Saturday, October 10

The Passap knitting machine: further reading - part 1

Well, that last post obviously reached nobody, then. Zero comments! Oh well, never mind!

As I've been using my craft skills to fill the isolation of lockdown, I've been having to learn the Passap because it's the only machine that is permanently set up in the craft room (well, that and the CSM, but I've mostly conquered that one). Madag stopped production of these lovely machines many years ago, so although there were some publications focusing specifically on Passap, most of them are out of print so only available second hand or on Ebay. Surprisingly, a lot of "self-publishing" went on back then too - remember, this was before internet and PDFs / online publishing. If you are new to machine knitting, I grouped lots of book reviews on my website here, thanks to the lovely Kerstin. This post will mostly focus on Passap machines, I don't think Kerstin has a Passap. I will add more reviews as I find them - I collected many MK books like a magpie and have enjoyed visiting my library under lockdown. 

Legal disclaimer: I'm only sharing images of the front covers here to enable anyone lucky enough to stumble upon these gems in an estate sale and possibly save them from going in the bin. If you feel they contravene your copyright in any way, please inform me and I will delete the image link forthwith (these were all found online via google images). I am not sharing scans of the content. 

“A machine knitter’s guide to creating fabrics”, Susanna E. Lewis + Julia Weissman

This book is an amazing resource, and not just for Passap machine knitters. It goes through so many lovely textures and has tables showing how to get them on Brother, Knitmaster, Passap and Superba machines - or if it's even possible (certain machines have their specialities). A review with some pictures here. Be warned, it commands high prices online. Not particularly a book for beginners, but fascinating if you are mechanically minded. 

"Be your own Passap Paramedic", Michael Becker, Distinctive Knits

This is an excellent resource which explains how to do a complete clean of the Passap. Available on the link above - and Distinctive Knits also do a maintenance book for the Japanese machines, too. 

"The Passap Handbook - beginner course", Bernadette Erkovitch

Bernadette gained her passap in 1974 from a dealer who had no idea how to use it, and wrote two books which expanded on the not very detailed manual. The first book walks you through the various settings and has you knit some basic items. The second book concerns the Deco unit so is not suitable for E6000 owners. Printed copies are still available here.

"The Passap/Pfaff6000 Knitting Machine", Irene Krieger & George Le Warre

Irene was a regular contributor to machine knitting magazines, and George Le Warre published the Duet series of magazines. This book is a very clear explanation of the machine, and goes from the basics, six chapters on manipulating the inbuilt patterns, some discussion of putting in your own patterns, and the FORM program. 

"Passap System: Knitting and Pattern Techniques", Volumes 1 and 2, Kathleen Kinder

Kathleen Kinder has written many amazing books for machine knitters. They mostly concern a specific area such as lace, knitweave, etc, or a specific kind of garment eg skirts, and expand greatly on the capabilities in each area. These two books are no exception - they go straight into the amazing patterning capabilites of the machines. Not books for beginners, but excellent resources to have when you have got more confident with the basics. The first book contains an excellent table at the back with various suggested stitch sizes for all the basic pattern structures - I'd happily reproduce it here if it weren't for copyright, because that table alone is worth its weight in gold. Passaps are very delicate flowers if you don't get the stitch size bang on, which is mainly why mine has been such a trial for so long! 

"First Choice for E6000", "First Choice for Duomatics", "The E6000 reference book", Metbury Designs

Eileen Metcalf and Christina Salisbury taught machine knitting classes and formed Metbury Designs.  They wrote many self-published books for the Passap, and they were available for a small fee for many years via a now-defunct Yahoo group. They are brilliant books because they go through all the steps for a beginner in a clear style, and contain some basic sweater patterns to try. They produced lots of self-published pattern books for the Passap. As I have been disposing of magazines, I stumbled on the now defunct Metbury website via the wayback machine - as you can see, these ladies were pretty prolific! Currently some items are available as a PDF download via Facebook (Anne Crouchers Machine Knitting Knowledge). A small donation is requested for her local charity. 

That's it for now - breakfast is calling! Part two is here.


Knittedbrows said...

I may not comment much but i read all your posts !!!
I have the Passap and still learning lots of things about this machine. I'm lucky to have a room big enough to have 4 knitting machines up around the walls and room in the centre for my sewing machine and overlocker.

steel breeze said...

Aw, thanks! Yes, I asked the other half if I could have the master bedroom as the knitting room but he wasn't up for it! Oh well! :D