Timing is everything!
Today’s post, after being with no @@#!$#%^&&$#@ internet service for 4 days – FOUR DAYS! – is about setting the timing of the ribbing attachment.
If you were a good boy or girl, you took many photos of your sock knitter when you got it, especially in case its previous owner knew what they were doing, and things were set at the correct setting of knitting ;o) Even if not set correct, it is good to have a reference point to begin with.
Setting/adjusting the timing of the ribber is a little more complex than the main cylinder timing as there are more bits and pieces involved. But at its root, it is still fairly simple if you take it one step at a time.
The object of the game is to have the ribber needles knit IN HARMONY with the cylinder knit stitches. That is to say, there is no point having a rib stitch knit correctly if it bungs up your knits stitches or vice versa – so timing sets the rib stitches both in relation to themselves, and to the knit stitches.
A. Is the Drive Pin. This L-shaped pin going through the ribber arm is what makes the ribber turn. When you turn the crank to move the yarn carrier, the ribber arm turns too (since its attached). If the drive pin is in place, it will turn the tappet plate (the black thing that contains B, C, and D). If the drive pin is removed, you can crank til the cows come home and the tappet plate will not turn, so nothing will happen.
The only time I remove the drive pin is when knitting a sock that has ribbing on the leg and the top of the foot, when doing the heel. If you do your short rows on the heel – cranking back and forth, with the tappet plate engaged, you will have a real mess (and no sock) on your hands.
B is the Off-On ‘switch’. If this switch is in toward the center, then it is ON (think – IN work). If the switch is moved to the outside of the center, then it is OFF (think – OUT of work). The difference between being OFF (out of work) and removing that Drive Pin (A), is that the tappet plate still turns when the ribber is switched OFF, but the needles bypass the cams inside the tappet plate – as in, they don’t go out and grab the yarn, so they do not knit a stitch – you will just have the bar of a stitch, like in mock rib, between the cylinder needle knit stitches. This is fine and won’t muck up your knitting as long as you aren’t in a heel or toe where you want to crank in both directions.
I use the Off switch when knitting the selvage on a 1 x 1 rib top (knit one row ON, followed by one row OFF, and then crank away.)
C – you see a screw and a nut. By adjusting the screw one way or another you change WHEN the Drive Pin hits the end of the screw, which is what turns the tappet plate (that has the cams that make the rib needles go in and out). This is what sets the timing of when the rib needle BEGINS a stitch, ie when the needle moves out to catch the yarn. If this timing is set wrong then the needle will come out too soon, or too late and will miss the yarn and that’s the end of the stitch. Generally speaking, I like the needle to be out just as it begins to come under the Yarn Carrier (on the leading side).
D – this screw and little indicator needle control when the rib needle FINISHES a stitch – ie when the needle pulls back inside the tappet/cams, closing the latch and slipping off the stitch. For me, the needle begins to go inward just as it passes underneath the leaving end of the Yarn Carrier. If you look closely in the photo, you can see the rib needle on the left corner of the Yarn Carrier is almost in line with the tip of the carrier – and the yarn is within the hook of the needle and almost ready to make the stitch , while the rib needle to its right is still well out and has not yet begun to catch the yarn. If the timing is wrong here, your rib needle may pull in too soon and hit the bottom of the yarn carrier, and if it pulls in too late, it may not catch the yarn.
E is a vertical adjustment screw – this sets how high or low the ribber dial is in relation to the top edge of the cylinder. You can see at F that I’ve got about 1/8 inch gap. Your knitting has to pass between the cylinder and the ribber dial (the slotted bottom plate that holds the rib needles). If you set it too low, the knitting won’t flow through and your work will jam up. If you set it too high your rib needles will miss the yarn, or catch it too soon regardless of your timing, or – most likely- bash against your yarn carrier. (Ever wonder why the yarn carrier is shaped the way it is? To let those pesky rib needles jump out and pull in with less risk of hitting it!) If you are using different yarns with substantial difference in thickness, you may have to re-set this accordingly – but I find for most sock yarns I just leave it as it is set in the photo.
A good way to play with timing:
- take pictures of your current settings
- set up with a good size quantity of cheap scrap yarn (I use acrylic baby yarn)
- set E – your height, have A in place, and B turned ON (IN work)
- fiddle with C and D until you get the rib needle beginning and ending stitches in harmony
- when feel good about how its going, take more pictures!
(In my photos I’m doing a 1 x 1 ribbing – and I have already pre-set my ribber so that the rib needles are as close to exactly-in-between the cylinder needles as can be. I’ll blog about that in a separate post.)