I got this cute email the other day:
Dear Mary Anne, I had a question I hope you could find time to answer. I follow your columns in Knit N Style magazine, and notice you use the LK150 for your featured projects. I wondered if you do anything to your LK150 to "beef" it up?
I've heard of people putting stronger magnets on the bottom of the carriage, so I wondered if you had any similar mods to your machine? My LK150 seems kind of cheap and flimsy after knitting on steel bed machines so maybe it’s just a matter of getting used to the different feel of a plastic machine.
Thanks and keep up the good work, I look forward to the wonderful projects you come up with.
Sincerely, Linda J
Hi Linda, I use the LK150 for KnS because I want to show hand knitters what they could do with a machine and I know they are not ready for standard gauge garments! By taking the same yarns they use with sticks, I can produce a garment they can relate to and want to make, rather than the finer knits we, as machine knitters, are used to - hand knitters look at them and say’ ‘that looks store-bought’ and they make it sound like not a good thing, if you know what I mean.
The only 'mods' I have on my LK is a second row counter (when doing a hand-manipulated pattern I use one to keep track of the pattern rows and the other to keep track of the garment rows) and a second tension mast/assembly (for 2 or 3 colour work and then you always have waste yarn ready - I do this on my other machines too) - otherwise, I think it's perfect the way it is.
As for the magnet thing I haven't heard this and don't know what it would do - I would be leery of making a change like that - but notice, I do stick with light DK to DK weight yarn, maybe occasionally a worsted weight but nothing heavier (I’d use a bulky machine for the thicker stuff). I like yarns that knit in the T3 to T5 or 6 range and I think that is optimum for the LK150. You are right - there is a big difference between a metal bed and the plastic machine (my son used to call it my ‘fisher price knitter’!), but when you stick within that range, it is lovely and a pleasure to use (especially when the foam strip/needle retainer is good!), in my opinion!! Also, notice the heavier the yarn, the more weight you will need for it to knit properly. I am lucky in that I do have all the ‘toys’ for my little baby - an intarsia carriage, the fairisle carriage, the 8 st-needle selector, a weaving tool, 9/18-st EON tools and the old garter bar (nah-nah-na-na-nah!!) and of course, my favourite accessory, the KR11 knit contour. When I was at the North Carolina seminar in May, I was totally excited to find an adjustable 7-prong tool that the dealer told me was a 6.5mm gauge and I scooped it up. It turned out to be a 7mm tool from http://www.dknits.com/ but it’s close enough that it does work!
Hope this helps and answers your questions.