Thrifty Knitting Machine – Singer Silver Reed LK-140

A couple of years ago, I really wanted a knitting machine. I like yarn and the thought of making pretty things with yarn has always appealed to me. I started teaching myself to knit and crochet while I was pregnant with Finn. He is eleven now, and it takes me two days of work to make a single dishcloth. So, a knitting machine seemed like a good compromise to speed things up a bit. They are kind of hard to come by, though, especially a well made machine. Besides, I knew nothing about how a knitting machine works, so I got my embroidery machine instead.

Fast forward to two Sundays ago. The family and I were having fun thrift shopping for some office furniture. (That could also read as, “Chris and I were dragging the kids around to thrift stores, with much protesting on their part.”) The first Goodwill store we went to didn’t have much in the way of office furniture. They did have lots of bins out full of miscellaneous stuff that I really wasn’t interested in digging through, until I happened to notice this long rectangular box poking up out of one bin.

That’s the one. It for is a Singer LK-140, made by Silver Reed. It is a plastic bed hobby machine, but a durable hobby machine. I’ve since learned that, except for having ten fewer needles, it is identical to the newer LK-150 knitting machine. That means parts are easy to come by.

The box was so well taped, and it had a good weight to it, so I decided not to even open it before buying it. I figured I probably wouldn’t even know what may have been missing. Also, let’s zoom in on the price tag:

Back when I was actively looking for a knitting machine, I would have thought getting one for $80 on eBay was a fairly good deal. At $5.49, it was worth it even if it was only good for parts.

When I finally opened it at home, I did notice a few parts were missing, but only the table clamps, manual and transfer tools. I found a free manual online, and the other two items are easily and inexpensively replaced. They also aren’t essential, so I have played with it a bit.

I did need to replace the sponge strip. That’s pretty standard for an older machine. Luckily on this machine, foam weatherstripping works great as an inexpensive replacement. I also needed to clean the needles, because they were covered with gunk from the old sponge strip. With that, I was able to set it up and play.

There is definitely a learning curve, but it is fun. I have noticed, though, that you can still tell it is my own handiwork.

See the dropped stitch. It’s like my signature. The best part, though, is it only took me a minute or two to make that swatch, as opposed to a day or two. A little more practice, and I might be able to make two or three dishcloths a day without dropped stitches, or a scarf with a few holes. Seriously, though, it is fun, and I look forward to coming up with new projects and products to make.

As for office furniture, I felt bad that I got a new toy but we hadn’t found the thing we really needed, so I did a quick craigslist search. There just happened to be a desk posted locally in the free section.

Excuse the mess. That photo was taken while everything was getting tossed around with moving in the desk. There is a trim piece that needs to be put in place on the top. Overall, it is in good shape. More importantly, it provides us with the two main things we needed for the office: more desk space and shelving. Best of all, it was free!

Vintage sewing presser feet and accessories part four: Stuff that I overlooked while posting earlier

These pictures were hiding. I think most will work on my machine (low shank).

Don’t know.

Bias tape foot? Which, btw I’ve tried to use for that purpose and wound  up with a  mess.

????, darning foot and narrow/rolled hem foot

Weird zipper foot

I think you feed thicker thread through the hole for decoration or to help with gathering. Not sure if it has another purpose. 

Okay, a (formerly) clear foot with metal over the feed dogs. Embroidery? Teflon foot? I don’t know.

???????

Vintage sewing presser feet and accessories part three: Stuff in boxes

These are cool things that I can’t use. If you can use them, make me an offer.

Accessories for a Touch and Sew. I don’t have a Touch and Sew, nor do I want one. If you need this, make me an offer I can’t refuse.

Hot mess in an old Singer accessory box.

Buttonholer for a slant shank Singer. This makes me sad. I don’t have a slant shank  machine, so I can’t test it, but it looks complete. I would like to see $15 for it, not counting shipping.

Vintage sewing presser feet and accessories part two: Stuff that will work on my machines

Here’s more presser feet. All of these should be low shank.

1. Simple walking foot? I don’t know.

2.Same as above. See the little teeth that go up and down as you sew.

3.Elaborate hem guide or???
4.Side view.

5.Don’t know. Maybe for stitching in the ditch?

6.Side view.

7.Still don’t know what the back guide does. 

8.Straight stitch, but why the little bend in the foot?

9.Button feet.

10. ???? I need to look again. That might be a hole to feed decorative thread through. Still don’t know why it has that shape. 
11. Really should know this one…

12.???????

13.?????

14.Quilting guide I think. Why does the foot have notches for left or right needle position but not center?

Vintage sewing presser feet and accessories part one: Stuff that won’t work on my machines

I have a ton of random sewing machine feet. I’m sure they all do some really cool things that would make difficult projects easier if I knew what to do with them. But I mostly don’t, and I’m having a hard time finding a guide that helps, so I thought I’d post them here.

This group consists of ones that are high shank, slant shank or something else that won’t attach to my low shank Kenmore or Signature machines. This means that if there’s something really cool, I won’t get to try it out. *sadface* It also means that if you see something you’re needing here, contact me to work something out.

1.This one is easy. Zipper/cording feet. 
2.Some sort of hem guide? Torture device? Is it even all there?

3.Quilting guides? I usually see these attached to other feet instead of solo.

4.Narrow hem foot, but it looks funny…

5.Button feet?

6.More button feet?

7.?????

8.Darning feet.

9.These have a channel to sew over cording(?) and an adjustable guide behind the foot for??? Both are missing the guide screws.

10.I don’t know if this is broken or if it’s a snap on foot. I also don’t know it’s special purpose and that makes me sad. I think it’s a fairly basic one.

11.?????

12.Looks like a normal zig-zag foot, but a little different from the ones that came with my machines.

13.Sewing guides. These will work on my machines, but I have a few already.