FAQ on Sock Knitting Machines
More FAQ to Follow Soon- Sorry
What is the best sock knitting machine to buy?
This is my opinion and my opinion only.
1st, you are best off buying one in person so you can see if the metal is
still in good condition and all the parts are there to your best
knowledge. A good way to tell if all the parts are there is if you
study some of the online manuals that I have on this website before you
purchase a machine.
First and foremost, the best sock knitting machine to buy is one that
My preference is a cast iron one as there is a better chance that these
machines have not altered their original shape in the years that have
I also like the sock machines with the enclosed lift cams because you
don't have to worry when going backwards whether your back needles are up
or not. This may seem trivial, but it really does help when learning
on a machine.
To paint or not to paint...
I have to laugh when supposed restorers say they don't paint or powdercoat
the sock machines because it takes away from the value of the machine.
To me, that is just an excuse for not having to go to all the bother.
I've even seen some that have had their rust left on for the sake of
keeping it looking 'original'. Believe me, they did not come with
rust in their original condition!
Please don't misunderstand. I would never strip a machine and
repaint or powdercoat one if the condition of it was fair or good.
And I also wouldn't redo one that was very old and rare.
To ease some of your minds, know that I only repaint or powdercoat the
sock machines that really absolutely need it.
There is something to be said for both types of machines.-
I love working on a sock machine that has been powdercoated. It
feels much cleaner than the ones that are only 'cleaned up'.
But if I do a demonstration, I normally bring one that hasn't been
repainted or powdercoated.
I want the people that see them to realize that these sock machines are
In the end, it is all up to the individual person and what they want.
Where to buy/find your machine.
If you're very lucky, you might find a machine at an antique store or
auction. I know many people that have found theirs that way.
There is also Ebay, but you really have to study what the machine is
supposed to look like before you start bidding. It's very possible
when buying a machine off Ebay that parts have been interchanged.
Even if the machine has the same name (for instance the Legare 400), that
doesn't necessarily mean that it has all it's original parts. Very
often the cylinders have been mixed and when receive it, one or more
cylinders won't fit. But again, you may be lucky and get all the
original parts the first time you purchase. There's a very good
chance though, that you will end up buying two machines to get one.
Especially if you purchase an old pot metal Auto Knitter. These machines
are notorious for having swollen cylinders, cam shells, and ribber dials,
due to weather conditions not agreeing with the pot metal.
There are good machines and bad machines, just as there are good restorers
and bad restorers.
Whatever you do, take your time and study the machines, pictures, manuals
(I have manuals online here for free that you can look at), and ask the
person you are getting it from a lot of questions. Think about what
kind of yarn you would like to use with it and what kind of socks you
would like to make. That will give you an idea of what number of
slots in your cylinder and ribber dials you will want.