I recently acquired an old dubied machine with some interesting accessories I have never come across before. The accessories are pattern devices called the Super Auto Rigatore and the Super 8. Along with the pattern making device is a pattern reader which helps the user keep track of the repeating pattern.
Both pattern devices attach to the left side of the carriage and engage with the grooves of the knitting bed to work. Patterns are created via a drum. The super auto has a drum with 4 disks and the Super 8 has a drum with 8 disks. Each disk is configured with a different pattern to rotate and engage with the needles. In the image below, just under the engraved number 8 is an example of one of the pattern disks. It and 7 others are sitting on a drum which can be rotated left or right. Lets say you select disk 8, followed by disk 5, followed by disk 2, then followed by disk 1. You have just created a pattern.
Using the accessory below, you can create a record of your pattern. It is essentially a printout of your pattern which advances like a typewriter to tell you which disk to select, which row you are on and any cam changes. Ingenious.
See here how the device with your pattern written down, interacts with the pattern accessory. I have it working and will make a video soon!
These devices are capable of many type of knit structures including a variety of jacquards and fairisle.
I've included a sample I created using the Super 8. As you can see each time I move the pattern drum to activate a new disk, a new pattern is generated. I tried a basic jacquard structure here.
To begin, I start on the right hand side of my knitting, I select a pattern disk and run it and the carriage set for rib across the bed to select needles. Then on the left hand side I knit the selected needles back into position. Where the black yarn is on the sample, that is a rib knit. That is followed by a row of the cream knit in a tube.
On the back you can see alternating black and white stripes where I knit one row of rib and one row of tube. In some places I was playing around with lengthening the pattern just by adding rows of rib so that is why you see some thicker blocks of cream yarn.
The really interesting thing is how much flexibility these pattern devices would have offered the user, because they really are so ingenious. The super auto essentially selects new high butt positions for each row, which is really unique. Todays machines develops patterns through a combination of high and low butts in fixed positions and carriage cam changes.
To add to the ingeniousness of this device, you can also do some freestyle jacquard intarsia type of work. The image below shows an example. You can run the carriage across the needle bed, and select your own needles by putting them into working position thus creating your own large scale coloured designs.
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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