What does a Garden Gnome do when she is not gardening, in the kitchen or doing genealogy? Well the answer might just surprise you so read the entries to find out more. This blog focuses on everything we do to make our house a home. There will be a strong emphasis on home energy efficiency and do-it-yourself (DIY) projects. At the same time there will also be crafts, knitting and crocheting projects along with any other little tips we do to create that down to earth, I want to be here home. Please enjoy your visit :)

Thursday, February 28, 2008

My Knitting Machines

It may surprise some but we still are not fully unpacked from the move last year. There seems little point in unpacking some things while we are renovating. Still I've spent the past few days unpacking boxes to get rid of clutter as we came to a bit of a snag with the kitchen. What started the decluttering was looking for parts for my one knitting machine that should have been in the case but were some how packed separately. I've managed to empty several boxes in the process with a good portion donated or tossed. In hindsight it would have been nice to do this kind of clean sweep before moving but we didn't know if some of the things would be needed here. I found most of the parts for the Empisal except the clamps to hold the machine in place. Missing for the Silver Reed are two of the three clamps. However, still missing and needed before I can do any actual knitting are the yarn winder, combs, weights and spare needles.

On the bright side both machines are set up in the laundry room. I also set up my sewing machine in there too. The laundry room is quite large with two nice banks of counters (1,2) and lots of storage. (1,2,4). It lies between the family room and furnace room with a pass through looking into the family room (2) so I will be able to work on the knitting machines while enjoying the view or watching television.

The gauge of a knitting machine is important because that determines what types of yars can be used. The Empisal Knitmaster 305 Automatic Deluxe is a standard gauge (4.55 mm) manual machine that has the ability to do fancy stitches automatically based on the settings. A fingering and sports weight yarn can be used. To use a heavier yarn every other needle is used. This is the second machine I bought after I discovered integrating hand knitting with machine knitting. This machine has a 200 needle metal bed (2) and carrying case (3) that protects the machine while travelling or during storage. In the fully set-up position the machine tilts higher from the front of the bed to the back. While it is an older machine it works well. I'm still learning to use this machine because at our old house it wasn't possible to have the machine set up all the time.

The sewing machine (Brother Festival 461) has found a home on the wall adjacent to the counters. The dark door (4) leads to the family room while the other dark door (5) leads to the furnace room. The white doors are half of the four floor to ceiling storage cabinets.

This much charished flatbed sewing machine was given to me on my thirteenth birthday. Learning how to properly maintain the sewing machine was stressed right from day one. That sage advice has paid for itself over and over and has resulted in a dependable machine that is a delight to use! It is in a hinged console (4) that opens for sewing (5) and doubles as a table for the Silver Reed LK 140.

The Silver Reed is the first knitting machine I bought for a ridiculously low price at a yard sale. It is a mid-gauge (6.5 mm) machine with a 140 needle plastic bed capable of knitting sport weight, 4 ply and worsted weight yarns. The bed needs firm support when in use due to the possibility of slight flexing. There is no case so I cover the machine with a towel to keep dust out when not in use. In comparison to the Knitmaster the Silver Reed looks like it would not perform as well but trust me, it does a lovely job of knitting.

I have to admit to being a knitter and have been one since being knee high to a grasshopper. A few years ago I bought a knitting machine at a yard sale and decided to teach myself machine knitting. There has been a long learning curve but I'm making progress. True to form, I jumped in with both feet.

After making several swatches to get the feel of the machine it was time to try something more challenging. My first project (9) was a short sleeved sweater with eyelet ribbing. The pattern was converted from a hand knit pattern for the body and sleeves. The eyelet ribbing was my idea of adding detail. The ribbing for the sweater was done by hand then transferred to the Silver Reed to knit the body. The sweater was knit in Red Heart TLC Baby 3 ply. It has held up to multiple washings over the past few years. A second sweater (not shown) but long sleeve with extra wide ribbing done in Red Heart worsted 4 ply also converted from a hand knit pattern was the next project. A work-in-progress started just before we found out we were moving is a similar sweater a different colour (7,8) of the same yarn.

Watch for more hand and machine knit projects in future entries.

Garden Gnome
© 2007


Anonymous said...

You don't happen to have the instruction manual for the 305 automatic, do you? I recently received my Gram's old knitting machine, but it has no instructions and I am perplexed at how to begin. I just don't have the patience for handknitting but have a great appreciation for handknitted sweaters and slippers. Gram is no longer able to knit or sew, so I am hoping to take up the baton as none of my cousins/siblings seem to have an interest in handcrafts. I love them (wish I had more time for them). sbreer at windstream dot net


Garden Gnome said...

Hi Sbreer and thanks for visiting. I found the manual for the 305 automatic online as a pdf file. I printed it off so no longer have the file however if you Google for the manual you should still be able to find it. There is a Yahoo knitting machine group you may be interested in as well. You can ask questions there and they will help you with problems. HTH

C. Michele said...

You wouldn't have the instruction manual for the Brother Festival would you? Haha. I just noticed that your other comment was asking the same question (different machine). My uncle just gave me this machine and I haven't a clue how to use it. If you do I would be so thankful!

cassandra (dot) pendergraff (at)gmail.com

Garden Gnome said...

Hi C. Michele and thanks for visiting. I have the manual but we've already started packing for our upcoming move so it's already packed :(

C. Michele said...

Thanks so much for your response! Good luck on your move, if you think about me when you unpack it let me know!

Garden Gnome said...

Will do :)