Thursday, December 27, 2012

Making Punchcards & Homemade Lightbox

I have just worked out a good solution so Enchanted Edgings can be knitted easily on the Brother punch card machines.  These are the self-shaping scalloped edgings that I published a couple of years ago for the Brother Electronic machines (one shown in photo, above). 

My next challenge will be to see if they can be done on the Silver Reed, which has a completely different issue to investigate.

For the Brother punch card machines, the individual patterns require a modification, which I've done to each of my DAK files.  I'm printing out templates and punching cards to test.  I did the first couple by taping the template and the blank plastic card to a window, but I got tired of reaching up to draw the dots.  After that, John made me a quick, free lightbox with items from around the house.

My fancy new light box consists of a cardboard box, a fluorescent shop light, which stays cool, inside the box, and a piece of glass.
Of course, not everybody has a piece of glass around the house, but if you look around, you might find a translucent cutting board, a piece of glass shelf, or some other piece of glass or acrylic you could use.  We taped the glass to the box on one end to prevent it slipping off an breaking.  You could also use a glass-topped table with a shop light underneath.  Make sure you don't create a fire hazard by using a light that gets hot near paper.  This little setup isn't that different from an Easy Bake oven, which uses an incandescent light for heat.
I taped the template to the glass, stuck the box in a chair to put it at about the right height for comfortable tracing, and I'm marking the blank punch cards with a washable marker.


  1. I'm interested if you can figure them out for the Singer/Studio machines. I didn't know if I was experienced enough to get the book and convert them to my Studio 840. ;o)

  2. I have two Silver Reed machines I can use to try this, and I realize you can unthread the machine, change the settings, and use the lace carriage as a transfer-only unit. What I don't know yet is how to set it up for slip stitch, that is, knitting only selected needles on the knit passes.

    It should be fun to figure it out.

  3. Now that what i called creativity is...your approach inspires me a lot...