Category Archives: Knitting Machines

Original machine knitting patterns by Yvette Matthys-Chilcott-LaFosse, knitting machines and assorted stuff for sale, knitting machine technical information

Needle Retainer (Sponge Bar) Knitting Machine Mis-patterning

It’s a long title, and it was a longer problem. 

I was cleaning and overhauling a friend’s Brother KH891/KR850 combo.  Sadly, it had been sorely neglected and needed a lot of work.   

I removed all the needles, soaked them, then wiped them down, then inspected each one before inserting it back into the needle bed.  200 needles, 2 beds, took some time.

The needle retainer bar, or sponge bar needed replacing and a new one had been ordered and was dropped off with the machine.

Now, I’ve been machine knitting for a long time, and have replaced numerous bars, but this one was different.  It seemed to be a little tiny bit larger in width and the sponge was quite hard.  It did go in however.

Time to test the machine. 

After a few ribber adjustments the rib cast-on went well.  I transferred all the stitches to the main bed, set the stitch size to suit the yarn and knit about 20 rows. 


Punch-card time.  I test with card 1 because you can do all the stitches except lace carriage work with the one card. 

 card 1 

Set selector dial on KC, knit to the left, again, beautiful, every other needle came out to pattern.  Pushed in the tuck buttons, released the card, knit back to the right and OMG, crazy patterning.  There was no rhyme or reason to the needle set up.  I struggled for hours, checking the card reader, the bottom of the carriage, all seemed well.  

incorrect patterning

Then I took my own carriage off my 894 and tried with it.  No success.  All was fine knitting to the left, but crazy patterning when knitting to the right.  I KNOW my carriage is fine!

As a last resort I changed the needle retainer bar for one that was not so puffy.  It came from another knitting machine that I just happened to have set up, (different brand, too, so too long.

Now the machine is working properly.


This was a real brain twister for me and I’m glad I solved this problem.  However, the real problem is the fact that a new replacement part caused this.  Brother is not making knitting machines anymore, so this part is being manufactured elsewhere, and I suspect that quality control is somewhat lacking.

I wrote this post just in case any of you machine knitters that follow my blog run into the same problem.

Knitting Machines and Related Items for Sale

Please be aware that my blog does not have a “shopping cart” for these items.  Please email me at yvettechilcott(at)yahoo(dot)ca.  Copy and paste into your email, then change the (at) and (dot) for the real things.

I’ll be adding to this post and removing items as they sell, so “BOOKMARK” this page if you are interested in following it. 

AND…..if there’s an item you just can’t live without, email me.  I might just have it for you.

KX350 knitting machine

KX knitting machine carriage

KX knitting machine extra tools

Brother KX350 knitting machine for sale.  7mm needle spacing, (mid-gauge), 130 needles.   I have replaced the sponge strip,  and tested the machine.  Comes in the original box with the manual in mint condition.  Price includes a spare set of tools.  Price is $300, shipping extra.

RT1 Ribber Transfer Carriage

RT1 Ribber Transfer Carriage, used, in very good condition, original box with instructions. Fits standard gauge Singer/Studio/Silver Reed with ribbers, SRP50, 60 and 70.   $75 shipping extra $25

30 prong

30 Pin Transfer Tool, in perfect condition.  $10 shipping extra.

Hand Manipulated Stitches for Machine Knitters

Hand Manipulated Stitches for Machine Knitters by Susan Guagliumi, previously owned, but you can’t tell, it’s mint!  ($79.20 on amazon) $50, shipping extra $25

AG20 open

AG20 Intarsia Carriage for standard Gauge Singer/Studio/Silver Reed knitting machines, used, in very good condition, in box with original instructions $35 plus shipping $25

Bulky Yokes and Tab Fronts for Children

Bulky Yoke Sweaters for punchcard bulky machines, Children.  Two styles, pullover and tab-front, I have easily made these on an LK150 by hand selecting the needles. $10 plus postage

KE100 Motor Unit with Foot Pedal




Slightly used, complete with stand and foot pedal, $1000 Canadian dollars

Necklines for Singlebed Knitting Machines

v 1
mock rib
v 2

I wrote a 6 page series of hands-on lessons on neckline finishes for the single bed knitting machine.  Learning the needed skills to produce quality garments is what it’s all about.

I’ve been teaching machine knitting since the early 1980’s, and produced this lesson sheet over time.  My students thought I should publish it so others might benefit from this info.

Square neck, round necks and v necks are included, all for the single bed machine, no ribber required.

These can be knit in standard gauge, mid gauge and bulky, including the Bond frame.

Narrow Rolled Neckband Finish for a Round Neck

Sometimes a simple neck finish is best.  If you knit for children, this neck finish is quick, easy, AND comrolled neckfortable for the wearer.

First, plan ahead.

My philosophy on machine knitting is that if I have to use the stitch again, I take it off on waste yarn. So I shape my necklines by short-rowing when the instructions have me decrease every row, or every other row. Then I can take those stitches off on waste yarn, which makes this next step really easy.
Want to make it even easier? Before you knit off on waste yarn, hang the sides of the neck, those straight rows that you didn’t shape, onto the needles. Stretch it slightly. Pull those needles all the way forward, close the latches and knit one row with your main yarn.
Then knit about an inch of waste yarn, (6 to 12 rows).
Remove from the machine and join one shoulder.
With wrong side of work facing you, hang the neck stitches back onto the machine.  Pull needles forward and close latches for just the first row.
At MT-1 (main tension minus 1 full number) knit the equivalent of one inch, or however many rows you want your neckband to be.
At main tension plus 7, knit one row and link off.  If MT+7 is not possible, turn dial up to 10 and let the yarn dribble into the carriage as you knit. If this cast-off is not loose, it won’t roll nicely.
Then use your latch-tool to link off.
Steam slightly, patting into shape and encouraging the roll.  If you’d like to print this, click on the link below for a 1 page PDF of these instructions.

rolled edge for round neck

Hats in Knit-Weave on the Knitting Machine

IMG_1152Something new from my knitting machine; knit-woven hats. 

These are machine knit on a standard gauge, Brother 894 with ribber to be specific. 

Most of us have these “odd-balls” of novelty yarns hanging around.  Usually we buy them when they’re on sale, because they’re expensive.  And it takes lots of these to make anything.  Usually I buy one or two, figuring on using it as a trim.IMG_1162

By incorporating these textured yarns into knit-weave,  they go much farther.  I got 2 hats from the yarn at the right with about 4 yards left over.

The method I chose for the actual knit-weave was introduced to me in the 1980’s, first by Daphne St Just, then a few years later by Daphne’s teacher and mentor, Audrey Palmer.  This method is more about the yarns and less about the punch-card pattern.

A fairly fine yarn is used for the knitting, and a textured, or multi-coloured yarn is chosen for the weaving.

Most of the garments produced by this method have card #1, locked on the first row.  The resulting fabric is then steam pressed heavily to produce a soft draping knit fabric.

IMG_1155 IMG_1160This hat uses a fine 4-ply and a soft, textured Aran, steamed gently to soften the fabric.




This hat also uses the fine 4-ply as the base, the weaving yarn is an inexpensive variegated worsted weight, steamed as well.

Have you tried knit-weaving?  What were your results like? 

The pattern for my hats may be purchased here:


Beret Machine Knit in Worsted Weight Yarn

Just in time for more frigid weather!  This is another pattern that I came up with a few years ago, a beret knit in the round, shaped by short-rowing, then blocked to shape.

IMG_2338I’ve re-written it, adding details where required.IMG_2341

All my samples are knit on the bulky/chunky machine, but could easily be knit on a mid-gauge. 

NO ribber is required for this cute head-warmer.

Both of these samples are knit using a textured 4-ply yarn, making the purl side the correct side.

This next sample was knit in an inexpensive worsted weight acrylic, and the knit side is the outside.

IMG_2348Oh, and the wooden head block?  My late mom was very creative and made hats.  And fascinators.  And lots of other things.  That is her head form. 

And the curious tabby is Rock.

The price on this download is $1.50


Balaclava by Knitting Machine

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A balaclava /ˌbæləˈklɑːvə/, also known as a balaclava helmet or ski mask, is a form of cloth headgear designed to expose only part of the face. Depending on style and how it’s worn, only the eyes, mouth and nose, or just the front of the face are unprotected. Versions with a full face opening may be rolled into a hat to cover the crown of the head or folded down as a collar around the neck.

The name comes from their use at the Battle of Balaclava during the Crimean War, referring to a town near Sevastopol in Crimea.balaclava

I wrote the machine knit pattern for this many years ago, and have fine-tuned it ready for publishing. 

Written for standard gauge, 7 st and 10 rows per inch, or bulky gauge, 4 st and 6 rows per inch, this works up quickly and easily.  A ribber is required.

It’s a simple style that pulls over the head with the shaping done like the heel of a sock and is adult sized.

The price on this download is going up to $1.33 USF immediately to cover the 33 cent fee that paypal keeps for every transaction. 

Easy Machine Knit Mittens with Thumb Gusset Free Pattern

IMG_2178More discovery for me, a pattern I wrote years ago for beginning machine knitters, making something useful for the entire family, MITTENS!

I’ve fine tuned it, added a smaller size for tots, and a couple of pictures. 

I wrote this as a “Fill in the Blank” pattern, so print it out and circle the info for the size you want to knit. 

These are quick to knit, so if your gauge is a bit off, make another, or two more for a pair and a spare.  Then give them away.  Someone’s cold hands will thank you.  Please let me know if you make these, and if my instructions are clear.

mittens with gusset in worsted weight click for a printable PDF

Colourful Child’s Hat

colourful childs hatI taught this hat pattern as a machine knitting class back in the spring of 2000.

It’s designed for a single bed mid-gauge or chunky, but rib could be substituted for the 2 x 1 mock ribbed cuff.

My youngest stepson wore it for many years, and it looked great on him.

Since bringing all my “stuff” home when I sold Pine Ridge Knit & Sew to my daughter, I’ve been going through my notebooks and backed up files.  I found this and thought you machine knitters might like it.

The price on this download is going up to $1.33 USF immediately to cover the 33 cent fee that paypal keeps for every transaction. 

I’d love some feedback, did you knit it, are you going to knit it, do the instructions make any sense?

email me at yvettechilcott at

Converting Stitch and Row Gauge in Knitting

“Knitting THAT sweater in YOUR Yarn”

How many times have you found the perfect sweater pattern in a magazine or pattern book, and then have been unable to match the stitch and/or row gauge? You know, that doesn’t mean you can’t knit it. All you need to know is the “Conversion Formula”, and have an accurate tension swatch in the yarn you wish to use.

When determining the gauge of your swatch, use the same factor as the written pattern, i.e. stitches/rows to 1″, stitches/rows to 4″, stitches/rows per cm, or stitches/rows to 10 cm.

A simple hand held calculator will be very helpful to calculate two necessary “Conversion Formulas”. You will use one or both of these to re figure your pattern.

The Stitch Converter
Take your stitch gauge, divide it by their stitch gauge and the answer is the Stitch Convertor. Use up to 2 decimal points. For example; say you are getting 29.5 stitches to 4 inches and the pattern calls for 28 stitches for 4 inches. Divide yours (29.5) by theirs (28) and the answer (stitch convertor) is 1.0535714. We’ll round that to 1.05 (2 decimal points is enough)

How do we use it?
If the pattern calls for 140 stitches, multiply their # (140) by the stitch convertor (1.05) and the answer is 147. Because the pattern uses an even number, we’ll round up to the next even number, 148. So you’ll cast on 148 stitches.

The Row Convertor
Take your row gauge, divide it by their row gauge and the answer is the Row Convertor. It is used the same way as the Stitch Convertor.

Shaping is not so simple, but by using common sense, and a few basic rules, you’ll be fine.

Just remember, round necklines are shaped by “most first, then less, less and less”.

V neckline shaping is a smooth line, with about 1 inch unshaped before the top of the neck.

Sleeves are narrow at the bottom and shaped rather evenly up the length. The shaping of a set in sleeve is more complicated, but use your Stitch and Row conversions to work the math.

Click on the words below for a printable PDF

stitch and row convertor

So, does it make sense?  Will you use it?  Please let me know……