I've given the sk700 and it's LC2 lace carriage a super clean and couldn't resist giving it a go!
Only the lace carriage is going to need more practise than hoped for :-( so i'll have to revisit that one later. Looking on this forum it seems i'm not the only one who has had this problem... stitches dropping and what not.
So Plan B - knit just a simple rectangular scarf using Rowan Kidsilk Haze, which is a very, very fine, lace weight mohair yarn. Starting off, everything seemed to be going ok. However, i've had a lot of stitches dropping in random places. Usually every few rows. Especially on the edges... which makes it a tension mast problem. I've got the tension mast on it's very highest setting though.
So, here's my question - has anybody done anything, apart from put the tension mast to it's very highest setting, to tighten up the flow of yarn even more? This is very fine thread i'm working with and it needs to be tight, it's well weighted from underneath and the spongebar is fine.
On another note, the carriage on the sk700 is the stuff of dreams, the best i have used so far... it's weightless compared to the tank-like one on the big butch sk155 :-)
If the yarn is very fine, you can wrap it twice around between the tension discs, to get a tighter tension. First though, check there is not a build-up of fibres under the discs. Sometimes there is and it stops the springs inside the from exerting enough pressure.
the trick is to adjust the tensions...(both) till the mast is in the shape of a mcdonald's arch....so be sure to release the yarn when you walk away for a bit...
Sometimes the springs inside the upper tension apparatus simply wear out and need replacing. I found some "compression springs" that were small enough to fit inside but still be loose over the metal pin, which I cut to the proper length. Mine had "C" washers that had to come off to disassemble the apparatus & they were difficult to get snapped back on to reassemble.
Note that "compression" springs are not as common as "expansion" springs, but I found mine at Lowe's (as HD had none!). Also it is easy to break those tiny "C" washers, so a good idea to get a small package of those while at the hardware store. It is always a good idea to snap a picture before you take it apart so you can put it all back together how it is supposed to be.
Difference is amazing - now my tension dials actually work like they should. Before I replaced the springs, there was no such thing as "adjusting".
Good ideas, JaniceK, especially the one about taking a picture before dismanting anything.
Youtube: theanswerlady and askjack have fabulous cleaning/repair videos that will specifically help with your mast, I have disassemble/deep cleaned and reassembled several carriages and machines with their excellent info
Thanks so much for your help - i wrapped the yarn around two times and i was able to knit the scarf so thanks. It's often the simplest ideas that are the best! I really could do with getting a new tension mast as well, this machine was used a lot by its former owner and everything has got a little soft around the edges so a new tension mast and sinker plate would certainly help.
I heard putting a stocking on a cone helps too but with rewound hand knitting yarn, that wouldn't work in my case. I'm still open to ideas so if anyone has any, post away!...
And yes i've checked out the Answer lady's posts and have dismantled and deep cleaned two carriages and a bed and it makes a HUGE difference... for anyone who's bought an old unrefurbished knitting machine it's well worth doing. And it was fun too!