Hopefully your knitting machine has arrived, and your knitting table has been set up. You are now ready to start setting up your machine.
Get Your Manual
Your machine will usually come with its operating manual or user guide. This manual is absolutely necessary to understand how to set-up and operate your machine.
If your machine did not come with a manual, then I strongly suggest that you try and find a second-hand one if possible. Ask in the facebook groups or set-up an alert on Ebay.
Alternatively, you can download pdf formats of most manuals at www.machineknittingetc.com. You should be to take the file to a local printers and get a hard copy. This will be easier to use, and you can add notes to the pages.
This manual will start by giving pictures of how to clamp your machine to your table and set-up the machine ready for knitting.
Check that you have all the right parts and tools
The start of the manual should show you diagrams of the parts of the machine and the tools that come with it. Check that you have them all and get to know them. Some of these items will be in the box, others in the machine. Whilst you might not need all the tools at the start, it is best to replace any missing items as they will all be used as you progress your knitting adventure. Again look online and set up an alert on Ebay.
New or Reconditioned Machines
If your machine is new or reconditioned it should have all the parts and tools with it, including a newly fitted sponge-bar. If you have been given a sponge kit then you need to renew the sponge. More information about this is given in the next post. Meanwhile read through your manual and get to know the names of all the parts and tools.
Old Second-hand Machines
Carefully set-up your machine, it can be fragile. You are checking what works and what does not. You need to find any missing/broken parts or tools as quickly as you can. First ask the person you got the machine from (if you can) they might have some of the missing parts. If not then ask in Facebook groups, online stockist or on Ebay. Sunny Choi on Ebay is a trusted supplier, but you need to wait a while for the items to turn up from Hong Kong.
Do not try and knit until you have renewed the sponge-bar (see next post).
You may need to change any damaged needles so get some spare needles for your machine. Them manual usually explains how to remove and replace a needle, otherwise there is useful information on the Internet. For example theanswerladyknits has a good video at this link.
If the carriage has not been used for a while, the metal drums at the back may have seized up. You can try using a warm hair dryer over the drum to release them. Alternatively, I found that a few drops of oil on the drums works. I turned the carriage upside down on some old rags and left for about 24 hours. A Silver Reed/Knitmaster supplier can sell you the metal teeth (called fins) if any are broken.
Some knitting machines have a left and right rack at the back of the machine. These rubber ribbed items help the carriage to run easily to the ends of the machine, holding it in place. After a while these can break. New racks can easily be obtained from usual sources like www.andeeknits.com or www.silverviscount.co.uk
You will need to clean the machine so check out Youtube videos for helpful information. The following is a good one.
TLC For Your Knitting Machine by Diana Sullivan
However, many of the products are not available in the UK. I find that surgical spirit (buy cheaper at vets suppliers) is needed for cleaning and Singer sewing and knitting machine oil (available from BSK at their website or Ebay store) is good for the oiling. You can also get some spare needles from BSK. You can also get oil from AndeeKnits.
It might be a good idea to find someone who can do this properly. However, if you are on a budget, or cannot find anyone, then you might wish to try DIY, then there is a good range of videos on Youtube that might help.
Old machines can easily crack and break, so go slowly. Get all the tools and cleaning materials ready. Watch the videos again and again until you are clear about what needs to be done.
The following two videos are a good start but there are a number of videos from theanswerladyknits that go into the servicing of various machines and their parts.
Cleaning and Lubricating a Knitting Machine and Carriage by Roberta Rose Kelley
Dismantling a Singer/Studio 150 Knitting Machine for Deep Cleaning by theanswerladyknits
I will do another post of taking care of your machine and what to do each week/month etc. For now I wish you luck on getting your machine into shape. The next post will give information on the spongebar or needle retaining bar.
Tell me about the machine that you have just acquired.