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.