getting started,  machine knitting,  wicked

Machine Ready? Lets start knitting!

Hopefully you have read the previous posts and have now set up your machine and work area.  You have a new sponge-bar and your needles and carriage are all ready to knit.

You have also ordered or found some suitable practice yarn.   You also have opened your operations manual.  We are ready to start knitting. First though, do not jump into trying to knit a garment. Now is the time to learn to create some swatches. You need to learn to cast on, knit and then cast off. There are different ways to cast on and cast off so this should be fun.

But first you need to thread your yarn.

Threading the Yarn Tension Mast

threading yarn mast

First thing to do is to setup your yarn tension mast and thread it with your yarn as shown in your manual.  The tension dial should be set according to the thickness of your yarn.

Setting Your Tension

(NB: when the knitting machine manual describes yarn for the standard gauge tension mast dial (and for other gauges) as fine or medium yarn it relates to the range of yarn suitable for that gauge of machine,  not the US yarn weight terminology.)

Following tables show tensions for knitmaster/silver reed/singer machines. 

Carriage stitch dial: Brother tends to be two dots tighter than brother machines, so subtract two dots.  Toyota tends to be two dots looser than Knitmaster/ so add two dots.

Slip Stitch is usually knitted a whole number (3 dots) higher than stocking stitch.

A good video to watch by the answerlady on YouTube can be found here.

Typical Tensions

Fine Gauge Machines: 1 ply yarns can just about be knitted on a fine gauge machine with fine knit bar or as double jacquard with a ribber.  Industrial 1 ply yarns can be bought in bulk cheaply and then twisted together to make a thicker yarn to be used on fine gauge or standard gauge machine.  2 ply and 3 ply yarns are best for this machine.  BSK sell 2/28 industrial yarn cheaply and two strands together make a 3 ply yarn.

1 ply62 – 4
2 ply5 3 – 6
3 ply4 5 – 8

Standard Gauge Machines: 2 ply yarns can just about be knitted on this machine using a fine knit bar to create lace work or double jacquard with ribber.  3 ply and 4 ply yarns are best for this machine. Industrial yarn (2/28) can be used if 2 or 3 strands are twisted together.  You can use a jumbo wool winder to do this (a normal sized wool winder can be used but it only does 100g of wool).  Jumbo wool winders can be purchased online.  Don’t forget to get spare cones or ‘hats’, as you need to use the wool on the cone.  You can use 3 strands of industrial yarn to make a full 4ply yarn.

2 ply52 – 4
3 ply43 – 6
4 ply3 5 – 8

Mid-Gauge Machines: A thick 4 ply yarn like Yeoman Cashmilon can be used on this machine but Double Knitting and Aran yarns are best on this gauge of machine. Masts differ on these machines so refer to your manual.

4 ply1 – 4
DK5 – 7
Aran 8 – 10

Chunky Gauge Machines: Aran and Chunky yarns are best on this machine.  Thick double knitting yarn can be used but can be difficult. Masts differ on these machine, some do not have a tension mast

DK1 – 4
Aran/Worsted5 -6
Chunky/Bulky 7 – 9

Try Knitting some Samples

Once your machine is threaded up correctly, follow the instructions for casting on, set up your carriage for stocking stitch (read manual) and then follow instructions to start knitting.

The first few attempts might not be successful.  It is easy to forget to set something on the carriage.  There may be a slightly damaged needle.   The sponge-bar may not be fitted properly.  You may be using too many or too few weights for the yarn. 

You will drop stitches. Keep reading the manual to learn how to release the carriage when it gets stuck.  Play about with the stitch dial to see what your knitting look like with a tighter or looser setting.  Once you knit a few rows successfully you can try knitting stripes.  

Before you know it, you will be addicted and ready to knit a simple striped or block jumper which I will show you how to do later in the Basic Shapes section of this guide.  

This section of the guide is almost complete.  I will be adding a few posts to cover more information about yarns, online resources and books, and knitting machine maintenance. 

The next section of this guide will be produced over the next few months and will cover the basic techniques of machine knitting, different ways to cast on and cast off, increasing and decreasing, creating a cast on rag and a tension square. 

Enjoy your knitting !

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