CSM Info

Circular Sock Machine Information (Demonstration given at Stitches West 2013)

What is it?
Circular Sock Machines were developed around the turn of the century.  They are very much like flat bed knitting machines but the needles are arranged on a cylinder and you turn a crank to knit a tube.  You can knit a flat piece of fabric by turning the crank back and forth.  They became very popular during WWI when women were encouraged to knit socks for the troups.

Why use it?
With practice you can knit a pair of socks in about an hour.  You can knit other accessories as well, like mitts, hats, scarves and legwarmers.  It's the perfect way to consume all that handpainted sock yarn and have a variety of accessories made with a simple turn of a crank.

How can I learn more about it?
There are many groups both on Yahoo and Ravelry.  Just go to http://groups.yahoo.com/ or http://www.ravelry.com/groups and search for "circular sock machine".  I've written a few blog posts on my sock machine adventures, machines I've become aquainted with and items I knit on them.  I usually label them csm.

Where can I get one?
There are currently  2 manufacturers.
NZAK, come from New Zealand, the model I used in my demonstration, the Quiknit was made here: http://www.autoknitter.com/
There is also Erlbacher Gearhart available here: http://stores.erlbachergearhart.com/
Antique machines can be generally found on eBay.  Search for "circular sock machine".
(caveat: machines found on eBay vary.  When buying a machine consider what your main goal is, if you want to futz with the machine then the market is wide open for you, however if you want to make socks then buy from a reputable dealer, join a group, ask questions, the machine should be shown from multiple views, with knitting and ribbing on it -- best of luck!)
Showing off the Quiknit

More pictures of the Quiknit here.

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