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The Auto Knitter

November 18, 2009

In helping move some weaver’s guild equipment from storage at a local museum  we found  an old circular sock knitting machine.  I have taken on the project of putting it into working condition if possible and we hope it can be used for demonstrations at the museum. I know nothing about these machines, but am learning quickly with lots of help from the web.

So far in my examination it looks to be in good condition with all parts intact.  It is an Auto Knitter, Made in Canada with an instruction book dated 1923, 19th Edition.

All I have done so far is carefully take the parts out of a box, and gently dust them to find the label.  Now the fun begins in figuring out  how to make it work.

There are lots more odds and ends – thread holders, guides, all sorts of extra needles, cone holders etc., the photo is showing the main part, the ribber and yarn carrier.

The underside of the ribber.  The numbers mean something – I will figure that out eventually!

Update – today I decided with helpf from reading alot of articles, that it was time to begin cleaning.  I backed off the two screws which are supposed to realease the inside workings – but they didn’t move.  I guess the grunge has stuck it all together.  So I have put some oil on it and will leave it overnight and hopefully it will come apart.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. November 19, 2009 10:13 am

    Evelyn, the sock machine looks to be in wonderful condition, and you have the book for it. You will likely need to replace the needles for it to work well (but don’t toss the needles!). Pat Fly (Angora Valley web site) sells needles for the various machines. Needles are non-returnable, so sending her one of each type of needle you have would be good (write her first).

    Did you find other cylinders with this sock machine, or just the one? There may be a number on the inside of the cylinder, otherwise count the needle slots, Pat will need to know that as different size needles are needed for different cylinders. Her website is:

    I know some people soak the pieces in Marvel (Mystery?)Oil, available at hardware stores. Zoom oil is good for oiling the various parts when you go to knit on it, and may be going uder the name “Sid Harvey’s Extendo All-Purpose Motor & Bearing Assembly Oil,” that is what my hardware store said, anyway.

    Pat Fly’s sock machine yahoo list is very good for finding information and/or asking questions and getting answers. It is found at:

    Another group good for people selling machines, parts, needed items, yarns, etc. is at:

    Barry Travis on the lists sells various small items (springs, etc.),
    and may be able to answer some of your questions, his email is:, he has a list of parts he sells that he would happily email to you, and prices are very reasonable.

    My machines are Gearhart, so I can’t help you with that specific machine, but happy to try to help in any way I can.


  2. November 19, 2009 10:15 am

    Did you find a mast and thread guide with the machine? If not, there are one or two people on the lists who make them, or you might be able to to to find what you need on the swapshop list or watch ebay, though you need to be careful there!


  3. Evelyn Oldroyd permalink
    November 19, 2009 10:36 am

    Janice – I think that is what they are – long thingy with holes and springy piece. It fits into part of the base. Still cannot get the thing apart though! Have bloodied my knuckles! Evelyn


  4. November 30, 2009 8:21 am

    Hi Evelyn. Just thought I’d answer your question about the numbers. I like that the picture is the underside of the ribber, yes? The numbers likely mean, 40=number of slots in the ribber, is that right? Does your cylinder have 80 slots then? 12 is that possibly a G ? Likely 12 gauge needles are needed. and 4 1/2 is the diameter of the cylinder or the ribber–see if that measurement matches one or the other or both??

    I don’t have an Autoknitter, I have a Legare 400, but they are very similar in function.



  5. Evelyn Oldroyd permalink
    November 30, 2009 12:29 pm

    Thanks Trish! I had figured out the 40, and yes the cylinder has 80 slots. I can take a needle to a local jeweller to measure, but a chart I found online said this machine takes a 12 gauge. On close inspection it does look like a ‘G’. The inside diameter of the cylinder is 4 1/2″, the ribber is 4 1/4″.


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