Sunday, February 13, 2011

The $120 Dishcloth

I was excited to start exploring the new Singer 155 last week. I tried to be patient though, LOL. On Monday (or maybe Tuesday?), I got a chance to sit down with an online version of the manual and tried casting on. The manual showed a way I wasn't familiar with, the weaving cast on. I could not get it to work! I moved on to trying the standard ravel cord cast on, which did work. But it was really hard pushing the carriage. I had it on T6 and kept loosening the tension, right up to T10, and it was still very hard. I looked at my swatch later, and found it had 22st/4" difference from T6 to T10 :(

We replaced the sponge bar that night. Oh, was it gross. Ever seen foam go gooey? It was tight getting the new one back in. The needles had been flush on the bed, but I knew the old "sponge" bar was toast. I tried another swatch, with the same results. At one point, I had to give the carriage a good push, and I know I also tried turning the stitch selector dial. I remember hearing a noise or something, at some point. I don't know if that was at the start, or later on, or if that even was the cause...

I took the carriage off the rails, and turned it over. I turned the tension dial, and nothing happened! I took the Singer 327 carriage off, and turned it over. It was pretty much just a smaller version, but when I turned the tension dial, arms underneath moved, and when I turned the stitch selector, other things happened. Flippers flipped and arms moved and it all seemed so complex.
I spent some time spraying some silicone spray into it, underneath. After some time, things moved a bit. When Rob got home, he played with it, and used some penetrating spray. Things loosened up more, but it was still not right. We planned to take it to his father the next night.

The next morning, I opened my email, and there was a message from a woman who thought I needed the service manual, and sent me a link to her Photobucket site where she has scanned a TON of old patterns and manuals. A service manual!! I took a look through it, and it showed how to take the carriage apart! Starting with removing the handle and tension selector, and cover...I thought I could just take that off, to get Rob started....I just couldn't help myself! I didn't take anything more apart, but I could at least spray it some it moving better.

After awhile, I tried putting the stitch selector dial back on, and try it again. It would not go into tuck stitch. It just wouldn't. It wasn't that it was stiff, it just wouldn't go! I looked very carefully inside and watched how the little bits moved as the stitch selector went around. Fascinating! Little notches hitting guide levers that moved other things...But...something was getting hung up between slip stitch and tuck stitch.

I finally figured out what it was! It doesn't show up on the schematic, but here it is:See the little upside down J pieces, one facing left, one facing right? Underneath those levers are matching ones. You can see in the picture that the lower left one is bent over onto its side!!! It was jamming into the stitch selector cam!!

I put the stitch selector back on before Rob got home but he wasn't pleased I had started without him, LOL. I was so pleased with myself! He carefully bent it back up, put the cam back in, lubed it more, and it was working! It was stiff to go into tuck stitch, but it didn't feel like the carriage would crack in two.

I set out to try another swatch. I could tell right away that the tension arms were working! I put in a fair isle card, and wow! how wonderful! I wish my yarns had better contrast--they did as two separate balls! Then I tried a tuck stitch card. Mmm. It was doing slip stitch. Rob came down and wiggled it, and pushed it a bit harder than me, LOL. And look...there's tuck stitch! It looks so BIG compared to doing it on the standard gauge!I had a million ideas for the inaugural project. I had a bunch of pattern sheets for a variety of things, including slippers, which I need. I started out trying the pattern. There was no indication of size, except as "small, medium, large". I gave the large a try. It was the same pattern I had tried before but didn't like...where you short row down, out for the heel, then down and outwards again for the toe, then repeat for the inside. I liked the pattern that did the heel, then a long section straight, then the toe. I did the outside, but stopped before doing the inside so I could take a look at the sizing. I didn't want to continue. There were still many other projects I wanted to try, but opted for my favourite dishcloth: Isn't it lovely?! Sure, I could make it on the KnitSmart, or the LK150...but this is a "real" machine!
Why is it the $120 dishcloth? Well, I've made two projects so far, so it's the machine cost divided by two, LOL!


Susan said...

could you please put me in contact with the person who has the manual, i think i need to look at it too.
thanks, Susan a/k/a grammiesnowbird

Jennifer said...

Man I'm going to contact YOU if my machines give me problems- I'd be scared to start taking things apart LOL (though my hubby would want to and I'd try to stop him so he wouldn't break it). I'm still trying to wrap my head around the dishcloth being knit on a machine...Every one of your posts reminds me I must. get. my. machines. out. of. their. boxes!

TracyKM said...

Everyone loves those dishcloths! It's done with short rows, so you do end up having to graft the start and end, but it's only 15 sts.