instant gratification sort of gal and so I churn them out on my Brother double bed knitting machine and I can make a pair in around 60 minutes.
I do have an antique sock machine which I restored. I can knit every element of a sock on this, but have never managed to successfully turn out a complete sock. Sooo, I use the flat bed machine, using a pattern from Diana Sullivan (http://diananatters.blogspot.com.au/search?q=sullivan+sock), with modifications – she uses a single bed, I do the ribbing on my double bed and then transfer to the single bed for the foot. The socks look like this:
These socks are made from cashmere which I bought online from Violet Green in the UK. Sock yarn here in Australia is way too expensive, so it’s cheaper to import it, even with postage.
I came home from work tonight with the aim of knitting a pair of socks, taking photos at each critical step for posting here. Last night I wound the wool into a centre pull ball, and I was good to go. Except… every time I tried to knit a row the needles would jam. I did all the usual things – moving down a needle at a time to isolate a potentially damaged needle. To no avail. The carriage kept jamming. Soooo, I checked the sponge bar. All of you who, like my sisters, have knitting machines under the bed will need to check the sponge bar. They need replacing every couple of years, especially if the machine hasn’t been used for a time. I pulled my sponge bar out and it was completely flat. It should sit up about 1 cm. This is the source of my needle jams.
You can see the very end has a thick foamy bit, but the rest is flat. On to ebay and a new one is winging its way to me as I write. I will blog the process of putting in the new foam and reinserting the sponge bar, just in case any one ever following this wants to get their machine out from under the bed and knit something with it.
To be continued…