Names of the Parts of the Machine

names of the parts of the machine

This is an illustration of the LK 150 machine, with all major parts named. It is a good idea to become familiar with them. Refer back to this, or page 3 in the manual, if you find an unfamiliar term. Before actually beginning to knit, we will take a look at some of these.

latch needle

Pattern instructions frequently refer to parts of the needle, including the hook, latch, shank (sometimes called “stem”), and butt. The LK 150 is unique in that there is a plastic cap covering the butt, called a “needle roller”; it acts like a bearing, allowing easier movement of the carriage across the bed. Most patterns will simply state to push on the needle butts, and do not refer to the rollers.

needle positions

On each end of the needle bed (frequently called simply “bed”) there is a vertical row of letters. These are the needle positions. This means that needles in a horizontal line with the letter A are in position A; those in line with the letter B are in position B; those in line with the letter C are in position C, and those in line with the letter D are in position D.

Each position provides a different function for the needles. Those in position A do not knit, no matter how the carriage is set. This is most frequently called “out of work”, and is sometimes abbreviated OWP (out of work position). Needles in position B will knit Stockinette or pattern stitches, depending on how the carriage is set. This is called “work position” and is usually abbreviated WP. Needles in position C will knit Stockinette only. This is called “upper work position” and is abbreviated UWP. Needles in position D do not knit when the Russel Levers are set at l (backwards), but do knit when they are set at ll. This is “hold position” and is abbreviated HP.

stitch dial

This dial is used to control the size of the knitted stitches. The smaller the number, the smaller the stitches, and the smaller the yarn size that will be successfully knit; the larger the number, the larger the stitches, and the larger the yarn size that can be used. R is the tightest tension on the dial, and is used most for K1, P1 ribbing (remember this as “R stands for ribbing”). Many other knitting machines use 0 for the tightest setting, rather than R, so if you see knitting directions saying to cast on at T (tension) 0, use the “R” setting on the LK 150 Stitch Dial. You will find tension setting referred to as SD (Stitch Dial), SS (Stitch Size), and T (tension) by various knitting machine companies and pattern authors. In the US, the most common term is T (tension), so this is the one I use.

To set the tension, turn the Stitch Dial until the desired number lines up with the dot. There is also a setting halfway between each number on the Stitch Dial, shown as little dots between the numbers. In a pattern, these are usually called “1/2”. So if the pattern says “T4 1/2” it means to set the Stitch Dial so that the dot between number 4 and number 5 lines up with the large dot on the carriage. This might also be written as “4.5”, or “4 and 1 click”.

yarn feeders

If knitting with just one yarn, always place it in feeder #1 (the front slot). When plating, place the main yarn (the yarn you want to be seen on the “public” side of the fabric) in feeder #1, and the plating or “lining” yarn in feeder #2. This seems backwards, but the machine really knows how to sort it out. Try this on a sample to see for yourself.

russel levers

Russel Levers control needles in position D on the needle bed. When they are pulled forward to ll, needles in position D will knit. This is the standard setting for most knitting. When the Russel Levers are pushed back to L, needles in position D do not knit. This is called “Hold Position”, or “HP”. It is used when knitting Tuck Stitch fabric, or for partial knitting (short rowing).

side levers

Side Levers control needles in position B on the needle bed. When they are pulled forward to the dot setting, needles in position B do not knit. Use this setting for Slip Stitch or Fairisle. When Side Levers are pushed back to the triangle setting, needles in position B do knit. Use this setting for Stockinette and Tuck stitches.

row counter tripper

Row counter knobs can be turned in either direction to set the row counter. It is standard practice to begin at 000 when knitting the first main color row of the garment. Patterns will specify row count at critical parts of the garment, such as the beginning of the armhole, neck, shoulder, etc. They will also tell you whenever it is necessary to reset the row counter. Be sure to do this whenever instructed. Machine knit patterns are written using the row gauge, as well as the stitch gauge, since it is not possible to take accurate length measurements while the fabric is on the machine.

On the back of the carriage is a little rectangle that juts out the rear edge; it connects with the tripper on the row counter every time the carriage goes across the bed in front of the row counter. This causes the row count to advance automatically by 1 number for every pass of the carriage.

Tutorial Index

This tutorial was copyrighted and uploaded to the original Clearwater Knits website in 1997.  It was updated July 15, 2016.