Monday, July 25, 2011

what's in a number?

When I’m at a seminar, I usually advise people to purchase a new needle number strip for their machine - well, actually I tell them that I use a strip from a punch card machine - why? because I find it easier to position my stitch patterns on the machine from the punch card strip. On electronic machines, they just give you the centre and then count the 10’s out to the edges. It’s like you’re supposed to know everything. And I guess the real reason for this is that on an electronic machine, the stitch repeat can be virtually any number and it can be positioned to start anywhere you want. On a 24-st punch card machine the 24 stitch repeat is set across the needle bed, centring the 24 stitches at zero, between 12 left and 12 right and it cannot be changed. On punch card machines, the needle strip has not only the 24-st repeats laid out across the needle bed, but the halves are marked as well, so, you can very easily see where the pattern match will be at the edges or at the centre and you can decide to add a few extra stitches (or less) to make that match. It also has a nice little inverted vee above #21 on each side to remind you when making a tension swatch that’s the needle to hang the yarn mark on! It doesn’t get much better!!
The past few things I’ve made on my electronic Silver Reed, I’ve had a hard time figuring out where to put things and I realized that the ‘0’ is worn off my top strip - looking a little closer, the strip on the ribber is in tatters!! It’s not that important, but it would be nice to have an even edge on it!!
I changed mine - what a treat!
Make sure to get the proper one for your brand of machine - they differ slightly between Silver Reed and Brother - although they are interchangeable and you could use either one and it wouldn’t really matter, if you’re used to the Brother strip, the number is in a slightly different position from Silver Reed as the SR number is on the outside of the needle (away from zero) and on Brother, the number  is 2 digits, one on either side of the needle. The Brother 970 has yellow on one side and green on the other and I’ve always had a hard time reading the yellow numbers especially. As you can see, the  Silver Reed punch card strip is in this nice bright red - so easy to see! In the photo below, the red strip is for the main bed - the diamonds indicate the 24-st widths; the ‘X’ is the half pattern. Another really cool feature of this strip - you won't be able to see it here (if you click on the top photo to enlarge it, you might be able to see the space), but the outside edge is clear so it makes a line where the white starts that is about 1/8 inch from the edge and that gives me a spot that when I'm manually knitting a loose row, I pull the end of the needle back past to measure the size of stitch... The grey number strip is the electronic one and just fine for the ribber - you never really count stitches on the ribber anyway. You be the judge which one you want.
One last tip: put a tiny dab of glue under the strip at each end  and one in the centre to hold it in place, making sure you have it centred first, of course!! And I don't have to tell you to let it dry before using...

1 comment:

Irisha said...

Very useful info! Thank you, Mary Anne