2009 #1 Machine knitting sampler – part 4

Here’s the latest installment of my sampler project – the knitweave (or knit weave) sampler. In this technique, the resulting patterns look very similar to the fairisle sampler, but in knitweave the pattern is actually formed on the purl side. This is a rather involved technique because it requires the machine operator to move the contrast yarn from one side of the carriage to the other after each row. No zip-zip like some of the other techniques.

Knitweave sampler

From left to right: cards # 1-4, 7-9, 11, 14, and 20.
Not all cards are suitable for knitweave. Long floats are bad enough on the inside (as in fairisle) where they can be protected with lining. On the outside of the garment, they’re a disaster waiting to happen. Even some of these cards produced floats that are not acceptable to me, although yarn thickness is probably a factor here.

I’m guessing that if I were to use a main color yarn closer to the higher end of the thickness spectrum that the machine can handle, the floats would be shorter in the end product. I’ve been knitting the Wool Crepe on tension 5 so the fabric is quite stretched on the machine. The contrast yarn has to cover the whole distance between the end needles during knitting so when the fabric comes off the machine and relaxes into its natural narrower state, there is extra contrast yarn length in each row. This is a problem when the floats are three stitches or longer. Any knitweave projects will require samples not just for gauge but for the resulting texture as well.

I really like #1 and 7. They would produce a lovely tweedy looking fabric suitable for jackets. I’m thinking a solid main color and a variegated contrast yarn. Or a nice boucle yarn that would be a PITA to knit (but easy to knitweave because it just lays over the needles as it’s woven into the fabric).
I also like #8, the herrigbone. I love herringbone – it’s such a classic pattern. With the right combination of yarns, it could be quite spectacular.

A while ago, Kat asked “Okay, okay now! 🙂 What machine is this and where did you get it?”
So, let me introduce the wonderful Singer 700 Memo-Matic.
Knitting machine

It’s a standard gauge (4.5 mm) machine that knits yarns from fingering to about sport-weight. I got it in probably 2001 or 2002, from a lady in Canada whose ad I found online. It was not working well in the beginning and it took a few years to find someone who knew anything about knitting machines. It turned out that it needed a new sponge bar, a part that is not mentioned anywhere in the manual. After that, it worked like a charm.

This machine has all the bells and whistles that a mechanical machine can have – a 24-stitch punchcard reader for patterns, knit radar for knitting shapes from sewing patterns (rather than row by row counts), and a built-in row counter. I also have a lace carriage for this machine; it comes with its own set of punchcards for lovely lace patterns. And I have a ribber, which is another long bed of needles that can be mounted in the front at an angle – together the two beds can produce ribbing patterns and other things that I have yet to explore.

Mary said “Very nice…makes me want to get a knitting machine now, but where would I put it?” Hmm… let’s see, mine is in what’s supposed to be the dining area. (We don’t have a dining table; we eat at the kitchen counter bar.) But then, we don’t have a traditional living room either because I needed the space for my sewing studio. It’s all a matter of priorities, right?

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8 responses to “2009 #1 Machine knitting sampler – part 4

  1. My Toyota KM manual suggests car seat covers out of the knit-weave…can you imagine? Nice job!Gail

  2. There is weaving arm AW-1 for your knitting machine that semi automates knitweave.You put the two yarns in slots and knit away like you do for fairisle.If you doing multiclour or striped knitweave then it becomes quite painful.Great work on the KM by the way.

  3. That is one cool machine! I love all those samples. And, BTW, I nominated you for the Kreative Blogger Award for the really neat things you do and your fantastic garments!

  4. Alex, I didn’t know you had a knitting machine: I have two. Before I started sewing/quilting/embroidering again, I was doing machine knitting. I haven’t used my machines for several years but kept them because I want to combine knitting and quilting. There is a KM group that meets in Milton, once a month.

  5. I have this same knitting machine and I am trying to get started on it, but I can find no where that it tells you how to oil it. Can you help me?

  6. Hello! I love what you have been doing on your Singer 700. Are you still in Germany? I am an Airforce Wife too, only we are in the DC area. I have questions about the Memo-matic if you would not mind writing me off-blog.Thank you so much,Holly in Woodbridge, VA

  7. Hello,I was wondering if you could perhaps help me. I have the same machine and there are few things I don’t fully understand about the different functions of the machine and how to use it. Would you have by any chance Photos or videos on internet that I could use to help me using it?

  8. Hi Alexandra,I hope you see this incredibly late post. I did not find an email address for you…I am madly in love with the herringbone (card #8)but don’t have a card that will do it.Can you tell me what the name of the set is? I have been hunting around on Google so I can buy this and need help.Thanks!

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