Monday, February 15, 2010

My Pretty Red Valentine's Gift NZAK

Looking inside the big Fed Ex box with the New Zealand Auto knitter! It had been carefully packaged, and once I removed the layers of foam, here were all these individually wrapped mysterious pieces.

I decided to unwrap pieces, lay 'em out, and see what was there.
Dear husband, who usually does mechanical duties, was off at his Model A club, so I went on YouTube and started watching the how-to-assemble it videos. (When he got home, he found me a washer I needed and an Allen wrench.) Luckily for me, the seller had only taken it apart only enough to ship it, so I just had to put the stand together, put the handle on, and attach the row counter and yarn mast.

I was especially puzzled about the row counter, but followed the directions.
. Isn't she pretty? Very Valentine-y. A little darker red than the photo.

There was a tube hanging from the machine, bundled up in such a way that I thought the machine might not have been used much - or ever, once they did the tube for a test and to ship to the customer. There are also no markings on any of the cylinders. I will mark them with red nail polish showing the number of needles for heel shaping. The machine and the knitting that came on it are with the compound 60-stitch cylinder, so I started up with that. The machine is very new and stiff, so I put on lots of oil and am knitting away and feeling it loosen up.

I tried short-rowing, and am fascinated by the needle lifter, since I'm used to lifting the needles by hand with one of Barry's tools. The needles are very stiff to bring up and down, so I think I'll save my fingers with "finger cots" (those rubber thimbles you use in an office for paging through papers). I bought a whole box years ago and keep them in my sewing stuff. They're great when you're sewing something where it's hard to pull the needle, say binding stitch in needlepoint. You get traction!

I haven't tried ribbing yet, and I am surprisingly bad at short-rowing for a person who has knitted hundreds of socks on the Legare. These things are all about practice. I was trying to use an unfamiliar machine Saturday, having not used it in months, and I was terrible, so why would this new one be any different? Then, once you've practiced a great deal, it's all automatic and you can come home tired and crank a sock. (Sometimes I came home so tired my socks had two heels...)

The row counter is awesome, absolutely accurate as far as I can tell! I've never had a row counter on a sock machine before. I tried a couple of add-ons but didn't work at it enough to get them going, probably because I was so used to counting in my head. In fact, I sometimes forget to use the row counter on the flatbed. Now I am going to reacquire the row counter habit because it's a real blessing if the phone rings!

I have knitted yards and yards of tubing, and I finally used too thin a yarn, which broke and now the knitting is off the machine. Today I will try the setup basket and ribbing just like the videos!

The girls at Knit Natters asked me Saturday why I'm doing this, since I've been talking downsizing, and I explained that every time there's an ad for one, I read it to my husband and this time, he told me to buy it. So it really is a Valentine machine!


  1. Is she pretty or what?
    I have wanted one of those for some time. Where did you find it?
    I have seen them on Ebay occasionally, that might be the next present from me to me. Keep us posted!

  2. Hi, I saw your post on the knitting machine digest and followed your link to see a red NZAK. :)
    I bought my NZAK (blue) in January from Jacquie. I am very happy with mine as well. I am a newbie and had never knitted on a machine before, but luckily, have a group of local people who have monthly crank ins, so I'm able to learn from them.
    I've also been trying different yarns and have had the best luck with the cheapest yarn I have found....Bernat Sox. I am knitting with it on my 64 needle cylinder and have few dropped stitches compared to other yarns. Do I know why? Not at all! LOL I just know that it knits a heavy sock, I have hardly any trouble knitting with it, and I am successful. however, when knitting a pair yesterday, I tried using the 4th heel fork and it worked even easier when knitting heels and toes, so I will try that using the other yarns as well. I was afraid I was using too much weight with 3 heel forks, but evidently not.
    Enjoy your new machine!

  3. Mike, my favorite yarn is Knit Picks sock yarn. It's not heavy, though. You might like Paton's wool blend sock yarn as it is quite heavy and warm. I do have to buy Knit Picks mail order, but the price is great, and their natural version (Bare) dyes very well. I like to dye it with Kool-Aid.

    My poor NZAK was squeaking last night. DH and I are taking it apart this evening and doing a lube job. I think it was stored a while and got rather dry.

    Laritza, I found this NZAK on a Yahoo Group with machine knitting for sale items. There is a lady in Texas who is also thinking about selling one, and I could ask her.

    I am going to follow a tip I read on one of the lists to go buy those latch-hook ended sewers tube turners to use for heel folks. A latch hook on one end, and a loop on the other, kewl. I think a trip to the fabric store is in order.

  4. Diana,I have been reading your blog after finding your machine knitting videos on You tube (which are very helpful, even though I have been MK for over 20 years). Seeing your post on the NZAK intrigued me, as I have always been interested in sock machines, so I did a Google search and found the New Zealand site. Then I watched the videos - my, Jacquie is quite a lady. But it looked very complicated and I'm afraid it is too late for me as I'm almost 80. Guess I will stick to making socks on my Duo 80. But it is fun reading about your progress. (I live in British Columbia, but my Dad came from Texas!) Jo Ann

  5. Jo, you're right, there's quite a learning curve on the sock machines. You can certainly learn it most easily if you can find a group of sock knitters in your area and go to some crank-ins.

    Duo 80 makes great socks. I like making Passap socks.

  6. You can get prices and more information from Jacquie Grant in New Zealand. Go to the Yahoo Group, sockknittingmachinefriends, to find her easily.