Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Doesn't Travel Well

One of the things that I have learned is that my CSM doesn't travel well. Once I have it set up at home after a few socks, I have my machine humming.

Well, Maker Faire was fun, but my ribber just wasn't cooperating. Fortunately, Sarah's Legare 400 was and we were able to demonstrate ribbing.

But I have a few socks to whip out for various swaps I made, so I have to get those done right away.

I set up the machine with the ribber & needles. Turn the crank - the ribber needles were tilting and hanging up the knitting.

Troubleshooting time.

My tappet plate had slipped down which means that I had to set everything back up.

What do I mean about the tappet plate slipping?

Look at this sketch:

Everything labeled H is actually a part of the tappet plate. G is the Ribber Dial, and J is the ribber Arm.

H9 is actually a long smooth dowel that keeps all three items together. The dial (G) needs to be snug with the tappet plate (H). You do this by making sure they're snug before you tighten the screw at the top (J3).

My screw has a way of loosening during travel - which in turn makes the tappet plate and dial loose. If they're loose, then the butts of the ribber needles will tilt because the weight on the knitting will bring the front of the needle down.

So, I tightened it.

Set up the needles and cranked.

Still not cranking easily.

So I look at the timing. Sure enough, the cylinder needles were knitting before the ribber needles - so I adjusted it by loosening the timing screw (H1) and sliding it around in the slot (H2) until each needle was knitting in turn.

Set up the needles and cranked.

Still getting tilted needles.

So I put my machine aside for a few days (I did all this on Monday) to think why would this still be doing this?

Tappet/Dial snug? - check
Timing good? - check

I just couldn't think about why some of the needles would still be tilting. The ribber needles would tilt before the hook of the needle would grab the yarn.


That means that there is too much weight on the ribber needle. But I need that weight - and the cylinder needles seem to be knitting just fine.

Which brings me to tension. I remembered that in order to demonstrate the tension on my machine, I would dial it up really high to show tight tension, then dial it really low to show loose tension.

Sure enough when I looked at my cylinder tension, it was dialed super high. So this is what I think is happening.

The cylinder needles are tensioned too tightly because once the fabric knits, there's not enough give in the yarn. So looking at a 1 x 1 rib, I'd have a tight tensioned cylinder needle, a normal tensioned ribber needle, and a tight tensioned cylinder needle. I think what is happening is that once the rib is made, the yarn tries to reach some type of tension equilibrium, which means that the rib needle ends up getting more weight distributed to it after knitting the fabric. At least that's what I THINK may be happening.

I'll have to play with this some more. . .

If it seems like I'm obsessing - I am. When I felt Sarah's Legare 400 with the ribber set up, it wasn't hard to turn the crank and it just purred. I want my machine to sound/feel like that and I think I can achieve it. It's just a matter of finding the right settings.

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