Sunday, April 12, 2009

Circular Sock Machine update

A few months ago I posted a couple of pictures of the Circular Sock machine that I'd gotten. I had been trying like crazy to make it work and it didn't even come close. I looked at videos on You-tube and that didn't seem to make it any easier. The guy that rebuilt the machine, though very nice, seemed to talk about it in the terms of an engineer, and to me it sounded like it was in a different language. I figured I'd keep messing with it as I had time.

You know how sometimes there are no insignificant coincidences? Well at the marketplace area at the Conference in March, I stopped to see a vendor that I really love and I happened to glance at the area in back of her tables to see an amazing sight! She and her daughter had a circular Sock Machine! I was so excited! Debbie of S & S Sutlery gave me the name and number of the lady that she bought her machine from and that lady gives lessons! Wow!

As soon as my life slowed down a tiny bit I booked a lesson. I really enjoyed Kim, the teacher, and spent 3 hours at her house learning the basics. I don't know how to do ribs, or heels, but I've at least gotten to the point where I can make tubes and pick up dropped stitches and fix mistakes. I'm so excited!
One of the things that we'd had problems with was where do I set up the machine? It is very heavy, being cast iron, and the stool I'd gotten would have fallen over except for the 10 pound weight that Mark suggested we try on the opposite end of the stool. With cats hanging around, that made me nervous. I could just see the dumbbell falling down and hurting someone's paw or even my own foot!

Kim had a stool that her husband had modified to allow the machine to hang right in the middle, which took care of the balance problems. Today we went to Home Depot and got the tools we needed to copy this great idea, and Mark cut and sanded my stool to make it the perfect holder for not only my machine, but my lamp. The seat is cut away to allow for the travel of the crank handle, as well as to allow the machine to hang closer to the middle of the stool so that the weight is more on top of the center of the legs.

He even cut out the rungs on the top under the seat, leaving the bottom ones to hold the stool securely. This allows me to get to the buckle and the weights which are necessary to hold the knitting onto the needles of the machine. I played with it last night without the stool being modified, and for quite awhile today, and I'll tell you that it's a lot easier to use on it's new holder. I used some very inexpensive sock yarn that I had in my stash to make some tube socks, since I didn't yet get to the part of the lessons where I learn how to make ribs or heels.
I wasn't sure how to weave together the toes so off I went to the serger and just ran a seam across the toes on the wrong side. I'm sure Kim will teach me how to weave in the toes, her socks have invisible toe joins. As usual, my socks are fraternal, not identical twins, but after not being able to get the machine to work, I'm very proud of them! I can't wait to be able to do ribs rather than doing a hem.
These are "muffatees" or fingerless wrist warmers to wear with my Civil War dresses. They have a picot edge and some eyelet that hits me right at the wrists. I still have to finish the upper edge, the grey yarn is waste yarn. I made those last night and though they have some issues and twisted stitches, they're not too bad for my first effort. My next lesson is in about 2 weeks, I can't wait to learn more!


CrazyFiberLady said...

Nice to see you using the CSM. There's a steep learning curve to them. Heels and toes are done using short rows (there are a couple good youtube videos that I can point you to if you don't want to wait for that lesson) and usually you close them up by simply grafting. You take the sock off the machine by running a couple of rounds of waste yarn, break the yarn, knit around and the sucker will fall off. Watch toes for when those weights come down or take the big weights off first. Ask me how I know that ;) Then you can turn the works inside out and graft from the purl side or tuck the waste yarn inside and graft from the knit side.

Rabid said...

I always wondered how to use one of those but I don't have access to one :) I love your socks though!