Saturday, August 1, 2009

Victoria is Up and Knitting

Cleaning Miss Victoria was a long haul. Somehow my planets never lined up properly, because there never seemed to be enough time to sit down and clean her well enough and put her back together again. Vicky's innards sat on a cookie sheet on the kitchen counter for much longer than was necessary.

I tackled the cylinders first, removing broken off jammed needles:

When that was done, I took the machine apart completely. This is how she looked before:
And when I took everything apart, a few things stumped me:

Her tension cams are really worn down. I couldn't decide if I wanted to take the Dremel to them or not.

Observe during cleaning:

The up-throw cams (there are two: a left and a right) were probably never cleaned in the life of the machine. The wear is a good sign, it means she was worked, and worked hard, but I still had to wonder if I should gently grind down this wear.

This is the felt that formed at the bottom of the cams I am holding above:

And yet another shot:

Miss Vicky was a crusty old gal, and she really put me through the paces. I worked on each piece until I was satisfied. Soaking this machine was not enough; I really had to take each piece one at a time and sand with 600 grit wet-sandpaper and WD-40 until each piece was clean:

I used an old kitchen paring knife and gently scraped the hardened grease off. No amount of soaking helped loosen the dirt which literally flaked off when I scraped it with the knife.

But once Victoria was put back together again, we had success:

I had her together and a tube knit in about 15 minutes! We have lift off!

I simply let the worn-down cams be; if they need grinding down, there is always later for that. For now, she's back together and the opportunity to take her apart again will no doubt present itself.

Now I just hope to find the time to move beyond tubes. I am keeping my fingers crossed that once our renovations upstairs are finished, I will get the chance to actually make a pair of matching socks. If not, there is always the Circular Sock Machine Society of America's annual meeting which will be held in Laconia, NH in 2010. What's another few months in the general scheme of things?

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