Monday, May 13, 2013

Adventures in Machine Knitting

Once upon a time my Dad called me on the phone and told me he had met my future Step-Mother. I laughed, he laughed and a little while later they got engaged. At this point I thought maybe just maybe he was being serious.

A couple of weeks ago there was a big wedding and Emmy and Ava were adorable flower girls. I realised then that yes he was being serious.

I now have a new Step-Mother and two new gorgeous and incredibly nice sisters.

There is a point here...

Weddings mean unions and joining of assets and furniture. In Dad's and Cathy's case it meant packing up and moving to a new house together. There is always treasures to be found when vacating a house after many many years and one of these treasures has found it's way to me!

Cathy was so kind and has given me her old knitting machine. I have wanted one of these for a long time. Hand knitting takes far too much patience for me. I am now the proud owner of a beautiful Brother KH-892 which is a punch card machine. Even better it came with a stand, ribbing attachment, knit leader and a suitcase full of patterns and wool! I am fully equipped.

Image courtesy of

Now I don't knit. I try occasionally, I fail. It's not for me. But the knitting machine, it's the perfect blend of problem solving and speed.

Being from the 1980's it did need a little bit of work.

My first tangled attempt

First up the sponge bar needed replacing. Then everything needed cleaning and re-oiling. There was a lot of carriage jamming until everything finally started running smoothly. There are still some needles that need replacing but I'll need to order those from overseas. Spare anything for these machines do not run cheap.

My incredibly flat sponge bar

I think it took me about of month of tinkering and practice before I finally knitted my first thing, a dishcloth in tuck stitch. I then knitted a few more and gifted them to anyone that looked remotely interested (Cathy included).

Knitted cloth with a massage bar I also made

Dishcloths mastered I moved onto something more ambitious and knitted a fair isle scarf for Ava's doll.

Ava looking oh so stylish in her scarf

I have plans for a throw next. Just working out how.

The funny thing is this knitting machine caper takes a lot of patience. I've been using it for months and have very little to show. But it's a different kind of patience. The actual knitting is of course very fast but the learning and the fixing that takes time. While there are resources for machine knitters on the web it's not as prolific as hand knitting so you can't always find what you're looking for.

But I am greatly enjoying it despite the fact that it takes up a good portion of the already space starved living room :o)


  1. I love that you have the perseverance for this kind of thing. At the first sign of a jam I would have thrown the whole thing into the garage, never to be seen again!

    1. I'm pretty sure that's the exact advice you gave me when it did jam the first time! :oP

  2. Oh what a fun machine. I have tried knitting before and no matter how hard I try, it never looks graceful, it always looks like my needles are fighting each other. This would be a perfect alternative. I love that you said you gifted the dishcloth to anyone that looked interested :). The scarf, though, is really adorable! That's one lucky doll.

    1. Thank you for stopping by Amy! It is good fun and soooo much more my scene than hand knitting!

  3. My mum is into knitting machines. I actually have one under the bed here for me to use. I really would love to get it out and set it up, but I am a bit worried about the kids getting into it and I need to sort out my table. Dishcloths and scarves look like a great way to start out.

    1. I was a bit worried about Em getting into it too Carmel. Particularly as I have it set up in the main area of the house. She and Ava were fascinated at first but lost interset after they got many stern words about not touching :o)