Learning to use a Circular Sock Machine that is older than me.

Saturday, 13 March 2010

I’ve got a new machine

I’ve got a new machine this year. It’s a Legare 400. I bought it on EBay from Dantib in Canada. He had it packed really well and the only thing I found was a chipped cylinder cam. He sent me a new set and with a little help from the Dremel I got them fitted perfectly.

I ordered new needles and new cylinder band too;

The machine was very clean; the original black paint is well worn but no flaking or chips to the body.

I managed to get it knitting tubes straight away. The ribber was fine but just needed some adjustment to the timing.

I also got some Large Hook Needles, these have allowed me to used quite thick wool, and the 54 slot cylinder has a good variation of stitch size.

I decided to knit a composite sock to see what the machine and I could achieve.

I used Bartlett, Sport Weight 2 ply yarn; this is produced in America and was Gift from Barry Travis.

I did try 1 x 1 ribbing on the Legare and it did work. The cylinder is a 54 and the ribber dial a 36. To enable a 1 x 1 rib to be produced the ribber needles are sometimes over the empty cylinder slot and some times over the adjacent cylinder post. This does work but looks pretty uneven; the ribbing should even out once off the machine and in the wash.

For my test sock I tried to make an E Wrap selvedge and was very pleased to have got a nice even start to my sock. I decided to make 2 x 2 rib to make life easier.

 I changed to 5 x 1 rib and this looked fine until I realised I had got out of sequence so not all the ribbing is the same ratio. Never mind we learn by our mistakes.

The heel was the next challenge though I have made a heel with the ribber on( On my Griswold) I decided to remove the ribber this time so I could study what was happening. I used the heel spring and even though it was, at what appeared to me, to be at its loosest setting, it made the stitches far too small and the knitted fabric too firm. I took the heel spring off for the second part of the heel and go better results just by keeping a slight tension on the yarn with my hand. As you will see from the picture there are some anomalies. This is because the wool was stretched too much by the heel spring and it came apart. It didn’t run though as the surface of the wool wasn’t ultra smooth.

For the purposes of this experiment I didn’t put the ribber back on and knitted the foot in stocking stitch. This made the foot far too wide and in future I will use the ribber to make the top half of the foot narrower thus giving a better fit.

Lastly the toe, done without the spring and no stitches dropped. I have sewn the sock up but I have to do some more Kitchener practice as I have only been used to doing this, off a pair of needles.

The sock won’t win prizes and there won’t be a mate for it, but it did give me the chance to string all the parts together and give me the chance to work on my weak points and see what my new machine was capable of.

If you click on the photos, to read the text they will enlarge.
This is an example of the tension on a Legare 400 with a 54 Cylinder using large hooked needles.
Next time, I hope to have got ahead with the Kitchenering!