Starting to use your new flat bed knitting machine can be quite daunting. My biggest fear was about breaking the machine. Being very complicated and heavy, the knitting machine has very delicate and fragile parts. It took me a long time to even think about approaching it until I found some courage and started to learn. My Blue Cat supported me throughout the entire process 🙂
The first lesson of the Blue Cat Tutorial is dedicated to the simplest cast on. This is a step-by-step tutorial with photos. You can skip the detailed description and jump to Blue Cat Summary for Open Cast On. If you want to see a bullet-point reference.
But first thing first. Let’s thread the yarn through the machine. The yarn is threaded as described in my Knitking Compuknit IV User Manual. Confusing at first, the process quickly becomes very familiar. Once you have done it a few times, you will remember how to do it.
I threaded the yarn following the instructions and adjusted the tension for this yarn.
Now, that the yarn is ready, let’s move some needles in a B-position and run the carriage across the needles a couple times to align the needles.
The next step is to move alternating needles back to position A. The carriage can be either on the right or left. I moved the carriage to the right before shifting the alternate needles.
Blue Cat is holding the needle pusher to demonstrate how it moves the needles.
The picture below shows the selected needles in A and B positions.
After the needles are set, the yarn is threaded through the yarn feeder A of the carriage.
With the yarn in the feeder, move the carriage to the left of the working needles. As a result, the working needles (in B-position) should have the yarn wrapped around them as shown in photo below.
This is what it looks like at a different angle.
Now, we use a cast-on comb to add tension to the loops.
We chose a cast-on comb that is long enough to secure the number of loops, but not too long.
Hook the cast-on comb over the loops and pull it down lightly.
Make sure that the working yarn connected to the carriage (on the left) is not attached to the cast-on comb.
You should be able to pull the working yarn forward.
There is one more step to take before the machine is prepared for knitting. Now, we need to use the flat side of the needle pusher to return the needles in A-position back to position B.
Move the carriage to the right clearing the knitting before you move it back in the other direction. You will hear a click sound at the end of the row.
Now, we are ready to knit our project. Move the carriage back and forth making sure that the carriage clears the rows. But don’t move the carriage too far passed the knitting.
A few rows are knitted. The wrong side of the project is facing toward you. When the project is finished, we can remove the project from the knitting machine. To do that, we need to remove the yarn from the yarn feeder A by pushing the yarn feeder lever to the left and moving the yarn downward. The empty carriage is then pushed across the work. Make sure that you hold the cast-on comb as you move the carriage across. Otherwise, the work will fall.
Blue Cat Summary: Open Cast On
1. Thread the yarn through the tension unit.
2. Adjust the tension in the tension unit and the carriage for the type of yarn you are using. Refer to your manual for guidance.
3. Move working needles in B-position.
4. Test the machine by running the carriage back and forth a couple times.
5. Using 1/1 needle pusher, move alternating needles to A-position.
6. Thread the yarn through yarn feeder A of the carriage.
7. Move the carriage from right to left until you hear a click.
8. Attach cast-on comb to the loops. Weights can be added as well.
9. Push the needles in A-position to B-position using the flat side of the needle pusher.
10. Move the carriage from left to right. Continue knitting the project.