Friday, 30 December 2005

Machine knitter in distress

I have put the three images in this post as links so you can see them a a better size - I'd have had to shrink them for blogger.

Photo 1 - Initial cause of distress is that I can't get the machine to cast on. I have tried fiddling with the various settings but it just keeps missing loops. What am I doing wrong?

Photo 2 - These are the settings on the carriage. Can't find anywhere that tells me what the letters mean on the dial top right or whether the slider on the right should be on N or H. Also not sure whether the wheels at the bottom of the carriage should be engaged or not. Don't worry about the wool position - I was just moving it out the way to take the pic.

Photo 3 - I don't know what these two sliders are for either.

As you may have gathered I got the machine second hand and without a manual. I have downloaded the free brother 851 manual from online but despite reading and re-reading can't see where I'm going wrong. It is the casting on (or lack of) that is the main issue, obviously! So frustrating as the first time I got it out it worked fine except the knitting got stuck on the sinker posts. That'll no doubt be my next question!
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If anyone can help me please email THANKS x


Mary-Lou said...

Can't help you with the 2 sliders, but something I noticed about your carriage - is your working yarn in slot 'A'? (it doesn't look like it is in the photo) That's where it needs to be for the yarn to be in working position. open the lever, and push the yarn into A, close the lever again.

The 'N' and 'H' are to do with Non-working and Holding positions for needles, IIRC. Try passing the carriage (with no yarn in it) across a few needles pulled as far forward as they will go - if they go back to a normal knitting position (ie. just behind the sinker hooks) then that's fine; but if they stay forward, then try the N/H slider pushed to the other direction.

Also, there's more than one way to (ahem) skin a cat with casting on. Try casting on with only alternate needles pushed forward, and then push the other ones up on the next row - this is good with thicker yarns. Or, try the 'e-wrap' cast on - put the carriage on the right of your needles. Tie the end of your yarn to the left hand clamp (or table leg). Then working from the leftmost needle, bring the yarn up between the two left-est needles, over the leftmost needle, and then under and bring it up between needles 2 & 3 (counting from left), over needle 2, snd down between needles 2 & 1, up between needles 3 & 4 and so on. When you get to the right hand end, hang your cast-on hooks/ weight on the yarn running between the wrapped needles. Thread up carriage, and through tension mast (if you have one). Push carriage slowly and evenly towards the left end of the needle bed. Carry on knitting from there.

Hope this is of some help - have to confess it's some time since I did any machine knitting, as I have no room to set it up (the joy of having children!), but hope it will get you started anyway. Suggest you contact Colin Tantra Apso otherwise, since he's probably the most current machine knitter in UKHandknitters ...?

Nickerjac said...

Have you tried calling Les he may be able to help

Alison Lee said...

Hi Lixie,

First comment is that stitch size needs to be a bit bigger - try 4, but please check your sponge bar first. This holds your needles straight and under tension so they go into the sinker plate correctly and collect the yarn and return to the correct place. If you have any problem with this e-m me at

Alison Lee said...

Forgot to add - the sliders you mentioned are for setting the knitleader, one lot of measurements for rows and the other for stitches.
Regards again

Woolly Wormhead said...

Feel a tad guilty about that machine now...hopefully all these folk will help you out!

RoxyKnits said...

Wow - another toy for Christmas. Is there anything left for you to try now? Hope you get it working and Happy New Year!

Iris said...

Welcome to the mysterious world of machine-knitting! ;-)

I have a knitting machine which may or may not be the same model as yours, but as I am still trying to figure it all out myself I'm probably not qualified to give advice. my machine-knitting guru might be able to, though. It's the lovely Jane from Needles of Steel ( She's been giving me lessons and she really knows what she's doing. She's even been to a course!

Anyway, if you need further help, I'm sure she'd be happy to help. Just say that I sent you over. :-)

Good luck!!


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