I've always wanted to have a play with an industrial machine, and thanks to a newsletter distributed by the Guild, discovered there's a machine knitting school about an hour's drive away, that has industrial machines. Claire Newberry is a designer and tutor, and she agreed to let me come and play with her industrial machine, a Dubied (pronounced Doo-be-ay), in her cosy little studio. It is a fairly fine gauge machine, a fixed v-bed, not unlike a naked Passap. However, instead of pushers, the needles have high and low butts - so any patterning you might want to do (mixing slip and plain, or tuck and plain, for example), has to be set up by exchanging needles before knitting commences. The controls are such that you can tuck left or right, and slip left or right, as desired. You can also independently set the tension in both directions on both beds. Despite the size of the machine, it was surprisingly smooth to knit with - probably smoother than my lovely clean KH881 and definitely easier than my Passap E6000.
Claire showed me several cast ons, one of which was pretty much the standard circular cast on. Then we had a play producing various ribs, half milano and full milano - names I've seen in that Susanna Lewis book, but never gotten around to exploring. We did some stuff with pleats, including a racked pleat that is such a lovely texture I've been trying to think what I could use it for all weekend. I do love the fineness of the fabric produced (most of what we did was full needle rib with a 1 or 2ply yarn). The Cog has no need to panic, though - even if I wanted such a machine, there's no way I'd ever have enough space for one (let alone the money!).
Claire was lovely (and very brave letting a stranger play on a most expensive and delicate machine) - and she has a lot more knitting machines than me, so I feel somewhat of a lightweight in that department! :)
A most enjoyable day. Took some shots of the machine, I did come home with some swatches and will photograph them and add them here, but as they're not labelled I might not be able to identify all of them!
Now I really want to get my finegauge machine out...! Must get my behind in gear and finish up the midgauge jumper, then, as it's in the only spare slot.
In other news, the transformer for my PC10 has died a death - the wonderful Richard Croucher is going to make me a replacement from a laptop charger. I only bought the device in 2011 to diagnose a fault with the also brand new SK860 (which had a wonky back rail). Nothing is well-made these days, it seems.
Current mood: inspired