Archive for the ‘knitting & crochet & yarn’ Category

Machknit vine

Sunday, July 28th, 2013

Finally, I have made some progress with the knitting machine! Before I show any finished products, here’s a couple of little Vines of the machine working (working beautifully). Mouseover and click the volume icon to turn on the sound  (whizz, whizz, random comment, whizz whizz)…

“Umm, actually yeah, that’s a good point…”

(Thank you R, for the cinematography)


Knitting machine: before the knitting

Sunday, October 7th, 2012

So, the knitting machine. It was secondhand, in excellent condition but for all the things that happen when a machine has been sitting unused for years. I would guess that most people who buy a secondhand machine would have to do the following too, so I’ll record these tidbits here in case someone stumbles across this post in search of guidance.

1. Clean and oil all the surface areas. Because I didn’t have anything else, I used fresh new sewing machine oil, although apparently gun oil is better (who in Australia has gun oil?). Don’t use WD-40, apparently it gums up after a while. Better to use Inox, which I now have and love.

2. Replace the sponge bar. Instructions here – starting from “What is a knitting machine sponge bar and where is it located?” through to removal of the old one and putting in a new one (including how to make your own, although I ordered mine for about $15 from Sunny Choi at the Hong Kong Knitting Machine shop).

3. Take apart the carriage to get rid of old, gummed up grease, then clean & lubricate. All the manuals say not to take the carriage apart, but I had to do this, as one of the drums was completely stuck – the drums are at the back of the carriage and are supposed to spin freely; if not, the carriage won’t move across the needle bed.

The deep cleaning was both easier and harder than I thought…

I made some very detailed notes about taking apart and cleaning my SK323 carriage, I’ll put them in a separate post. For anyone not needing the boring details, here are some pictures…


I’m back, with a knitting machine

Saturday, September 29th, 2012

An overdue blog update, what’s been happening since, oh, six months ago!

A couple of weeks ago I bought a knitting machine on eBay, a Singer Memomatic 323, and after some deep cleaning and replacement of a few minor parts, it’s working beautifully.

By way of introduction,

“Machine knitting is not just a hobby, it has been said that it is a way of life. Many people buy knitting machines for many different reasons, not just because they want to knit lots of sweaters. Sometimes the machine is a prize in a competition, sometimes it is unearthed from the attic, and sometimes it is bought when something, anything, is needed to fill a gap that some tragedy has caused. Whatever the reason, you can be sure that whenever a machine knitter has troubles she is not sitting worrying or getting down in the dumps about it, she is knitting away, and if you were to ask her what she has made most with her machine she would probably say friends.” – Ratcliffe, Hazel (1986)  The Pan Book of Machine Knitting, London: Pan Books Ltd, p89

For the record, I didn’t buy it for any of the reasons outlined above; simply that I’ve wanted a knitting machine for a while and after a Laneway Learning class by the delightful and talented Brianna Read of Jack of Diamond Knits, I was hooked and couldn’t resist.

Also for the record, a big thanks to Oenone for sharing her machine knitting knowledge and books, from which the above gem comes.

More soon on the dismantling, cleaning & refurbishment of my 323…

Dyeing yarn with black beans

Sunday, November 14th, 2010

cotton yarn dyed with black beans

A couple of weeks ago I dyed some yarn with black beans. The results are above, a lovely silver-blue-grey colour which changes slightly depending on what’s around it and the light. (I didn’t tie my hank very well so that pile of yarn in the background is waiting to be untangled.)

My dyeing process, which I cobbled together from many places, is below, along with some links to general info on natural dyeing.

This is what the yarn looked like before: