MachineKnitting

Double Bed Jacquard, Superba Style

As I mentioned in my very first post on this blog, reversible jacquard is the holy grail of jacquard knitting for a lot of machine knitters. And for good reason! If you are making, say, a blanket or a scarf, what could be more perfect than a fabric that, 1) doesn’t roll up like stockinette, 2) looks good on both sides, and 3) has the SAME DESIGN on both sides? Nothing, really. Oh, and of course, no floats.

There are certainly some lovely jacquard methods that can be knit on almost any machine. My SK360 does a fine job, but your only option is stripes on the back:

Here’s some boats.

Stripes on the back. M’eh.

I have come to know this is called “slip jacquard”. It’s the kind of DBJ most machines with a ribber can do, and it’s nice. But…

*a brief pause of … many months*

OK, so…I started this post months and months ago, and forgot to finish it. But I am doing so now because I was contacted by someone who read my original blog post about my Superba (Hi J!) and had some questions. I wanted to follow up on it, since I have been using the Superba S48/White 1602/Singer 2310 machine with SuperbaKnit package for a solid year now. The big takeaway is:

I LOVE IT!

It’s by far my favourite machine of my 3. It’s also my only electronic, so that does figure heavily in there, I’m sure, but I also just love all the things it can do. I love the double-bed fabrics it can produce, the ease of getting it to knit circular on two beds, the fact that you always get a consistent stitch size on the front and back bed (unlike on most Japanese style machines with ribbers, where you might have to play with the settings to get a similarly-sized stitch on the main bed/ribber.)

OK so back to the reason I got the darn thing in the first place, DOUBLE BED JACQUARD! Obviously I wanted the reversible capabilities of the machine, but did you know there are many other kinds you can knit as well? Check this out:

Three different methods of knitting DBJ, although the one on the top I had done wrong.
I can’t remember the names of methods 1 and 2 that I tried here, but both are laid out in the manual for the Superba 624, which is available in the wonderful treasure box called the Superba Vault. The solid back is really cool, can’t do that on a lot of machines!

Then, of course, the reversible! Here is my favourite reversible project so far, a test piece I knit of Kris Jenner’s face. Why? I dunno man, because I could haha. I made her into a silhouette from a photo on the internet, and then imported her into SuperbaKnit, and knit the piece using the second yarn guide. Oh, this is worth mentioning! This kind of DBJ, as well as methods 1 and 2 above, are as easy as doing fair isle! Both yarns run at once, and in this case it plaits on the back side to produce a reversed image.

Right side (sorry for the blurry photo)

Wrong side
You can see that it’s not reversible “stitch for stitch”, but the effect is so darn good that it doesn’t really matter. The various methods of DBJ are described in more detail in the FABULOUS excerpt from, “A White Knitting Affair“, also available in the Superba Vault. Seriously, go to the vault. It’s invaluable. 

I have also dabbled with slip jacquard, as with the boats from above, and it of course works well too. The Superba machines have what they call the lili buttons on a Brother (every other needle on front bed) to make it easy to do a birdseye back, or you can always do a stripe back. They generally call it “Norwegian Jacquard” in the manuals, so that’s what I will call it here. This is a 3-colour sample that I did. Looks good, right?

Three colour slip jacquard!
Now slip or Norwegian Jacquard was tough at first because I didn’t have a colour changer for this machine, and was forced to do it by manually switching yarns every two rows, managing the yarns with the jacquard claw. Not impossible, just not as easy as with a colour changer. But, you can guess where this is going right?? I FOUND A COLOUR CHANGER! This is big news, since these machines were never sold with them. (As I understand it, the changers were only sold with the Singer 624/9000 models in the UK/Europe, and most people that have them would keep everything together in a lot.) 
My colour changer all set up!! (Space is messy, you know how it is, haha.)
What I didn’t realize, is that SuperbaKnit has a limit in place so that you can’t do any more than 3 colours at a time. However, after contacting IBB, the company that produces it, they sent me a version to test with the restrictions removed, in order to knit up to SIX COLOUR JACQUARD! Can you even handle it? I could not, really. So up to 4 colours is an absolute snap with the colour changer:
I’m totally in love with this 4 colour jacquard sample

Fabric isn’t too thick or wavy, either.
Of course for more than 4 colours, yep, back to the jacquard claw. It’s not terrible though, and I produced a decent sample:
The 6-colour design, front and back

The side view- it’s a really weird, wavy, cool fabric!
I’m not sure that I will ever use 6 colours for anything, but it’s nice to know that I could. All these samples were done with yarn that approximates “sock weight,” by the way, a #1 super fine acrylic from Michael’s called Woollike that my machine just loves. With thinner yarns I might even get something better.

Anyway, that’s just a small glimpse at what I’ve been up to with this machine since last year. It’s my absolute favourite, and next time I’ll update on some of the other cool toys I have for it 🙂

If you are on the fence about either a Superba electronic machine or SuperbaKnit, I would give you my glowing endorsement of either. Beautiful, underrated machines, great software.

Happy knitting!
Heather

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