DIY Sponge-bar Repair For Knitmaster 120

NB. This post will only be of interest to knit machine owners, but I thought I’d put it here in case someone else has a Knitmaster 120 and is tearing their hair out…

¬†Social Fabric recently invested in a knitting machine – a second-hand Empisal Knitmaster 120 Chunky, which was in pretty good shape but had a predictably disintegrated sponge-bar. Given my…ahem…encyclopaedic knowledge and wealth of experience…I was asked to try to fix it.

Knitmaster 120 Spongebar

This machine has a particularly narrow sponge-bar that is no longer manufactured by Knitmaster, and, as far as I’m aware, no-one produces DIY sponge replacement kits for this model either. The only other option was to use spongy insulation tape (or weather stripping, available in most DIY shops) to replace the original sponge, and find a way of cutting it down the middle to make it narrow enough to fit.

Unfortunately, once the old sponge had been cleaned off I realised there was just no way I would be able to cut and fit a length of sponge into a 3mm wide channel. A botch job was required!

Knitmaster 120 Spongebar 1

After a bit of a brainwave, I decided to flip the metal bar upside down, and stick the insulation sponge down along the length of the underneath of the metal bar. I then used a rotary cutter to trim off the excess sponge at the sides, by running it along the bar, flush to the metal. I secured the sponge at each end of the bar with sticky tape, and left the plastic backing on the top of the sponge layer to protect the machine needles (the insulation tape I used was sticky on both sides).

Knitmaster 120 spongebar 2

I seem to have gotten away with it, because when I put the bar back in the machine it worked perfectly! Obviously, insulation tape isn’t designed to work in a knitting machine, so I have no idea how it will stand up to regular wear, but it would be pretty easy to replace again if it disintegrates.

So there you have it, a simple solution to an annoying problem!

If you want more detail about fixing sponge-bar trouble, you can find it in this post.

A Full Plate

Oof! I have to admit I’m feeling pretty burned out. Work has been great, but really busy, and it’s so tempting to become a TV watching, net surfing slob during down time.

Nevertheless, I’m making slow progress with the baby cardigan, which now has one sleeve. With only a few weeks to go until my friend’s baby is due, I’m feeling the pressure to finish. My inner selfish brat is also starting to nag me about all those other projects waiting in the wings…

bolt tee colours

One of those will (hopefully) be a machine knitted Bolt Tee. Currently, I’m locked in a lengthy internal debate about the colour scheme. I’ve set my heart on using Fyberspates Scrumptious 4 ply which narrows the choices down somewhat. I’d quite like to use the gold colourway in it somewhere¬† (mustard yellow is my fad colour at the moment) but I also really loved the colours of the ‘Rivage’ scarf I knitted for my sister. Decisions, decisions…

Lino Yarn

Also in the pipeline is something involving these six balls of Lang Lino in (surprise, surprise) mustard yellow. I uncharacteristically bought this without a specific project in mind just because I liked it (ok, and I got a generous discount from work…). It’s very similar to Quince and Co’s ‘Kestrel’ – 100% aran weight linen, spun into a ribbon structure – and I should have just enough to knit a top or small sweater (I’m eyeing up Pam Allen’s ‘Davis‘ pattern as a possibility). I’ve become quite intrigued by the idea of knitting linen and I’m so ready to get started.

I’ve got a baby sweater to finish first though…


Tied Up: Another Origami Bag

We’ve got a Japanese origami bag workshop coming up on Friday at Social Fabric, so I entertained myself with making a sample while I wait for my knitting to block. I got to use some amazing Japanese Kokka linen blend fabric…

SF Bag 1

I made some bags like this before, but this one is fully reversible. It’s pretty straightforward to do: you make two identical bags, which you then sew together (right sides together, wrong sides facing out) leaving a small gap for turning right side out again. Turn, press well and top-stitch close to the edge all the way round, et voila!


Well, not quite voila in my case because I discovered my two bags weren’t as identical as I thought… Luckily, with some wrangling, tweaking, and vigorous pressing, my bag turned out fine (phew!). Still, I’ll be triple checking my measurements next time!

SF Bag 2

The aqua blue contrasts really well with the vivid colours of the patterned fabric, and the linen content gives the whole thing a nice sturdy feel. It’s a roomy enough to shove books or groceries in and would make a great knitting bag. I’m quite in love with it, shame I have to give it back…

There’s a great tutorial for a basic origami bag here, or if you’re not feeling confident, there are still a couple of spaces left on the workshop…