Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Tutorial: Ribbed Selvedge Edge on the Circular Sock Machine

I've been working with the ribber on my circular sock machine today, trying to get it working properly. I was having some issues with dropped stitches, and with stitches binding up on the needles and not dropping at all. There were two issues in play.


First, on the inside of the main cylinder, there is a metal stopper screwed into the wall. The screw I had to hold this in place was too long, so the stopper wiggled back and forth. The head of the screw was also chewed up by the years. I went to the hardware store for a replacement, but the ones they with the right size thread were all too long. I took one home and sicced my guys on it. With the help of a bench grinder and a magic threading gizmo, they made me a screw that worked. Problem one solved.

The second problem I was having had to do with the height adjustment on the ribber. I didn't realize the height adjusted, to start with. It actually can move up and down with the help of this screw. I found you need your ribber low enough that the yarn is catching and not being strained, but not so low that the stitches bind up when they slip down below. You especially need to leave room to slip by that metal stopper on the inside of the cylinder. Trial and error gave me the right height. Yay!


So, now that I had the ribber working, I hunted around until I found directions on how to make an edge that wouldn't ravel. Here's what I did:

First, I set up the machine with every other needle in place. Then I hung my set-up bonnet on the needles.







Some of the needles are down below, so I couldn't hang the bonnet on them. I started my waste yarn, and pulled down on the bonnet. Then I cranked forward until those needles were raised.






Now the needles were available, and I hung the rest of the bonnet.








After all the needles had stitches on them, I hung my weights on down below. I'm still missing the weight buckle that should have come with the machine originally. A clamp is working well so far, with the weights hung around the knitting just above the clamp.








With the weights in place, I cranked a couple of rows of waste yarn.








Now it was time to put the ribber in place. The pole slides down into openings on the side of the machine. I made sure it was settled all the way down as far as I have the screw set. Mine sometimes sticks half way down.




There are two moving plates on the ribber. Pull the bottom one counterclockwise, until the pin below comes to rest on that stopper in the cylinder. The top tappet plate rotates clockwise, until it comes to rest against the big pin comes down in from the top.




Now, I added my ribber needles, sliding them into the slots.









This screw down below moves the ribber by little bits. Adjust it until each ribber needle lines up with the opening left by a missing cylinder needle.






I made sure my ribber needles were in service, and cranked a couple of rows to make sure everything was adjusted correctly.








Then I cut the waste yarn...










...and replaced it with sock yarn.









After cranking half a round, I reached up with a little crochet hook, and pulled the tail ends of yarn down into the interior of the machine. Then I completed one row of knitting with the sock yarn, with the needles in service.




After completing the first row, I put the needles out of service, and knit two more rows.







After those two rows, I put the needles back in service. This maneuver makes the selvedge edge, that won't unravel. I only had a snippet of left over sock yarn for this trial, so I knit the rest of the yarn up. When I reached the end, I held the knitting down below while I cranked, so when it fell off the machine the weights wouldn't hit my feet.


Here's the ribbing, still attached to the waste yarn.








I snipped the waste yarn off, and was left with a neat and clean top.







I'm pleased with the problem solving and the learning I did today. Maybe tomorrow I can actually work on making a ribbed sock!

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