Needles for Miles

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Well, I actually got two via Craigslist. One is a Brother KH-230 and KR-230 ribber and the other is a Brother KH-830 and KR-830 ribber. The 230 is a bulky with no patterning – very basic. The 830 is a standard with punchcard patterning. There are also two four-color yarn changers and a Knitleader (a system where you can draw your pattern onto graph paper — essentially). They came with some of the manuals and two coursework books on the machine and ribber. I also found a zillion books and manuals online and got a neat book on hand techniques for the machine from Jordan for my birthday last month.

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Deteriorated spongebar

I spent a big chunk of the weekend cleaning the 830. It was sitting at least ten years in storage and is almost 40 years old to begin with. I replaced the sponge bar with weather stripping and cleaned all the needles. Some of the mechanisms were stuck. But, nothing a all-purpose machine oil and Tri Flow couldn’t fix.

Both machines are older and more basic than later versions that came out. But, they are perfect to learn on.

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Replacement sponger using weather stripping from the hardware store


With 200 needles I got really tired really fast of putting them all back in the machine after their denatured spirits soaking. So, I got Jordan to help.

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With a clean machine, I’m ready to get started with lessons. Well, first my instructor is going to look over the machines and see if there are any other problems or repairs I need to make.

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  1. PUNCH CARDS????!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I actually had a really interesting discussion with one of my friends who studies the history of science about punch cards for weaving machines and their role as inspiration in early computing.

    Have fun with your new toy!

  2. I have a Toyota knitting machine and ribber, which I bought new over 30 years ago. Last year I took it out of very long term storage (20+years) and cleaned etc. I had to replace both sponge bars. Fortunately, it was well cared for so it’s working okay but there are no spares available if I need anything in the future; can’t get needles. I haven’t had time to use it because I took up sewing as new hobby! No classes etc available. Looking forward to seeing your makes. I fancied knitting fabric (using Toyota’s Simulknit) and sewing garment from it; cut and sew. Enjoy your new hobby.

  3. Congratulations! Very good choice. I can’t wait to see your knitted projects!

  4. Weird coincidence! Just this weekend, I took home husband’s grandma’s old knitting machine and various attachments. It’s a Brother KH-910 and I have no idea where to start haha.

    • Lucky duck! I have shied away from purchasing an electronic machine for fear of the electronics going down. But, I would happily take one given to me, lol. The first thing you should do is replace the spongebar / needle retaining bar. The second thing you should do is clean all the needles by taking them out, soaking them in one of several suggestions you can find on line. After you at least replace the spongebar, you can give it a whirl! But, multiple people told me no to try and run the machine without replacing the bar first, that I could damage the needles.

      Let the adventures begin, eh?

      On Wed, May 13, 2015 at 8:42 AM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:


  5. I am so jealous! I seriously want one of these – and moreover, I want to know how to make gorgeous, RTW-weight cashmere sweaters for less than 250 bucks a pop. Can’t wait to read more about this. You might provide me with the confidence I am currently working up to 🙂

  6. How fun! I purchased a very old but in great condition floor loom almost two years ago which seems hard to believe that much time has gone by. Had always wanted a floor loom but they were kinda pricey… then ran onto this one one Craigslist for a great price. You gotta love Craigslist. Can’t wait to see what you make! I promised myself I would not grow a stash of yarn as large as my fabric stash LOL. So far I am keeping my promise but oh it would be so easy. You should go to any fibers shows that come up in your area. The hand spun yarns at the fibers shows are to die for!

    • I also swore my yarn stash would in no way rival my fabric stash. My teacher has told me not to buy any. That she has over 1,000 pounds of yarn and she’d provide what I need for now. Whew. We do have a local fiber fair. It’s called Maryland Sheep and Wool and luckily, it was two weeks ago. So I’m safe for another year!

      On Wed, May 13, 2015 at 3:36 PM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:


  7. oooh – I’m jealous. How did you find a teacher? It never occurred to me that one could take lessons in machine knitting, but its makes a lot of sense.

    • Lots and lots of googling! I came up with three people. An instructor at our local arts college, an owner of a fabric store about 40 minutes from me and then finally someone just 15 minutes away. I got her number by calling up a number of someone in a neighboring county who owned a fabric store. She’d since moved to Fla but told me she knew someone in Baltimore who taught. I got her name, googled her number and now I take my first lesson on May 30!

      On Wed, May 13, 2015 at 6:52 PM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:


  8. Ooh. I can’t wait to see what you make. This is going to be awesome!! (<- that "awesome" needs to be read in the kind of melodramatic singsong voice that a character from a popular high school drama might use)

    • Heee heee! Yes. It is going to be awesome. At least I hope it will!

      On Wed, May 13, 2015 at 7:35 PM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:


  9. How exciting! I’ll be watching your progress, you may inspire me to take this up as a new hobby.

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