Friday, March 28, 2014

MK Tutorial: The Garter Bar

Ah yes, today we learn a little bit about the garter bar- that tool which gave me nightmares until it made my knitting machine dreams come true!

I have an old-fashioned garter bar that I purchased on e-bay a few months back after not realizing that there was a difference between transfer combs and garter bars.  You live, you learn. This kit is a couple of decades old, but is in pristine condition.  Sadly, it came with sparse instructions in Japanese and German.  I do speak and read German, but the technical nature of the writing made it a bit tough.  So, after a bit of internet researching, deciphering the 1970's mimeographed illustrations and instructions, and a bit of trial and error, I photographed my process to share with you all.  It's also here to remind me how to use it in case I need a mental refresher.  Here goes...


Note: I'm using an Empisal Knitmaster 324 and a Brother Garter Bar so the conventions of my machine and garter bar may not be the same for yours.  I've used terms that make sense to me to describe parts of the garter bar, but they are not official terminology by any means.

The garter bar has two sides: one side has all bumps, the other side has all grooves.

1. Place working needles in D position with sts past the needle bed's sinker posts.  Place the needle stop over the working needles, over the sinker posts, but behind the sts of the work. Open all the latches of the working needles.  Place the garter bar onto the needle hooks with the groove/ditch side up


2. Lift the garter bar so it's parallel with the working needles.


3. Use the live sts to close each needle's latch over each garter bar tine.


4.  Slide the live sts over the garter bar tines, past the "waist line" of each tine.


5. Release the yarn from the carriage, and use a clothespin to secure it to the garter bar.
Set the carriage so the Russel Levers do NOT knit the needles in D position.
Remove the claw weights from the work, and then remove the garter bar from the needles with live sts still attached.
Next, remove the needle stop from the needle bed and push the carriage to the opposite side. Breathe.



7. Replace the needle stop over the working needles.  Turn the garter bar bump side up with the knitting work on top.


8. Open all the latches.  Make sure the garter bar is parallel with the working needles, and place the openings of each tine over the latches.  Remove clothespin. All the sts must be as far from the tine openings as possible (behind the waistline of each tine) before you proceed.


9. Push down gently on the garter bar, and slide it toward you.  Keep the garter bar as even with the needles as possible.  Here's the magical part... Each needle's hook should catch the underside of a single stitch.


Check the needles from above.  Every needle has a stitch?  Yay!  You're ready to move on!


10.  Replace the yarn in the carriage.  Remove the garter bar. Remove the needle guard.  Push the sts back into working position. Replace the weights on your knitting and knit 1 row in garter stitch!


Phew!  You did it!


Rinse and repeat as necessary.

2 comments:

Pat Olsen said...

Looks so easy the way you show it.

Adri H. said...

:D Hopefully this tutorial helps people use these wonderful tools!