Wednesday, October 22

Lace knitting without a lace carriage: a question

Liz asked a question regarding my post lace knitting without a lace carriage:

"Hi there---are we able to use lace punchcards made for Silver Reed 24 stitch machines with this method on the Brother 260 Knitting machine?"

There are two main differences between Knitmaster/Silver Reed and Brother/Toyota.

(1) Knitmaster machines select and knit any pattern in one row, ie there is no preselection row. Toyota/Brother carriages set up the pattern the row before the pattern starts. This is the reason this technique will NOT work on Knitmaster machines, as you cannot see which needles have been selected unless you can peer into the carriage somehow.

(2) Knitmaster lace carriages select, transfer and knit lace in one pass. Toyota/Brother have a seperate lace carriage, that transfers only, and has to be used in conjunction with the main carriage, ie two rows of lace holes will require two lace carriage passes and then two main carriage passes.

Consequently, the punchcards for these machines are different. Knitmaster has a different starting row (5 instead of 7? not sure at this time of night), but this can be got around by starting the card on a different row.

Also, a Brother/Toyota lace card will have plain unpunched rows seperating the lace rows, to allow the main carriage to do its job. Knitmaster cards may not have these blank rows.

You could give it a try - but if you don't stop transferring every few rows (an even no. is best), and do some actual knitting, it will end up in a big tangle - you can't keep transferring stitches about and not knitting them off. If you decide to lock the card every two rows after the lace part, for example, and knit two rows, you will then need to do another free pass (step 2) to select the next lot of needles, and then your yarn will be at the wrong end (you would actually need to do two free passes before you unlock the card).

The short answer: it's possible, but not without a lot of messing about - and if you do get it to work, it won't look like the pattern you'd get if you used that card on the correct machine. If there's a Knitmaster pattern you've fallen in love with, far better to re-punch it and add two blank lines every two rows, thus converting it for Brother use.

I might have a play with this at a later date, and if it's possible, I will write instructions for it. It's waaaaay too late to try this tonight!

There's a video of the technique here.

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