Sunday, 3 January 2016

Knitting Nellie!

Father Christmas brought me something special last year!  A few days before Christmas, I took the boys to collect a wonderful new toy from a very kind lady who was giving away her late mother's knitting machine.  I am very grateful indeed for her kindness, and I only hope I can live up to the previous owner's skills.  I have zero machine knitting experience to my name so far, but my aim is fair-isle Christmas jumpers for the boys by the end of 2016.  I've got 12 months.

This is knitting Nellie!


It's a Toyota K747 punch-card knitter with lace carriage, intarsia carriage, knit tracer and a bunch of manuals.  Also blank punchcards!  Very exciting!


It also comes with a marvellous range of 1980s pattern books, which I am very excited to dip into and make the boys wear!  Fair-isle dolly mixtures!  What more can I wish for?


Note the reindeer, centre bottom.  You're looking at my 2016 Christmas jumpers right there!

The knitting machine has sadly seized since its last use, so needs completely cleaning and re-oiling.  Fortunately both myself and my husband like to take things to bits, and this marvellous blogger has provided the full service manual online.  That shortens the take-to-bits time considerably by telling us the order to take the bolts out, and giving us a preview of the guts and how they work.  Mr B wants to call this a "re-build" to set expectations as to timescale (lengthy) and I suppose that's fair.

The sponge bar had degraded to such a sticky mess that the first job was to remove all 200 needles and use meths to remove the gunk stuck to them.  Mr B volunteered to do the lot (what a legend) in return for me sometimes letting him do the screwdriver bits... ha ha.

Anyway, the stage we're at currently is that the main body is out of the blue casework and I've labelled all the plates using a marker pen using the terms from the manual to help us in our quest.  Mr B has spent 3 hours cleaning needles and I've purchased 4 rolls of draft excluder to try as the replacement sponge.  Over the next few nights we'll be taking the main body to bits to get inside the needle bed where the rest of the decayed sponge bar has disintegrated.  Then we'll be exploring why the needle selector mechanism has seized.  Mr B has brought the lithium grease in from his garage as a mark of his commitment to the knitting cause.

Expect very little sewing or hand-knitting progress in the meantime, and potentially many photographs of knitting machine insides.  YaaaaAAAAAY!

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