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Double Bed Knitting Machine Settings For Working Single Bed Stitches: Stocking Stitch, Tuck, Slip, Fair Isle and Weave Effect


Let me show you how to set your Double Bed model knitting machine for working Single Bed Stitches like Stocking Stitch, Tuck, Slip, Fair Isle and Weave Effect.

Setting Double Bed Model Machines For Single Bed Knitting: Stocking Stitch, Tuck, Slip, Fair Isle, Weave Effect.
If you own a Double Bed model of SUPERBA, SINGER, PHILDAR or WHITE, you have to position the Front Needle Bed so the Flow Combs on both needle beds are aligned. This is called Opposite PositionWhy?

All knitting machines use Latch Hook needles, which are moved forward by the Carriage during stitch formation.

When working Single Bed Stitches, like Stocking Stitch, something is required to press against and hold the stitches that are already on the needles, to prevent them from moving forward during stitch formation. 

Double Bed models of SUPERBA, SINGER, PHILDAR and WHITE use the Front Needle Bed to do this. This is a unique feature to the SUPERBA machines.

Side View of Flow Combs On Both Needle Beds On A SUPERBA Double Bed Model.

Along the edge of both needle beds are metal protrusions called Flow CombsThese Flow Combs separate the Needles from one another, creating a space for the needles to move forward and back during stitch formation.

Note: Flow Combs set in the Opposite position allow the Front Bed needle channels to be positioned directly below the stitches on the Back Needle Bed. 

The Front Bed Needle Channels - B - sit directly below the active stitches on the Back Bed  - A - see photo below.

When working single bed stitches like Stocking Stitch, Tuck, Slip, Fair Isle and Weave Effect, it is the horizontal edge of the Front Bed which will press against and prevent any Back Bed stitches from moving forward as new stitches are formed on the Back Bed.

The Front Bed Holding Stitches In Place.
This is how Double Bed models of SUPERBA knitting machines work Single Bed Stitches. No other knitting machine uses this method.

So it is the Front Bed on a SUPERBA which we position, so that it's Flow Combs and Needle Channels are directly opposite those on the Back Bed. How?

• Set the Flow Combs To Opposite:
The position of the Front Needle Bed on your Double Bed model knitting machine is controlled by the Intermediary Lever and the Racking Handle.

These two parts work in tandem to shift the position or 'pitch' of the Front Bed. There are three (3) Front Bed pitches on a SUPERBA Double Bed model.

We want to set the machine to Opposite Pitch or Full Pitch.

This is done by moving both the Intermediary Lever AND the Racking Handle at the same time, which will cause the Front Bed to shift into Opposite position.

How this is done depends on the age of your knitting machine.

Double Bed Models Without A Flow Comb Indicator: 
The Intermediary Lever & Racking Handle are both located on the bottom left of the machine. 

• This is the Intermediary Lever:

Depending on the model and brand of machine you have, the Racking Handle will have either a Brown Lever & Racking Handle with a Knob on the end, as on my WHITE 1502 Model:

• Or a White Lever & Rectangular Racking Handle, as on my SUPERBA S48 model machine:

• To set the Front Bed to Opposite Position on this style of machine, you push the Intermediary Lever to the far left while at-the-same-time pushing the Racking Handle to the far right. 

Push the Intermediary Lever to the left & the Racking Handle to the right.

You are spreading them apart. This will shift the Front Bed into Opposite position. 

TIP: Use two hands to do this if it makes it easier.

To verify Opposite position, place the Needle Ruler next to the Flow Combs on the end of the machine bed. The Flow Combs should be aligned and even:

Double Bed Models With A Front Bed Position Indicator These models have the Intermediary Lever with a bed position indicator directly above it and a white rectangular Racking Handle, both located on the lower left of the machine.

Singer System 9000 Model Machine.
Rear View of Bed Position Lever & Racking Handle.

• This Indicator has the three Bed Positions engraved on it's front. The centre symbol is Opposite position.

• To set this style of machine this Opposite position, you pinch the Intermediary Lever and the Racking Handle together at the same time.

This will cause the Front Bed on this style Double Bed model to shift into "Opposite" position, aligning it's Flow Combs with those on the Back Needle Bed.

With both needle bed aligned, this allows the Back Bed needles to come forward between the Teeth of the Cast On Comb, which you position so the Teeth are aligned with the Flow Combs, when working an Open Cast On edge.

More about specific Cast On Methods & Techniques in an upcoming post.

Note: This is the same Front Bed position one also uses when working double bed rib stitches like K1P1 Ribbing and K2P2.

• Bed Height and Bed Space Setting:
Also unique and exclusive to SUPERBA Knitting Machines is the ability to adjust the Front Bed Height and Bed Space between the two needle beds.

These features allow you to accommodate thin and thick yarns, or to accomodate stitch effects which produce finer and thicker textured stitches. These are two features which allow these machines to knit the widest range of yarn weights compared to any other Double Bed knitting system, including PASSAP.

Front Bed Knitting Positions:
When working Single Bed Stitches on a SUPERBA Double Bed Model, depending on the yarn and stitch you are working, you always have the Front Bed raised to either Normal Position no.1 or Upper Position no.2. 

The Front Bed Holding Stitches In Place.

In these positions, the Front Bed acts to hold the stitches that are already on the needles in place, so they do not move forward with the needles during stitch formation. 

Single Bed Tuck & Front Bed in Postion no.1

• no.1 Normal Position : this is the default working position for the Front Bed. When raised the Front Bed upward, it automatically locks into this position. 

At this level, when viewed from the side, the Flow Combs of both beds are level with one another - Normal Position no.1. (the orange ruler is resting on the Flow Combs for reference)

Front Bed no.1 Normal Position.

Exclusive to SUPERBA Double Bed Models for Single Bed Knitting is a second elevated position known as no.2 Upper Position. 

To set the Front Bed to no.2 Upper Position, press the Bed Release Levers and raise the Front Bed once more, and it will lock into no.2 Upper Position. . . 

Front Bed no.2 Upper Position.
Viewed from the side, the Front Bed Flow Combs are slightly higher than those on the back bed.

Front Bed no.2 Upper Position. 
• no.2 Upper Position provides even greater control over the stitches and is helpful when knitting very fine, Lace Weight yarns like Cashmere, Wool, Rayon, Mohair and Silks and it is also excellent for working textured Tuck Stitches.

• The Bed Space Lever 
Exclusive to French Knitting Machine Brands SUPERBA, SINGER, PHILDAR and WHITE is the ability to adjust the space between the needle beds using the Bed Space Lever.

This adjusts this gap between the needle beds from a distance of 3mm for finer yarns, with additional settings of 4mm, 5mm and 6mm in width, for progressively thicker yarns like Double Knitting and Worsted Weight yarn.

No other home knitting machine has this feature. This spacing feature coupled with the ability to adjust the Front Bed height is what allows a SUPERBA to knit a wider range of yarn weights compared to other 5mm Gauge Machines like the Passap Duomatic and E6000 models.  I own a Passap Duomatic and enjoy the machine but it is not my go-to knitting machine due to this lack of versatility.

• 3mm Bed Space Setting: Lace Weight, 2/24 Coned Yarn.

• 4mm Bed Space Setting: 3 Ply, Baby Yarn, Sock Yarn, Fingering Weight.

• 5mm Bed Space Setting: 4 Ply, Sock Yarn, Sport and Double Knitting Yarn Weights.

• 6mm Bed Space Setting: Double Knitting and Worsted Weight

• The default Bed Space setting for most yarns is no.4.

Bed Space Setting no.4
Worked in conjunction with one another, these two features, along with the Stitch Size setting on the Carriages are what allow these 5mm Gauge SUPERBA Knitting Machines to knit the widest range of yarn weights on one single machine.

Understand that no single brand of knitting machine does it all. No machine can knit both very fine Lace Weight Yarns and thick Chunky yarns on every needle. That's impossible. That's why many of us own more than one model or brand of machine. I do. 

But these exclusive features that are found only on a SUPERBA are why I enjoy working on this style of knitting machine over any other brand of machine I have. All my other machines suffer from lack of use due to this! Ever since I acquired my first SUPERBA, I've discovered none is as versatile as a SUPERBA. Not Brother, not Silver Reed, not Toyota and not PASSAP. 

Each of those other brands are good machines but they do not offer the ease of use and the ability to work such a wide range of yarn weights for one Gauge of machine - which is important to me. That is why SUPERBA knitting machines are my first choice to work on. But that's my personal opinion. Explore and learn these features and how they work together and see for yourself. 

Front Bed As Retainer vs. Needle Retainer Accessory
Unlike Single Bed models of SUPERBA, and Japanese Brand Knitting Machines, which use a Stitch Retainer - shown below - to press and hold the stitches back during operation, I much prefer using the Front Bed on my Double Bed models as it is far superior system allowing greater control of the stitches.

Japanese brand knitting machines and Single Bed models of SUPERBA use a Stitch Retainer, which attaches to the Carriage for Single Bed knitting. 

Here is my SUPERBA Retainer Accessory:

You remove the standard yarn guide, just under the handles on the Back Carriage and replace this with the Retainer.

SUPERBA Optional Stitch Retainer for Single Bed Knitting

The yarn guide on the retainer has two feeders for working Single Bed Fair Isle, just like on the Japanese machines.

For comparison, this is my Silver Reed/Singer SK360 Knitting Machine from Japan with it's Single Bed Stitch Retainer. You can see the similarity of the feeders and brushes which press against and run across the knit fabric as you work. Great little machines but these arms can leave marks and easily snag textured yarns. 

Even though I have the optional Stitch Retainer accessory, I never use it. There's no need to. The Front Bed on the Double Bed model SUPERBA works just fine and when working shoulder and neck shaping using the Short Row technique, there is no chance any visible lines of oil or fluffing of the fibres will mark the fabric, as can happen when using the Retainers, as the brushes on the underside of those units rub repeatedly and directly onto the knit fabric.

•"I Can't See My Knitting!" - Intermediate Front Bed Position
It may seem strange at first not being able to see the stitch formation happening while you are knitting, but in most cases you can see the stitches forming and if you are paying attention, you can see well enough to catch any dropped stitches or notice when stitches are not descending properly during knitting. 

TIP: If you have the machine set up on table at the correct height, you will be able to see the stitches form as you knit, even with the Front Bed raised.

Also, it is very easy on a SUPERBA to stop and lower the Front Bed to inspect your knitting and then raise the Front Bed and continue. 

The Front Bed is very light in weight, lighter than a Ribber on a Japanese knitting machine, and much lighter than the Front Bed on a PASSAP. I know this as I have one of each.

Another feature of the SUPERBA Double Bed models: the Intermediate Front Bed Position. This allows you to stop and lower the Front Bed position half way during the knitting process to check your work.

Just press on both of the Front Bed Position Levers and the Front Bed will drop down one level to it's intermediate position. When you're done inspecting, just raise the Front Bed to Normal Position and continue knitting. All this goes very fast.

Remove The Front Bed Carriage For Single Bed Knitting
Once you have the Front Bed in Opposite Position, you can now remove the Front Bed Carriage and prepare the rest of the machine for Single Bed Knitting.

SUPERBA Double Bed model knitting machines can work Single Bed Stitches on either the Back Bed or the Front Bed.
To start I will show you how to establish stitches on the Back Bed. Why? 

White Model 1502 With Front Carriage Removed For Single Bed Knitting.

The Back Bed on a SUPERBA is the default needle bed for working Single Bed Stitches. It's easier to view and inspect your work as it descends from the Back Bed, as the Latch Hook Needles are positioned so they face you.

Inspecting Hand Transferred Lace With The Front Bed Lowered.

When working Single Bed Stitches on the Back Needle Bed, SUPERBA Double Bed models don't require the Front Bed Carriage to form stitches, so remove the Front Bed Carriage from the machine. It just gets in the way.

• Disconnect the Carriages if they are joined together, and then slide the Front Carriage to one end of the needle bed. 

Depress The Coupling Latch To Disengage The Front Carriage.

• Raise the Carriage Release Lever on the side to release the Front Carriage from the rails and then slide it off the machine.

Be Careful Removing Front Bed Carriage - Don't Drop It!

• Set the Front Carriage aside, face down to protect the cams.

It's very easy to remove and replace the carriages on a SUPERBA as they are very light in weight.

White Double Bed Model 1502 Set For Single Bed Knitting.
This is the view of the Back Needle Bed with the older style SUPERBA Back Bed Carriage with it's art deco inspired, rounded handles. Very elegant design.

Back Needle Bed and Back Carriage.

In my next several posts I'll take you through the most popular Cast On + Cast Off methods for working Single Bed Stitches.

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In the mean time, explore these unique features when knitting on your French knitting machine, including the bed height along with the bed spacing and see for yourself how versatile your little SUPERBA, SINGER, WHITE and PHILDAR Double Bed machine really is!

Take care for now.