At my peak, when my machine knitting skills were sharpest, I worked an hour or two most evenings after work and could knit a sweater in about a week. Weekends were for sewing and family things. But no, I was not cranking out 4 sweaters a month. People like to think that a machine-knit sweater is a matter of dropping a ball of yarn in at one end and lifting a completed sweater off the other side. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Thing is, machine knitting is no longer a cottage industry (production knitting performed in the home). Like home sewing is hand crafted couture, machine knitting is more of an individualized, designer process with many activities and lots of knowledge required.
While I feel a great deal of satisfaction with even a merely good garment, I receive a tremendous amount of satisfaction and pride from the entire process that went into making that good garment. So while I may have been able to crank out 4 sweaters a month, I never did because I invested a good deal of time into the entire process. A process I immersed myself in yesterday when getting my Garter Carriage to work.
There it as shown by machine4u which is a UK vendor. There are numerous garter carriages for sale in the US and throughout the world.
Yep 8 hours, starting about 10AM and calling it quits around 11PM — with several breaks during–I invested in re-learning my Garter Carriage. The GC AKA Turtle, can replace a ribber carriage by selectively knitting knit or purl stitches in the same row on the main bed . It takes up much less room BTW which was one of my primary reasons for buying the GC instead of ribber when I purchased the KM970. Storage room is always important especially when the storage is the living room. I bought my turtle shortly before retiring. Got it to work and when I actually retired I packed it away. 10 or is that 11, 13 years later, I realized I’ve got the basic machine producing, it’s time to pull out the accessories. I will say that for me, the Turtle doesn’t have a great deal of applicability. I use it mostly for the occasional ribbed welt/hem. There are so many other decorative hem and edge finishes that the typical RTW ribbing becomes an option. An option that doesn’t show your skill and knowledge as an MK’er.
Have to add, I also selected a GC instead of ribber because ribbing is about the only thing I did with the ribber. I don’t make blankets. Not really interested in DBJ, racking or cables. My Turtle, a KG 95, was actually less expensive than the KR260 ribber I bought for my bulky machine. Both BTW previously loved (i.e. used) and costing much less than factory new.
Anyway, I finished the day able to set the Turtle up and get him knitting. Plain knitting like I do with my main bed. Definitely not worth the $$$ I spent. A little later, I had him programmed for a seed stitch
I like seed stitch borders. Also nice for accessories but I doubt I’ll make an entire garment using seed stitch. Just not my preference. Especially when there are so many stitch options. But I do like seed stitch, it’s flat.
Little later I found the pattern numbers for the ribs and after programming the CB1 (computer for the main bed), produced a lovely 1×1 rib
At this point, my knowledge and ability equals what I was doing when I put the GC away. And I could quit. Put the GC aside and go about my knitting until I want ribs. Or seed stitch borders. However I am rapidly finishing 7 decades of living (looking at the big 70 in a very few years). I tend to think I don’t have a long time left to do the things I wanted to do. Which means, 10+ years ago I stopped learning about the GC because I thought I had plenty of time to learn the things I might want to do. Now? Well now, I continued to play with the GC and learned how to Cast off!!
CO row is above the orange dashes.
OMG! Wish I’d taken the time to learn this trick 10 years ago. Just as there a many hems, there are many cast-off but I usually cast-off around the needles which is very similar to what I am showing. Manually casting off takes a lot of time. It can make my wrist and fingers hurt. My little turtle had the test swatch done in less than 2 minutes ( think it took 1 for it to chug up to the knitting). I was afraid the COFF would be too tight. It is a little snug but I think increasing the tension of the last row and the tension of the COFF itself would take care of that. To tell the truth, the sample of above is what I would want around necklines. I want the cast-off to be the final nudge to the neckband to make it lie flat against my neck.
Then I worked for a few hours trying to get the Cast ON procedure to work. I’d set the machine up as described in the manual. My Turtle would chug over to the first needle. Make a frightening noise and quit. I mean power down, stop-it, NOW. When I’d get it free to look, the yarn was broken and a knot wrapped around the GC needle. I re-read directions. Checked settings. Changed tensions. Nope. Watched Youtubes and repeat checking setting and tensions. Turtle didn’t like it and wasn’t doing it. I ended the evening by crying for help at KnittingParadise. The next day, one helpful person explained that the difference between CO and COFF was the the CB1 was powered on during CO and powered OFF during COFF. Once powered on Turtle chugged over and produced:
CO is at the bottom of the swatch. I had Turtle continue to knit 7 rows of garter stitch (by hand you knit every row) because I like garter stitch welts and edges too. I’d been knitting at tension 3. The row before bind off/COFF (top row of the swatch), I cranked the tension up to 10. Then had Turtle COFF. Not exactly what I want. the last 2 rows at T10 have produced a gap between last row and COFF. Improvement needed, but I’m still tickled that I was able, with the help of my internet friends, to get my GC doing these tasks. Really, as I get older and experience some physical weakness and pain, have the GC do these kind of things can make it easier on me physically.
However before I turned the lights off, I took time to finish some experimenting I had been doing the day before. I knitted a small swatch, leaving a needle out of work in 3 places across the swatch. Working from the right side, I picked up the edge of one of the thread ladders. Not the ladder part, but the next row of knit stitches and bind off.
On Rib1, I picked up the stitches, hung on the needles and then bound/cast off around the needles. Makes a subtle rib but I don’t see an advantage to picking up stitches over using a latch tool or crochet hook to chain stitch up the ladder.
Rib2 I picked up 3 stitches on the right and then 1 on the left. Knit 1 row and then bind off. the rib is a little more prominent. I almost thought I might use #2 sometime …
….until I played with the GC on Rib3. The stitches were again picked up and rehung onto needles (just like Rib#1). I knit one row then set up the GC and bound-off . Nice, prominent, neat rib. Much easier to do than the other 3 and faster. Even at it’s slowest, the Turtle can bind off faster than me. I can see using this rib. Also, It would be easy to make traveling stitches like diagonal lines and diamonds formed with diagonal lines.
When I’m learning like this, I often take a break; stop and think. Re-read. Double Check. One of the breaks I took was to carefully write out my instructions. All the info is in the manuals. But it seems to me that the manuals were written in Japanese and translated exactly i.e. without knowing the nuances of the English language and in particular American way of talking knitting. So while all the info is in the pages of the manual, I had a hard time finding it and understanding it. Without the internet, I’m not sure I would have gotten my GC working again let alone doing new stuff.
Just in case I’m away from the Turtle for a while, I will have a procedures I understand. It could be meaningless to everyone else but I understand.