I’m back, with a knitting machine

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…

4 Responses to “I’m back, with a knitting machine”

  1. Tildama Says:

    Yesterday I too became the proud owner of a Singer 323. I have a couple of other machines, an Empisal 680L and a Knitmaster 90. But I really wanted to be able to learn how to knit with a ribber and punchcards, so this is why I bought the 323 because it came as a complete package (flatbed machine plus ribber). I am interested to hear if your machine came with any punchcards – mind didn’t. My machine was apparently owned by a lady who made garments for film and television, so she must have been a really talented knitter – something I don’t think I will ever be, sadly. So I’m thinking she didn’t need the help of punchcards because she was more than capable of creating her own designs. Anyway tomorrow I too will be taking the machine apart – cleaning and caring for my new baby.

  2. kate Says:

    So exciting! Yes, my machine came with punchcards, about 25 of them, both motifs and patterns. I’ve only tried out 3 or 4 of them so far… I remember seeing some punchcards on eBay when watching for a machine to come up, have you tried there? You can definitely get blank ones, if you’re looking to experiment a bit.

    And you have given me a timely tap on the shoulder about putting up my detailed notes and photos about taking apart & cleaning my machine. Will do tonight…


  3. Susie Says:

    Thank you so much, I came across your website (pure luck) I’m sure. I purchased a Singer 328 Memo-matic a couple of years ago and I could never get it to work. The carriage did not work, could not move the tension or from tuck – slip – stockinet etc. I finally got the courage to disassemble it by reading your instructions. After I guess 3 hours I finally got it together and everything is working nicely so far. I have just finished putting it on the table and oiling the needles (lack of use) they were kind of stiff. I will now try to knit something. I just wanted to say Thank you so much, and I have put your site on my Favorites for future use. Oh I am sure I will have to refer to your site many times. The only problem now is the books that came with it are in French. Not very good with that but I will try since I do live in Montreal. Wish me luck 🙂

  4. kate Says:

    Hi Susie, well done! It’s so satisfying to fix a machine… and it’s doubly satisfying for me to hear that these posts helped people…

    As you can see I’m not really keeping up the blog anymore, but I do appreciate your comment. Who knows, maybe I’ll get back into blogging – I’ve just recently picked up another secondhand Singer knitting machine which needs a LOT of work, so I could blog about that whole process. Don’t hold your breath though 🙂

    Hope you managed to translate your knitting books, or find some ones in English!


Leave a Reply