It had taken one convention, one new setup basket, one new Black & Decker Workmate Portable Project Center and Vise, one B&D Workmate Mastercart, one folding table (formerly a folding bar stool) with cutout, two years, two small folding bistro chairs, three sock machines, three workshops, four new fork weights, 150 different new needles and a partridge in a pear tree.
If anybody wants to give it a try I have to say in all honesty that I could have knit socks without the B&D equipment and quite a few of the other add-ons I purchased in hopes of changing my luck when everything was going wrong. I must also admit it was not always the machine that was the trouble. A lot of it was the operator.
Many people who are interested start researching and learn there are quite a few brands of these old machines. The question then is which machine is best. I now have an AutoKnitter, a Legare 400 and a Gearhart (circa 1917-1918). The best is the one that you can get a pair of socks out of, and that can be any brand. Another admission: in the two years it took me to knit a pair of socks there were periods of weeks when I could not devote the time needed for the learning curve. I did get at least one sock out of each of the machines, but perfectionist that I am, and not about to allow a machine to stop me from making my "ideal" sock with a ribbed cuff, I never made a second sock if the first had flaws. I raveled, rewound and started again. Some of those socks didn't just have flaws, they were flaws!
The last machine I bought was the Gearhart which is a war horse that doesn't throw up at the least little hitch in the yarn. I was able to knit a very nice pair of socks made from KnitPicks Simple Stripes, Crayon colorway.
Those are the socks to be framed. They were made on the Gearhart using a 60 slot cylinder and 30 slot riber. I'm going to knit a pair by hand in the same colorway and try to make them identical. Trial and error have shown that using a 60 stitch caston I'll need to use size US 0 needles. I'll frame those for comparison--$3,000 Socks vs $13 Socks.
Happy Knit Year!
Bona Fide Knitter