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Never throw anything away . . . or how to fix innards on a knitting machine

It’s time. I have this Studio 328 knitting machine that I got off freecycle. I’ve been using it for years. Everything on it works except the knit contour, and that really hasn’t been a problem–until I learned that knit contours are freakin’ fantastic. This is my only punchcard machine, and sometimes I just want to do simple punchcard stuff, not electronic patterning. It’s my baby. My first. And like all knitting machines, it came with an addiction to having more knitting machines. No joke. But that’s another story. Now that I’m using Garment Designer by Cochenille (excellent software) to make paper patterns that will work in any machine with a knit contour (a.k.a. knit radar), I want to use one of those patterns in this machine. Now.

Months ago I bought a repair manual for the 328 and 560, from Great Britain, on CD. You know, just in case. 🙂 I plug that baby into my computer and search through it on how to fix my knit contour. The row scale dial is frozen up on number 40; that’s the leftmost dial of the three dials on top. If all my patterns require 40 rows per 4″, I’m set, but I already know that’s not the case. I need that unfrozen. A quick test reveals that, even if I get it moving, I will have to recalibrate the whole thing. Suddenly it’s not sounding so fun. But I have already begun, so I keep going because there is one more option.

In my search for a perfect Singer 560 (electronic) a couple years ago, I acquired an extra 560 machine bed. With–ta da!–a built-in knit contour that isn’t getting used. Hmmm. Being the curious, inventive, adaptable person that I am, I wonder if I can swap the knit contour from the 560 into the 328.

The short answer is … yes! The long answer is, yes, but it isn’t a straight out swap. The 560 knit contour fits into the 328 body just fine, until I try to put on the cover panel. Hm, I see the row counter is mounted differently. A little experimentation, and I swap the original 328 row counter back into the 328, screwing it onto the knit contour without any difficulty. Now the cover panel fits, but the leftmost dial won’t turn easily, and it worked easily in the other machine. A little more experimentation and I discover a plastic pin on the underside of the panel cover that is fitting into the gears on the inside and preventing movement. I’m about to snap it off with pliers, when my husband wisely suggests sawing it off. Huh. That wouldn’t have occured to me in, oh, a million years. Thankfully he takes it, finds a tiny saw blade, and does the deed. Good thing, too, because this old plastic can be brittle. So I screw on the cover panel (minus one plastic pin), put everything back together, and voila!–my original machine with a frozen knit contour is now my baby with everything working.

I still have a leftover 560 machine bed for parts. Am I ever throwing it away? Hell no. I have, in the past, offered it online to people looking for parts. They never took me up on it. Thank you, whoever you are.


6 replies »

  1. Hi,
    I found your blog and site after looking for a manual for my 328. I have the same problem with my dial . I am new to this, Is it something I can fix? I enjoy tinkering with these types of things, but is it to much trouble?

    • Tamara, I still am so glad that I swapped out the knit contour. I had an advantage, though: an extra one I wasn’t using was sitting in the basement. I don’t know how you will do with fixing and recalibrating your nonworking knit contour, but the thoughts I had that removed my fear of trying were, 1) what did I have to lose? It was useless as it was; 2) it had no electronics that I could mess up while tinkering. Best of luck if you decide to go ahead with it.

  2. Hello Jenna,
    I found this blog post when searching for instructions on recalibrating a Knit Contour.
    I had the same problem, but after taking it all apart and fixing the problem, I now have to recalibrate it.
    Is there anywhere you can point me to accomplish this? All I really have to do is stick the big black wheel on in the correct orientation, so I imagine that somewhere there must be an instruction that says something along the lines of “when the knob is maxed out, it should be at so-and-so dial line”.
    Does that make sense??
    Would you perhaps be able to help me in such a way as turning your own dial to the max and min settings (until the knob turns no further) and take pictures of what the black dial looks like in those positions?
    I hope I explained it in an understandable way!
    Thank you so much in advance.

    • The knitting machine that had the knit contour that I replaced has moved on to a new home. My baby flew the nest! To the best of my recollection, I think I recalibrated simply by trial and error. I probably drew lines 6″ apart on a piece of paper, put it in the knit contour, and if I was supposed to get 10 RPI, then I “knitted” by moving the carriage 60 times and it should begin on the first line and end on the second line. If not, I adjusted it. I would have repeated the test at different lengths and with different gauge rulers, just to assure myself that I really had it right.
      I sure hope that is of some help to you.

  3. Oh, that’s actually a great tip! Now I almost feel silly for not having thought of it myself. 😀
    I’ll give it a go! Thank you so much!

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