Thursday, June 16, 2011

My tricked-out LK!

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 but it’s close enough that it does work!
Hope this helps and answers your questions.
-Mary Anne


My One and Only said...

Dear Mary Ann. How interesting! My very first machine was Brother KX350, you know, kinda lighter version of LK150. It has no fun gadgets though.
But I did like it. Now for the hobby machine I got Knitmaster HK160, 6.5mm. Truly love it! Also, Jerry from Needle-Tek fixed the broken carriage (at the Pacifically Passap) - now I can fly!
You mentioned KR11. That's interesting! How does it work with LK150? I think my machine is relative to Silver Reed machines. You think it would work on HK160? Thank you,

Tess said...

Do you know where I can get the LW1 weaving tool for the LK150? I'm willing to pay well for it. It's my understanding that they are not made anymore but I REALLY want one. Please email @
Thanks Tess