Sunday, January 22, 2012

Ressurection Update 4

Enough parts have come in that knitting is now possible.  The result is a frankenstein combination of SK360 and SK280 knitting machines.

 Assembled pieces

Purl Side of test piece number 5

Tests 1 - 4 were ripped or frogged back to raw yarn to minimize waste during testing.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Resurrection Update 3a

As promised here are the pictures.

This shows everything that we got, I think we were lucky to get the tension mast. When we got the machine the tension rig wasn't in the lid storage clips and hadn't been for a long time.

The needle retainer -- the one in front with the orange tip is the old one.  As you can see it is totally dead.  Commonly called a sponge bar, a dead one like this is one of a handful of do not knit with this in your machine check points.

Here I've removed about 20 needles to soak years of grime off of them.  This is one spot where it is nice to have expert help.  Ileen from Ravelry was a great help.  After reading for a while I had become convinced that the needles were pretty fragile.  Surprisingly there is enough flex in the needle that they can be removed from the machine without removing anything except the sponge bar.

Removal is pretty simple pull the needle forward.
Push the hook down.
Grab the butt (far end) and lift it up.
Pull the butt backward and up until the needle clears the bed.
(Helpful hint - make sure that the needle latch (metal flap) is closed. This keeps the hook from catching on the bed.)
This is the first batch of needles that I removed from the machine.  They are sitting in rubbing alcohol which will remove most of the congealed oil, dust and grime.

The final score on this phase was 22 bent needles.  Bent needles are another of the don't knit with the machine like this stop points.  For proper operation of the machine each needle has to go to the correct location.  Bent needles don't and since there are a number of needles in various stages of moving into and out of the bed during knitting.  Bent needles will create only frustration and trouble.

More later.

Resurrection Update 3

More goodies in the 'mail' FEDEX dropped off the new sponge bar in a blueprint mailing tube.  The item was so unusual that SWMBO called me at work.

Got the old sponge bar out and with the help of folks on Ravelry's machine knitting forum, the needles have all been cleaned.  Tomorrow, it will be time to lightly oil all of the needles.

Sadly it seems that work is the curse of the knitting class -- a necessary evil to support a habbit.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Resurrection Update 2

More parts today;

Today's delivery was a 360/260 LC carriage, lots of useful pieces.  Unfortunately I still don't have the sponge bar, so there won't be any knitting tonight.  More good news in the e-mail the Knitting Carriage has cleared customs.  Still waiting for a couple of things.  Then I'll need some time to work on cleaning and replacing the needles.  Might be knitting by the end of the month.

It is just about all I can do to keep from putting the lace carriage on the machine and moving it around -- fortunately for the machine's continued good health I made a solemn promise not to do anything like that until the sponge bar is replaced.

Now if I could just remember who I bought the sponge bar from and figure out when it is being delivered.  Pictures tomorrow -- promise.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Resurection Update 1

Nothing major to report.  In the last two days the 50 pack of new needles arrived and has been set aside until other needed items arrive.  I also received a set of tools (Latch tool, Transfer tools, Needle Pusher).

Still waiting on the standard knit carriage, lubricant (Ballistol), sponge bar, and a 360/260 Lace carriage.  The lace carriage is sort of a luxury at this point since I don't have any cards, but it looks like it is coming with some useful items some claw weights, triangle weight hangers, possibly a set of Lace Cards.  Once all of the bits arrive I'll tear the machine down, clean things up and fire up some stockinette knitting.

I'm also working on a couple of related projects: a spreadsheet to figure yarn length for cone yarn; and a cheat sheet for all of the carriage levers what the do and when they can be used.

I work in electronics so I'm thinking of the lever cheat sheet as a truth table.  When I've had a chance to look at the carriage in person.  I'll know better which combinations are legitimate and which ones involve contradictory operations.

Saturday, January 7, 2012


This is likely to be a series of posts.  Something different from other things that I have done before.  My wife recently received a used knitting machine, which is in need of some new parts, TLC and liberal amounts of oil.  So far the journey has consisted in web surfing for information about the machine.

So here is the 411 on the machine.  It is a 1980's vintage Silver-Reed SK-360 which most likely was purchased in Canada as it was badged as a Studio.  For its time it was a higher end machine with built in 24 stitch punch card control, and a KR-6/7 pattern tracking device.  Singer billed it as Knit Radar, however, the device is entirely mechanical.  I'd love to tell you that it was gently used, but that isn't the case.  When we got it, it was missing all of the manuals, most of the tools and the knitting carriage assembly.  In addition many of the needles are bent, and the needle retainer is shot.

There will be more to this later as the parts arrive and I bring this mechanical marvel back to life.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Constitution Day

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be."
-- Thomas Jefferson

Particularly in this latest election cycle, the Constitution is receiving a lot of attention. The Constitution was completed by the Delegates to the convention on September 17th 1787.

The Constitution was the result of a trade dispute between Virginia and Maryland. At issue were tolls and tariffs levied by both states on Potomac river commerce, as well as Chesapeake Bay Commerce. The parties met several time between 1784 and 1786 to discuss trade issues. Culminating in the 1786 Annapolis Convention. As a result of difficulties discovered in the Articles of Confederation, the Annapolis meeting called for a Convention in Philadelphia to make corrections to the Articles of Confederation.

There were several different positions, presented during the Philadelphia convention. The major differences were over whether the Convention had the authority to present a completely new document rather than a revision of the existing one. Ultimately enough delegates persevered through the debate and presented the document and process that are the Constitution.

To truly understand our Constitution, its operation and the rights and responsibilities of citizenship more is required than merely reading the document. As seen in the brief introduction there is a considerable background needed to understand the creation of the Constitution.

After it was ratified by the Convention and presented to the Continental Congress, it was presented for debate and ratification to the member states of the Confederation. During the ratification debate one of the finest series of essays written on the operation and intentions of the Constitution was presented to the Citizens of New York. Known to day as the Federalist Papers, they were presented over a period of several weeks. The authors originally took the pseudonym Publius. Eventually the identity of the writers was revealed. Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay had attended the Convention and taken part in the debates. Recognizing that New York was a critical, perhaps the make or break state for ratification they rose in defense of their creation, and gave us one of the critical tools for understanding the Constitution.

The anti-Federalists also took advantage of the press and presented issues and solutions to problems that they saw with the proposed constitution. The principle evidence of their work was incorporated into the Constitution and became the first ten amendments to the Constitution. We know these changes as the Bill of Rights.

In recent years several scholarly collections of Anti-Federalist literature have been made, these essays are the third important source of understanding for the Constitution. Many of the criticisms still resonate today, and are being repeated in modern language yet again.

The least talked about, but possibly most important source of information on the interpretation of the Constitution comes from the 200 plus years of rulings by the Supreme Court. A relatively naive reading of the Constitution without reference to the opinions of The Court quickly leads to confusion about how various laws, rules and principles of the Constitution work in our daily life.

Since the 1950's the Scholars of the Congressional Research Service, compile a volume of annotations to the Constitution taken from the Cases of the Supreme Court. Many of the Cases that come before the Supreme Court arise from issues where one principle of the Constitution must be balanced against another principle. Over time, some of the decisions have come to be regarded as brilliant explanations of our law. Others, which stretched the limits of the court at the time of the ruling, have been altered, extended or rejected in favor of new theories and principles.

I urge everyone with an interest in the way that our Country works to spend some time examining the Constitution, the Federalist and Anti-Federalist writings and the Opinions of the Supreme Court as applied to our current understanding of the Constitution.

My purpose today is not to tell you what to think of the Constitution, but to urge you to think about it and study it.


  1. The Constitution of the United States of America
  2. The Federalist Papers (Perhaps the most readable version I've seen)
  3. The Anti-Federalist Papers (Best online Collection) (The Borden Collection Collects the Anti-Federalist works and pairs them with Federalist Papers)
  4. The Annotated Constitution of the United States HTML hyperlinked version. Authoritative Version by GPO
  5. The Founder's Constitution readings on the background of the Constitution
Note: These are references that I have used, they may not be the best possible ones, but they are certainly not the worst.