It is necessary to understand how the carriage works and what the different settings do. Without this knowledge, it will be difficult to knit without frustration. If something goes wrong, you need to know why and how to fix it. Experiment with the carriage so that you can see what effect the different settings have on the needles. The information presented here is mainly for Singer/Studio machines.
A or NWP - needles are pushed to the back of the needlebed in Non-Working Position
B or WP - needles are pulled up level with the sinker posts/gate pegs into Working Position
C (D on Brother) or UWP - needles are pulled up so that their latches are just passed the sinker posts in Upper Working Position
D (E on Brother) or HP - needles are pulled all the way up into Hold Position
Set the machine for basic knitting as follows: Set the carriage - side levers both to the circle, intarsia levers both to 1, russel levers both to II, weaving brushes both up, and cam lever to knit (center setting). Set the punchcard stop knob to the circle and the row counter lever to the triangle. [Brother Holding Cam to N, no cam buttons pushed in, Change Knob to N-L.]
• Note that on Singer/Studio machines, the circle means not working and the triangle means working. [Brother, N means normal.]
To experiment, remove the sinker plate assembly from your knitting machine carriage by unscrewing the two large knobs just enough to pull the assembly off.
1. Pull the center 40 stitches to B position. Pass the carriage from side to side. Notice how the needles in A position are never moved throughout this experiment, because, they are in non-working position. Notice how the needles in B or working position move in a wave pattern when the carriage is passed over them. This is how the stitches are knit.
Pull some or all of the needles to C or upper working position and pass the carriage over them. Now pull some or all of the needles to D or hold position and pass the carriage. Notice how the needles bought to these positions are always bought out in the wave pattern and returned to B or working position.
• This means that if you move a needle to a higher position when fixing a mistake or to help the carriage knit over them, the stitches with be knit and the needles returned to working position for the next row.
2. Set the carriage cam lever to the S or slip position. [Brother, both Part buttons pushed in.] Pass the carriage over the needles in B or working position. Notice that they do not move. When the carriage is set to slip, the working position needles are slipped over. Pull some needles to C position and pass the carriage. Pull some needles to D position and pass the carriage. Notice that needles bought to these positions are knit and returned to B or WP position.
• Setting the cam to slip will allow you to move the carriage from one side to the other without knitting. This is called a free pass and all the needles must be in B or WP position first. On the Singer 700, the release lever can also be used to free pass the carriage.
3. Set the cam lever back to knit position and set the russel levers both to I. [Brother, Holding Cam to H and use Cam Button Release Lever to return Part buttons out.] Pass the carriage over the B or WP position needles and they will all move in the wave. Pull some needles to C or UWP and pass the carriage. The needles will wave and knit back to B position (unless you pulled them too far forward). Pull some needles to D or hold position and pass the carriage. These needles will have remained in hold position.
• This is used when you want to knit over some needles but not others. This setting is used for shaping. This could also be used to free pass the carriage from side to side if all the needles were in D or hold position first.
4. With the carriage on the right-hand side of the needlebed, set the left russel lever to II and leave the right at I. [Brother, Hold Cam to N, right Part button in so needles only wave going right to left.] Pass the carriage to the left and back to the right over B or WP needles. Notice that they knit or wave in both directions. Pull some needles to C or UWP and pass the carriage to the left. Notice that the needles knit and returned to work position. Pull some needles to C or UWP and pass the carriage to the right. Notice that the needles knit and returned to work position (unless you pulled them too far forward).
Now pull some needles to D or HP and pass the carriage to the left. Notice that the needles knit and returned to B or work position. Pull some needles to D or HP and pass the carriage to the right. The D or HP needles should have remained in hold position while the rest of the needles knit or waved. This is because the right russel lever was set to I which is the holding position. The left russel lever was set to II which is the knitting position. [Brother, all needles will wave and return to work position unless the Holding Cam is set to H.]
Try this experiment again with the left russel lever set to I and the right russel lever set to II. The D or hold position needles should knit down when the carriage is moved to the right but be held in D position when the carriage is moved to the left.
• The needles are affected by the "leading" russel lever, the one that reaches them first, and are not affected by the second one. Setting the russel levers to different positions is useful when patterning manually. When free passing the carriage over D or HP needles, it is necessary to change only the leading russel lever.
1. Set the cam lever to tuck and pass over WP needles. Notice that the waving needles do not come up as far as when the cam lever is set to knit. [Brother has 2 tuck buttons so can tuck in 1 direction or both.]
2. Pulling needles to C or D positions when patterning could result in plain knit stitches instead of patterned stitches. Needles should not be pulled up during patterning unless you want plain stitches to occur. Return C/UWP or D/HP needles to B or WP position with a transfer tool.
3. When casting on by e-wrapping or crocheting, pull all the working needles to D or HP with the russel levers both set to II or knit position to help knit the stitches off the needles. [Brother Hold Cam to N.]
4. It will also help to put the weaving brushes down for 5-10 rows until the weights are hung. The weaving brushes will help knit the stitches off the needles.
© Eileen Montgomery 1996-2003-2010