As I keep exploring this machine and it’s capabilities, I learn new things everyday. I don’t like the yarn holder very much, I prefer having a stationary tension mast. There is a colour changer for this machine that uses this system. I also don’t like centre pull balls, they don’t really work well, I much prefer the yarn to flow from the outside (like coned yarns) this provides a much smoother feed.
I did take the bed apart and gave it a good scrub. It’s very simple really, nothing too complex there. The re-assembling was very easy as well. Putting back the spring sinkers take a bit of time, but it’s not difficult at all. There is a fork like tool which they provide for this purpose. Unlike the older versions of this knitting system, there is no cord or braid for the keeping the needles in place. A long spring is used for this purpose (much like what is used in the Superba and Passap machines).
How tightly one screws on the front rail determines how easily the needles move. I discovered if it’s screwed on too tightly, the needles are more resistant to easy movement, so I just screwed it back on snugly and everything is fine. If ever the spring gets damaged and a replacement can’t be found, I think cord or braid will work just fine too.
So far so good, I really like it. However, I have to find another way to tension the yarn. Anyone have a colour changer for this machine they would like to part with? 🙂
As I continue to explore the Knittax AM 3, I am amazed at how simple the mechanism is! Look at this picture of the underneath of the main bed carriage (in Knittax language, it’s called the Slide or Cam Box).
The other unique feature of this machine is there are no clamps, they main bed (and when the ribber is attached) just sits on rubberized felt pads that stop the machine from moving, while it works well, I am not entirely sure it will hold up always. I still prefer machines to be clamped to the table.
The ribber clamps on very easily, it just slides into these sockets on the main bed, no adjustments needed.
The ribber is unique and limited in what it can do, the needles are set up EON, it does not rack from side to side and can only do in odd numbers, i.e 1×1, 1×3, 1×5 etc. In addition it can do fisherman’s rib and two others. While not the most modern of ribbers, what it does do, it does VERY WELL. The ribbing is nice, firm and very elastic. Also, it has the benefit of not having any tension adjustments which is nice, since there is no guessing what number to use.
Here is a picture of the set of pattern wheels that come with the machine. There were a few accessories made for the Knittax as well, such as a 3 colour changer, a weaving arm and a reversing bar for easy turning of hems and to turn the knitting for garter stitch, a precursor to the garter bar for other machines.
As with every machine there are few quirks, and I find I need to learn a new way of increasing and decreasing, it’s the same as with most machines, with a slight variation. However, all in all I really like this machine.
I had seen the previous versions of this Knittax AM3, called Knittax 4500 I believe. I never really paid much attention until I heard the knitting was accomplished without weights. “What, no weights????”, I was intrigued immediately. As I have mentioned before, I HATE USING COMBS AND WEIGHTS! I find them cumbersome, annoying and I don’t care what anyone says, they do distort the knitting and the gauge, not to mention having to calculate how many to use etc. leaves me feeling really overwhelmed! Sorry if others disagree but I can’t stand them.
This machine knits beautifully and it ribs without WEIGHTS! Yes, you heard correct, it does ribbing without weights. The system uses a sinker spring mechanism, which have hooks on the bottom of the sinkers that grab onto the old stitches and keep them down while knitting the new stitches. It’s quite nifty, and I am not explaining it very well at all. I love it! And to top that off, it patterns as well, not with punchcards or electronics, but with some buttons and these pattern wheels that are placed under the carriage, which are then operated by pushing down on this knob that sits above the tension dial. Very, very nifty!
It comes with many pattern cards and each wheel is capable of many different patterns. Tuck stitches are especially impressive, and you can tuck many rows without any dropping stitches etc, It’s really quite something. As I keep playing with the machine, I will post samples what the different kinds of stitches it can achieve.
I am not particularly keen on the yarn holder, just because I don’t like having to wind up balls of yarn, I prefer to knit from cones. However, it works very well and knitting can be done using both methods, either from the yarn holder or by laying the yarn over the needles and knitting back , which I can see being very useful, like knitting both sleeves at the same time (okay not all sleeves, but most sleeves can be done).
I will post more pictures of the machine as time permits.