Twinsane’s Weblog

Just another weblog

Knitting machines intro…

Posted by --- on Sunday 12 January, 2014

Several years ago, I bought a knitmaster off ebay. I’m an average hand  knitter but I get frustrated as I’m so slow. I thought the knitmaster (KM) would be my answer. It came with loads of accessories (which I intend to list) but never knit a stitch and put it in the loft. I’ve been thinking lately about digging it back out and started researching on the web – fatal. Everyone seems to think that Passap/Pfaff machines are the bee’s knees so I had to have one. I bid on one on ebay and got it for £70! The problem was that it was over 2 hours away (add £30 fuel) and DDI was still quite poorly but ES offered to collect it. When it got here I couldn’t wait to have a look but it wasn’t like the KM, it was big and heavy. It was also packed in a battered box and full of tissue. When DDI had gone to bed and ES had gone home I started unpacking it. I know nothing about these (or knitting machines in general) and it came with no books but even I can see when something is wrong. It looked like the box had been kicked around. It was torn and ripped with parts missing and only tape holding it together. The machine inside was battered and scratched too. The tissue paper that someone had carefully wrapped it in was torn off leaving the machine open and enabling parts to fall out of the box. The deco unit was bent and cracked, cast on combs (?) were folded in half. Everything was dirty  but the main problem was that the colour changer was broken with springs missing so I wouldn’t be able to use it, and therefore couldn’t use the machine. I was gutted. I pushed everything back in the box on the side in the kitchen, poured a snowball and logged into runescape (not that I have a clue what to do on there but that’s another post!).

I looked up passaps on the web and found a video on how to set it up (which I have since edited, adding titles and time frames to enable skipping to the part that interests you) and decided to set it up to see what else might be missing. I also found the manual which I printed off. It took a couple of hours with distractions from DDI but I set it up. There was a tension mast missing, the one that remained was bent, the cups had been forced together, gone brittle and split, the colour changer broke, tools were missing (bodkin, transfer tools,) the orange tool had the tip snapped off, the main deco unit, as I said earlier, was bent (how would you do that?!) and broken, and the U70 linker that came with it had rusted completely too.

I contacted the seller and said I wasn’t happy but haven’t heard anything since. In the meantime another seller listed a lot of parts which included the colour changer! I was very tempted but the parts were a buy it now listed for £72. Plus they were located 3 and a half hours away – another £45 fuel! ES pointed out that I might be able to sell some of the parts and with the colour changer and other parts I could use the passap. So off we went to collect those and as soon as I could, I replaced the colour changer. In the spares was also a couple of transfer tools and another deco as well as some old brother parts.

I’d been on a couple of yahoo forums and told them about the machine and was trying to get a link to some videos that had been posted. It turned out  that there was a lot of concern over copyright, which I can understand, and I never got to see them but it introduced me to a couple of very nice ladies who email me and one of which I am now quite friendly with and she has sent me some new locks! I’ve also bought a small course on using the passap.

I also found knitsings website which is full of useful information about knitting machines but has a particularly good article on cleaning the passap so I figured I had nothing to lose and began stripping it down to clean it. It was in a mess with what felt like sand in the needle beds and the old oil sticking parts solidly together. It also had missing needles, a few missing washers on the rails, a missing extended nut off one end to fit the deco extension bed – which I still need if anyone knows where I can get one – and missing shims from in between the needle channels. It took me a week but I have stripped it completely, cleaned and rebuilt it. It wasn’t as hard as I’d anticipated but was a long tedious job cleaning hundreds of fiddly parts. While I was doing it I was still scanning ebay (I could spend a fortune!) and found some deco cards. I messaged the lady and asked if she would wait and send a combined invoice if I bid on more of her cards. She said she would and we started chatting via messages. I told her about the state of the machine and she told me she’d bought an E600 – lovely machine! Anyway, when she sent me the deco cards, they arrived with some spare needles, a bodkin and an orange, well red, tool! I think I now have everything I need, except time, to make a start on learning how to knit on this wonderful machine!

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