Neglected Toys

The past two years have been extremely busy, leaving me with little time to play. For that matter, there is plenty of work that hasn’t happened either… but that’s not what I’m thinking about at the moment.

Somewhere in the midst of the hectic days, I was having my car maintenance done in my home town. To bide my time, I wandered to the local thrift shop, where I found something that was a curious treasure – a sock knitting machine.

Harmony Auto-Knitter

(Click pix to enlarge)

Although I was quick to recognize the contraption, I knew absolutely nothing about it. However, it was too tempting not to adopt, so I paid the price and wedged its cast iron body, firmly attached to the splayed legs of its tripod, into my borrowed car and drove off smiling. And that’s as far as the romance went. Once it arrived home, I stuck it in a somewhat out of the way corner, complete with the makeshift cover, and I didn’t touch it again for what must be close to two years.

I knew a bit of its pedigree and had high hopes for it. Although there was no manual, it belonged to a lady I’d known. She sold knitting machines and the necessary yarn, I’d frequented her in-home shop, which was just around the corner from our newlywed home over a quarter of a century earlier. The CSM (circular sock machine) looked well tended, but it was also jammed, most likely by curious shoppers who couldn’t resist the turn of a crank. Let’s face it – who could walk past this without wanting to see what happens?

Close up of machine

Recently, a post in one of my Yahoo groups, combined with my awakened passion for knitting, brought my neglected toy to mind, and I started doing a little bit of exploration, aided by two very nice ladies who don’t know me from Adam, but were brought to me by the ever wondrous magic of the internet. Instead of knowing nothing, I can safely say I only know next to nothing now – great step upward! What I have is a Harmony Auto-Knitter, a well regarded 1982 green model. It has a ribber, and is equipped with a 60 needle cylinder. And it came with a fascinating, but somewhat baffling assortment of tools.

Tool kit

I have delicately worked to remove the yarn jam, and the crank turns quite nicely. I still believe the machine has been well cared for, but I was quite shocked to see the amount of dust revealed by the larger than life photos. (Does this mean I need new glasses?) I must confess, I really enjoyed taking pictures of it tonight. I don’t often find myself with a mechanical subject, and it was a great change of pace. Now, for my next trick, I’m going to see if I can make a slide show of the photos…

Okay, now that was definitely too much fun! On a more serious note, I’m putting these photos into my Flickr album, too. Keeping in mind that I know very little about what I have, I would truly appreciate it if people in the know would leave me some helpful comments and advice either here or there. The photos are all numbered, and quite frankly, I have no idea what most of the things are at this point! One thing that doesn’t show well is the metal piece that is shaped rather like a jet plane and stuck on the vertical pole. I understand it has something to do with carrying the yarn, but right now I’m more interested in getting it under control. As soon as I start to turn the crank, it shimmies down, much like the cage on a Mousetrap game, and impedes any further movement. Sometimes the carriage tries to snatch up a bit of the little wire protruding from this device. I’m wondering why the counter isn’t registering passes, curious about the lucite horse’s head in the one photo, and puzzled as to why there is a swivel bar that can be moved into a position that prevents cranking entirely. What might I be missing in regard to parts and tools? And what do I do with the ones I own? I know some of these questions will most likely be answered when I sit and study the online copy of the antique Auto-Knitter manual, but there is also a lot to be said for personal advice – and I’m surely open to hearing some!

Published in: on March 7, 2008 at 9:41 am  Comments (2)  
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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. There is some great sock machine cleaning information (a great first step for an old machine) on … and I have posted a list of resources for sock machine stuff on my blog, here:

  2. Super info – thanks!

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