Lately I've had some blog and PM queries about the differences between hand flat knitting machine brands, as well as between knitting carriages, capabilities and how to decipher the inscriptions on knitting machines. Its all very nitty gritty and technical but if you are a buyer looking to get the 'right' machine then nitty gritty is pretty important. I thought we'd start with machine bed inscriptions.
Machine bed inscriptions are engraved sets of information located on the front left of the metal needle bed. They designate: model #, needle bed length (usually in centimetres) and gauge # expressed in either metric or English.
So model#, bed length, and gauge. Lets start with model #. Some Dubied models are MM, MR, NF2, NHF2, N4, NF4, NHF4
(some other brands of machine are: Santagostino, Cabo, Protti, Cabo and Stoll).
In the case of Dubied's, the M series were made in the 1930's and 40's they were simpler machines with very little patterning ability. The N series were produced in the late 1940's onwards. They had the ability to slip or tuck certain stitches based upon a more complex carriage configuration. The N signified the model line, the HF signified the ability to slip and tuck with particular carriage cams and the 2 or 4 signified the number of yarns the machine was capable of changing using yarn holders.
Machine bed length and gauge:
Metric guage indicates the distance between needles in tenths of a millimetre and English gauge indicates the number of needles per inch. English gauge is the most common expression of gauge used in industrial knitting parlance today. Metric is commonly found on pre-1940's knitting machines so sometimes converting gauge measures becomes necessary. Gauge can be expressed as 32 metrically or 8 needles per inch in English gauge as seen in the chart below.
Some common knitting bed lengths are 120cm and 100cm. 120cm long beds are great for wider projects or larger size panels.
I've also got some fun pictures from another set of Lavori Di Maglieria. Enjoy!
Anna is a Hamilton based knitwear and textile practitioner blogging about her collection development as well as pre-1950's knitwear technology.
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