Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Silver Reed Enchanted Edgings...

After spending time today playing with a Studio (aka Silver Reed or Knitmaster) 700 and the lace carriage with the full-fastion lace setting, I've decided that automatic lace edgings can be knitted.

I haven't actually done it yet, but firmly believe it can be done, and I do love a puzzle!  It doesn't appear that it will be much different between the Studio punch card machine and their electronic patterning machines.

I'm no wizard about Studio models, but this discussion is confined to machines that worked with the full-fashion-capable lace carriage, not the older models.

By the way, if you didn't require the process to be fully automatic, scalloped lace  could easily be done with a little movement of the needles - bringing out and removing extra needles as required.  If you're happy with the single transfer edgings, this would be quite fast and practical, since the Studio knits and transfers those all in one pass!  However, I'm trying to do fully automatic lace edgings. 

There are many fascinating little differences between the makes of machines, which helps explain why each brand has such fervent adherents.  There's the sturdiness of the Studio, the easy glide, the built-in knit radar; on the other hand, the lack of cast-on combs and some of the funny little charts are off-putting.

I don't know how to knit automatic lace edgings with the Studio lace carriage alone, since it lacks a slip setting.  Instead, I put both carriages on the bed, which would normally be inpractical with the size of the carriages and no extension rails, but works with these narrow edgings.  The lace carriage could be set on full-fashion lace to transfer stitches only, and the main carriage could knit only the desired stitches and slip the rest. 

Do any of y'all know whether Studio made extension rails? 

Anyhow, the carriages don't interfere with each other mechanically, because there isn't a belt.  The one not being used just sits there and makes no trouble.  Just don't bump a carriage off the bed and onto the floor.  Avoid collisions. 

Next, I need to work out the sequence of punched rows.  For an old Brother knitter like me, used to seeing the selected needles, I felt a little lost because the Studio doesn't move selected needles out between rows.   I could figure out what needles were selected by seeing what it did with them.   An easier way to see what's selected is to put the card advance lever on "stop" so that the little gray tabs display the current row's punches.  This led me to do lots of rolling the card around, moving the lever, and looking at the different results.  I got stuck, though, when I could see the current row was a "nothing punched" row and the lace carriage acted like it was an "everything punched" row.   After making the same mistake several times, I finally decided to stop, sleep on this, and try again on a new day.

I think it's possible! 


  1. I am soo very excited that you are reworking these for Studio/SilverReed machines! I use a Studio sk560 (an electronic machine) and have wanted to be able to knit your beautiful edgings. Let me know if you need a test knitter; I'd be happy to help. emfashions at yahoo dot com

    1. I have had no success replicating these edgings for Silver Reed. You could do hand-tooled edgings to get the scallops, and I have another idea, but they'd be different from these.

      I even found some expert Silver Reed knitters and asked them to try, but nobody's done it yet.

  2. Update: Tried again this evening! Neither carriage will read its first row from the left. They only read from the right. This rules out putting a carriage on each side of the edging.

    Also, this lace carriage does not like moved end needles. It tends to pick up the end a row or two later and strip it off the needles.

    Stuck, for now...

  3. Hi Diana, I'm doing a lace demo for Triangle Machine Knitters here in Raleigh next month, on my Singer 700. I have extension rails but they don't fit any of my Singer 700 punchcard, or Studio 155 bulky punchcard, or Studio SK840 electronic machines; I wish they did! I love my lace carriage. I usually do simple lace, though, not removing the yarn from the carriage. It goes MUCH quicker! We're having a seminar here in September; wish you could join us, Sheila :-)

  4. Sheila, I can't make it to your seminar coming up, but in October, I'm doing one in Asheville NC.

  5. A comment on extension rails

    I have just found a picture of a Brother with rails attached, and it looks like there are no attachment ponts as standard for an extension rail on the knitmaster 260/260/700/155 which my wife has for reference.

    In theory, if a means can be made to attach rails, there is no obvious reason why a rail could not be bent from suitable mild steel bar which would be unplated, or even better utilise the plated brother bars.

    One posibility that comes to mind is the plastic end caps for the bed. These often get broken during shipping, and I have been wondering on the posibilty of making wooden replacements, probably oak or ash, which may the allow for 2 holes to go through to attach an extension.


    1. If someone who has the extension rails, a brother carriage, and a knitmaster carriage. Can they put the brother carriage on the rails, look how it sits, and then do the same with the knitmaster carriage, does it sit the same? This would be a big clue to if the brother rails could be used, assuming a method of attachment is found.

      I have also been thinking with the number of scrapped beds from less desired machines around these days, there may be a way of utilising the back track, or even a chunk of bed. how long should it be?

      Any views appreciated

    2. I have tried the mild steel rod for homemade extension rails but the closest rod size is slightly larger in circumference than the carriage will take. However, since trying that, I found extension rails for Singer knitting machines on eBay and purchased a pair. They came today without installation instructions. Holding them next to my Singer SK360 and observing where they should go, I find there are no corresponding holes on the bed for the rails. I plan on taking off the end caps to see if it's possible to modify them to except the rails. If that doesn't work I will make wooden extensions to place the rails on at the right height and then fasten that to the end of the machine with hooks of some kind. If anyone knows an easier way, I'm all ears.

  6. Extension rails aren't strictly the problem. With just a 24-stitch edging, you could use both carriages okay. The problems are the direction of the pattern reading and the tendency to drop stitches if the end needles are empty.

  7. Hi,I am from Denmark - and thank you for your great Work you share with us - so sorry my English/US - I have a Silver Reed SK280, and I am looking for edgings like you have made to Brother machines - the look beauteful on your site. Have you done some for knitmaster/silver reed ?- they can knit lace Automatic - sometimes you have to take the yarn out of the carrige, and knit without the yarn in it -just to move the stitches - this I have´nt tryed yet. ;-)