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Superba Knitting Machine Principal Parts: Carriages & Slide Rails


I continue my series reviewing the Principal Parts of Superba Double Bed Knitting Machines with a look at the Carriages and the Slide Rails.

Previous posts in this series have included:

Let's review some basic information first:

Your Superba ~ Singer ~ White ~ Phildar brand Knitting Machine is designed to sit on a table or stand with exactly
1/2 of it's base or footprint extending over the edge of the table.

This allows room for the knit fabric we create to descend unobstructed between both needle beds.

When knitting on a Superba, be it the most basic stitch we can work called Stocking Stitch to more decorative stitch techniques like Double Bed Jacquard or Double Bed Tuck Rib, these machines use a Cast On Comb to create a foundation row of stitches to start and then use one or more weights to pull the knit fabric down between the needle beds as the knit fabric is created.

Looking at the machine from the side we recognize that there is a symmetry of machine parts happening on both sides. This symmetry is present in all Superba Double Bed models.

The Upper and Lower Slide Rails

Pictured below is my Singer System Knitting Machine that I purchased from Tony Lewy in East Sussex, England. The knitting machine carriages are on the green paper behind the knitting machine itself.

These Carriages attach to the the machine beds by gripping and riding along the two horizontal "Slide Rails" mounted on each needle bed. You can see the Slide Rails as horizontal lines running the length of the machine in the photo above.

Understand that the Back and Front Bed Carriages have two main functions:

  1. To carry and deliver the working yarn to the needles for the formation of new stitches.
  2. To manipulate the needles by raising and lowering them, creating row after row of new stitches, resulting in knit fabric.
Let's review how the Carriages attach to the knitting machine and how to remove them. You will be constantly adding and removing one or both carriages for cleaning, and in the case of the Front Bed Carriage, removing it from the machine when not needed during knitting.

The Back Bed Slide Rails:
I am starting with the Back Bed as this is the Main Needle Bed from which you operate the machine, including all Single Bed Stitches like Stocking Stitch, Slip, Tuck, Weave and Fair Isle.

Pictured below is the Back Bed Carriage; the Main Carriage for the machine if you will. We will discuss the dials, switches and levers found on the Carriage further on. Fist, let me show you how it attaches to the knitting machine.

When we turn the Back Carriage over we see the channels and grooves and electro-magnets housed in the bottom. Take care with this and keep it clean! clean! clean! Lint from the yarn you knit with combines with the oil on the machine bed and can get lodged in these crevices under the various switches.

Running the length of the carriage, along it's lower edge is the Slide Rail -a grey tubular protusion which is how the carriage attaches to the machine. Keep this clean as well.

Pictured below is a breakdown of the various parts found on the Back Bed of most Superba models. Not all but most as the majority of you reading this own an electronic model of some form.

Regardless of which model or brand name of Superba you have, most of you will find these same parts on your machine. Please note the following - starting at the top of the machine
. . .

The Graduated Scale aka Needle Scale
to count needles outlined in BLUE.

  • The Cursor: found on electronic models. Be careful of this component and read more about it towards the end of this post. Circled in RED.
  • The Flow Combs outlined in GREEN. These are the metal teeth or channels which the needles slide back and forth in and separate each needle so they don't collide.
  • The Carriage Slide Rails with RED arrows.
Below is a side view of my Singer System model knitting machine. Let's repeat identifying the parts mounted on the Back Bed:

From the left we can see the aluminum needle bed, then the Upper Slide Rail and then the Lower Slide Rail.

These knitting machines are so compact and light weight, with a lot of features combined into some small spaces - like the Lower Rail on the Back Bed of your machine which has grooves to hold both the Carriage and Cursor.

CAUTION: As I point out in these photos - please keep this area clear of any obstruction as you operate your machine. No other parts, tools or yarn in this area please. And just be cautious of Cursor itself. If it get's damaged then your electronic needle selection won't work.


The Back Carriage
- aka Main Carriage - the Carriage with the handles - is attached by sliding the Carriage onto both sets of rails mounted on the Back Bed.

The Carriage then can glide smoothly back and forth and be positioned at the correct height to access then needles, and manipulate them through the channels and levers found on the bottom of each Carriage.

The Locking Lever at the front of the Carriage will attach itself to the Upper Slide Rail and you will need to move the Locking Lever forward as you slide the Carriage onto the machine bed.

The blue arrow in the below is pointing to the Locking Lever on this photo of a Back Bed Carriage. There are two of these levers, one on each end of the machine and they must be moved forward to allow the Carriage to slide onto the rails.

In this next photo, the Green arrow is pointing to the Locking Lever as seen on the underside of the Carriage.

To release the Carriage from the knitting machine: slide the Carriage to one end of the machine bed and you simply pull the Locking Lever forward to release it's grip on the Upper Slide Rail.

You then continue moving the Carriage away from the machine bed until it is fully released. Takes just a second.

To put the Back Carriage back on the machine - line the Carriage Slides up with the Rails on the machine bed and slide it on. Simple as that.

You'll know you have the Carriage correctly mounted as the movement of the Carriage should be smooth and even. You may observe (feel) some drag on the Carriage, like it's meeting some resistance. This would indicate that it needs to be oiled. See my post on How To Oil My Superba for that information.


I mentioned earlier how compact these machines are in their design. This also includes how certain parts and accessories are mounted on the Back Lower Slide Rail, including machine parts like the Row Counter and optional accessories like the FORMA PATTERN DRIVER.

In the photo above you can see the Back Bed on my White model 1502. We can see the Upper Slide Rail, then the Lower Slide Rail, the Cursor locked into non-working position and the FORMA Pattern Driver mounted behind that. Talk about tight spaces. But it works!

So below I am attaching the Back Carriage and testing the alignment of this Carriage with the Cursor, the FORMA and the Row Counter.

I slide the Carriage onto the Rails. . .

To repeat: The Locking Lever at the front of the Carriage will attach itself to the Upper Slide Rail and you will need to move the Locking Lever forward as you slide the Carriage onto the machine bed.

My Back Carriage now approaches the Cursor. If you have the Cursor properly locked into place - with the Cursor Locks pushed flush to each side of the Cursor and tightened, then the Carriage Cursor Blocks (the two protrusions at the back of Carriage) will slide through the Cursor and not engage it.

NOTE: always have the Cursor locked into non-working position when not in use.

The next section to observe is the Carriage Tripping Arm. It will engage the Row Advance Lever on the FORMA, causing the lever to move to the right . . .

Next, the Carriage Tripping Arm will come under and raise the Row Counter arm . . .

As the Carriage passes, you see that all other parts protruding are designed with enough clearance so they do not collide, like the case of the Cursor Blocks mounted on the rear of the Back Carriage.

And Voila! Your back carriage has made it's first pass across the back needle bed and you can prepare the rest of the machine for knitting, depending on the Stitch Technique you choose.

The Front Bed Slide Rails:

The Front Bed Slide Rails are set-up just like those on the Back Bed and the Front Bed Carriage has the same Slides housed on it's underside which attach to the rails on the machine bed. Very much a mirror image of the Back Bed.

To mount the Front Carriage one lines up the Slides on the Carriage with the Upper and Lower Slide Rails on the machine bed and then slide into place . . .

Smooth and easy on a Superba!

Just like on the Back Bed, the Front Bed Slide Rail provides just enough clearance for other optional accessories to be mounted, as is the case of the Light Scanning Selection Box on my Superba S48 picutred below. There are just a few centimetres between the two but enough for it to work!

The Modified Front Bed Slide Rail

NOTE: There is no Cursor attached to the Front Rail and so it's shape does differ depending on the age of your Superba and it's electronic capabilities.

Earlier models have a Lower Rail with just one groove for the Front Bed Carriage to travel as you can see below . . .

Superba models produced from mid 1980's through the end of 1999 when Superba ceased production were shipped with the Lower Slide Rail which had this additional guide for the optional 4-Colour Yarn Changer, finally developed for use with the System Model knitting machines, which you can see below . . .

Pictured below is the 4 Colour Yarn Changer developed by Superba for use with the System Knitting Machine models. This one is a Singer model. I've not seen one labeled Superba or White.

It is very small, compact and mounts to the knitting machine by way of a bracket . . .

This bracket slides into the second groove on the Front Bed Lower Slide Rail . . .

This is designed with enough clearance for the Front Carriage to pass beneath it, picking up a new colour of yarn each time you pass the carriage under the Yarn Changer. . .

The Front & Back Carriages

Your Superba machine bed is comprised of two Anodized Aluminum needle beds facing one another in an inverted "V" formation - also known as a Double Bed configuration - and as "Fixed Double Bed Knitting Machines" - meaning they are permanently fixed together.

These two needle beds are known as the Back Bed and Front Bed. These are named by the perspective of you sitting at and operating the machine.

The needle bed furthest away from you is the Back Bed or the Main Bed and it has it's own Carriage; the Back Carriage or Main Carriage - shown below on the top right.

The 2nd needle bed will be closest to you when sitting at the machine and is called the Front Bed or secondary bed. This also has it's own Carriage; the Front Carriage - shown above on the bottom left.

This next photo shows the Back & Front Carriages connected and from the side profile. Remember: The Back Carriage has the handles and connects to the Front Carriage with a Connecting Arm on the right hand side.

The Carriages can move and work together or you can release the Front Bed Carriage and operate the machine using the Back Bed Carriage only.

Connecting the Carriages:

Picutred below outlined in GREEN is the right side end of both Carriages. You have the Connecting Arm of the Back Bed Carriage at top and the Coupling Lever located on the Front Carriage at bottom right.

You simply align both sections and either raise the Front Needle Bed into Working Position or slide one or both Carriages together until they lock together as shown below.

Here is the perspective of the Carriages locked together from the side view . . .

The Front and Back Carriages are now connected.

To disconnect, simply press the Coupling Lever on the Front Carriage forward and this releases the Carriages again . . .

Then you can slide the Carriages apart . . .

Let's have a look at the Carriages and review the dials, switches and knobs found on them. First we shall have a look at the variations of Carriage styles produced by Superba . . .

Carriage Styles & Aesthetics

Pictured below are two sets of carriages; the top carriage with the squared-off handles is my newer Singer System 624 model. Below that is my older model White 1502 (the exact same machine as a Phildar sold in France) with it's more deco inspired rounded handles.

Regardless of colour and shape, the controls and levers listed above are to be found in exactly the same location and perform exactly the same function. Have a look at these photos to see for yourself. They are shown with both the Front & Back Carriages connected.

Singer System 624/9000 Carriages above and White 1502 Carriages below.

I am showing you photos with both the Back and Front Carriages conncected, which you will operate your machine with frequently. It depends on the Stitch Technique and which needle bed you choose to use.

Of course, if you are only working on the Back Bed with a simple single-bed stitch technique like Stockinette (Jersey) then you do not need the Front Carriage - as I explained, this can be released from the Back Carriage and moved to the side or removed from it's needle bed altogether.

You simply and quickly release the Front Carriage from it's needle bed and rest it in a safe place where it won't get damaged.

Then you have just the Back Carriage to push back and forth.

To rejoin the Back and Front Carriage is quick and easy; they just click together joined at the right side at the lower handle.

Thread your machine, select your needles and the proper Flow Comb setting, stitch size - and you are off and knitting.

Successful machine knitting is determined by experimenting with your machines settings and getting to know your machine's preference for the Stitch Size to use for a particular yarn, the number and size of weights to use - which is why you experiment and knit small samples called Gauge Swatches. These allow you to determine, finesse and then calculate how many stitches and how many rows it will require to create larger pieces of knit fabric.

Depending on what you knit, 75% of the time you will see the Carriages connected and joined together, like in these photos. And the majority of your settings will be the same on both carriages.Why? You'll either be working ribs or circular knitting for socks: that's why. The two most popular stitch techniques and our machines excel at them. Smoothly, quietly and with little effort.

I've included a lot of aerial shots of different models so you can see for yourself the wide variety of shapes Superba produced over the years. You may even see your model!

From this overhead shot shown below I have outlined the Principal Parts found on both Front & Back Needle Beds: The Needle Scale or Graduated Scale in Blue, The Needles in Pink, The Flow Combs in Green and the Front Carriage and the Back Carriage. The Back Carriage always has the handles attached.

So sitting at your machine, you see there are basically 2 of everything: 1 for each Carriage. This allows you to create knit fabrics which are completely reversible (the same on both sides) or by varying these machine settings and the needle arrangements, you can create unique fabrics. Knitting coming off the machine can look hand made like traditional Garter Stitch, 2x2 Rib or hand-transferred Lace or if your model has the capabilities, it can create beautiful 2 Colour Jacquard fabrics of intricate design.

Experiment: remember to keep a notepad at the machine and write down every setting as you make it so you can recreate it! Don't be caught loving a stitch effect and then not being able to remember how to make it again! Learn from my mistakes!!!

Know your model of knitting machine and what each of those switches does!

Let's review the parts which comprise the two Carriages which come with our Superba Double Bed knitting machines as outlined in your Machine Manual.

Here is one list of Carriage Parts from a machine manual for a Singer Brand model. The layout of these parts and their functions are the same on all Superba - White - Singer - Phildar models. Read this last sentence again. They function the same.

You have in numerical order:

  • 1. The Locking Levers
Once you attach the Carriages to the knitting machine frame, the Locking Levers - situated at each end of the Carriages - lock onto the Upper Slide Rail of the machine frame to ensure the Carriage stays securely attached and will not come off during normal operation.

The blue arrow below is pointing to the Locking Lever on this photo of a Back Bed Carriage.

In this next photo, the Green arrow is pointing to the Locking Lever as seen on the underside of the Carriage.

To release the Carriage from the knitting machine, slide the Carriage to one end of the machine bed and you simply pull the Locking Lever forward to release it's grip on the Upper Slide Rail.

You then continue moving the Carriage away from the machine bed until it is fully released. Takes just a second.

This works the same for both the Front and Back Carriages and this applies to every model of Superba ~ Singer ~ White ~ Phildar double bed knitting machine, regardless of model.

  • 2. Needle Return Buttons

  • 3. Needle Selection Buttons

  • 4. Stitch Size Dial

  • 5. Jacquard Key

  • 6. Selection Keys

Home knitting machines create Stocking Stitch (Stockinette in the USA and Jersey in parts of Europe) as their most basic knitting stitch technique.

Stocking Stitch: Knit side facing . . .

Stocking Stitch: Purl side facing . . .

One of the joys of knitting on these Superba knitting machines vs. machines produced in Japan or the Passap machines is their versatility and ability to handle a wider range of fibres. I know this because I have experimented with all kinds of yarns, on all brands of home knitting machine. I have machines in my personal collection made in Japan (Brother/Jones and Studio/Singer/Silver Reed brands) and I have a Passap. I admit to not using these and have begun to gift them to others to use. It's not that they are of poor quality, they just don't offer the versatility that a Superba does when it comes to yarn and techniques.

Look at it this way:
You like Wool: check.
Acrylic/Nylon Blends: check.
Alpaca: Check.
Rowan Kid Silk Haze: Check.
Alchemy Silk Purse: Check.
Socks That Rock Sock Yarn: Check.
Berroco Ultra Alpaca: Check
Hand Maiden Silken: Check

This is Prism Yarns "Tencel Tape" knit on my Superba on Stich Size 9. Works like a dream.

You wish to be able to work stitches like knit, purl, tuck, slip, work Fair Isle, have the ability to Weave thicker yarns on the machine or like me, like to hand transfer stitches: these are the machines for you. They are not the end all to be all but the most versatile.

Pictured below is hand dyed Angora : Fleece Artist "Peter Rabbit" which is a fingering weight of hand knitting yarn that would be knit on a US#3 / 3.25mm - US #5 /3.75mm knitting needle. This knit on my Superba using Stitch Size 10 with no problems.

This photo shows the "knit side" of the Angora Stocking Stitch fabric . . . the Angora yarn is beautiful as it is and does not need to be g"ussied up" by working in a more complicated stitch technique. Simple Stocking Stitch works just great and shows off the hand dyed colours wonderfully.

Part of the "learning curve" that comes with machine knitting is learning to know which Stitch Size to use for the yarns you are going to be knitting with. In time you will build up an intuitive knowledge but to begin with I ask that you go with a higher setting than you would think to begin. Persons new to machine knitting set their machine tension at too low or tight a setting. Give the machine a break and open up your stitches. In time you will finesse this.

Stocking Stitch is the most basic stitch we can work on our machines and it is formed generally on the Back Needle Bed and worked flat, back and forth as instructed by your knitting manual.

By working on the Back Bed or Main Bed you can easily see your knitting as the rows form and descend from the latch hook needles like in the photo above. As you knit on a Superba the Front Bed is raised and you can't see your fabric descend but to view your work, you simply lower the Front Needle Bed to inspect your knitting and then raise it back into Upper Working Position and continue knitting.

Your Instruction Manual will have you work all Stocking Stitch based stitch techniques on the Back Bed including Slip stitch, Tuck stitch, Fair Isle and Weave Technique as most of you have an electronic model of Superba and the electronic needle selection to create these decorative stitches takes place on the Back Bed only.

In addition to basic Stocking Stitch, one can create a variety of other Stocking Stitch derived stitch techniques on one of the two needle beds using the manual settings on the Carriages or,
on the Back Bed only by utilizing the Electronic Stitch Programmer that came with your particular model of machine.

Of course Superba Double Bed models have two needle beds of 18o stitches each and a dedicated Carriage for each bed of needles. This results in an unlimited number of stitch effects possible by working stitches on both beds at the same time, alternately b selecting needles by hand or according to a pre-programmed design using the electronics.

It simply comes down to whether you are selecting the stitches by hand to create certain effects or the electronics are. Please understand that sentence.
The Carriages are still involved either way - manual or automatic needle selection. For those of you with an electronic model, you will learn how the machines select needles and why you must take good care of the Carriages so they continue to operate for years to come.

Regardless of whether your particular Superba, Singer, White or Phildar knitting machine is a manual or electronic model, realize that it is the Carriages which do all the "knitting". They select the needles, they feed the yarn and create the various size of stitches and the carriages found on a Superba do so pretty effortlessly. This is a bonus if you have back problems or Arthritis. Compared to other makes of knitting machines Superba's are the smoothest and easiest to knit on - in my opinion!

Clearing Key or Slip Stitch
Used to reset the stitch selection or for Slip Stitch technique. When selected, this key does NOT remain in a lower position, it sits flush with the other keys.

Stocking Stitch Key: (Stockinette in the USA and Jersey in France). This is the basic stitch all knitting machines produce.

Stocking Stitch can be worked either on the Back Bed alone for a traditional knit fabric with true knit and purl sides like this hand dyed Angora yarn by Fleece Artist of Nova Scotia (it's their Peter Rabbit yarn).

The "Knit Side" of Stocking Stitch . . .

The "Purl Side" of Stocking Stitch . . .

Stocking Stitch as a Stitch Key is also selected when working on both needle beds when creating traditional ribbed fabrics like Knit 1~Purl 1 or Knit 2~Purl 2 as shown below and you can see the "V" key selected on the Front Carriage at the lower right corner of the photo.

Remember - I simply select needles and arrange them for 2x2 rib; 2 on the Front Bed alternating with 2 needles on the Back Bed, set both Carriages for Stocking Stitch and thread the Carriage with yarn.

But it's the Carriages, working in tandem, that move the needles, lay the yarn in the latches and pull the needles down to create a specific gauge of knit fabric, consistently, row after row.

And that is how this machine can take a lovely double knitting weight of the finest Australian Merino, spun and dyed in Biella, Italy and create this lovely, soft and beautiful ribbed fabric. Effortlessly. The yarn is Zara by Filatura di Crosa. This is for a ribbed cardigan for myself from the Queensland Collection by Jane Ellison.

Tuck Stitch Key: this is a stitch technique where selected needle do not "knit" a new stitch but simply hold the yarn in the needle latch with the previous stitch. This causes the resulting knit fabric to bulk up, producing texture of varying thickness depending on the yarn used and Stitch Size selected.

Circular Key: This Stitch setting on it's own forms Stocking Stitch on both needle beds, allowing you to make completely circular fabric - also known as "Knitting In The Round". If you are a fan of hand knit Socks, then a Superba knitting machine is a pro at creating tubular fabric.

Also, by manually manipulating the settings one can create Stocking Stitch fabric up to 360 stitches in width by setting the Carriages to create what is called
Half-Tubular knit fabric. The knit fabric as you work this manual technique will be open along one edge, allowing you to make wide pieces of fabric for blankets, etc.

The Circular Key setting can also be combined with the Tuck Stitch keys for creating specific Single or Double Bed Stitches like Fisherman's Rib.

  • 7. Yarn Guide
The Yarn Guide on a Superba is meant for one colour of yarn to be fed at a time.

The yarn is fed into the metal guide situated at the top of the Back Carriage . . .

and then into the white plastic feeder which lays the yarn across the open latches of the needles as they are selected by the Carriage(s).

For two-colour stitch techniques like Single Bed Fair Isle and Double Bed Jacquard, then one inserts the Second Yarn Guide into the Back Bed Carriage, and this allows two colours of yarn to be knit at the same time in one row. You can see both yarn guides threaded in the photo below outlined in Fuschia & Aqua.

"Yarn A" is already threaded in the Back Carriage. One then takes the Second Yarn Guide and inserts this accessory into the space in front of "Yarn A" and locks it into position.

The Second Yarn Guide has just that - a second guide for another colour of yarn. You thread this, set your machine for the Jacquard setting, program the electronic stitch pattern and away you go!

All these levers, dials and switches just reviewed are found on both the Back (main) Carriage and the Front Carriages - as outlined below. Let's have a look at how they appear on our machine Carriages and learn to identify them . . .

Pictured below is my Superba S48 in the classic green and white. Outlined in colour are the standard principal parts found on both the Back and Front Carriages. . .

Blue: Needle Return Buttons - which control needles in "holding position" for neckline shaping, short rows for making skirts and scarves or when one is working 2 Colour Knitting techniques like single bed Fair Isle and Double Bed Jacquard.

Red: The Stitch Size Dial - this is like changing needle size to achieve either a larger or smaller stitch formation.

Green: The Stitch Keys - to select cams housed on the underside of the carriage that will produce various stitch techniques like Slip, Tuck, Fair Isle & Jacquard.

Fuschia & Aqua - these are the Yarn Guides. This is where the yarn is fed onto the waiting needles by the carriage. Again, the Yarn Guide is housed on the Back Carriage only.

Now to emphasize how the various models of Double Bed Machines produced by Superba may differ in colour, this time below I am featuring a Cream and Brown "Singer" brand machine from Europe. It may be from the UK, France or Germany.
The point is that the same switches and dials are found on both beds of this model as my Green + White Superba above. These dials and levers control the needles and stitch cams in the same manner.

This time we have outlined:

In Red: The Needle Return Buttons. In Green: The Stitch Size Dial.

In Fuschia: The Stitch Keys. In Blue: Needle Return Buttons

Back & Front Carriage Variations:

Older models of Superba knitting machines will not have what are referred to as "frog eyes" or two screws on the top of the handle with plastic covers. These were added on later models to make the removal of the "Carriage Brushes" easier. They are also used to attach parts for the optional 4-Colour Yarn Changer.

The classic green + white Superba carriage above with no "frog eyes" and the White 1502 Back Carriage below with the prominent "frog eyes". Don't worry if your model does not have these - they do not affect the performance or ability of your machine. Okay?!

The Back Carriage comes in many colours and styles but the layout and function of all these levers and switches are the same. Personally, I love the Art Deco, tear-drop shape of the older carriages.

The Back Carriage Parts:

NOTE: There are very important parts are housed along the back edge of the Back Carriage which face away from you as you work. You are not always looking directly at these parts but you must be familiar with them, keep them clean and do not damage them.

1. Row Counter Tripping Arm in Fuschia.
2. Jacquard Key in
3. Cursor Blocks (there are two - one at each end of the Back Carriage) in

Here we have a rear view of two different carriages but both Back Bed Carriages. The Beige Carriage on the left is for my White Model 1502 and the Green Carriage on the right is from my Superba S48. Both are electronic machines but have different Selection Boxes or programmers. They both have the Slides running along the bottom of the carriages and both have Cursor Blocks protruding from their backs.

Along the back on every Superba Back Carriage is this triangular shaped Tripping Arm, used to advance the Row Counter and FORMA Pattern Driver accessory.

Then there are the principal dials, levers and switches found on the Back Bed Carriage as it faces you when sitting at your knitting machine that were covered previously

  • Needle Return Buttons
  • Stitch Size Dial
  • Selection Keys

On the underside of the Front Carriage are the Lower and Upper Slide Rails.

This lower Slide on the Carriage underside needs to be handled with some care as this composite material of Nylon and a Polymer can pull away from the carriage itself over time.

Keep this Slide clean and wipe it down regularly with a dry cloth and add just a drop of oil to it's channel that it slides in to make the carriage move back and forth with ease.

Back Bed Carriages:

Back bed carriages come in many colours and a few slight variations but 90% of these produced by S.I.T./Superba are the same. I can use these carriages interchangeably on all my machines.

Here I have 3 photos showing the subtle differences in the Back Carriages - all these differences are mainly aesthetic.

My White 1402 Single Bed Model Back/Main Carriage with Needle Retainer . . .

My Superba S48 Back Carriage . . .

My White 1502 Back Carriage . . .

The Front Bed Carriages


These brushes help ensure that the Latches of our Latch Hook Needles open all the way to receive new yarn and form stitches properly.

These can wear out over time and must be replaced. The Brush Assembly is joined with the Yarn Feeder and is removed as one part.

Removal is done either by loosening the screws on the topside of the Back Carriage handle aka the Frog Eyes . . .

Some Superba Back Carriages do not come with the screws on top and so the Brush assembly must be removed using an Alan Key.

The brushes are integral to stitch formation as they ensure the latches will open to receive yarn and form new stitches. When the Carriages raise the needles to receive new yarn, they must pass through the brush assembly, forcing the latches open.

The Spring Clips are housed under the Carriage handle, next to the Brush Assembly and are for inserting and holding either the Pushing Down Wheels or Weave Brushes in place. Below I am inserting the Weave Effect Brushes into the clips.


A few years ago on ebay there was this machine listed which no one else bid on and I ended up winning. Tired, very, very, very used, in need of a deep cleaning - still is! But it had two wonderful qualities: a 16 stitch x 16 row Pressure Pad Programmer in pristine condition packed in bubble wrap and a Needle Retainer Arm.

I had heard of and seen descriptions of these Retainer Arms for the Superba Machines but never laid eyes on one until this machine arrived.

The Needle Retainer Arm attaches to the Back Bed Carriage where the Brush Assembly is house and you must remove the Brush Assembly by loosening the 2 screws on the top of the Back Carriage . . .

This all takes just a few seconds to insert if you ever purchase one for your machine. This particular machine came only with the Needle Retaining Arm. I am using a Back Bed Carriage from another machine to demonstrate how it is attached.

I found it interesting that on the 1402 Carriage - that is the Single Bed machine model number - there are these high density plastic needle guides on both sides of the 1402 Carriage with these very sharp, pointy edges.

The Needle Retainer itself combines a series of brushes and two yarn feed guides into one unit.

This is similar to the Needle Retainers featured on knitting machines from Japan like this Singer/Silver Reed SK-360 pictured below.

The Superba Needle Retainer allows for the threading and knitting of two yarns in a row for single bed Fair Isle stitches.

Picutred below is the Yarn Guide for the Needle Retainer . . .

This is the Main Yarn Guide, situated at the back of the retainer.

Yarn A is quickly and easily threaded into the Main Yarn guide.

Below you can see the yarn feeder with the slot for Colour "A" at the very back and the slot for Colour "B" at the front, with a plastic guide cover, which my finger is on.

To add Yarn "B" one moves the second yarn guide forward on the Retainer and then threads the machine.

Weaving Brushes are built in as well and by manipulating the Weave Brush lever, you can bring the brushes into working position quite quickly and easily.

The Single bed Carriage With Needle Retainer works smoothly and is great for Tuck Stitches.


Overall I wasn't really that impressed. I find that a Superba knitting machine, using the Front Needle Bed in it's Upper Position for the same purpose as the Needle Retainer, works just as well.

I found the brushes on the Retainer to be very stiff and coarse and caused a lot of "brushing" of the knit fabric, which never happens when the Retainer is not used. This is what I did not miss about working on Japanese machines like Silver Reed and Brother. The brushes can leave oil marks and damage some knit fabrics. In the case of the Superba Retainer, I would chalk that up to just poor quality materials used in the brush construction by Superba.

Are you lacking or missing anything by not having a Retaining Arm for your Superba Double Bed Knitting Machine - not really in my opinion!

Well I hope you found this post on the Carriages and Slide Rails informative. Write me via email if you have any further questions. I know many of you are waiting for information on Cast On techniques and I ask for your patience.

Take care for now and I hope to post more information for you soonest.

Patrick Madden
Toronto, Ontario CANADA.

S.I.T./Groupe Superba of Mulhouse, France produced and marketed knitting machines worldwide under various brand names, so this information applies to owners of home knitting machines that have the following names and/or logos printed on their machines:

® The Superba brand was distributed all over the world and the model numbers include Superba S40, S46, S47, s48, System 624, System 9000.

® The White brand was distributed only in North America and includes model numbers 1402, 1502, 1602.

® The Singer Company** distributed home knitting machines in Europe produced by S.I.T./Superba. Many models and colours were produced including Memomatic & Singer Freestyle Models 600, Memo II, Singer 2310 - 2340, Singer System 624 & 9000.

(**Note: In North and South America, the Singer Company distributed home knitting machines produced by the Silver Reed Company of Japan - a completely different style and format of knitting machine. )

® Phildar is a French textile company which retailed S.I.T./Superba knitting machines in their Phildar Yarn Stores throughout France and Belgium. Models included the Phildarmatic D120, D140
. Registered to Patrick Madden.